Sepp Blatter is currently doing a Shaggy right now, responding to the damning corruption charges against seven top FIFA officials with the most ludicrous point-blank denials. In short: it wasn’t me.
The Dark Prince of football looks set to cruise to his fifth presidential election victory this afternoon, with results expected around 4pm UK time. All 209 footballing nations get a single vote, regardless of size, and only the Europeans, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (i.e. the West) have set out their stall against him.
Even if he doesn’t get the two-thirds majority, he will only need a simple majority in a run-off. Which explains why he is still coming out with such gems as, ‘You can’t ask everyone to behave ethically just like that.’
‘I’m willing to accept that the president of Fifa is responsible for everything but I would like to share that responsibility,’ Blatter said this morning (presumably with a straight face). ‘I cannot supervise everyone in football. We have 209 federations and thousands of participants… Those who are at fault are individuals, not the entire organisation.’
In other words, the buck does not stop with Blatter, the opposite of the governing principle of every self-respecting leader and organisation, be it public or private. But the buck stops nowhere: Blatter is answerable to no one but the kowtowing football federations set to vote him back in. Democracy is clearly not the answer.
The Institute of Directors actually had it bang on last year, when it criticised FIFA’s ‘dysfunctional governance’ and called for ‘fundamental reform’. As MT pointed out, then, though, Blatter and his cronies obviously weren’t going to listen to their prescription of introducing a proper chairman, chief executive and board of directors.
The ball, then, is with FIFA’s sponsors: Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa, Hyundai, Budweiser, McDonald’s and that paragon of corporate governance Gazprom. Blatter listens to money. They should make it talk.