I have had to previously spring in to action to write a blog about Sepp Blatter and I didn’t think I would have to do it again so soon, but after the bumbling fools latest comments during interviews with CNN and Al Jezeera, followed up by some hole digging on Fox Sports, I find myself back in the fray. Football’s own Prince Phillip just can’t help himself it seems, for one person to say and do pretty much what he wants and get away with it, makes me feel like behind closed doors he is just laughing at the football world. Everyone who cares about the subject is rightly up in arms, but what will the football worlds reaction be this time? Hopefully there will be some action to go with all the noise.
I for one, am tired of his constant bad leadership and warped opinion on the beautiful game. These aren’t just issues in football, they are issues that span society worldwide, which is why such comments can be damaging to the sport, but also have a wider context regardless of football. For me it feels like it’s time to stand up and be counted; the football family, the clubs, the players and the fans, have to make a stand against those who are clearly clueless and are not acting in the best interests of the sport. It is time to over-throw such a narrow-minded dictator.
The latest Blatter faux pas has made an unprecedented amount of people speak out; Rio Ferdinand and David Beckham are perhaps the most high profile players to get involved and should be commended for their stance on the issue. Ferdinand literally tackled Blatter head on via Twitter, to which Blatter or whoever controls his account and FIFA’s PR, had little retort. Great strides have already been made by people within football who have the profile, influence and also the exposure to not let this problem be swept under the carpet again and it is now that football should unite, and for once, make things count.
Blatter has successfully made derogatory comments that devalue all the ongoing good work football has done around racism, sexism and homosexuality in football, whilst also dismissing corruption and adultery as blasé topics. If the head of any organisation or business in the world, that sets out to combat such issues in their mandate, made such comments they would be out of a job, why should it be any different for Blatter?
The bumbling Blatter is no longer fit to lead world football and it is high time he went, but someone has to lead the campaign and forget the business and politics. It is simply time to campaign for what is right.
Sepp Blatter reminds me of a small business owner who says one thing and does something completely different. FIFA stand for an all encompassing body, who promote an equal opportunities sport worldwide, an organisation that is supposed to break down barriers – the type of barriers that Blatter seems intent on putting back up, at this rate he may as well start trying to rebuild the Berlin Wall – if he realises it came down in the first place!
Everything being said by UK football fans, who seem to be the only people who see Blatter’s comments for what they are, makes me think the time is now for UK football to lead the revolt against Blatter. Already we have seen politicians condemn the comments at various levels, with the Prime Minister and also Prince William already having been involved in the poppy scandal. Their condemnation of this latest ‘Blatter-ism’ cannot be far away. Current and ex-professional players and managers have all had their say, as well as a media who all seem united in fighting the same cause. Rarely do we have a country in such agreement.
Blatter does have his defenders, mainly those that underpin his reign as FIFA president and also those that are part of the countries that FIFA has done a lot of good work in, such as Africa. This is one of Blatter’s few successes, whether he did it for the right reasons in the first place remains to be seen, however he has done some good and there is nothing to suggest that under new leadership this good work wouldn’t continue or be undone.
Battles rage all over the world to overthrow the governments of countries that have done wrong by the world and their people. We have seen the reigns of such tyrants as Saddam Hussein, Colonel Gaddafi and Slobodan Milošević end, and as melodramatic as it may seem, Blatter is the football equivalent and it is time to rise up and over-throw. How many attacks on the people of the world football society will it take before Blatter is bought to rights? We have let too many slide already.
Racism may not be taken as seriously in other countries such as Spain and Russia, where incidents are rife and little happens, (another example of sweeping real issues away) but again maybe this means we have to lead from the front. As a society we do not tolerate any discrimination (we are not the only one’s), but we seem to be embroiled in this debacle and as a country that have a worldwide football reach and some of the most influential clubs and players of all time, it is time for us to stop talking and take action.
It’s time to back petitions that are set up and groups like ‘Change FIFA’. It is time for football personalities and consumers to make a stand against the sponsors of FIFA because it is the only way that FIFA, and the sponsors that endorse and bank-roll them, will truly take note. This needs to be taken to maximum, exerting as much pressure as possible if Blatter is to be ousted.
If you’re thinking to yourself ‘what can I do?’ well there is a lot that can be done. Firstly sign a petition and show your support. Stay vocal about the topic so it doesn’t just peeter out like it has previously, encourage others with similar opinions to do the same. If anything is planned to raise awareness then get involved. If you want to take this to the extreme, boycott buying products of FIFA sponsors: Adidas, Coca-Cola, Sony, Visa, Hyundai and Emirates. Go on their websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and let them know that you don’t want to support them and their products if they endorse an organisation whose leader seems happy to tolerate Racism, Homophobia, Sexism, Bullying and Crime.
The major lobbying will have to come from the players and those organisations that interact with FIFA on a regular basis, as it will make FIFA sit up and take note. We have to support these actions and give players and officials the confidence that we back them. FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony is approaching, there will be players there and they should be encouraged to make a stand and help put an end to an era of FIFA that is beyond a joke by boycotting the ceremony or wearing something in support of making a change.
We need to believe that with a collective goal this is a battle we can win for the good of football. Check out MP @DamianCollins on Twitter who is up for doing something about Blatter and FIFA. Sign the petition www.fifareform.com/2011/11/hello-world and join the campaign to reform FIFA. Keep checking and like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/changeFIFA and get involved with the debate, Football Rascal will be campaigning.
We live in a modern world, society has evolved and we are lucky enough to live in a state where democracy rules, we have a right to speak up and voice our dissatisfaction at an organisation that doesn’t seem to know democracy and is made-up of Whisky swigging fat-cats who just stay protected from the real world behind the safety net of FIFA House. The organisation itself needs drastic and radical change, things need to start again, but the only way to start a revolution now.
So as I raise my pitch fork and book the first flight to Zurich ask yourself what will you do? All talk and no action is a waste of time. This fight isn’t going to be easy, we have to apply pressure and make it count if we are to have any hope of changing an organisation that is rotten to the core. So if you don’t want to campaign then stop pretending to be up in arms about this now. If you are really bothered about the actions of FIFA and Blatter it has never been easier to make yourself heard and do something about it.
Here are some quick links to help your campaigning
On any account where you can write or comment, let the brand know you don’t agree with their support of FIFA. These accounts will probably be run by third parties, but they will report back and also try and deal with your complaint. Don’t be abusive, just make your point and give yourself a voice that these brands and their other customers will hear. Hit them all once a day, it’s the little things that can make a big impact … what are you waiting for?