Manero

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

By: Alfonso Duro

With Copa América well underway in Chile, FIFA’s scandal doesn’t seem to die down. In fact, it gets bigger —and better— by the day.

In South America, the issues of football’s supreme governing body are very present.

The President of CONMEBOL, Paraguayan Juan angel Napout, has not showed his face at the tournament. It may be because he’s one of the many suspects in the global bribing schemes emanating from FIFA. Many of his federation’s top members are in lockdown mode in Santiago’s Hyatt, not willing to set foot on the street fearing heavy repercussions from law enforcement and fans. The oldest national team competition in the world is not immune to the inner workings of FIFA and the precarious handling of its affairs.

Just like the Opus Dei, the Illuminati, and many other “secret” societies, FIFA has managed its business for the better part of its 111 years of history in any way it has pleased. Want proof? Only 8 presidents have held the reins of the organization since its inception—a dictator-like average of 13.8 years per president. However, the genius of FIFA resides in the fact that it claims to be a non-for-profit organization that is truly after the betterment of the world through football. Excuse me while I hold back my laughter and search for the info on the salaries to top FIFA executives… Oh, wait. That number has never been disclosed.

FIFA’S PARODY HOUR. Many famous figures were amongst the detainees in the sting in Zurich—something that had been in the works during the last 24 years (?!). Figueredo from Uruguay, Marin, from Brazil, and most notably Jack Warner, the former head of CONCACAF, were amongst the best-known names in the group of 12 Executive Committee VPs taken into custody after American soccer executive Chuck Blazer started “cooperating” with the FBI and IRS.

To make things even more interesting, FIFA’s sponsored Hollywood production United Passions, chronicling the life of Sepp Blatter in “the company” over the last 40 years, flopped miserably in one of the worst opening weekends in movie-making history.

But what no one saw coming was the indescribable video uploaded by Jack Warner to Facebook on the weekend after the FBI sting. In an effort to thank his followers and prove FIFA’s humanitarian efforts, the Trinitarian official cited this report from The Onion as evidence of the organization’s good faith. If anything, he proved that you don’t need to be a genius to be part of FIFA’s money schemes.

BLATTER STAYS. WINS. RESIGNS. MAY NOT RESIGN. Just imagine how corrupt the inner workings of FIFA must be that barely 48 hours after the FBI’s hotel raid, Joseph Blatter was reelected to a fifth term as FIFA’s President.

While the rampant illegal proceedings within the organization are quite obvious at this point, Blatter is still admired as the man who took soccer away from the hands of the European elite and brought the World Cup to Asia and Africa. That, in and of itself, explains the populist way in which Blatter thought he could secure enough support to retain his presidency for as many terms as he wished; but the fact that the Swiss is seen as some type of Robin Hood in this whole ordeal I what dumbfounds international observers the most.

Surely under fire, the evergreen president had decided to keep pulling his political tentacles to ensure he was the man onboard to do the “house cleaning”, likely out of his fear that a deeper look into FIFA’s books would put him on the cross-hairs of the US justice system. Yet, less than a week after his pompous reelection, he must have decided he wasn’t able to keep up with the charade and stepped down from his post; keeping his fingers crossed for this mess not to end up with him celebrating his 80th birthday in prison.

Yet in another unconventional plot twist, Blatter may now be considering the possibility of just staying in power, possibly becoming the first President ever of any private or public entity who can resign from, and then recover, his position simply because he wishes to do so.

What will happen to him? Will the federal investigation finally reach him? We don’t know, but we do know one thing: Blatter and his cronies will give us way more fun, horror and embarrassment before this story is over and world soccer gets the organization it deserves.

Alfonso Duro is a Spanish freelance writer. When he's not managing Google's agency in the United Arab Emirates (his current job), chances are he's watching and writing about soccer.