We are used to political despots. They would rule and misrule at will. And when you ask them to leave, it is would be like one has committed treason. Such litter our beloved continent. Yet they exist in sport as well. These are people who take it that normal rules of governance apply only to some and not themselves. It is a case of well reputed novel, Animal Farm. All people are equal but some people are more equal than others. That is you reserve certain rules for the others.
In the case of FIFA, the ethics committee could easily suspend the Secretary General without any hue and cry. But then if it attempts to touch the el supremo of football – FIFA President Sepp Blatter – over accusations and suspicion of wrongdoing then it ought to apply a new set of rules. This is just how sad the FIFA mess has become. Blatter literally wants to do as he wishes - to resign when he realises that his friends are no longer with him and even after that, he would want to leave the office when it suits him. He ignores the basic fact that his is not a glorious retirement of a man who has roses of appreciation delivered in big trucks to his door.
He is simply leaving in disgrace, irrespective of whether he has been corrupt or not. The body he has been running has proven to be stinking of heavy corruption. It has been my consistent position that he should have left the day he announced his resignation. He could not have presided over the rot that FIFA has become and easily claim to be clean himself. It was only a matter of time that fingers would point to him. When he sacrificed those that he had worked with for many years, it was bound to happen that they will fight back and turn the heat on him. Like them, he should be man enough to face the music. The picture emerging from Zurich is far from inspiring any confidence that whatever remains of FIFA is something salvageable.
It is like there is a need for an overall overhaul. Nothing of the past seems good enough to be taken into the new era. When major sponsors of the federation lose confidence of the institution then nothing can be seen to be normal. Anything and everything is simply questionable. All associated with this FIFA culture – the beneficiary of it – are somehow liable. When even the candidates that are claiming to be clean are somehow tainted, the world soccer requires a complete surgery of every organ and part. Nothing of the past appears acceptable going forward. At this stage, I am tempted to say all World Cups from 2018 going forward should be scraped to allow the soccer world to mourn and heal.
This will create time for a fully and deep reconstruct without hurriedly plugging holes and people to try to create a semblance of normality. There is nothing normal about the game. We all have to accept that. Countries must run regional tournaments, play friendlies and develop talent to just prepare for future tournaments after everything has been done properly. Blatter and his team must fully account for all they have done. Those at fault should be punished. Football will always be there. However, brave and difficult decisions must be made.
There is no need for countries to send their players to World Cups that have been awarded corruptly. That is aiding corruption. And hence, any clean up that will work should entail suspension of all FIFA-awarded tournaments. Some credible international independent body – agencies of the UN or Transparency International – should be outsourced to oversee world soccer management transformation. FIFA as name should even be scrapped and replaced with a new and inspiring name. Nations of the world must vow never to allow the game to rot as it has.