As it turns out, the story of Sepp Blatter’s resignation as president of FIFA isn’t over yet.
On a day when Russia and Qatar both defiantly maintained that they would go on to host soccer’s showpiece event in 2018 and 2022, respectively, Reuters reported that the FBI, after handing out indictments to current and former FIFA officials as well as five sports marketing and broadcasting execs last week, is now turning its attention to the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
While there are now most likely zero people left in the world who actually believe that this process -- let alone any process handled by FIFA execs -- was handled in an above-board manner, the far more interesting revelation by the unnamed Reuters source is that the American intelligence organization is now going after Blatter.
As anyone familiar with crime shows on TV will tell you, intelligence organizations like to use money-laundering and racketeering cases, like the FBI’s indictment of the FIFA 14, as a kind of stepping-stone to potentially get to the big crime boss. Will one of the nine current and former FIFA execs crack? Or, could it be that none of them have anything on him?
We shall soon find out.
If Off the Post were a betting man, he’d say that it would be very surprising if Blatter, who has proven himself to be quite the politician, is sloppy enough to leave the kind of trail behind that the likes of the indicted Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer have.
Then again, he and his cronies probably never thought that the American authorities could get to them.
Even so, if one thing’s for certain, Blatter is still confident of his own abilities to dictate things at FIFA. In announcing his plan to resign -- which, you’ll note, is a very different thing than actually resigning -- the Swiss made it very clear that he intends to set the agenda for the new FIFA before he departs in December (or later).
As CNN contributor Mark Doidge notes, Blatter never once used the word “resign” during the speech that many are calling his resignation speech -- in fact, he left his own future kind of open. He goes on to say that he wants to see the executive committee reduced in size, adding that its members “should be elected through the FIFA Congress.” He then goes on to say that all executive committee members must go through “integrity checks” which would be organized through FIFA, instead of its confederations. He also advocates for term limits on future presidents as well as executive committee members.
In a nutshell, Blatter plans to make FIFA stronger and its confederations -- UEFA, CONCACAF, etc. -- weaker. Let’s not forget that the majority of the FIFA Congress still loves this guy.
Finally—and here’s the kicker -- Doidge points out that Article 19 of the FIFA statutes explicitly states that the FIFA Congress is free to bestow the title of honorary president on anyone who has achieved “meritorious service to football.”
OTP doesn’t have to tell you what’s coming next.
Suffice it to say that if the FBI, Interpol or someone else doesn’t somehow catch this guy, you can be sure that he’ll find one way or another to continue exerting his crooked influence over FIFA, and the world’s game.