(I've been running since 7 AM Wednesday, doing all kinds of radio and TV cameos to explain the FIFA scandal. My friend Douglas Logan, the first commissioner of Major League Soccer, did have time to write his take, speculating on how US president Sunil Gulati would vote. Hours later, Gulati told the NY Times that he plans to vote for Blatter's only rival on Friday. Bravo, Gulati.
(Late Thursday night, Logan commented on Gulati's plans:
By Douglas Logan
In less than 24 hours I have to eat my words. I was wrong.
Yesterday, in a post titled “First Shoe Drops”, I expressed skepticism that the US vote for FIFA President would be cast against the incumbent, Sepp Blatter. I wrongly assumed that Sunil Gulati, President of the US Federation [USSF] would avoid making a courageous statement with our vote. Well, I blew it!
In the last hour media sources have reported that Gulati has announced that he will cast our vote for Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, the challenger. With this act Gulati has put us in sync with the “good guys”. It sends a clear message that we will not continue to back the regime that has facilitated, fostered and protected corruption in the governance of this great sport. We are standing tall, regardless of the consequences.
At this hour I have no idea what the results of the election will be. It could be that Blatter’s support in the emerging nations of Asia and Africa, together with the steadfast backing of Putin and Russia cannot be defeated. It makes no difference. That there may be retribution is probable. Again, it does not matter. What does matter is that we are taking a moral stand against the corruption that threatens the game.
I have had my differences with Mr. Gulati over the years. Not in this instance. I apologize for my faulty presumption. I commend him for his leadership and courage. I am proud of him.
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(The earlier piece can be found on this link
* * *
(Thanks to Doug Logan. The only thing I can add is that Chapter 18 of my soccer book is entitled: Blatter Scores an Own Goal. Then on Page 267 of the new paperback edition, in the Afterword about the Brazil World Cup last year, I have a long paragraph that begins:
"The biggest loser of all in 2014 was FIFA" and it ends:
"By the end of 2014 it seemed clear that, in some cosmic way, FIFA had been found out."
Your opinions are valuable. I'll get back to this in time for the next coronation of Merrie Kinge Sepp.)
mike from whitestone
5/27/2015 09:07:52 am
5/27/2015 03:21:11 pm
5/27/2015 10:17:51 am
Leave it to Blatter and FIFA to portray themselves as "the injured party" and to claim credit for initiating the investigation by the Swiss Attorney General. As this unfolds it reminds me more and more of Watergate. All the President's Men, Part II. I wonder if Sepp will eventually do as Nixon did? I don't think they will ever find enough to indict him, but maybe enough pressure can be brought to bear so that he just goes away.
5/27/2015 10:59:24 am
Anybody who has read the book or the columns or the blog could not be surprised. It will be interesting if it gets to the plea bargaining stage to see what happens next. Who can tell, maybe soccer will get as clean as college sports. I am sorry I said that, the devil made me do it.
5/27/2015 01:32:04 pm
5/27/2015 02:55:17 pm
5/27/2015 04:29:48 pm
George correctly discussed FIFA’s corruption well before his book was written. John’s Nixon and Watergate analogy is 100% on target. Together, they summed up and simplified the basic issue—corruption, arrogance and greed.
5/28/2015 07:16:45 am
I hope that limo wasn't the one sent to whisk you into the witness protection program. If you swap the goatee for mutton chops you can probably live among those robber barrens unnoticed, especially if you learn their secret greeting, hand extended, palm up.
5/28/2015 09:31:27 am
No, I'm still out there. Believe me, if certain muckraking Brits did not get poked with a poison umbrella, I'm safe. FIFA delegates have been caught taking bribes to vote for Russia/Qatar. Blatter has always not been there; GV
5/28/2015 10:43:05 am
And today we have that great sportsman, Vladimir Putin, criticizing US action against FIFA. (and more, essentially irrelvant and a smokescreen-even if with some merit outside this discussion).
5/28/2015 10:55:46 am
Note to Doug Logan: Gulati votes for Blatter. 100%. Did you notice that Sunil and US Soccer were nowhere to be seen in Jeremy Schaap's recent espn piece on Blatter? espn is a US Soccer broadcast partner so there was probably an agreement to leave them out of anything critical of Blatter.
5/28/2015 11:49:48 am
Well, I was wrong. Sunil has told the NY Times he will vote for Prince Ali tomorrow. I assumed that, even knowing what he knows about Blatter, Sunil was going to hold his nose and vote for the likely winner, Blatter, hoping that in doing so he was furthering the interests of US Soccer. Sunil is cautious and prudent, and tries to do what is in the best interests of the sport in this country. So if he voted for Blatter it would at least be understandable. Of course Blatter will win tomorrow, whether Gulati votes for him or not. Casting the US vote for Blatter's opponent may only exacerbate existing resentment against the US for the judicial process which it initiated this week with the arrests in Zurich and Port-of-Spain. It is, however, a principled stand, and the right thing to do. For that, Sunil deserves our thanks and respect.
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From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.