I don’t suppose many of the millions of intelligent football supporters will be surprised by the whitewash of a report from FIFA’s own internal ethics chamber. A governing body so corrupt that nothing is a surprise anymore and makes some notoriously iffy nation states look positively godly. All overseen by a tainted president, who has been dubbed “Septic Tank” by his fiercest critics for his own questionable code of ethics.
Today’s report, in essence, clears Qatar and Russia of any corruption or wrongdoing yet lays into the FA’s 2018 bid and the Australian 2022 bids. Two countries who you’d least expect to be guilty.
There is little doubt both parties tried to follow what they perceived to be way things are done when lobbying for major tournaments, and no doubt the other bidders were as bad, or even worse. Yet, in criticising these two bidders, it demonstrates how dirty politics within football is at the highest level. Both countries had been some of the most vocal in calling for greater transparency to the whole process and even into FIFA itself.
There is no surprise either that the investigator, Michael Garcia – formerly New York District Attorney – has himself called into question the 42 page summary of his 430 page report, published under the name of the ‘independent’ ethics adjudicator, Hans-Joachim Eckert. According to Garcia, the summary contains ‘misrepresentations’ and ‘numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts’.
One question it raises in my mind is “Who ordered such a whitewash?” It’s no secret Blatter has no time for the FA, or the English media who ask such awkward questions that he’d rather weren’t asked. This does rather suggest that there are other hidden scandals within the ‘hallowed’ halls of the game’s ultimate governing body that FIFA don’t want us to know about
James Riach in the Guardian raises 10 (amongst many others) pertinent questions and some of them will have to be answered in time. Many will not, but some no doubt will.
It’s a delicate subject and FIFA will now shut up the shop and turn a deaf ear to anything said. However, when an ‘disinterested’ party such as the US homeland investigators, the FBI, are continuing its own investigation into corruption among senior FIFA officials (The US had a bid rejected for 2018), then this issue will not go away.
A root and branch investigation by a truly independent body, going through all bidding processes – FIFA believes its current one is “well-thought, robust and professional”. Who are they kidding? – is required to put this issue to bed. However, we all know this will never happen, not even when the moon turns into green cheese, and our games’ worldwide body will be despised and belittled because of the avaricious greed of some of its members. We deserve better, but we aren’t getting it, and will never get it, not while Sepp Blatter is in charge. Its no coincidence that the worst of these scandals occurred on his watch so he’s the one with the most blood on his hands. Blatter has the hide of an elephant and will shrug all these off and hide behind this shabby misrepresentation of an investigation, which raises even more questions than answers.
In the beginning, the FA refused to join FIFA, for sundry reasons. Perhaps this is what they were concerned about, perhaps it was our own arrogance of the time, but now perhaps it wasn’t that bad a call…