Reported by Matthew Thomas.
The long running FIFA corruption scandal simply can’t stay out of the media spotlight. The latest saga that emerged recently involves the large amount of financial data the Swiss Attorney General’s office are analysing in the wake of Swiss Bank’s reporting “suspicious activity” around 53 FIFA held accounts. Just how deep does the rabbit hole go? With 14 current and former FIFA officials already being indicted by the Swiss on behalf of an FBI investigation into corruption it seems like just the tip of the iceberg.
FIFA seem intent on putting the blame squarely at the door of the now deceased former FIFA finance committee chief Julio Grondona, a rather convenient scapegoat who is no longer here to defend himself. Has Blatter managed to shield himself once again or is his own resignation an admission of guilt? With criminal proceedings well underway the challenge for FIFA whatever the final outcome is, is to be able to draw a line under this period of wrongdoing and achieve some sort of clean slate.
What does FIFA need to do in order to restore believe in its ability to function as the world governing body of football and prevent nations forming splinter organisations?
- Protect no-one
In this regard, many have jumped before they’ve been pushed. Jerome Valcke (former secretary-general of FIFA and close Sepp Blatter ally) has already stepped down after rubber-stamping the letter from the South African FA to FIFA instructing them to pay 10million dollars to Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer (both FIFA members) in exchange for voting for South Africa during the 2010 World Cup bidding process. The only member of the executive committee to be sacked is Walter De Gregorio. The former communications director was let go following his ill-advised joke on Swiss television.
- Constitutional Change
Despite the criminal investigations proceeding at pace in Switzerland and the US, Blatter headed off the challenge of Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan at the last presidential election in May. This would have been Blatter’s fifth term as FIFA president. He has held the reigns of world football since 1998. A dictator of sorts who has desperately clung to power has frequently put himself before the good of the game. The most effective way for a new president to display the exact opposite approach would be to propose a maximum service of 2 terms similar to the American constitution.
- Elect a new leader who can bring about that change
Who has enough creditability and integrity? Several ex footballers have thrown their hat into the ring with the Brazilian Zico the latest to talk about standing. Blatter’s powerbase resides largely in Africa and Asia so a candidate from outside those continents might provide a greater balance within the footballing executive.
One thing’s for sure, this story is far from over.