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Blatter faces D-Day as Fifa president

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David Bond | 09:50 UK time, Thursday, 20 October 2011

Zurich

Having overseen the biggest crisis in Fifa's history, Sepp Blatter knows the next two days could well shape his legacy after 13 years at the top of world football.

If Fifa's president produces a series of serious measures which back up the zero-tolerance rhetoric we have been hearing for so long now, there might just be a chance he will be given the credit for cleaning up the discredited organisation.

Fail to deliver on his promises of reform and the damage to Blatter's already-tarnished reputation may be beyond repair.

For many football fans that point has already been reached. They look at the scandals which have engulfed the members of Fifa's executive committee over the last year or so and switch off. "So Fifa is corrupt," people think. Tell us something we don't know.

It is certainly worth recapping the events of the last 12 months. First the Sunday Times accused two Fifa executives, Reynald Temarii and Amos Adamu of asking for money for football projects in return for supporting the United States' bid for the 2022 World Cup. Both men were suspended.

Fifa headquarters in Zurich

By saving Fifa, Blatter risks destroying the personal legacy he so craves - photo: AFP

Then, three days before the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes, the BBC's Panorama claimed three members of the executive committee were named on a document that showed they received bribes from Fifa's former marketing partners International Sport and Leisure (ISL).

Nicolas Leoz, of Paraguay, Issa Hayatou, head of African football, and the chairman of the Brazilian World Cup organising committee, Ricardo Teixeira, all deny the claims. Although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is looking into Hayatou, as he is also an IOC member, so far Fifa has taken no action.

Fast forward to June and Blatter is re-elected by a huge majority polling 186 votes to 17 but only after his rival for the presidency Mohamed bin Hammam is forced out following claims he and another Fifa executive Jack Warner tried to buy votes for the Qatari's presidency bid at a meeting in Trinidad.

Since then Warner has resigned and Bin Hammam has been banned for life following an ethics committee investigation.

Two other members who accompanied Bin Hammam on that now-infamous trip to Trinidad, Egypt's Hany Abo Rida, and Sri Lanka's Vernon Manilal Fernando could be facing an ethics committee inquiry over their role in the meeting at which members of the Caribbean football union were offered gifts of £25,000 each to back Bin Hammam. Five senior Caribbean football officials have subsequently been banned by Fifa.

There are also claims about misuse of Fifa development money against the Thai executive Worawi Makudi.

That is 10 members of a 24-man committee under scrutiny from Fifa itself or facing serious allegations of corruption. Is it any wonder normal fans have lost faith?

But what happens over the next two days in Zurich is deeply significant for the future of the game. What they say about a fish rotting from the head may be true in this case and, until Fifa rids itself of this stench, it can never show the leadership a sport awash with money but lacking in principle so desperately needs.

As I wrote on Wednesday there are promising signs coming from those around Blatter.

Reforming the executive committee to include the broad interests of the game is a vital step - as are measures which introduce greater transparency around what executives are paid and what potential conflicts of interest they have.

Removing the privilege of choosing the World Cup hosts from the executive committee and handing it to the 208 members of the congress will reduce the vast power these men currently enjoy which is so open to manipulation.

Reforming the ethics committee so it has teeth and can be truly independent is a must if Fifa is to restore faith in its ability to police itself.

And adopting many of the measures included in Transparency International's damning report on Fifa will look smart.

But making a break with the past by allowing a Swiss court to release the documents relating to the collapse of ISL would be a major breakthrough. Blatter has been advised this is the only way to show people he really means business.

If he does, it will be a remarkable U-turn given Fifa has repeatedly blocked attempts to have the papers made public.

The question is, have Fifa and Blatter, like News International with the phone hacking scandal, simply reached a tipping point where failure to act is no longer an option?

With so much money at stake in football the old committee structure and the men on those committees can no longer be expected to run a multiple-billion dollar business.

There is another important point. Blatter is now 75. He is in his last term as president. He no longer has as much to lose.

But forcing through real change will not be easy. To change the executive committee, he may need their support. And that is like turkeys voting for Christmas.

The only way to do it may be to stand back as slowly, one by one, those who are found to have been corrupt are removed.

The danger for Blatter is that, in doing that and opening up the organisation, he leaves himself vulnerable to the accusation that he turned a blind eye to corruption when it suited him.

So, by saving Fifa, he risks destroying the personal legacy he so craves. The question for Sepp Blatter is whether or not he is really, truly prepared to do that?

Update - Thursday 1930

 

Sepp Blatter made hardly any mention of his eagerly anticipated reforms on day one of the two-day executive committee meeting here in Zurich.

 

I am told his only comments came at the end of the opening session when he told the 20 members of the committee (it should be 23 but Jack Warner hasn't been replaced and three - Worawi Makudi, Issa Hayatou and Chuck Blazer - are absent) that he would deal on Friday with reforms and promises made at the Fifa congress back in June.

 

Apart from that, nothing.

 

The only insight has come from Sylvia Schenk, the author of Transparency International's report on Fifa, who told Bloomberg news agency that she anticipated progress. She also said the matter of releasing the controversial ISL documents had been discussed with Fifa but it was still not clear whether that would happen.

 

It is also unclear whether Blatter will put his reforms to the vote on Friday or whether he will just offer a road map of what will happen from this point onwards.

 

That could be a major anti-climax and watching closely is Uefa president Michel Platini, who held a meeting of European executive committee members this morning to call for solidarity on the need for significant reforms.

 

It is understood Platini will hold further discussions with his fellow European executives immediately after Blatter's announcement on Friday. If there is a feeling that he hasn't gone far enough then he and Uefa may try and up the pressure.

 

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Blatter's legacy is already confirmed. And it ain't a good one!

  • Comment number 2.

    What might be more shattering for all football authorities is the Sion court case saga.

  • Comment number 3.

    Blatter is a joke, as is FIFA. Times are a changing....we hope!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    If Blatter really means what he says, it`s just one step into the right direction. If not, the swiss court should release the papers and stop protecting FIFA.

    A complete overhaul of the FIFA structures is overdue. FIFA is based on the federations only, but football has moved one. Big clubs, supporters, women football, coaches, youth football, referees must be represented as well and have a say how the game is run, where the World Cup`s will be hosted, rule changes etc.

    Is Blatter willing to implement real changes or just doing a litte bits to silence his critics? It started to go wrong before he became president, but as the former FIFA secretary he knew when and what started to go wrong.

    Difficult to see it happen in the very near future. Too much self interest from certain members named in this blog and their allies.

  • Comment number 7.

    Blatter's legacy is confirmed already - he's a joke and FIFA is a joke with him at the helm (maybe even without him).

    He talks a good game but with all that power has done absolutely nothing positive in my eyes.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    @1,4 &5: All absolutely spot on and I expect this has set the tone.

    It was under Blatter's watch that all this corruption took place. He has created an organisation that is rotten to the core and elevated the 'begging bowl' mentality of bidding for major tournaments, where the money stakes are now huge, to a level that casts himself and other FIFA executives in the roll of king makers. So much so, in fact, that royalty, presidents and prime ministers are rolled-out to pander and act as sycophants to these self-serving narcissists.

    Nobody has enjoyed this or milked it more than Blatter who has also set-up the succession and concession formula so that he controls all the main players.

    For months now Blatter's every move is that of a man trying to protect his own back and prevent himself from being linked to the dirty deeds that have unfolded, both known and, undoubtedly, also unknown at this point.

    His legacy is already cast in stone and I have yet to meet a single fan who has anything other than the lowest opinion of the man.

  • Comment number 11.

    Even if Blatter is serious, it will be a miracle if the rest of the exec comittee go along with this, it removes a lot of their power.

    We will all know in a couple of days anyhow so speculation at this point is a bit of a waste of time, lets wait and see.

    One last thing though, as pointed out it is his last term. This means if he wants a legacy other than the tainted one of now he needs to do this. Nothing to lose and everything to gain really.

  • Comment number 12.

    The horse has bolted, raised a family, and retired to the Bahamas.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    So criticising the standard of journalism by the BBC's Sports Editor will see a comment removed, it's great to know just how much freedom of expression you're allowed at the BBC.

  • Comment number 15.

    The general consensus in the UK I feel is very anti-FIFA in terms of mismanagement, corruption and being completely unable to 'move the game forward' appropriately. I would be interested to see if other nations shared our view or is it one exacerbated by the World Cup decision-making debacle?

    I believe that FIFA is in desperate need of re-organisation, similarly our own FA; those in power appear to be losing sight of what makes football the the much-loved game it is.

    http://thethoughtsofphil.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 16.

    #16 thoughfulphil

    I don't think the majority of people on here, (or on the street?) had their opinion of Blatter of FIFA particularly changed by the World Cup issue.

    I think doubts about the whole shebang were in place long ago. Decisions like the one about Qatar (though I have some sympathy with that choice) only serve to reinforce people's suspicions about motives etc

  • Comment number 17.

    @15.At 12:29 20th Oct 2011, thoughtfulphil wrote:

    I'm Irish, living in Australia, so I can tell you that fans in both those countries are very anti FIFA and Blatter. OK, you can argue that both may have an axe to grind (although with Ireland it may be more with UEFA) but that said I don't believe that fans hanker on single incidents in forming their view, generally speaking.

    But if you extend that, many other countries also have greviances of one type or another. Fans in the UK may rightly feel agreived over the WC bid but the list of misdemeanours goes way beyond that and I don't think the UK view misrepresents general opinion worldwide.

    If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck then it probably is a duck. I don't think you need to pecked on the hand to be convinced.

  • Comment number 18.

    @2.At 11:43 20th Oct 2011, Rob04 wrote:

    "What might be more shattering for all football authorities is the Sion court case saga."

    Is that not a UEFA Issue?

  • Comment number 19.

    FIFA has been unwilling to tackle any politically charged subject and seems to care solely about the financial side of the game. Some good has been done no doubt, however, the reality is that these are a group of self-serving individuals first where the love of the game is a distant second or worse.

  • Comment number 20.

    Stop press:

    Blatter will this week issue an edict to his members with one simple ethical message:

    "STOP GETTING CAUGHT"

  • Comment number 21.

    Another article about FIFA on the BBC? Are the English still so bitter about losing the World Cup that they have to dredge through every single move that FIFA makes just so they can keep this in the public spotlight?

    I don’t see the press in any other country constantly harping on about this.

    Let it go…

  • Comment number 22.

    "a sport awash with money but lacking in principle so desperately needs"

    Those are direct comments from this blogger and that is why nothing will ever change in football.

    Have the Bankers changed their ways ?

    Football the sport is DEAD and has been for 20 years. You could change the Monty Python sketch about the Dead Parrot and insert a football because it is just as inert.

    RIP

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    @22 France 98 was a brilliant world cup, whereas Italia 90 was memorable but quite dull. Euro 96, Euro 2000 and Euro 2008 have all been fantastic tournaments. The format has changed for the better - the attitudes of the overpaid players unfortunately hasn't

  • Comment number 25.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 26.

    "21.
    At 13:04 20th Oct 2011, It wasnt me A big boy did it and ran away wrote:

    Another article about FIFA on the BBC? Are the English still so bitter about losing the World Cup that they have to dredge through every single move that FIFA makes just so they can keep this in the public spotlight?

    I don’t see the press in any other country constantly harping on about this."

    Go on to Google news and type in "sepp blatter". You will see plenty.

    Unless by "other country" you mean Scotland? Well they don't usually trouble international tournaments so have little contact with FIFA ;)

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    @26.At 13:33 20th Oct 2011, Nick wrote:

    "Go on to Google news and type in "sepp blatter". You will see plenty."

    OK, I did it. Let me see, there is a couple in The Guardian, an article in insideworldfootball, one on Sky News, one in The Metro. Oh wait a minute, there is one in Pakistan!

    Get over it. You lost hosting The World Cup. Oh dear, how sad, never mind. Can we move on now?

  • Comment number 29.

    Add your comment
    Living in East Africa, we see corruption all around us and can recognise sycophants and how they operate; in FIFA's case technocrats who were able to jump on the football bandwagon, hijacked the game and got fat in the process.difficult to prise them away from their cushy positions. So a local view of England's failed 2018 bid is easy: we understand that the main reason that England did not get the 2018 WC is because ALL YOUR STADIA ARE ALREADY BUILT!!! The English bid foolishly thought that as they could stage the WC tomorrow if need be, they were the leading option. Foolish thinking: if no stadiums need to be constructed, where would the river of kick-backs flow from???

  • Comment number 30.

    @18 - It has become a UEFA issue after they followed FIFA's transfer ban.

    Football is a mess. Too many people who are business men and have no idea about the game - the same at FIFA as at the FA. It will never change as the football authorities are always run by the same people, the right school tie or a wad full of cash.

  • Comment number 31.

    #16 and #17 I too have shared a dislike of Blatter and what he stands for for a while. What I don't understand is, if there is such a global dislike of the man who leads football's governing body, is there not a 'bottom-up' approach that can be taken by the relevant country's authorities in an attempt to oust him?

  • Comment number 32.

    @21. I am English, but spent along time in Scotland. It was a pity England didn't get the world cup, but given the evidence presented above, don't you think that level of corruption should be investigated? Or are you happy to let corruption go unchecked?
    My experiences of life in Scotland is that the fans there constantly harp on about English bias on the BBC. Why can't they just support their team and not be so bitter about how the English are represented by the media (to use your argument)? Having listened to scottish commentary on "Battle of Britain" Champions league games, I can tell you that the Scottish bias is more intense for the scots commentary team!

  • Comment number 33.

    @32.At 14:22 20th Oct 2011, Paul Curtis wrote:

    "Why can't they just support their team and not be so bitter about how the English are represented by the media (to use your argument)?"

    Where did I mention Scotland? What argument did I make? English/Scottish/British - I don't care. You did not get the world cup and ever since then your media have jumped on every single story or even non-story whenever there is a criticism that can be levelled at FIFA. Stories such as this would barely be given a mention prior to this.

    I couldn’t care less how the Scottish regard the English and vies versa.

  • Comment number 34.

    "vice versa"

  • Comment number 35.

    28. At 13:57 20th Oct 2011, It wasnt me A big boy did it and ran away wrote:
    @26.At 13:33 20th Oct 2011, Nick wrote:

    "Go on to Google news and type in "sepp blatter". You will see plenty."

    OK, I did it. Let me see, there is a couple in The Guardian, an article in insideworldfootball, one on Sky News, one in The Metro. Oh wait a minute, there is one in Pakistan!

    Get over it. You lost hosting The World Cup. Oh dear, how sad, never mind. Can we move on now?

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Not until Blatter is gone and the endemic nepotism and corruption within FIFA is fully exposed for the world to see. This was never about the World Cup bid - the vast majority of English football fans knew what Blatter was before that happened.

    The English media will dig, and dig, and dig. They will not go away. They never do.

    And as for global links about Blatter...

    http://www.worldfootballinsider.com/Story.aspx?id=34741

    http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2011/10/17/warner-blatter-s-gifts-will-turn-stomachs

    http://www.newsday.com/news/ex-fifa-vp-plans-allegations-against-blatter-1.3253694

    Believe me...it's not just the English who see Blatter (and FIFA to a certain degree, though it does do some sterling work) in this light.

  • Comment number 36.

    Sighs and shakes his head. If you use Google UK to search news items then you will get lots of British related new stories. Try Google.de or wherever and you'll get all the news stories abour Mr Blatter in those countries.

  • Comment number 37.

    @33 Can you give an example of a non-story they have jumped on? I regard widespread corruption in international companies as a pretty big story to be honest.

    You may not care about the whole English/Scottish thing (I assumed you were Scottish given the username (a novel by C Brookmyre) - I should not have assumed, you are right), but you obviously do care about this story.

    I believe there are numerous example of the BBC reporting FIFa corruption before England WC failure. To help, I have provided one example to back up what I claim:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/5070224.stm

  • Comment number 38.

    @It wasnt me A big boy did it and ran away
    Your 'arguement' claiming that basically it's just sour grapes that makes English people hate FIFA and how it runs/ruins football, is just as invalid as claiming that wanting goal-line technology would be sour grapes, because of Lampards 'goal' in SA, or wanting a proper change in banking regualtions is just sour grapes for investing in RBS, Northern Rock etc.
    When something is clearly rotten to the core, sensible people want to see changes, only the blinkered or those with a vested interest want to retain the status quo.

    While I agree that this particular article is a total non-story, the fact remains that FIFA is as shady an organisation as there is and giving the WC to Qatar in 2022 is just one measure of this, but as an Englishman, clearly it must be sour grapes (sarcam, incase you couldn't spot it), even though I think that Russia 'deserved' to host the 2018 cup just as much as we did.

  • Comment number 39.

    Blatter, Platini, everyone around FIFA/UEFA are corrupt to the core. How they can dismiss goal-line tech' despite the problems it's caused, how they can make Bussaca the head of referee's after the RVP fiasco!

    It's disgusting. We need more Brit's in FIFA/UEFA.

    Here's a article I read, as good as David's (so David, check it out too!) It's a few months old but it hits more key points.

    http://wp.me/p1z74j-34

    Smithy.

  • Comment number 40.

    @37.At 14:49 20th Oct 2011, Paul Curtis wrote:

    "Can you give an example of a non-story"

    How about this very article?

  • Comment number 41.

    @38.At 14:51 20th Oct 2011, ReallyReal wrote:

    What does this article have to do with goal-line technology or the banking crisis? I think your sour grapes have clouded your judgement.

  • Comment number 42.

    @40
    "Having overseen the biggest crisis in Fifa's history, Sepp Blatter knows the next two days could well shape his legacy after 13 years at the top of world football."

    You don't see anything worth commenting on here? Given how important football is to many BBC Sport users? I think the reporters have an obligation to comment on this event given how big an impact the outcomes could have. If you forget your whole conspiracy that this is sour grapes for a minute (an argument blown out of the water by searching for older bbc reports on FIFA corruption), do you honestly think a sports media site should let all this pass under the radar without comment?

  • Comment number 43.

    @39.At 14:51 20th Oct 2011, SteveSmith99 wrote:

    "how they can make Bussaca the head of referee's after the RVP fiasco"

    What fiasco is this? Do you mean when he gave Van Persie a second yellow card for petulantly kicking the ball away after the whistle had blown. I think you will find that is a yellow card offence under the current rules of the game and as a professional player, he should have known that. Are you saying that the guy should not get a job because he made a decision that you disagree with?

    "It's disgusting. We need more Brit's in FIFA/UEFA."

    How would that make things more fair (except with the possibility that you might get some favouritism)? You do you feel you are missing out on your piece of the pie? I suppose if you can’t beat them, then join them eh.

  • Comment number 44.

    @28: if you do a search on google.co.uk, you'll get UK hits. If you do it on another google site, you'll get very different hits. If I search on "google.com" (enter "www.google.com/ncr" as the URL in your browser), the first hit is from the Times of India. The Guardian also makes an appearance, as does Sky, but others include the Trinidad Guardian and Pakistan Today.

    There are also links to the Washington Post and Seattle Today.

    Remember that google weights its searches geographically; you'll get totally different results on google.de or google.fr.

  • Comment number 45.

    @42.At 15:10 20th Oct 2011, Paul Curtis wrote:

    This is a non-story. There 'might' be a story in two day when Sepp Blatter actually announces what (if anything) he is going to do.

    To back this up:

    12.At 12:16 20th Oct 2011, Barney McGrew did it wrote:

    "The horse has bolted, raised a family, and retired to the Bahamas."

    25.At 13:26 20th Oct 2011, The Tenth Beetle wrote:

    "Of course Blatter will fail to deliver his promises - whats new?"

    30.At 14:14 20th Oct 2011, daveh wrote:

    "Too many people who are business men and have no idea about the game - the same at FIFA as at the FA. It will never change as the football authorities are always run by the same people, the right school tie or a wad full of cash."

    38.At 14:51 20th Oct 2011, ReallyReal wrote:

    "While I agree that this particular article is a total non-story"

  • Comment number 46.

    Less than transparent practices have been art and part of FIFA since the days of Stanley Rous and Havelange. Blatter is probably not better or worse than these two but its a good thing that reform is coming.

    #18
    FIFA were behind the ban being enforced and they can't now intervene since they too will be dragged into court. The Sion case will have wider implications than just about reinstating a team into the Europa

    #32
    The last 2 independent evaluations of news content on the BBC, oops almost said EBC there, showed that this bias is very much alive and kicking. If the EBC, sorry BBC, admit they should be doing better and being less biased, what exactly are you defending?

  • Comment number 47.

    @45 So no comment should ever be made before events? No prematch ambles? No pre-election forecasts? No pre-budget "what might happen"?

    It is a long tradition of the press to report and play out what-ifs about large events in the days leading up to them, whether it is sport, business, world affairs or whatever.

  • Comment number 48.

    people claiming it's just bitter england are talking nonsense . Blatter and FIFA are news all round the world the exact same as they are here. You think only england get's passionate?

    It wasn't just england that lost a world cup bid , the USA and australia and others were even more annoyed than england. Remember they lost to qatar , now that would make you angry , losing to russia you can understand , losing to qatar , a country that should never have won was far worse for the other countries.

  • Comment number 49.

    41. At 15:07 20th Oct 2011, It wasnt me A big boy did it and ran away

    If you can't spot the comparison between them, try opening your eyes, or even your brain.

  • Comment number 50.

    @46 I am not defending anything. Just pointing out that home commentators are always slightly in favour of the home team when it comes to internationals. I see it in England AND Scotland. It doesn't upset me. I am intelligent enough to recognise it happens in England but also can confidently say that it happens in Scotland too.

  • Comment number 51.

    @47.At 15:28 20th Oct 2011, Paul Curtis wrote:

    You lost the World Cup bid. Yawn. There is no need to keep going on about it.

    LOL, it is the hypocrisy that gets me. Of course there were articles in the media about FIFA prior to the loss of the World Cup bid but there have been three to four times as many since. There are also articles about UEFA and the FA in the media but the volume of these have not increased on the same scale.

    To say we need more Brits in FIFA and UEFA to sort out these Johnny Foreigner types is just ridiculous and harks back to the old empire days when the Brits ran the world and everything was fair and there was absolutely no corruption anywhere or at any time. Just look at the FA to see how valid that point is.

    It is just like the debate on the last blog about how the “three foreigner” rule was more unfair to English clubs than to any other clubs even though the rule was the same for everyone. Ridiculous.

  • Comment number 52.

    It is time for UEFA, not a faultless organisation I know, to in effect say to FIFA - "Sort yourself out or we'll go it alone and take with us (and yes I know this will cost a lot) the big-10 other nations".

  • Comment number 53.

    #50
    Ah you were only talking about commentators well that's okay then, they all show bias. I thought you were talking about the institutional bias in BBC reporting which there is documented evidence for.

    #51
    Its just hubris and England has been in a right bad mood with FIFA ever since. Fair enough FIFA are in need of reform but some of the postWC bid reporting was pathetic. They were even talking about setting up on their own at one stage. I can't understand how everyone else knew the rules before the bid and they spent £21m barking up the wrong tree and finding out that they had no pals in international football.

    Well apart from the Scottish Football Association who were the only ones to back both their bid and back them at Blatter's re-election.

    More Brits? What exactly was Geoff Thompson doing during England's WC bid?

  • Comment number 54.

    @It wasnt me A big boy did it and ran away has been very vociferous and single-minded here.

    Very much on the side of FIFA and maintaining the stutus quo, as if nothing is rotten in Blatterland. So much so, that it makes one suspect that he has much to lose if FIFA is reformed. Is he, in fact, actually a member of the FIFA Executive Committee?

    Methinks he doth protest too much!

  • Comment number 55.

    Where FIFA needs to reassert its authority is a code of values for how footballers are nurtured, trained, treated, managed and, in some cases, owned.

    It really makes my blood boil reading that the EPL say that they value 1 years work of a Football League academy at £3000 per player. Because that is what the new proposals for tribunal values are. They'll refuse to agree on any player who isn't a cart-horse. It's a disgrace, outrageous and far, far more corrupt that what FIFA does.

    Can you see Arsene Wenger getting a 15 year old for £50,000, then selling him aged 18 for £2m? I can. The player might get two signing on fees, his agent whatever. But the academy? Sweet FA. It's wrong, unethical and it's what FIFA should use it's authority to stamp on. Hard.

    FIFA needs a global, holistic vision of what the football family should be about.

    It needs divisions which oversee youth development, global development, football in education etc.

    It needs a division which updates and modifies the rules and draws up sensible mechanisms to distinguish between the need for technology in high level professional sport against the acceptability of human error on school playing fields.

    And it needs distinct divisions which oversee youth, U21 and senior tournaments. For both sexes. Whilst integrating satisfactorily with the needs of national and regiional association club and nation-state tournaments.

    Finally, it needs a division which listens to the wishes, hopes, dreams and issues of those who participate at an amateur level, watch the professional game and travel as a tourist/fan to international tournaments.

    And it needs a division which oversees commercial activities, registration matters and arbitrates in disputes which cannot be settled by regional associations.

    The Americans, the Indians and the Arabs no doubt think they can muscle in to control it. It might be good for world sport if India accepted leadership in world cricket, the USA kept its leadership in basketball, ice hockey and baseball and the Arabs retained their leadership of horse racing.

    If the world of sport can come to understand that our world will be healthiest if leadership across sports is diverse, correlated with history allied to future potential and a celebration of the differing excellence across sporting endeavours in the nation states of this earth, then that would be an enormous step forward.

  • Comment number 56.

    @51 I am not going on about the world cup bid, but you are!

    I think you willfind an increase in meida coverage of any football organisation it is (and lets be honest here) in the news for coruption or major decisions. Can you tell me what stories the media should be covering regarding the FA and UEFA at the moment? I am happy to agree with you if either of them are due a big announcement that could change how football is run, that I am blisfully unaware of. Then my friend, your arguments will be justified.

    I personally don't think we need more Brits on FIFA (at no point have I said that - not sure why you assume that I have??). Britain used to have the main say in FIFA in the 60's and if you do your research, you will find it was far from fairly run. I do however, hate corruption. That is what this is about. I can give you my word that if England had won the world cup bid, I would be very against it if we won it through brown envelopes.

    Perhaps you don't agree with transparecy (maybe you do - I don't know). But surely pressure must be kept on huge organisations to be fair and honest (perhaps naiive).

  • Comment number 57.

    I have to say this all smacks a little bit of the lunatics running the asylum. The accused are investigating themselves. It says everything that upper most in Blatters mind is probably his 'legacy'. Blatter can claim no worthy 'legacy' and it has nothing to do with Stanley Rous or Bert Millichip or England not getting the world cup. He failed chiefly because corruption occured,on a huge scale ,on his watch. I applaud his reluctance to get dragged into using 'technology' which can never work in football but thats about it.The corruption,the ridiculous qualifying proceedures which have set the international game at war with the clubs,the equally ridiculous methods by which players can now qualify to play for a nation they were not born in and sometimes have never even been to,the devaluing of the world cup finals so that they are now brought and sold like so many pounds of potatoes in the market,the obsession with taking the game to places like Korea and Qatar and ignoring the claims of nations which are not 'emerging' but 'emerged' before Blatter was a twinkle in his fathers eye. FIFA has gained nothing for Blatters leadership Im afraid and the sooner he retires the better.

  • Comment number 58.

    @53 In the immediate aftermath of the WC bid, I agree that some of the Tabloids spat the dummy (but that is to be expected from rags such as the (prob can't name it, but think a baker's product with currents in it)). However, I do feel this article is fair and timely.

  • Comment number 59.

    #56

    Britain used to have the main say in FIFA
    ----------------
    Scotland and Wales have never run FIFA!!

    I will agree with you that they are an organisation badly in need of reform along the lines of the IOC but the problem for England has been that calling for transparency and equitabkle procedures in FIFA is undermined by the lack of the same processes at the English FA.

  • Comment number 60.

    @59 Fair enough, the previous argument said Brits, just followed that up.

  • Comment number 61.

    It's such a shame The FA don't stand up to the scrutiny and rigour of good governance. It's the corrupting stench of money in football that appears to be the root cause of the problems, both home and abroad.

    Great governance is the only way forward. Such a pity a few can't put the interests of the world's most popular game first.

  • Comment number 62.

    Blatter and FIFA (in its current form) are obviously history but I have doubts about EUAFA and Plattini - or am I just prejudiced?

  • Comment number 63.

    Apparently I'm not allowed to mention that FIFA have been in the middle of corruption allegations for a while now. That seems a bit like overly keen censorship to me, BBC, but thanks for trying. I repeat (not that anyone'd know it), I'm bored with this whole thing now. Give us the news when something changes.

  • Comment number 64.

    Food for thought, where is the next world cup to be held, who is head of the CBF -or
    Brasilian Football Federation - who is the person responsible for coordinating & organising the WC in Brasil - who is one of three people who allegedly received kickbacks from this Swiss sports company - who is booed wherever he appears in public in Brasil -(I know I live here) who thinks that SB will ask for the Swiss courts to release findings on this alleged scandal - the only reforms that Blatter is likely to make is that he will give a salary raise for all commitee members for the magnificent jobs they have been doing - don't make me laugh mate !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 65.

    @21 [13:04] :

    Let it go?

    LOL - I don't think you know the English mentality that well!

    Funniest part of all is, the way they go on about it, you'd think England were just "pipped at the post" in the final round of voting. Whereas in fact, they ended up with a grand total of two votes. TWO. They were the first nation to be eliminated.

    The footballing nations of the world may not all like FIFA very much - but it would certainly seem they like England a lot less.

    No, they won't let it go. There's a fair number of deluded English fans will not let it rest till Blatter finally retires at the sprightly age of 106 - and when it happens they'll be telling their grandkids how he was the reason England never got the World Cup, and how he's now been forced out because of it.

    Gotcha! Sepp. There'll always be an England! :D

  • Comment number 66.

    Blatter followed by Texeira......... no sport deserves that.

 

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