On the eve of the FIFA Elections if ever the FIFA executive needed proof that it was time for change at the top, it is in the last 24 hours. Current FIFA President has once again made the game’s rulers look foolish when he states that the allegations against Qatar’s winning bid to host World Cup are based on racism.
“There is a sort of storm against Fifa relating to the Qatar World Cup,” Blatter said. “Sadly there’s a great deal of discrimination and racism.” Blatter is quoted as saying.
Fifa will rule on the validity of the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in September or October. The 78-year-old Blatter, president of football’s world governing body has said that at that time the “matter will be closed.” He may think so but if the FIFA Executive opt to ignore findings made by the man investigating the bidding process, lawyer Michael Garcia, he may find that this issue will rumble on for a very long time into the future.
The latest allegations are due to be discussed at the FIFA Congress currently under way in Brazil. Rest assured little will come out of this meeting as they will not want any distractions prior to the World Cup getting under way.
Michael Garcia has led an independent investigation into the bidding process and is due to deliver his report to FIFA in July.He is due to give an update on his findings at FIFA’s congress in Brazil. The investigation is looking at every country involved with the bidding process for both the 2018 World Cup, to be staged in Russia, and the 2022 event in Qatar.
So where do the racism allegations stem from? They appear to be coming from the Confederation of African Football (CAF)the confederation that Blatter himself wooed with incentives in order to win the FIFA Presidency, just as his predecessor Joao Havelange had done back in the early 1970’s.
CAF have attacked the media, in particular the British media accusing them of “repeated, deliberately hateful, defamatory and degrading attacks” on the integrity of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) “and the entire African continent.”
CAF has taken the accusations that its delegates were bribed to vote for Qatar very seriously and have urged the executive committee “to file a law suit, if necessary, so that the authors of this smearing and defamatory campaign against African football leaders are brought to book.”
CAF has incidentally been pushing for extra world cup qualification spots; currently the continent with 53 nations only has five, whereas Europe with 54 countries vying for a spot have 13. Don’t be surprised if Blatter does give them an extra slot – something we feel the continent deserves – but the reasons he gives it could be for reasons other than footballing ones. It could well be that they receive this slot as thanks for supporting FIFA in denials of any impropriety, or for guaranteeing votes to ensure Blatter is returned for another term as President. The question is if he does do this who will miss out?
One thing is clear and that is nothing at FIFA is every straightforward.