Thursday, 25 February 2016

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

So who should be the next president of the football family that is FIFA?

The football world's governing body is enduring the worst crisis of its 111 year history and yet none of the five candidates to replace Sepp Blatter is likely to save the sport from the disaster capitalism that underpins the body.

Bribes, kickbacks, matchfixing, ticket sale scams, cash for votes, non-independence of committees, coercion, fake proxy voters, opaque accounting practices, money laundering, mafiosi realpolitik and criminal structures will continue to dominate FIFA whoever wins the election...
... particularly if the reforms to be voted upon prior to the presidential election are diluted any further than is already the case.

When businesses dissolve into corruption and criminality, they are liquidated but FIFA's bigwigs still think that they might reform their family from within.
But they have already lost the fans with 70% of global supporters saying that they no longer trust the organisation.

If you have read 'The Secret World of FIFA' or 'The Dirty Game' by Andrew Jennings, it is astonishing that this figure isn't nearer to 100%.

Jennings concluded his recent BBC Panorama programme by referring to Sepp Blatter: "I told you he was a crook."
And he is.

And yet many national football associations around the world are contacting Blatter asking him which candidate they should support as, like all former bosses of crime families, Mr Blatter possesses a lot of information about a lot of people.

First we will take a look at the inadequacies of the five candidates, then we address the limitations created by essentially all primary bosses of global football before finishing by offering some solutions and a suggestion for who should really run FIFA in the period ahead.

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa

When not starring as Dr Strangelove or identifying Bahrain pro-democracy footballers for torture, the good sheikh is robbing £1.6 million of FIFA sports development monies to fund his unsuccessful campaign to be elected onto the FIFA Executive Committee in 2009.
Sheikh Salman wants voters to ignore the views of Human Rights Watch and to turn a blind eye to his exceptionally close relationship with Sepp Blatter - he once wrote to Blatter: "Dear Sepp... rest assured, the Asian football family stands firmly behind you."
Salman has no interest in the FIFA reform process, even avoiding travelling to Malaysia to hear his own confederation promote such plans.
Salman claims, however, that he wishes to bring "moral, ethical" change to FIFA and, to this end, he has signed Amnesty International's human rights pledge, albeit after amending references to Russia, Qatar, women and LGBT groups - "we must not be selective when it concerns human rights" he blurted after this striking example of being selective when it concerns human rights.
There are strong rumours that Sheikh Salman is working in cahoots with another candidate, Gianni Infantino, to divide the roles of president and general secretary between them. As Salman is Blatter-lite and Infantino is Platini-lite, this is an interesting version of the word "change".
Salman is 4/7 favourite and most bookmakers are refusing to price him up as they perceive his election to be a certainty.

Gianni Infantino

Has worked closely alongside Platini during the Frenchmen's mismanagement of UEFA and only stood for election once his former boss was banned from the game for accepting a highly dubious payment of £1.3 million in 2011 for work undertaken for Sepp Blatter between 1999 and 2002.
There was no invoice for this 'work'.
Infantino is offering a systemic bribe to solicit votes by offering $5 million per year in development grants to all 209 national associations. FIFA's current reserves are $1.5 billion so this annual payment suggests a failure to understand the structure of FIFA finances.
Additionally, he stands accused of failing to address the matchfixing scandals in Turkey and Greece which, no doubt, has helped to gain the support of the English and Scottish FAs who also wish for their systemic matchfixing corruptions to remain hidden in perpetuity.
Journalist Sid Lowe: "Matchfixing is the ultimate crime in football. If it is not a competition, it is nothing."
To further attract voters, Infantino has suggested that the World Cup Finals be extended to 40 teams and be spread across whole regions.
Born just down the road from Sepp Blatter, Infantino has refused to rule out making Sepp Blatter an honorary life president of FIFA if his systemic bribes win the day.
This caring Swiss gentleman is 15/8 second favourite.

Jerome Champagne, Prince Ali bin Hussein and Tokyo Sexwale

Surprisingly not an underground rap band straight outta Compton but the other three candidates for the FIFA presidency.
Champagne thinks that "history will judge Sepp kindly" which is only to be expected as Champagne was one of Blatter's rottweilers beginning from his election as president in 1998.
More credibly he states that Infantino's programme "is smoke and mirrors".

Sexwale has slid from being one of the heroes of the ANC anti-apartheid movement to a monstrosity who received $210 million in kickbacks during a 2007 mining deal out of which he generously purchased himself a $45 million tropical island where, presumably, he buried the other £165 million.
Understanding that he will not win, Sexwale shouts "I am open to alliances. I am open to negotiations", before leaving his bank account details for all to see.

Prince Ali is the most reform-minded candidate and consequently has no chance of winning.
Excellently, he landed in Switzerland for the vote with 209 transparent voting boxes which he hoped would serve as both a real and a representative aid to democracy. But FIFA and the CAS, both disliking the very thought of transparency, squashed that idea and the 209 booths will stand outside the congress hall as a surreal reminder of what might have been.
Ali has also called for the presidential election to be cancelled over numerous irregularities and has asked that additional "independent scrutineers" be employed to prevent shenanigans.
This latter call was also addressed separately by Champagne who popped his cork when he discovered that 20 extra passes for "observers" from UEFA and 7 from the Asian Football Confederation will "swamp the congress hall with confederation employees able to access" voters in a "gross violation of the principle of fairness."
That's the FIFA Family!

The FIFA Holistic

Andrew Jennings has shown that FIFA essentially functions as a mafia group (much like the rest of global football).
Currently 27 FIFA executives past and present have been indicted by Swiss and US authorities and there are an indeterminate number of national association representatives who won't be attending the presidential vote for fear that they too might be arrested in dawn raids at the Baur au Lac hotel and who are sending proxies to vote in their place.
The reform process is already a shadow of that intended and the vote on Friday will make the whole kaboodle a marketing exercise promising self-regulation and self-separation of powers and other fatuous Sicilian constructs.
81% of national football associations have no publicly available accounts according to Transparency International, that is the same Transparency International who were engaged by Blatter in 2011 but who cut their ties months later when it became obvious that FIFA had no intention of implementing any reforms.
Moreover, a coalition of NGOs that wrote to all five candidates concluded that not one of them had pledged adequate steps to prevent human rights abuses and corruption.
And, just ahead of the election, Blatter and Platini, partners in crime since they stood together at Blatter's inauguration in 1998, had their 8 year bans from football reduced to 6 years by a FIFA appeal committee for their "services to football" - what "services" exactly?.
The investigating arm of the ethics committee had wanted the 8 year bans increased to life for corruption.

And the voting process itself is primed for corruption.
It would be feasible in the age of space probe travel to the Kuiper Belt at the outer extremities of the Solar System for each national association to have a pad with A, B, C, D, E upon it and for voting to be instantaneous and simultaneous.
But by creating a time delay of several hours between the voting of Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, FIFA establishes the opportunity for countries later in the alphabet to sell their vote to the highest bidder, because if anybody still believes that a mafia body engages in secrecy of voting totals then they have missed the whole point of Havelange and Blatter.

This incentive for time-based corruption is even more persuasive in a tight race as at this FIFA Extraordinary Congress.

FIFA is systemically rotten...
... but the decay spreads further down the football hierarchy.
Blatter, Platini, Webb, Warner, Teixeira, Valcke, bin Hammam, Havelange, Niersbach and Blazer might be gone but a whole host of other degenerates remain.

Take Britain.
Geoff Thomson at the very least has offered no obstruction to corruption during his time as vice president at FIFA; Greg Dyke pledged support for Platini when it was known that the Frenchman was damaged in transit before transferring his allegiance to Infantino who is similarly marred by his close linkage to Platini; Stewart Regan, who long ago lost any association with reality, has also dragged Scottish FA support behind Infantino, no doubt being concerned that UEFA knowledge of his historical mismanagements of the Scottish game might otherwise surface; there are numerous examples of England undertaking matchfixing both under the current and previous management (including matches at World Cup Finals); Roy Hodgson has been shown to show bias in selection towards certain football agents in a mutually beneficial circularity of minimal meritocracy; Lord Coe of WADA was hilariously appointed as the first chairperson of the FIFA ethics commission in 2006 before moving on to ruin athletics; while the English bleating over the integrity of World Cup bidding processes is somewhat undermined by the England bid team (fronted by David Cameron, Prince William. Lord Coe and David Beckham) considering the use of bribes to win rights to the FIFA 2018 World Cup.

So Who Should Be Elected FIFA President?

When Andrew Jennings outed the attempt by the English bid team to offer bribes to FIFA Exco members, national treasure Gary Lineker chastised him for potentially ruining England's chances.

When the Swiss and US authorities swooped on Zurich to arrest FIFA executives last May, Andrew Jennings should have been all over the British media following his two decades of bringing a global mafia family to book. But British football is absolutely corrupt and Jennings knows that it is so and instead we were presented with Greg Dyke who wouldn't understand integrity if it came over and sat on his lap.

According to Jennings, the only media in Britain that have effectively covered the FIFA crime story have been BBC Panorama and the Sunday Times.
We agree.

And spreading the net further to global football bosses, there are no safe pairs of hands to repair football from within the national associations.

So, the obvious solution is this - cancel the presidential election and place Andrew Jennings in control of FIFA with the mandate to bring in people to clean up the sport and return it to the fans.
Nobody understands the ills of the global game better than Jennings and he has stood up to threats for 20 years in order to bring these crime bosses to book.

He has shown that he is a man of the utmost integrity and who better to save football from the mob?
Furthermore, it would allow him to continue his forensic exploration of past crimes at FIFA with access to the documents that are hidden away in safes in the FIFA archives.

The other option is merely to transfer power to a new set of mafia men who will raid the coffers of the game for their own proprietary financial gain.
And, anyway, to proceed with the election in the current atmosphere is a high risk strategy as both the Swiss and the US authorities have indicated that their enquiries into past crimes are continuing.


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