Saturday, June 04, 2011

Football Fatcats

Sepp Blatter's statement that FIFA - world football's governing body (that's soccer for American readers) - is "not in crisis" is about as credible as Muammar Gaddafi's claims that all the Libyan people love him. Nevertheless, Blatter's re-election as head of FIFA was entirely predictable - and not just because his only challenger was conveniently accused of corruption and sidelined before the vote.

In the welter of corruption allegations, firings and reinstatements, and general chaos it's hard to know the truth. But a look at most of the FIFA bigshots will tell you one sure thing - from the size of their waistlines, most of them have not actually played football for a long time - indeed, it's doubtful they would last more than 5 minutes on the pitch before collapsing.

The fact is that FIFA is an entrenched bureaucracy - and the first task of any bureaucracy is always to perpetuate itself. While Blatter likens his role to captaining a ship, what he is really doing is driving a gravy train. And as long as he keeps the gravy - free tickets to big games, lavish banquets, foreign trips, and perhaps additional benefits - flowing, most of its recipients will continue to support him. As the French say, the more things change the more they remain the same.

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