Ian Plenderleith writes that not everyone on the FIFA executive committee is completely secretive about the way they operate. Concacaf general secretary Chuck Blazer loves a good twitter, and runs a blog documenting his travels as a soccer functionary. It’s an instructive read, right enough.
Any member of England’s 2018 World Cup bid committee still baffled as to why Chuck failed to give them a vote need only check out his blog entry for November 25, where he lovingly details a trip to Moscow for a star-struck encounter with Russian president Vladimir Putin. After being told by Putin he looked like Karl Marx, and getting a high-five, there followed “a half hour exchange of wit, charm and effective communications”. Vlad then emailed Chuck some pictures of him helping a sick polar bear to put on his blog.
In other entries, Chuck lets the pictures do the talking. In England he meets the Charlton brothers at Sunderland v Manchester Utd. Photo op! He goes to Holland and drinks wine on a boat in Rotterdam Harbour with what looks like the Dutch bid committee. Photo op! In all these pictures, Chuck has the widest smile, as well he might. He’s in control. He has something these people desperately want -- a vote. And the sickly uncertainty of his hosts’ expressions reflects their inner gut feeling that what they’re doing won’t be enough. Certainly not to compete with a high-five from one of the world’s most powerful politicians.