Photograph from FIFA's own website.
I know it's 'only football' and I am sure the pun has been made before, but why not make it again? It has been clear for a good while now that Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, has been running a corrupt organisation prone to duplicity, bribery, secrecy, high-handedness, smugness and, now it turns out, an indifference to racism. It is hard to think of an organisation as blatant in its corruption as FIFA has been since Blatter took over. Good to hear that he has been telling the IFA conference in Zurich: We have to be transparent. The corruption has been the only transparent thing so far. And then there are the damage-limitation photos.
According to Forbes magazine Blatter is the 63rd most powerful person in the world. Having suggested that women footballers should wear something more tight-fitting, he has boldly declared that the future of football is feminine. More teams in pink then.
Forbes under its Profile heading says:
FIFA recently announced a raft of reforms to restore credibility to the corruption-ridden organization. "In a nation of 300 million [soccer players], there will be some violence, doping, racism and corruption. But the institution is not corrupt."
2011 Highlight: In June Blatter won a fourth term as FIFA's president after a scandal involving cash for votes sidelined his only viable opponent.
It is perhaps no surprise that David Beckham and Gordon Taylor, or any English football figure should call for Blatter's resignation in light of the fiasco concerning the awarding of the World Cup to Dubai when the England party were promised votes they did not get, a decision that was followed by a certain sniggering by the FIFA board. Surely there could have been no question of money changing hands? Surely not with Dubai? It was a fiasco that continued to delight and amuse when everyone was astonished to discover that Dubai is too hot for football in the summer and that, in consequence, every country's winter season would probably have to be abandoned. Even greater hilarity ensued when both the FIFA Vice-President and Blatter's 'only viable opponent' in the election for the presidency were forced to resign.
It may be that Blatter is just a very old fool who feels so secure in his position that he can make 'good sportsmanship' and 'simply shake hands' noises when faced with a scandal he doesn't recognise or understand. It may be that he's just an old-fashioned charmer who has always enjoyed a nod and wink.
So all continues charming in the pile of dung.