I’m sure you have heard about Sepp Blatter by now. He’s the one getting all the attention last week for his controversial presidential re-election. Blatter isn’t the head of a country, but he may as well be considered the leader of the world as he is the guy at the top of a little global company called FIFA. Oops. Sorry, did I write “company”? I meant a registered charity based in Switzerland.
Let’s break it down:
Around the time of Sepp’s impending re-election, some offishes in the United States said, uh-uh, hold up! The Federal Bureau had been investigating some guys in the club and it seems as though some of them were getting buddy-buddy with other countries’ wallets. We’re talking South Africa paying ten-milly to Jack Warner (former President of Concacaf, a FIFA off-shoot) to secure its spot for the 2010 World Cup. The U.S. also arrested 13 other boys that racketeered, wired and laundered a reported $150 million.
Sepp Blatter was not arrested nor mentioned in the massive indictment.
Actually, his daughter insists that all the negative press is part of a conspiracy to get big pops outta the way.
Added to the drama is an alleged bribery for the sponsorship of the Brazilian national football team by a “multinational sportswear company headquartered in the United States”. We don’t know for sure who this company is, but some believe it’s the company that signed on as Brazil’s sponsor in 1996. There were also rumours that the company urged the Brazilian co-signers to “just do it”.
So, what does this all mean? Who really cares? Why is Sepp being asked to stand down?
Well, he’s the president and has been since 2002. The spending allegations occurred during his reign and it doesn’t help that he is super chummy with some of those that were indicted. Sepp’s got a good reputation in Africa and Asia, being lauded as a man who brings equality to the organization by giving African and Asian countries half a chance at the prestigious glory of hosting a World Cup. If he stepped down, a lot of nations would be a bit nervous that things will swing back to the Euro-West days of yore.
Here’s the thing that is weighing on my mind: For years, FIFA has earned the reputation of being pretty scandalous. We aren’t talking provocative photos, but we are talking about money. Lots of money. So much money that it seems strange that it is a registered Swiss charity, the funny little place of chocolate and lax tax laws. And it’s also funny (in an awkward way, not a side-splitting way) that the United States has an extradition agreement with the-land-of-chalets for those that are performing criminal acts. And that the United States waited until FIFA’s annual Congress to bring everyone to Switzerland. Makes me wonder if the suits waited until everyone had their fill of Toblerones before busting in on the party.
Feel like you just watched an episode of Gossip Girl?