FIFA is a banana republic - it's time for Sepp Blatter to split

EDITOR'S BLOG: Money is poisoning football from the inside out and it will fall like Rome unless reformed fast, says Matthew Gwyther.

by Matthew Gwyther

I’ve seen fly-blown banana republics where you get shot on sight with higher standards of transparency and governance than FIFA. The farce that ensued yesterday with the long-awaited report into how on earth Russia and Qatar came to win their bid for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups saw FIFA subjected to levels of scorn and ridicule usually reserved for North Korea or Robert Mugabe’s politburo. The Times’ headline this morning is ‘Zurich: the place where truth goes to die.’

What is so alarming is the way in which FIFA appears able to drag down individuals thought to have the highest levels of probity and integrity into their mire. Hans-Joachim Eckert has worked for almost 40 years as a senior prosecutor investigating money laundering, tax fraud and organised crime. Surely nobody could pull the wool over the eyes of a presiding judge of the Munich penal court, a stalwart who has preached: ‘Ethics and morals are the basics of life.’

But yesterday Eckert gave an expectant world a mere 42 page summary of a report ten times longer that exonerated Qatar and Russia - which had ‘lost’ all its incriminating computers - and chose to give the UK FA a jolly good kicking. (Well at least when it comes to corruption we are small fry and not very good at it. We did lose the bid after all.)

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