FIFA’s SEPP BLATTER RESIGNS AMID THE “DIASPORA LEGACY PROGRAMME”
Ah, SCHADENFREUDE! Sepp Blatter has just announced his resignation!
Between coaching two AYSO teams, playing weekday and Sunday League soccer, being devoted to following the Chicago Fire, and watching the occasional EPL or friendly match, there’s not a lot of free time. Each time that I found time to start to draft a summary of the eventual downfall of FIFA as we know it, something new emerged as “breaking news.” Today was no different. As I started to type this story, a live press conference was scheduled to take place at FIFA headquarters in no-longer-neutral Switzerland.
As you all know by now, Sepp Blatter has resigned, coming on the heels of an embarrassing kerfuffle by FIFA with regard to its bizarre explanation of a $10,000,000 payment to a so-called “Diaspora Legacy Programme.”
When the story broke last week regarding the arrests in Switzerland, it was late at night and I couldn’t turn off the computer and go to sleep. It was an exciting moment to see the shoe drop on FIFA given the shoe-throwing-anger that I felt first hand when I watched the horrible live 2018 and 2022 bid awards. Fortunately, baseball was very low in my priorities as a child – my shoe completely missed the television. Friendly banter ensued when I revealed my anger on Twitter – who throws a shoe – one friend was quick to reply.
As many of you did upon hearing that Qatar won the 2022 bid, I looked up Qatar on Goggle and immediately thought “this cannot be right, surely some shady, backroom deals have taken place?”
When I looked closer at the national emblem of Qatar, it all made sense, “some pirates have stolen the World Cup and are going to play the Cup under a palm tree.”
Notably, the powers-that-be in Qatar have recently modified the pirate ship emblem to suggest that it is returning to shore with loot, loot allegedly pirated away from the rest of the free world.
For those of you who were bored to tears over the lame FIFA background music, here’s Qatar’s national anthem:
Qatar’s “pirate” emblem is rather fitting considering that Julio Grondona, the (dead)man that FIFA is officially blaming for the $10 million dollar payment to South African “Diaspora Legacy Programme” referred to England’s 2018 bid as follows:
I expect more news to break relative to England’s bid if Russian decides to go on the offensive. With Blatter out, England may get off easy. Previously Blatter took a shot across England’s bow when he offered to produce aspects of The Garcia Report if English officials agreed to indemnify FIFA for what the report revealed.
With the latest breaking news it almost makes sense – Jérôme Valcke’s last task for FIFA may have been his semi-serious and semi-comical reading of the names of all 209 voting members of FIFA in his posh French, aristocratic accent. He’s no Joey Barton, that’s for sure.
While some people are smart enough to not leave a paper trail or say anything too incriminating to anyone else, some officials are not that clever. Hello South African and the so-called “Diaspora Legacy Programme.”
Then again, there is no paper trail to support the existence of the “Diaspora Legacy Programme”, at least nothing searchable on the internet.
Notably, this “bombshell” letter appears to contradict what FIFA and Jérôme Valcke have said publicly and may have been the so-called smoking gun which forced Blatter to resign.
Kudos to Martyn Ziegler’s reporting. Earlier today, The New York Times reported on FIFA’s explanation of what Valcke knew and did not know:
In an email to the New York Times, Mr Valcke said he had not authorised the payment and had no power to do so.
A Fifa spokeswoman said the payment was authorised by the then-finance committee chairman, Julio Grondona, who died last year.
Fifa says the $10m payment went towards a legitimate “project to support the African diaspora in Caribbean countries as part of the World Cup legacy” – an account echoed by key South African officials.
“Neither the Secretary General Jerome Valcke nor any other member of Fifa’s senior management were involved in the initiation, approval and implementation of the above project,” the statement said.
(Emphasis supplied). Here’s a direct link to FIFA’s full statement. It’s a purposefully obtuse statement. I wonder if some lawyer drafted it?
FIFA’s statement looks a bit suspect in comparison to the South African letter. And nowhere does FIFA’s statement deny that Valcke or any other member of FIFA’s senior management was involved in the initiation, approval or implementation of the payment.
Does this above letter completely implicate Valcke? No, not yet, but it’s another piece of the puzzle of electronic evidence which has been and will continue to be amassed by the feds. In the end it appears that Sepp’s resignation is directly tied to this letter, and more news will be breaking soon according to the IRS.
It is clear that it was only a matter of time before Valcke, Blatter and FIFA painted themselves into a corner. At the end of the day, FIFA could not withstand the recent attacks if a former FIFA executive, Jack Warner, tried to defend himself by using the Onion to support his belief that FIFA and the United States were plotting against him and otherwise in cahoots.
Although the victims of FIFA’s alleged crimes were somewhat glossed over during the Fed’s press conference last week, in my opinion, the true victims are the children, lower tier players and fans who were rightly deprived of the use of FIFA World Cup revenues which were wrongfully paid out to other entities, businesses and individuals. Money that could have gone to build fields and infrastructure.
As always, there will be people who think that a different agenda is in play – for example the United States going after FIFA because it lost out on the 2022 World Cup. I don’t believe that’s the case and here’s just one simple reason why – if the “beautiful game” and gaining a World Cup was really that important to the US government, don’t you think that President Obama would at least follow the US men’s and women’s national teams . . . or maybe the Chicago Fire? He’s not, but feel free to check for yourselves.
In closing, here’s a hilarious piece on the New York Times about the god awful sounding movie commissioned by FIFA. I think this movie will soon be a cult-classic.
Couldn’t the $30,000,000 film budget have been better spent on say SOCCER SHOES AND/OR FIELDS FOR UNDERPRIVILEGED KIDS?
I would expect this kind of bunkum from a French director and Gérard Depardie, but come on, Tim Roth, Mr. Orange? This may explain how FIFA got him to act in this movie (I’m kidding of course):
KUDOS OF THE WEEK
In closing, for my first installment of “Kudos of the Week”, the winner goes to @SonsofRansom, @LansingUnited’s supporter’s group. Full disclosure, I’m a native of Lansing, Michigan. Lansing United is in the National Premier Soccer League. Sons of Ransom apologized for a few fans who apparently crossed the line in their support for Lansing United last weekend.
Runner up goes to “he-who-shall-not-be-named” for helping boost site visits for my most recent Musings by tweeting a link to my blog post. Thanks! ICYMI, here’s my prior Musings about fan “banter” and when it may cross the line.