By Tony Attwood
With the lock down on coverage of the Fifa scandal by the English media pretty much 100% effective, there has been the feeling that we need something really spooky to stir a bit more life into the scandal, while all the sides prepare their notes, questions, explanations and bare-faced lying for the coming weeks and months.
The British media of course still won’t cover it – we’ve seen that for the last ten years, but those of us who read a little more widely are having a whale of a time. Because now…
Step forward Sepp Blatter – who along with Michel Platini was banned from footballing activities in the last round of grandstand scandals. Fifa suspended Blatter and Platini for eight years in December, but the bans were reduced to six years by its appeals committee.
So who better to comment on the current turmoil in Fifa which is not only engulfing Infantino and all his cronies but even the Swiss Federal Prosecutor, but that sly old dog, Sepp Blatter.
Indeed I’m surprised it has taken this long, but now Blatter is out there again describing the behaviour of his successor Gianni Infantino in two words: “It’s megalomania.”
Well, yes, setting up all the committees that are supposed to monitor your behaviour so they are packed with your mates (or are chaired by people who don’t speak the language the committee uses for its discussions) is an indicator of megalomania.
The offences against Mr. Infantino are (in case you’ve missed it) “incitement to abuse of authority, to breach of secrecy function and obstruction of criminal proceedings.”
I wonder what the FA delegates make of this? After all, they shunted out Sam Allerdyce after just one game for having an unauthorised meeting with two gentlemen of the press (who were dressed in Arab fancy dress costume for the occasion), so they must have some insight into unscheduled meetings. Infantino seems to have been holding unauthorised meetings at a wholesale rate.
Meanwhile Sepp Blatter is only suspended until 2021 by the Fifa for what is known in polite circles as a “controversial payment” of 2 million Swiss francs to Michel Platini. Could he be preparing a come back as the man who can Clean Up Fifa?
Fo as Blatter pointed out, Fifa’s Ethics Commission “is not independent”, because Infantino has filled it with his cronies and nominees.
It is also becoming clear that these hearings into the potentially criminal activities of Fifa’s top dogs and Switzerland’s top prosecutor, could go on for a while, as the former Fifa second in command, Jérôme Valcke, failed to turn up in court claiming he couldn’t due to the travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus crisis.
Now Valcke’s name keeps popping up in this investigation, and it is high time we dug around in his past a bit. And this is highly relevant because it reveals the sort of people who are in the organisation that the FA are negotiating with, when they choose to spend £ millions on proposing England as a venue for each World Cup.
Jérôme Valcke was director of marketing and TV for Fifa when a New York court found on 7 December 2006 that Valcke had negotiated sponsor agreements with Visa, despite there already being an existing exclusive agreement between Fifa and MasterCard, along with an agreement that MasterCard had the right of first negotiation in subsequent deals.
As a result of this Fifa was fined $60m. Valcke protested his innocence throughout but Sepp Blatter fired him (and three others) in December 2006, along with a statement saying Fifa cannot possibly accept such conduct among its own employees.” Fifa then reached a settlement with Visa and MasterCard which cost them $90m. It seems hiring Valcke can be expensive.
But then, and this is the amazing bit…
The following year Valcke was installed as Fifa’s general secretary on 27 June 2007!!!! He had just cost Fifa $150m in compensation and fines, and the guy responsible for that was made general secretary. And the proposer was… Sepp Blatter.
Of course when one reads that sort of background it is not surprising that subsequently Fifa loaned the Football Federation of Trinidad and Tobago $1m, without interest, without guarantees, and pretty much without any idea at all of where the money was going or how the money could ever be paid back.
And of course it all went wrong. As on removed the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association and his board, from office. In a statement Fifa explained that there was “a very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity.”
And where did that $1m go?
Well, curiously enough the British press were pretty feeble in their coverage of that story, and didn’t dig into the lurking presence in the background of Jérôme Valcke, although of course since I am just reporting all this, I don’t have any inside knowledge of what Jérôme Valcke was doing.
The story continues – although not in the British press. As far as they are concerned nothing is happening at all.
- Fifa’s corruption in detail and why the English media won’t touch it
- Fifa in chaos. England is silent but Europe is up in arms
- Federal court rejects challenges filed by Fifa secretary Jérôme Valcke.
- The home and away scandal: ignorance, or cover up?
- The reason why Liverpool and Man C are ahead of Arsenal.
- How which referee a club gets has a major impact on the result of each game
- The statistical evidence that shows PGMO are biased against Arsenal
- How European football has taken up the fight against clubs breaking FFP