By Tony Attwood
I have long complained about how the incompetent FA has endlessly supported the appalling Fifa in the desperate hope of getting Fifa to ignore the disaster of the Euros Cup final at Wembley, and think that the FA could be a possible host for a big show once again.
And being Fifa they almost certainly could be persuaded, given the right amount oiling of the wheels.
Yet for once it is not just me banging the drum, for as the Telegraph, not normally an anti-Fifa newspaper has written, “True to form, Fifa was the last of sport’s pro-Russian fortresses to fall. Everybody else had renounced associations with Vladimir Putin – even those at the International Judo Federation, custodians of the Russian president’s favourite pastime.”
That is good to see but I think one is able to ask, “Why have we not seen criticism of Fifa before?” My guess is that there has been ceaseless special pleading from the FA to the media “not to rock the boat”, but of course that is just a guess. Now that even the International Judo Federation (which awarded Putin a black belt) has disavowed him.
But we still have the disgusting and disgraceful Gianni Infantino looking for tributes and recognition for kicking Russia out of international football, when in fact all he did was make the move when the alternative was Infantino to be deposed and stuck for the rest of his life in Qatar. (Infantino’s last move, we should remember, was to propose that Russia could compete under the name of the “Russian Football Union”).
We should make no mistake about the fact that Putin and Infantino are, and have always been, allies. Again, as the Telegraph has said, “It has taken a war to confirm it as the noxious pact it always was.”
But this is not the end of the affair, because the time will come that Russia will re-apply for membership and with the special relationship between Infantino and Putin still in place, there will be everything done to allow them back in.
As the Telegraph (which has not previously understood just how appalling Infantino is) has said, “whether by pursuing a Club World Cup in China to accepting a national recognition award in the Central African Republic,” (he has shown) “that he will stop at nothing in allowing odious regimes to rinse their reputations through his sport. In Putin, he found a close personal ally. No sooner had he slathered the Russian leader with plaudits about the 2018 World Cup than he was rewarded with the country’s Medal of Friendship, which he proudly pinned to his lapel with the promise that “these bonds will last forever”.” There is no sign of the man who is known for “chasing the patronage of despots” handing the medal back.
Certainly, Fifa will by now be working on trying to get Russia back in the fold, and it won’t be long before there is talk that the ban on Russia is “a ban on ordinary footballers” and thus unfair.
Indeed just as the International Olympic Committee let Russia straight back in after it was found to be doping athletes so undoubtedly the disgusting Fifa will attempt the same strategy.
Even now, there is a horrible feeling that Fifa and the IOC will allow Putin back in sooner rather than later on the basis that the ban is a ban on Russian sportspeople. The International Olympic Committee tells sports governing bodies to ban Russia from competitions but doesn’t kick Russia out itself.
Meanwhile, speaking of Infantino, the Telegraph says, “Let history damn him as the last and most reluctant of sport’s leaders to stand in the way of bloodshed and horror – all of it authorised by the man he made it his mission to befriend.”
Thus at last it has been said, although it has taken the media long enough to come out and say it. But now there is still one big step left. Infantino needs to be removed and Fifa broken up on the grounds that it is utterly corrupt and has no regard for human life. Qatar should send Infantino back to Switzerland so he can face the legal authorities who are after him for corruption, and we should have a very long period of reflection before starting up the whole rotten shebang again.
Fifa is, after all, the organisation that makes the Mafia look like a children’s garden party.
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