Wrong Place, Wrong Time? by BasilRobbieReborn
Wednesday, 27th May 2015 17:56 by BasilRobbieReborn
I write this as FIFA’s rotten edifice is crumbling around Sepp Blatter’s ears. Whist most people who follow international football have long had their doubts about the probity of those running our world game, the extent of the charges is staggering. We knew – or suspected - that the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and the way they were awarded, were somewhat whiffy. But today we learned that the US Attorney-General thinks that the 2010 tournament was fraudulently awarded, and that the 2011 FIFA Presidential Elections may have been affected by bribery too. She feels that they have uncovered wrongdoing going back twenty years or more.
Not that bribery – which is bad enough – is the end of it. Today we learned that money laundering, misappropriation and tax evasion may also have been going on on a grand scale at the global level. It is depressing, not least because not very many people will be all that surprised.
One of the interesting issues to consider in all this are the ramifications for our own domestic game. It can hardly be said that the FA, Football League and Premier League have been covering themselves in glory in recent years. The FA and the PL seem at times to be seeking to emulate FIFA in their greed, if not as yet in absolute venality. The FA has shown itself only too willing to prostitute its own competition over a number of years ; and the poor old Football League shows no sign that it has the faintest idea how to ensure that fit and proper persons are actually running its football clubs. Add in extortionate ticket pricing, match scheduling that panders to the broadcasting companies and the prognosis for the health of our own game is pretty poor.
How English football reacts to this crisis at the institutional level will be interesting. The authorities can hardly pretend that all is well at home, and improving the quality of football governance in the widest sense will take time to achieve, even with the fairest of winds. Fan power (however you define it) is growing too. We’ve seen how near neighbours on the Continent manage all these issues, and whilst we are fans in the traditional sense, we also bring all the expectations and other baggage that goes with being a 21st century consumer.
One wonders therefore the extent to which the powers that be will be looking for quick wins as they go about airing English football’s dirty linen. If they are, then the prudent thing for most clubs will be to stay well below the parapet whilst things are settling down. Our club’s owners may well be reflecting tonight that this is not a good time to be in the public spotlight for anything less than squeaky clean reasons ; and that they may have picked a very bad time to give the football community reason to focus on them in the way that they undoubtedly are now.
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