Sepp Blatter has been forced to resign as the head of the world football management organisation, FIFA, by pressures and threats emanating from US imperialism and its satellites. Sepp Blatter in fact had not even been connected to the corruption accusations against a group of FIFA officials and their subsequent arrests when the orchestrated calls for his resignation by the western media started. He only became a target of such accusations after having the audacity to poll more votes than imperialism’s man for the job, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan. That there now seems to be a direct accusation concerning him (plea bargaining of those arrested is the most likely source of any ‘evidence’) with the possible scenarios following on from this probably being the main reason for his reported resignation decision after winning his election.
Stories of corruption have been put out by Western media for years now, trying to undermine and get rid of this unpredictable and outspoken character, but they rose to an absolute frenzy in the run up to his fifth election victory and went into overdrive following that victory.
Corruption within FIFA at various levels exists, that is without doubt: it is a multi-national sporting organisation running probably the most supported and lucrative game in the world pulling in billions upon billions in sponsorships etc. The only surprising or unbelievable statement that could be made would be if someone were to say that ‘no corruption existed’ in this or any other major sports management body. The USA has spent years on the outside of this sport but the profits to be made from being a ‘soccer’ nation are too great to ignore, and the US has been rapidly trying to promote the game to its mainly uninterested citizens for a few years now in a bid to get into those juicy ‘corruptible’ positions so as to be able properly to milk this world popular game. The concern of US imperialism is not that corruption exists within FIFA but the fact that does not control it and that the profit from the corruption is not rolling into its deep pockets!
It is accepted by all that the initial arrest by Swiss police of some FIFA officials was at the direction of the US authorities. So how does it come about then that a country that does not even play football in any major way can set itself up as the ultimate policer of the game in any and every land? The Director of the FBI, James Comey, explains ” If you touch our shores with your corrupt enterprise, whether that is through meetings or through using our world class financial system, you will be held accountable for that corruption .” The US has given itself the ‘right’ to prosecute, in an American court, under its laws, any accused person anywhere whose ‘crime’ has the slightest connection with the US. Presumably, if it served their interests, this could extend to a shoplifter in an ASDA (owned by Wal-Mart) store in Essex being whisked away across the Atlantic to face ‘justice’. These US ‘laws’ were, the architects of them claim, originally designed to combat the Mafia and its ability to move funds around the globe, but, whether this is true or not, what they are used for is threats and punishments by US imperialism against those who stand, or may stand in the way of its interests. One of the keys to the US ability to do this is the centrality of the American financial system to the world economy which rests on the role of the dollar as the main global reserve currency, meaning that virtually any transaction, legal or illegal can be connected somehow with the US banking system and can therefore bring almost anyone within US jurisdiction.
To the informed observer, however, what can be seen from the botched manoeuvring to remove Blatter at the ballot box and the attack on both FIFA and Blatter, leading to his apparent resignation, is punishment for FIFA giving the 2018 World Cup to Russia and then snubbing the bid of the USA for the 2022 World Cup which went to Qatar. The imperialists are no doubt looking for a chance, through these accusations of corruption, to re-run those two votes to the detriment of Russia and the advantage of Britain and the USA. Sepp Blatter said in an interview on Swiss TV following his election victory; ” No one is going to tell me that it was a simple coincidence, this American attack two days before the elections of FIFA. It doesn’t smell right.” He added that ” the Americans were the candidates for the World Cup of 2022 and they lost. The English were the candidates for 2018 and they lost, so it was really the English media and the American movement .”
Another example of the ‘wrong-doing’ of FIFA under the leadership of Blatter in the eyes of US imperialism is the inclusion in the financial benefits of FIFA membership of non-western European and non-American countries. This sharing out of the spoils from sponsorship, TV deals etc. with the formerly ignored nations of Africa, Asia, the Middle East et al, along with including them in all the decision making processes as equals, has been most upsetting to western powers.
It was under the leadership of Blatter that FIFA ditched what many called its Eurocentrism and really embraced a global game. Since Blatter took charge the World Cup has gone to Asia (Japan/Korea 2002) and Africa (South Africa 2010) for the first time. The huge support base that Sepp Blatter enjoyed was due more to him involving Asia and Africa and making sure that investment programmes went their way than any corruption, real or imagined. The previously ignored majority of the world has benefited from FIFA programmes to construct artificial pitches, technical centres, modern HQs for the various federations, to provide education seminars on marketing, refereeing, grassroots football, etc., while the number of countries that can qualify for the finals has been expanded, giving nations like Angola and Togo the chance to ‘dine at the top table.’ The list is very long and it has been Mr Blatter who has pushed these things along.
Amaju Pinnick, the president of the Nigerian Football Federation, summed up the feelings of many of those voting in the last FIFA Presidential elections when he said to the BBC: ” Blatter feels Africa, he sees Africa and he has imparted so much – a lot of developmental programmes. “Without Blatter we wouldn’t enjoy all the benefits we enjoy today from FIFA. What Blatter pushes is equity, fairness and equality among the nations. We don’t want to experiment. ”
There has been much criticism of the way that FIFA conducts its voting both for the placing of major tournaments and its election of leading figures. “How can it be right” the question is asked by western media hacks and some low-ranking American politicians ” that some little African state can have the same voting power as the USA when electing a General Secretary or President?” This is usually followed by a demand that FIFA adopt a system like the UN giving the US, UK and some others (not Russia though!) a veto. That would be much more to imperialist liking than this ‘one country – one vote’ and secret ballots nonsense which makes such hard work and uncertainty of bribery or as FBI Director Comey put it rather coyly in regard to US persecution of FIFA officials: ” We will not stop until we send messages that this is not the way things should be and that they must be different“.
Anyone living in Britain (or the USA where minor ‘celebrities’ like John McCain run around making wild accusations about FIFA being in bed with Russia and that the 2018 World Cup must be taken from Russia) who gathers news only from official British/US media sources could be forgiven for drawing the conclusion that Sepp Blatter has already been proved to be personally guilty of massive corruption; and that therefore he had to be removed/forced to resign; and that the rest of the world, except nasty Russia, is in complete agreement with that position. As we have said, corruption exists and whether Mr Blatter is personally involved in it is neither here nor there. The USA is only concerned that it should be running said corruption with the proceeds pouring into its coffers. Of course, while in the US senior politicians sit back and let their minions do the dirty work, in Britain our Prime Minister leads the way. PM David Cameron is on record as saying in the run up to Sepp Blatter’s fifth victory: ” You cannot have accusations of corruption at this level and on this scale in this organisation and pretend that the person currently leading it is the right person to take it forward.
“That cannot be the case. Frankly, what we’ve seen is the ugly side of the beautiful game and he should go.
“And the sooner that happens the better – the faster that organisation can start to rebuild its credibility, which is going to be so important because so many people around the world want to see this game properly managed, properly looked after, so we can all enjoy the World Cups of the future. ”
This was obviously an attempt to sway those who would be voting, and it would be an amusing statement if we considered lies and dishonesty to be matters for amusement. Under Mr. Cameron’s watch all of those corrupt officials involved in the Libor scandal, all of the corrupt banking officials in the city of London, all of these really wealthy powerful oligarchs who have supported Cameron, all of them have got off scot free. None of them are sitting in jail. All of them are clearly guilty of corruption, and yet we don’t hear such words from Mr. Cameron on those issues. Again this comes back to the issue of the FBI moves against FIFA being politically motivated. The agenda of the UK is just the same as the agenda of the US, it is to demonise any individual or any country or any politician who dares to stand behind Vladimir Putin, who dares to stand behind Russia or China, or any of the non-Western world.
If Cameron has shown us the main part of UK strategy in this, i.e. attacking Russia, than David Lammy, who plans to run for London mayor in 2016, has been quick to jump on the band wagon, saying that Qatar was “not a fit venue” for the World Cup following the alleged corruption. He said: ” I want to see David Cameron and [London Mayor] Boris Johnson saying this isn’t OK and offering Britain as an alternative venue. “Let’s put a serious offer on the table for the home of football – Britain – to host the 2022 World Cup. ”
Not to be left out of the media spotlight, and promoting a boycott of the World Cup prior to Blatter’s resignation, Andy Burnham, Labour leader hopeful, said ” I’ve long had my doubts about Russia holding the next World Cup … Now with all of this, I believe there is a pretty overwhelming case for England taking a stand and saying we should not participate in the next World Cup given the current appalling state of FIFA. ”
We were told that ‘world opinion’ was against Sepp Blatter staying on as the FIFA President but, just in case anyone should think that the western media take on this is shared around the world, here is an apt quote from the Hindustan Times explaining why they were sure that India was going to support Sepp Blatter’s fifth re-election as FIFA President;- “Blatter’s art of giving is likely to matter more than the allegations of corruption “. There are 209 voters within FIFA. UEFA (the European leading body) has 53, not all of which are anti-Blatter, and the US has one. Aside from those, you’ll struggle to find any that didn’t vote for Blatter, that is the real ‘world opinion’!
President Putin, acknowledging that this whole corruption investigation was nothing more than Russia-bashing and another attempt to deny Russia the chance to host the 2018 football showcase said: ” Our American counterparts, unfortunately, are using the same methods to reach their goals and illegally persecute people.” Comparing the case to those of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, he continued: ” I have no doubt that this is yet another evident attempt to derail Mr. Blatter’s re-election as FIFA president“. Vladimir Putin also explained legal protocol to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch saying that: ” The United States Attorney General has already stated that these officers of the FIFA executive committee have committed a crime, as though (the) prosecutor is unaware of the presumption of innocence… Only a court can find a person guilty or not guilty, and only after that can anyone say anything. ”
Other comments from the rest of the world include an editorial in China’s Xinhua which points to the US/UK position as one of pursuing ” geopolitical objectives” in the disguise of a probe into corruption and states further that ” We must not neglect the political background, the ‘coincidence’, the timing, and the basic logic of the US-led action on FIFA. After all, the US-Russian relations have fallen to a post-Cold War low following their conflicts in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine, and considering the US also has possible interests if 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting nations change due to the scandal of FIFA, one cannot rule out that US may capitalise on the anti-corruption against FIFA as a plan to kill two birds with one stone “.
The dividing line of voting on FIFA chief Sepp Blatter is similar, the Xinhua editorial continued, ” to that of the recent Victory Day parade in Russia … Associations from devel-oping countries and regions of Africa, Asia, and South America mainly supported Blatter, while those of developed nations and regions like Europe mostly stand by Blatter’s rival .”
So what happens now that Sepp Blatter has resigned? Will FIFA be strong enough or even willing to stand up to the professional corruptors or will they merely relinquish control over football to some totally unaccountable, likely US-controlled conglomerate? For those football fans who think that they live a life free of ‘politics’, open your eyes! This is imperialism – it has its own logic; and making football, better, more accessible, less corrupt does not figure in that logic. Maximum profits and maximum control will be the order of the day.
Those who worked so hard to undermine Blatter on behalf of US/UK imperialism are already raising their hands to signal their willingness to carry on working in FIFA to promote western ‘interests’. The former presidency candidate, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, jumped in straight away even though the majority of the FIFA delegates have so recently rejected him: ” I think this is the right move from Sepp Blatter and I think we have to look to the future. I am always there to serve football and I think that’s the most important thing and to do so much work to fix this organisation in a proper way. I am at the disposal of our national associations .”
At the same time, former Manchester United chief executive David Gill, who resigned as a FIFA executive committee member in protest at Blatter’s re-election stated: “Naturally, I fully welcome today’s news (Blatter’s resignation) as a major step forward for FIFA on the road to proper reform. As I announced following the election at FIFA congress, I simply could not countenance serving on the FIFA executive committee alongside Mr Blatter. I respect his decision but am pleased he is standing aside and by the clear determination for real change within FIFA. This in turn allows me to reconsider my position. Having yet to confirm formally my resignation, I am more than willing to play my part in helping to bring about a positive future for FIFA and to work with the many people within the organisation who are only committed to developing and promoting the game around the world .”
We await further developments with interest.