Well what a last week it has been in the world of football, things just don’t stop, there are more storylines than episodes of Eastenders, Corrie and Hollyoaks put together and after Blatter’s press conference yesterday, few storylines are less farcical than what is going on at FIFA at the moment. This is a sh*t storm that has been a long time coming. For longer than I care to remember Blatter has had free reign in football’s most powerful organisation and it cannot continue. So what is the future for Blatter, FIFA, and more importantly international football?
Blatter yesterday decided to face the press and seemed totally at sea amongst a barrage of questions. The questions weren’t particularly out of the blue, simply journalists querying the things that the world wants to know. Blatter wasn’t interested in answering these and the bottom-line that came through was that FIFA/Blatter will attempt to keep this an in-house matter and his thoughts on the crisis in football: “Crisis? What is a crisis? Football is not in a crisis,” laughable.
For me it seems FIFA and Blatter are one and the same. This surely is wrong on so many levels. The English FA is a body that chops and changes its chairman regularly (this is not necessarily a good thing). Whoever is in charge brings their own ideas to the table, but they are never bigger than the organisation. This is where Mr Blatter has come a cropper, he thinks he is bigger than FIFA … no, Blatter thinks he is FIFA and he can do what he wants. Well it is time for this to stop.
Calls for an independent investigation have to be adhered to as Blatter has now lost the trust of the football world. It is difficult to talk for all other nationalities, but to the British football fan, the politics behind FIFA and how the world game is governed is important to us, we have an opinion on it, this is our game.
FIFA has been making a farce of football for too long, the power split between nations that don’t have any interest in football and football leading nations is ridiculous. How can people who have little to no interest in the sport, have low quality domestic leagues and limited knowledge of the sport’s issues worldwide have the same credible input as the major football nations?
Credibility is a massive factor in this; Blatter and FIFA’s credibility has disintegrated to an irreversible level. It is time for credible governing bodies, the national associations of the powerhouses of European football to make a stand and represent their fans by making a stand against FIFA and Blatter. It is also time for UEFA to throw its hat in the ring and confirm their position on all of this. The time is right, this story is gaining more and more momentum and with fresh allegations ready to be released, someone needs to strike.
The FA seem to have made a move to do this, calling for tomorrow’s presidential election/unopposed farce to be delayed until all of this is sorted. This will give time to flush out the bad and start afresh, hopefully with someone who can lead in the right way. We should all be asking ourselves why aren’t there more candidates for the top seat at FIFA? probably because Blatter’s influence goes too deep, but someone needs to step up and challenge (I am up for it if no takers!).
I have listened to Alan Brazil campaigning to boycott the brands who are the main sponsors of FIFA and although a radical step, I think the reasoning behind this is spot on. I think that it is time to readdress the power balance in football and it is time for fan power to take its rightful place as a respected force, as football is nothing without us fans.
The good news is the brands that support FIFA have come out voicing their concerns and so far 3 major international brands, Adidas, Coca-Cola and Emirates have made statements that will only intensify pressure on FIFA and Blatter. This is business and brands do not like to be associated with negative press and the more negative attention they get, the more twitchy they will get.
But what we need to remember is that FIFA is now as much of a business as any professional club in the world. It is not out of the ordinary in business that companies ‘look after people’ or ‘give someone a drink’ to show their gratitude in exchange for business. I accept this maybe standard practice, but FIFA are out of control and the behaviour of certain members has become untoward. FIFA are turning football in to a seedy sport that will lose credibility the same way Cricket did in the wake of the betting scandal that tore apart the reputation of the sport.
If Blatter gets away with this and is re-elected then it is a very dark day for football. He should postpone the election in light of all of the recent happenings and for the good of football he needs to do the decent thing and stand down. The future of football needs to be one of a transparent organisation that doesn’t have a leader as renowned as the organisation itself. It needs someone who can lead for the good of football, more importantly someone who is in touch with the modern day football fan and also understands where the game is heading at all levels.
International football is already on the decline with more and more club vs. country rows and the international game constantly being questioned as well as international tournaments becoming second best to competitions like the Champions League. If Blatter continues to reign we could see the breakaway of nations from FIFA, the breakup of a family … FIFA seems more like a mafia family with Blatter at the head than it does a football family, it is time to make #blatterout your number one saying or things may change for the worst forever.