Actually, Sepp Blatter Is a Mistake
The man dithers and prattles. In any multinational corporation, he would have been long gone, not because of right and wrong but because he was bad for business, bad for image, bad for selling lethal cars or whatever the company was doing.
But Sepp Blatter, the head of FIFA, the world soccer body, goes on and on. Now he is threatening to run for another term, even before the World Cup takes place in Brazil under very dicey circumstances next month.
Blatter’s latest foolishness was saying the other day that choosing Qatar for the 2022 World Cup was a “mistake.” You make mistakes in life, he said, talking about awarding a World Cup to a nation without a football heritage but lots of oil money to grease FIFA delegates.
Some of the people who voted for Qatar have since been banned for improprieties. Yet Blatter insists the 2022 World Cup was not bought and sold. Just a “mistake.” The executive voters did not notice that it gets hot in Qatar in summer.
Blatter’s handlers have since chimed in, as they often must, to note that he never said Qatar would be replaced.
Blatter used to be known for merely sexist and inane comments. FIFA should hold the World Cup every year or two. Female players should wear tight uniforms. Now he is about to preside over the most political protests ever seen in a World Cup – and he has insured a scandalous World Cup in Qatar, a nation that allows mistreatment of migrant workers.
Fortunately, Andrew Jennings is still raking the muck.
Jeremy Schaap did a great report on the deaths of migrant workers, on ESPN a few days ago.
Dave Zirin of The Nation has been all over FIFA.
And Wright Thompson of ESPN has been in Brazil, producing prose and videos about a nation where a major swath of citizens has identified FIFA and futebol – and the government -- as a problem, not just a big quadrennial party.
Blatter has been found out. Yet he keeps talking – and getting re-elected. Speaking of mistakes.
5/17/2014 03:11:16 am
5/17/2014 04:01:18 am
Alan, you are in a good place to foment. Keep in touch. GV
5/17/2014 04:16:56 am
The old pattern continues of Blatter shooting from the lip and the FIFA communications department soon thereafter issuing a communiqué to "clarify" the President's latest ill-thought-out and potentially embarrassing utterance. Some things never change. Blatter continues to rule because he learned from his predecessor, the corrupt Brazilian water polo player "Doctor" Joao Havelange, that the global "democracy" of FIFA is easily manipulated by the doling out of benefits, favors, privileges, but mostly cold hard cash to the people who vote. Since the majority of the FIFA's members are small countries in underdeveloped regions it's been a successful strategy to cultivate loyalty, even as a dozen or so executive committee members(you know, the ones who picked Qatar to host the World Cup)have been shown the door and/or investigated by civil authorities for things like tax fraud, accepting bribes and general malfeasance. They used to call Ronald Reagan the Teflon President, but Reagan couldn't hold a candle to Blatter when it comes to the crap not sticking to him. Arch crook Jack Warner and his bag man Chuck Blazer, two of Blatter's principal lackeys, go down in a storm of embarrassing charges and acrimony? No problem for Seppi. He sails on, untouched by the scandal. He reminds of that police chief in Casablanca who was shocked, SHOCKED, to discover that gambling was going on in his town behind his back. I believe that only when a major sponsor such as adidas or Visa intervenes in a serious way and demands greater transparency under the threat of withdrawal from FIFA will we see real reform. But I would not hold my breath. They are all making too mud money with things as they are. The ascension Sunil Gulati to the FIFA executive committee was a positive development, but his slow and cautious approach can be frustrating to those who are hoping for any kind of rapid change. Meanwhile, Blatter, the arch-clown of the world's most popular(and profitable)sport has finally announced what everyone who understands the beast already knew, that he will run for President yet again, because his "mission is not yet accomplished". I'm betting no one will have the nerve to run against him. Recent history says that running against Blatter only leads to a sad end. The only potential candidate who might have the ability to unseat him is UEFA President Michel Platini but frankly speaking he really isn't much of an improvement. To me FIFA is a little bit like the Titanic at this point. With the saturation of the TV market with soccer and the rise in popularity of international club competitions, the big clubs mostly sporting rosters of international superstars, combined with the expansion of the World Cup to include too many national teams of dubious quality, FIFA's flagship competition has been diluted and lost some of its lustre. Arguably the UEFA Champions League is now the competition that has the most global appeal and it is an ANNUAL event. National teams just aren't as important as they used to be. FIFA is heading for that iceberg. It's still not too late to bring in a new captain and change course. But time is running out quickly. How this World Cup in Brazil plays out will have a lot to do with what happens next.
5/17/2014 07:35:42 am
Platini sold out the US during the Qatar vote. Pressure from Sarko.
5/20/2014 01:00:18 am
In reverse order:
5/20/2014 01:49:43 am
Andy, I agree. FIFA will only change when sponsors and networks speak up. Like the sponsors that fled Sterling and the Clippers.
5/21/2014 11:39:48 am
andy, be careful what you wish for. if they do more to get so so teams out of the world cup, it might be some time before the usa qualifies. be interesting to see how they'd do if they were in an all Europe group or had to meet the team or teams that didn't make it thru Europe....
5/20/2014 07:18:02 am
Only when the shit starts to stick to Visa, Hyundai, adidas, Coca Cola, Sony and Emirates are we likely to see a strong reaction and pressure for real reform. But do the leaders of any of these companies have the guts to do what Dave D'Alessandro of John Hancock did with the IOC. When you think about how Visa conspired with FIFA to dump Mastercard I would say it isn't likely. But we can hope. Qatar is key, both because of the stupidity(and likely corruption)of choosing to play the WC in the Arabian desert and, more importantly, because of the abuse of the guest workers in Qatar who are building the stadiums and other infrastructure. Even Blatter, who was never shamed by the serially embarrassing shenanigans of a Jack Warner, must have a limit.
5/20/2014 02:49:18 pm
5/21/2014 12:31:52 am
Bruce, thanks for the comments. That entire KD Lang Canadian CD is marvelous.
5/21/2014 01:54:35 am
5/21/2014 01:54:55 am
5/21/2014 08:31:01 am
Ditto re: the Dutch. The grief Howard Webb (my hero now that Collina is retired - I am part of the "Hair? Who needs it?" Club) took after the final was ridiculous, and the indelible image of Arjen Robben screaming at him from a few images taints my perspective on Robben's great talent. I hope Webb has been vindicated by now and that he gets moer chances at prominent matches.
5/21/2014 11:22:35 am
Netherlands-Portugal. in Nuremberg. I was there. It was a nasty match, and they deserved the cards.
5/21/2014 12:28:33 pm
I remember that game too. Blame the players and coaches for that one, not the ref who did what he could. You're right about Blatter. He hung the refs out to dry. He directed them to do something. Then when they did it and he got criticism he did not back them up. A genuine weasel who should probably have been working for a Swiss bank(from which he would have been mandatorily retired some years ago!)rather than presiding over the governing body of the world's most popular and important sport.
9/8/2014 09:03:10 pm
The FIFA World Cup is over now and the host nation have earned lots of money. They can spend this amount for Brazilians to improve their living standard. But they can't forget that 1-7 humiliated loss against Germany.
8/11/2016 03:59:48 am
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4/17/2017 01:13:56 am
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“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.