Pressing Issues: Blatter must just go and save Fifa further blushes

2015-09-27 15:57
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

It’s complicated. This phrase has become quite popular among young people in describing the status of their relationships. 

Given what has been going on in faraway Zurich, I would not be surprised if Fifa makhulubaas Herr Sepp Blatter is using these words. 

Once one of the most powerful men in the world – in fact in some quarters it has been said the Fifa president is the second most powerful individual after the US president – he has been under severe fire for quite a while now. 

Things have gone south since the day law enforcement agents raided a classy Zurich hotel and nabbed several top Fifa officials on the eve of Blatter being elected for his umpteenth term. 

Given what has happened since, I wonder whether, in retrospect, the man does not wish he just withdrew from the election and let Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein, who was the last challenger standing, take over as the man at the helm of world football’s governing body. Such a move would have saved Blatter some of the more recent hassle and embarrassment. 

Things are now so bad for the Swiss that by the time you read this, he might have been forced to step down. He had to abandon a press conference scheduled for Friday, as Swiss authorities stormed his office looking for incriminating evidence about a massive payment to Uefa president Michel Platini “for services rendered”. 

The presser he was supposed to address was to deal with issues around the suspension of his right-hand man, Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke, who had been fingered in an investigation into allegations that he was involved in a scheme to inflate ticket prices for the 2014 Fifa World Cup. 

Blatter, Valcke and Platini have, of course, denied all wrongdoing. 

The authorities asked for Valcke’s emails to assist them in their investigation. 

The rampant speculation went into overdrive on Friday evening about Blatter’s future. 

There was even a tweet that pointed out that, should he step down, Issa Hayatou would be next in line to take over, as he is the most senior Fifa vice-president. 

The writer also asked whether Blatter would now voluntarily step down or limp on until February next year, when the election of the next president is scheduled to take place. 

In his resistance to step down, it seems more and more people close to him are being tainted. 

Fifa’s image is lying in tatters and there are even doubts that anyone at the organisation can be clean. 

Why is Blatter hanging on for dear life? Why can’t he just walk away? 

Another revelation this week was that documents said to be containing Blatter’s signature gave Jack Warner some television broadcast rights. 

Warner is fighting an extradition order by the US in Trinidad and Tobago. A court deferred a decision on this matter to December 3. 

And just a small aside, every time a new morsel of the Fifa scandal is served up, the $10 million payment made by South Africa to Concacaf for the African Diaspora Development Project is mentioned, even if it’s just one line. 

Last week, the DA laid charges of fraud and corruption against Safa president Danny Jordaan and his predecessor Molefi Oliphant. 

The move was said to be political, but such is the stink of the Fifa scandal that it seems everyone who has dealt with the body is now tainted in one way or another. 

Can Blatter clean Fifa’s image or there is just so much damage done that he must simply go and leave somebody else to do the cleaning up? 

Methinks the latter would be the best. 

Follow me on Twitter @SBu_Mseleku

Read more on:    fifa  |  s'busiso mseleku  |  pressing issues  |  soccer

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