Sepp Blatter, FA and an Autobiography of FIFA
I am FIFA—the single most powerful sports organisation in the world. I am the one that organizes what is undoubtedly the greatest competition one will see every four years. I am FIFA.
I have the power to bring joy and despair to millions of people in each country. When I visit you, you know you are about to be a part of a special experience. The world’s best players clamour for the awards I hand out. I am FIFA.
I am run by a bunch of men in Switzerland who are now in trouble and I ask for your help. I know not what these men do, but unfortunately I am in their control now. I have no voice, their voice is mine. I am FIFA, I need help.
Over the years, I have been accused and I have run into trouble. I was told that I was corrupt. I was told that my members were too old-fashioned, I was incompetent. But the men that I talked about earlier are still the ones in charge. So how do you expect me to change? I am FIFA, I need help.
But now things have reached a crescendo, all around me chaos reigns. My authority is now discredited and despite the growing voices of dissent from outside and within, I seem helpless. My hands are tied, for I am a mere puppet in the hands of a multitude of associations. I am FIFA, I need help.
The man at the center of this storm is Sepp Blatter, whom I know well. I first came across him some 35 years ago in 1975 when he was elected as the Technical Director. He worked, he worked and he worked. He made a name for himself and in the following 20 years, he became a leading candidate to lead me.
Blatter’s election to chair in 1998 was also won amidst much controversy. I know not what these men do, I am blind. Accusations of enormous amounts of money changing hands to support his rise came up, but they were silenced. My hands were tied, I am after all a democratically elected body. I am FIFA, I need help.
Journalists now fill in my building. They point fingers at me and at my President. I ask them one question: Why have they not spoken out earlier? Why has my core been allowed to rot for so many years, till the voices that mattered outside my four walls spoke out?
Is it because I supported you this long? Why are those from within now squirming when the insides are being spilled? Did they not know what was going on, or are they simply upset that their own agenda was not fulfilled? And if indeed it is the latter, why then shall I trust you to lead me either? I am FIFA, I need help.
World Cup bids are but the tip of the diseases that now inhibit me. How can I have been allowed to be run in such a manner that I have been deemed critically ill, that I am in crisis but still am run by a President who denies it?
Is this not the same man who has stood in the way of technology, is this not the same man who equated player transfers to slavery, is this not the same man who suggested women in tight-fitting clothes would make their game more interesting? I ask you not, why you oppose his election, I ask you how is he still here in the first place?
I have erred before. In 2007, Sepp Blatter was elected without any candidate. In 2011, it is a repeat, tell me what is the difference. No one called for reform when midway through the 2010 World Cup qualifying I changed the goal posts and announced that teams would be seeded for the qualification play-offs. Did you raise your voices then?
While you point fingers at me, don’t forget to look at yourselves. For you all are the ones that have stood by and watched me get decimated. There is such a thing as abetting a crime, and you, the onlookers and the members, are guilty of exactly that.
Mr. Blatter has been elected once more to lead me for another four years. And after him, there will be someone else, would he help me? Would you help me in a year’s time or forget about it as soon as you find a bigger story?
I am FIFA, I am in need of urgent help.
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