I didn’t think I would be writing about FIFA two times within the span of a week, but there have been some interesting developments in the international soccer world. Today, newly reelected FIFA president, Sepp Blatter announced he will be resigning from his position after 17 years in power. The news of Blatter’s resignation comes hot on the heels of allegations that his top lieutenant has been indicated in the bribery scandal that has been in the news. The news of the resignation all but solidifies the notions that Blatter not only knew of the money switching hands, but possibly received some money for allowing his organization to run in such a controversial way. Last week, after Blatter won his bid for reelection, he made a speech in which he stayed far away from the controversy and tried to proclaim a new season for FIFA, but now that we know his right hand man was part of the scandal he is trying to completely remove himself for the troubles of the organization. It is kind of funny that the changes in FIFA that Blatter spoke of in his speech will now include a change in president, but this organization needed to go in a different direction and quickly. I am actually extremely happy about the possibilities of real change coming to FIFA, the organization has been run the same way my whole life and there was never any reason to correct the issues, now with a new, Blatter free FIFA, soccer may get more modern regulations. As for Blatter, I don’t think his resignation will have any effect on this investigation. On Friday he was asked if he going to resign from his position as FIFA president and he stated, “Why would I step down? That would mean I recognise that I did wrong.” Well he has now stepped down and essentially claimed he is in the wrong, I expect this investigation to go on, and unfortunately for Blatter it may not end until he is in handcuffs.
Recently, there has been much news coverage of rampant corruption in the upper ranks of FIFA, which is the organization in charge of regulating the sport of soccer worldwide. Reports show that the corruption involves bribery to the tune of over 150 million dollars in order to secure broadcast rights and possibly the rights to host the World Cup tournament. This is not the first time FIFA officials have been in trouble for corruption, but this is big news since it comes on the heals of the designation of Qatar as host of the 2022 World Cup. The 2010 vote that gave Qatar the World Cup has been under scrutiny for years for several reasons, for one this country is in the desert so the average temperatures are well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and another is the fact that this tiny country has plenty of money to give out if need be, to potential voters. I don’t want to speculate that bribery was a part of Qatar’s World Cup 2022 designation, but many people are unhappy with that decision, and feel as though money was involved. One country that seems to be extremely upset with the choice of Qatar for the World Cup is the country that seemed to be front runner to get the tournament that year, the United States. I sense a hint of “saltiness” on the part of the U.S. since our country was spearheading the efforts for a revote, and not surprisingly has led the investigation into FIFA corruption. I understand that corruption is terrible, and that the currency passed in these illegal transactions was American dollars, but I just can’t shake the feeling that this investigation is personal. I can not condone the actions of the FIFA executives that took bribes, but I do think the U.S. came down with an extremely heavy hand. I guess this whole episode can be used as a lesson, if you slight a powerful adversary, prepare to face powerful retaliation. I don’t think FIFA will change much since they just reelected the same president, but I do hope they learn their lesson and act more ethically in the future.