Font Size

- Aa +

Sat 29 Nov 2014 04:05 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Time for big nations to declare war on FIFA

Without top-tier sponsors, the long and painful reign of Sepp Blatter and his cronies may finally be coming to an end, says Anil Bhoyrul

Time for big nations to declare war on FIFA

You couldn’t make it up. Problem is, FIFA does. Just when you thought that one of the world’s most corrupt organisations couldn’t become more of a laughing stock, it does just that.

Let’s do a quick recap of the last few weeks in the weird and wonderless world of soccer’s governing body. It goes like this: first off, US star prosecutor Michael Garcia handed FIFA his long-awaited 400-page report on alleged corruption in the bidding process for both the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) tournaments. FIFA’s boss Sepp Blatter then decided that nobody should ever get to read the report.

Apart, that is, from the rather absurdly named “FIFA Ethics Committee.” On November 13, the committee announced it had read the report, and basically everything is great. Nobody from Russia or Qatar paid any bribes, everyone is clean. Let the games begin.

A few hours later, the man who wrote the report, Garcia, said the committee was basically talking baloney. It had completely fudged his findings, and he would go to court to overturn its own earlier claims.

For good measure, the Qatari whistle-blower who gave Garcia a lot of information in confidence said her identity had been exposed. Enter the FBI, and extra security for her in case anyone would want to bump her off.

The next day, FIFA did a quick U-turn and said maybe it would after all look into the report again, and who knows, maybe both Russia and Qatar could still get the World Cup boot. Let the games not begin.

What a farce. What a joke. Thankfully, it now appears that any sponsor with a shred of integrity is giving FIFA the boot. Emirates Airline has spent around $100m to be one of FIFA’s six top tier partners, but has rightly decided that enough is enough. As I write this, electronics giant Sony – another of the ‘super six’ – is about ditch its association with FIFA. Coca-Cola is, I am told, close to doing the same. That leaves just Visa, Hyundai/Kia and Adidas. I doubt any of those three will be left by this time next year.

As for potential new ones, it has been widely reported that Qatar Airways is waiting in the wings. Being associated with an institutionally corrupt organisation wouldn’t be my idea of clever marketing, but what do I know.

Without top-tier sponsors, the long and painful reign of Sepp Blatter and his cronies may finally be coming to an end. No cash means no bribes means no job.

But sponsors taking a stand is only first step to ensuring FIFA’s top brass are cleared out and the organisation is radically reformed. Equally important would be the threat of boycotting, to begin with, the Russia World Cup.

England would do it. Spain and France may be tempted. The Dutch, given what happened to their citizens in the Malaysian plane crash over Ukraine, would surely join in. If they did, even World Champions Germany would have to think twice.

Without the European big teams taking part, the Russia World Cup would quickly disintegrate.

I doubt it will ever come to that. But big football nations joining big sponsors in effectively declaring war on FIFA can only be a good thing.

For all the latest lifestyle news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Steven 4 years ago

Dear Anil,
I have been saying this for months!
It is so easy to to cure these problems.
Firstly Mr Putin loves the world stage, so all the european football assocoations and some western idealogical countries like USA etc could easily withdraw from RUSSIA 2018 and tell Mr Putin where to stick his 'World Cup' - this would be highly embarassing for him and far more effective than diplomatic pressure and sanctions.
Oh, and also kick CSKA MOSCOW et al out of Champions/Europa competitions - after all Russia is NOT in Europe anyway, this is only political manouvrings (just like Turkish and Israeli teams), and as it is now clearly seen they do not believe in core European values either.
So now to QATAR 2022, is there anyone left in this world who doesnt believe that QATAR bought this World Cup, just as I expressed at the announcement, so what are the Politicians/Football chiefs waiting for? If the major countries withdrew their teams from this complete farce, it would soon be resolved!

Neil The Footy Fan 4 years ago

Great article about a subject close to a lot of peoples' hearts. For me this is now not about Qatar or Russia but what happens next. It should not be acceptable to any football fans for their sport to be blatantly run by self serving mafia types. As for no-one going to stand against Blatter at his next election, where can you sign up Anil!!! #
By the way, I know what Emirates have done, respect due there, but what is the UAE FA saying about it all?

Richard 4 years ago

A large part of Russia IS in Europe. And the Europa/Champions League competitions are UEFA - nothing to do with FIFA which is what this article is about.
I do agree that it would benefit world football if some of the larger countries withdrew in protest but the loss of revenue from their respective FA's would prevent that from happening.

Steven 4 years ago

But if those Football Associations were to set up a rival competition, which all the fans would want go to, (where they can drink, behave outragously, be gay, have a partner with whom they are not married to - etc etc etc - all of which will not be acceptable in Doha) then they would not suffer losses.
As for the EUFA competitions, I merely said that as an aside, with regard to belittling PUTIN, and I disagree with you, RUSSIA is not in Europe, it is, as I said like ISRAEL and TURKEY i.e. bordering and merely political manouvring. As was their inclusion into the G8 at one time - it's economy was not one of the biggest 8 economies of the world. Again this was merely political manouvring.
Yes, the politicians do have a lot to answer for don't they!

Canuck 4 years ago

Harold Mayne Nicholls will compete against Blatter but typical of Blatter's mafia mentality, he has Nicholls up on corruption investigations now that he made the intention public. Blatter must go.

Mick 4 years ago

The sponsors need to stand up and that's the only way things will happen