Friday, 18 November 2011

Sepptic Tank

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.


panther said...

Yes, I have to chuckle just a little bit when someone so well-known for duplicity and double-dealing makes a show of "being transparent". . .does his self-delusion know no bounds ? ?

By the way, George, I've put something in the post for you.Not quite sure when you jet off to China ?

George S said...

I received your Jan Palach poems yesterday, picking it up from university, panther. Thank you. Just a quick look so far, but will read over the weekend (hectic pre-China preparations and a reading this afternoon!) Good to know who you are. I do remember you from St Chris. Was it that long? I think I left twenty years ago. Where are you now? In Scotland? I ask because of the Tom Pow introduction. But maybe Cumbria. And what doing?

George S said...

So there we are. I have just sat down and read it. It's very good - remorseless, simple, dry, almost like talking but not quite.

Naturally, I remember Palach very well. We were in Hungary in August 1968 and had to leave abruptly when the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia on the 20th.

The long tradition you write about on p.27 is possibly the key poem in the sequence.

Did I know you had spent time in Hungary?

panther said...

Hello, George, glad they got to you pre-China. How odd that on the very day I sent them there was something on the BBC about a Chinese man doing exactly the same thing in Tianenmen Square. Indeed, it's a cyclical thing.

I WAS in Scotland but only knew Tom Pow from a distance. When I was writing the JP poems a very good friend of mine, also a poet, came across a wonderful poem that Tom had written about JP ( my friend found it in the collaborative chapbook Tom did with Diana Hendry.)

So, no, not in Scotland for a long time now. On the Wirral, between Chester and Liverpool.

I think you did know I'd spent some time in Hungary but, goodness gracious, how time flies and that is the best part of 20 years ago.

What doing ? Writing. Some mentoring. Being a carer for my 13-year-old autistic son, also two other children. Aiming to get second full collection (inc. JP poems) accepted very soon.

Good to make contact. And best wishes for China.

panther said...

George,I find myself advising most people not to read it all straight through, because of its subject-matter. Then they come back to me and tell me that they did exactly that, read right through !

Thank you for the feedback.

Am doing a reading in early January in Ladbroke Grove with two other poets, wonder if you and your good lady C. would like to come ? Small and select, with refreshments.

James Hamilton said...

Every history of football condemns the Edwardian FA and their 1920s successors for "arrogantly" failing to go along with FIFA, but one might respectfully point out that Blatter is PRECISELY the kind of thing that the FA was afraid of (some of their number having been involved in a bitter battle from the 1860s on to get money and corruption and gambling influences out of and away from cricket, athletics etc - for which they get little credit these days).

Gwil W said...

It doesn't say much for FIFA an organization which allowed Blatter to stand for a 3rd term unopposed. So I don't blame Blatter, after all he's simply Blatter. I blame the weak minded and the greasy backscratching palms at FIFA. But then it's always been that way. I suppose it'll continue. I think Cantona should be offered the job.

George S said...

Cantona for chair of FIFA is a brilliant idea, Gwilym. Have you seen this?

I have a feeling Blatter might not survive in the post for very much longer, James. I shouldn't really confuse that with a hope though.

Gwil W said...

Thank you George. I haven't got as far as you with my computer skills. Is there something I can click on?