Fifa: the buck stops with Sepp Blatter, but not literally
Sepp Blatter stands a still better chance of securing a fifth term as head of Fifa as rivals are mired. In Switzerland, seven senior Fifa officials have been arrested – including vice-presidents Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo. The FBI accuses them and seven other men of illegally milking football.
Loretta Lynch, the US attorney-general, says:
“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States. It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”
Lesson one: if you are going to do iffy deals, don’t do them in US dollars.
The men were all staying at the luxurious five-star Baur au Lac when they were arrested. They were part of a 200-strong gathering for the Fifa Congress. Rooms at the Baur are priced at £391 for a single (and amount is known in Fifa circles as a ‘drink of water’, allegedly.)
But what says Sepp Blatter, Fifa’s head man? Does the buck stop with him, so to speak? His spokesman says Fifa is “the injured party”:
“You don’t believe me but I say it again: this for Fifa is good. It’s not good for image, not good for reputation, but in terms of cleaning up [the sport], this is good.”
As Blatter is driven up the Champs Elysées in triumph, what about those World Cups in Russia and Qatar?
“The World Cups 2018 and 2022 will be played in Russia and Qatar.”
And inside football’s rotten rooms of power, nothing changes…