Fifa is in a mess.
I have no love for the organisation, yet I love football. I’ve read Andrew Jennings’ books, follow the reports, and have seen how the organisation essentially looks after itself with little real concern for the planet’s most popular sport. It’s a personal fiefdom for the likes of Sepp Blatter as they bestride the world as though they’re heads of state.
The UK press is up in arms. We in Britain have nothing to lose. There’s not a chance that we’ll be hosting a World Cup anytime soon. Indeed, it’d be an outrageous use of money to even try when the organisation appears as corrupt as it does.
Blatter has seen to it that his only competitor for re-election has been pushed aside. Yet there are bigger questions outside of Qatari bids or members. Corruption is a two-way street. Only last week, Panorama reinvestigated many of these claims.
And it seems as though Blatter is just going to try to ride this out. “We’re not in a crisis… we’re only in some difficulties.”
I beg to differ.
We stand at a worrying crossroads. Clubs are where the real money is. The Champions’ League Final is the way that football is going. And if Fifa abrogates its responsibility, then the clubs will move in. They pay the players. They hold the real power.
To my mind, the real power behind Fifa lies with global advertisers: Coca-Cola, Adidas, Sony, Visa, Kia, and Emirates. The contracts that these corporations have with Fifa provide much of the revenue that the organisation is able to distribute globally (without anyone being too worried about the detail). None of these businesses wants to be partners with a flailing organisation. So it is they that hold the cards.
We hear that they are worried:
“The current allegations being raised are distressing and bad for the sport.” – Coca Cola.
Now is the time for them to be counted. To stand up to the machinations taking place in Zurich. I wouldn’t go as far as Alan Brazil reportedly did in his Talksport show this morning and suggest a boycott, but the sponsors do need to apply some serious pressure.
And quite obviously, the 2022 Qatar decision needs to be re-examined. In any case, there is no way the tournament will take place there. Clubs will simply withhold players.
Incidentally, this is why British media is crying out for a proper, seriously investigative sports news programme. The BBC really doesn’t do it. Sky Sports News doesn’t do it. Nobody does it. I’m talking about proper news resources to look into issues. The sad fact is that it feels as though most organisations don’t
Fifa is in a mess.