Fifa president steps down — sort of

Big, big, boffo blockbuster

Fifa’s sort-of ex-president Joseph “Sepp” Blatter will leave, at some point, but he’s taking the gold with him.
  • Fifa’s sort-of ex-president Joseph “Sepp” Blatter will leave, at some point, but he’s taking the gold with him.

Critics are raving about United Passions, the sports movie of the year! This meticulously researched film is an unsentimental yet heartwarming biography of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) and its cruelly slandered president, Joseph “Sepp” Blatter. It tells the Fifa story, how it was founded and its struggle to become the most beloved, respected institution in the world. The heart of the film reveals current Fifa president Sepp Blatter as a reformer, a friend to Africans and South Americans, and, most of all, a champion of women. Blatter is tireless in doing good works for the betterment of the brown, black, yellow, and especially female global syndicates.

Fifa underwrote three-quarters of the film’s $29 million production costs, aided by the internationally known (I’ll bet you’ve already guessed who I’m taking about) benefactor of the arts — a household name on every continent — the do-good outfit with a worldwide reach of giving, namely, the Azerbaijan film council. This epic motion picture, released in the U.S. on June 4, was nearly smothered in praise.

The New York Times: “One of the most unwatchable films in recent memory, a dishonest bit of corporate-suite sanitizing that’s no good even for laughs.”

The Guardian: “...pure cinematic excrement” and “Two hours of wretched, self-congratulatory Fifa history...”

The Daily Mirror: “This film is exactly what you think it is, but so much worse.”

Future Bet: Next President of FIFA (if election held)

Future Bet: Next President of FIFA (if election held)

As Fifa knows better than anyone, enough money will buy anything. The film features real actors Tim Roth, Gérard Depardieu, and Sam Neill. It’s remarkable to watch three established screen actors reach the nadir of their careers in the same movie.

The foregoing was meant to ease the blow I’m about to deliver. Dear reader, I don’t like being the one who brings you this news, but Blatter didn’t resign. That word is used nowhere in his announcement and everywhere in the captive media.

What Blatter actually said was, “While I have a mandate from the membership of Fifa, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football.... Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as Fifa president until that election.”

We are to believe that four days after being re-elected to a fifth four-year term, Blatter discovered a feeling within himself, a feeling that told him he didn’t have this thing, this mandate thing, from the entire world of football. What a soul-crushing awakening that must have been!

So, Blatter is laying down his mandate. Wanting to get to the bottom of this mandate upset, Blatter boldly proposes to advance the election for a new Fifa president from May 2016 to somewhere between December 2015 and March 2016. Bottom line: Blatter remains Fifa president for another six to nine months.

He says he won’t be a candidate but will focus on “driving far-reaching, fundamental reforms.” He says, “I have asked Domenico Scala to oversee the introduction and implementation of these and other measures. Mr. Scala is the Independent Chairman of our Audit and Compliance Committee elected by the Fifa Congress. He is also the Chairman of the ad hoc Electoral Committee and, as such, he will oversee the election of my successor. Mr. Scala enjoys the confidence of a wide range of constituents within and outside of Fifa and has all the knowledge and experience necessary to help tackle these major reforms.”

Scala has been on the job for three years. His job, by the way, was defined by Scala himself in an interview with the in-house lapdog website fifa.com. Scala said, “We are responsible for all matters relating to financial reporting and internal control.”

Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job. Brownie is in charge of overseeing the election of Blatter’s successor if, that is, an election is held.

Nothing is in writing, nothing is accomplished, save for Blatter’s re-election. He can (and you better believe he will) change his mind the moment he senses an opening.

What he’s done is buy himself six months, minimum, to see if the situation can be managed. If he can’t hang on, if Coca-Cola finally puts the hammer down, then he will be about the business of finding a replacement whose job will be to withhold or cover up evidence implicating him from the ever-growing list of law-enforcement agencies baying at his door.

Some ask why Blatter would not-really-resign four days after he was re-elected. It could be that this not-having-a-mandate from people who cannot vote in his election was the turning point. Or, maybe he promised to “lay down his mandate” before more charges were filed, this time naming him, which would have forced a for-real resignation.

Take your pick.

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