Sepp Blatter’s re-election

Sepp-BlatterThe arrest of seven FIFA officials in Zurich at the best of US lawmakers, two days before the football ruling body’s annual congress, casts a harsh light not so much on the way FIFA is run but on the assertion by the US of its right to police the world.

The manner and timing of the arrests eclipses the gravity of the corruption allegations that have been levelled against the seven officials concerned, indicted by the US Justice Department and arrested at a Zurich hotel by Swiss authorities working in cooperation with their US counterparts. In total fourteen individuals have been indicted on charges of corruption in connection with the investigation, with the seven arrested in Switzerland now facing extradition to the United States. None of the seven is a US citizen.

Putting this event into some sort of context, just imagine for a moment the international backlash if either Russia or China decided to organize the arrest of citizens of another country in a third country, without first taking the trouble to consult the appropriate authorities of the countries in which the individuals concerned are nationals and/or citizens. The resulting backlash would be off the scale, especially in the US, adding more fuel to the Russophobia and Sinophobia that is already prevalent there, as well as throughout the West among its allies.

The question a world interested in the right of national sovereignty, independence, respect, and international legality is entitled to ask is this: exactly where does this assertion of the right by the US to run its writ anywhere it sees fit stem from?

The answer of course is obvious. The astounding arrogance we have just witnessed on the part of the United States is a malign product of the unfettered power it has enjoyed and abused for too many years by now, evident in the chaos and crisis it has sown across a globe that has been plunged into a perennial cycle of conflict and instability.

Unsurprisingly, almost as soon as the US FIFA arrest operation was mounted, the call to have Russia stripped of hosting the 2018 World Cup grew to a crescendo. There were even calls to have it moved to England instead. How convenient.

The resulting re-election of Sepp Blatter as FIFA president at the congress, which continued regardless, came as a rebuke to a clear attempt to undermine both it and him, with the objective of bringing about an end to his leadership. This is not to assert that Blatter is completely without fault in the way the organization is run – indeed there may well be serious and legitimate questions in this regard – but this ‘stunt’, for there is no other way to describe it, was a crude and transparent attempt to seize control of one of the few international institutions that remains truly democratic and independent of control by the West.

Sepp Blatter may have many faults but kow-towing to the writ of the powerful nations within FIFA is not one of them. In fact the only thing the US and its friends in Europe have succeeded in doing is to solidify support around him as a symbol of resistance to their tremendous arrogance. For what we saw with the arrests in Zurich resembled less a demonstration of the long arm of US justice as an example of US imperialism.

Under Sepp Blatter’s stewardship, FIFA has made great strides in developing football throughout the developing world. This has taken place under football ruling body’s Goal Programme, which since its launch in 1998 has put in place modern pitches, training centres, youth academies, infrastructure, and equipment, thus providing the foundation upon which football has flowered across the southern hemisphere over the past two decades.

Blatter has played a key role in driving forward these efforts, which is why he’s earned the respect and loyalty of FIFA member associations throughout the developing world, and is why they refuse to participate in the campaign of demonization that has been waged against him over the past few years, What ‘they’ dismiss as patronage, others call the redistribution of resources and funds from the developed nations to the undeveloped nations, providing the latter with the ability to compete on the international stage. Even more important is how it has kept alive the dream in the hearts of millions of impoverished kids of a route out of poverty for them and their families via football.

The growing controversy over the decision to grant Qatar the privilege of hosting the 2022 World Cup cannot be denied, giving rise to legitimate questions over the bidding process and procedures. The abuse of migrant labour, employed on the construction of stadia and infrastructure for the 2022 tournament, is a matter of deep concern and unless strong action is taken by FIFA in response will undeniably leave a stain on the organization and international football. But here the West has little credibility also. Qatar, along with the other Gulf States, has long been guilty of such human rights abuses, while remaining close allies of the US, Britain, and France. The word for this state of affairs is hypocrisy.

What took place in Zurich was an attempt to seize the leadership of FIFA. It was an attempt driven less by justice and more by geopolitics.

Sadly for them, however, it failed. Sepp Blatter was re-elected. In the end democracy won.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

85 comments on “Sepp Blatter’s re-election

  1. Matty on said:

    Is this serious? I suppose Havelange, Warner, Grondono and all the other crooks were anti-imperialist as well? They certainly claimed to be but at the same they are all a bunch of right-wingers eg Grondono with his anti-semitic rants.

  2. Matt2 on said:

    Matty,

    Yes sadly they’re serious. I think the hard left may have misjudged the audience with this one.

  3. Andy Newman on said:

    I don’t have a dog in this fight.

    I think John overstates the case about Sepp Blatter’s alleged virtues, but does have a point about US claims over jurisdiction to arrest foreign nationals in another country.

    However, what is not yet clear to me is whether the alleged crimes took place within US jurisdiction, in which case the sovereignty issue is resolved

  4. Sam64 on said:

    I quite enjoyed this exercise in double speak John, thank you very much for that – not that it substantively moves the debate any further than that we had on Friday. Remember the issues raised of patronage and, ahem, ‘redistribution’ in relation to Qatar? The mental gymnastics involved reminds me a little of Tony Soprano’s rationalisation of the mafia as a quasi socialist, Italian immigrant self-help organisation in the face of the racism of American society – except the New Jersey mob boss was a little more convincing.

    I never had you down at a master at understatement john, but these are classics:

    ‘This is not to assert that Blatter is completely without fault in the way the organization is run – indeed there may well be serious and legitimate questions in this regard’. That genuinely had me chuckling.

    ‘Sepp Blatter may have many faults’. Well yes, he said that in his swaggering victory speech on Friday night. So did his daughter did yesterday.

    And how substituting about this one:

    ‘Blatter has played a key role in driving forward these efforts, which is why he’s earned the respect and loyalty of FIFA member associations throughout the developing world, and is why they refuse to participate in the campaign of demonization that has been waged against him over the past few years’.
    For:
    ‘Blatter has played a key role in lavishing luxury villas, Rolexes and top end Mercs upon national football officials across the world, which is why he’s earned the respect and loyalty of FIFA member associations throughout the developing world, and is why they refuse to participate in the campaign of demonization that has been waged against him over the past few years’.

    As for the point that Andy raises above about where the alleged crimes of those arrested FIFA officials took place, well I didn’t go through all the coverage over the w/e, but I gather that many of the financial scams, money laundering, dodgy investments took place in the US – with a significant role played by banks in the British Virgin and Cayman Islands. So presumably you’ll be comfortable with banging these men to rights in America?

  5. Andy,

    Some of the bungs were made in USD via US banks and involved US citizens. That’s enough right there for the DOJ to get involved.

    To the chap who mentioned the Tony Soprano comparison – interesting to note that the statutes being used by the American investigators (RICO) were originally designed to take down the NY mafia families. And they have been stunningly successful at this – the mob is a shadow of it’s former self thank god.

    I can’t stress this highly enough — Blatter and his cronies are totally, totally, screwed. Done. Finished. Yer standard practice for a RICO case is to nab a bunch of mid-rankers, ensure they are fully aware that they are looking at least 20 years in an American dungeon then see who flips first and follow those leads till you nab the bosses. Which appears to be exactly what they’ve done to Chuck Blazer and the sons of the awful, awful, awful Jack Warner. And gangsters go to considerable lengths to hide their activities (remember Tonys ‘I work in Waste Management’ bullshit) unlike Fifa who are blatant and stupid in their corruption.

    RICO cases have something like a 93% conviction rate, and nearly all of the remaining 7% were acquitted due to technicalities. Oh, and they don’t give a shit, not in the slightest, if the defendant is elderly.

    Not going to happen overnight mind – big cases aren’t exactly known for moving at warp speed – but fully expect to see Blatter getting nicked at some point. It’s a case of When rather than If. Whether the Swiss give him over is another thing — they’ve got their own investigation going as well remember.

  6. John on said:

    Wow, the inference that the US Justice Department has the right to reach across the world and obtain the arrest of citizens of other countries without going through the govts and authorities of said countries reminds me of Frantz Fanon’s words, ““Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.”

    The colonization of a country is one thing, the colonization of the mind another.

    Re Qatar, there is no doubt that it was a travesty to grant this kelptocracy the 2022 World Cup, but as the article points out the hypocrisy here is off the scale, given our own govt’s close ties to this and the other Gulf monarchies. Interesting that there’s a distinct lack of outrage expressed over that.

    Anyway, what do those pesky Africans know? These people can’t be trusted with democracy. God meant them to be hewers of wood and drawers of water. Nothing more and nothing less.

  7. Andy Newman on said:

    John: the inference that the US Justice Department has the right to reach across the world and obtain the arrest of citizens of other countries without going through the govts and authorities of said countries

    I don’t think that is so remarkable John.

    If a crime has been committed in the USA, and the alleged perpetrator is in a third country with an extradition treaty to the USA, then hey can arrest them.

    This principle is not dissimilar to the attempt by Spain to extradite President Pinochet from Britain

  8. John on said:

    Andy Newman: If a crime has been committed in the USA, and the alleged perpetrator is in a third country with an extradition treaty to the USA, then hey can arrest them.

    But as we have debated on here time and again – specifically with regard to Gary McKinnon – those extradition treaties are weighted in favour of the requirements of US, reflective of US inluence and power. This context cannot be abstracted.

    Without producing any evidence beforehand anyone can be scooped up and extradited to the US, where they are held in a notoriously inhumane prison system for an indeterminate period before any trial takes place.

    How difficult do you imagine it is for an African or Caribbean country to extradite a US citizen to their country of face criminal proceedings?

    This not a product of justice, it is a product of power and imperialism.

  9. Karl Stewart on said:

    I’m surprised by some of the reactions to John’s excellent article.

    The USA is the world’s foremost criminal state, it was founded on slavery and genocide and has spent its whole history oppressing people the world over, overthrowing governments it disapproves of, invading other nations when it can’t overthrow their governments from outside, and the only nation that has ever used the atomic bomb.

    This is the state that is now making a naked power grab to take control of world football.

    That it should always be staunchly opposed on principle should be ABC stuff for anyone on the left.

    Once again, excellent piece John.

  10. Sam64 on said:

    Dan,

    ‘I can’t stress this highly enough — Blatter and his cronies are totally, totally, screwed. Done. Finished’.

    Not so sure about this. Notwithstanding your confidence that those nabbed on Friday will sing like birds and bring down Blatter and his whole FIFA outfit, your comments do appear a little US centric. Blatter seems to have the support for now of influential football associations even within Europe: France and Spain and, I think, Italy. It’s only really Northern European football associations that are arrayed against him. And I wasn’t making here a direct comparison above between Tony Soprano and Sepp Blatter (although there is a Mafia – FIFA parallel), but John’s attempt to rationalise FIFA corruption in his article above.

  11. Sam,

    Sure, Blatter pissed the election, but they’re only a bunch of Football executives! The Yanks won’t give a hoot if, say, the Zambian FA head thinks Sepp is a top bloke,

    RE: The mafia – yeah wasn’t trying to drawn a 1:1 comparison! Blatter might be a odious little goblin but he’s never, to my knowledge, had Joey Tomatos whack Tony Ginelli behind the back of a deli. But RICO is the heavy artillery of legal statues – the fact that they invoked it at all means they’re going after the whole lot. A lot will depend on how the extradition plays out (completely different case obvs, but the Swiss didn’t hand over noted director and kiddie fiddler Roman Polanski), as they have a parallel investigation going on.

    And Fifa have made it so easy for them. Jack Warner was literally handing out literal brown bags full of actual cash!

    Mebbe I’m wrong on this, but I’ll have a tenner that says the Americans end up doing the whole organisation.

  12. John: But as we have debated on here time and again – specifically with regard to Gary McKinnon – those extradition treaties are weighted in favour of the requirements of US, reflective of US inluence and power.

    Well as you know, I was in favour of the extradiction of Gary McKinnon, and I deplore the exercise where he sought to undermine the rule of law through a media campaign, that included belittling the nature of his serious crime

  13. This is the state that is now making a naked power grab to take control of world football.

    Americans, by and large, don’t care about football in the slightest.

  14. John on said:

    Dan: Americans, by and large, don’t care about football in the slightest.

    You miss the point. It’s not about football per se, it’s about the exercise of soft power, key to the projection of cultural, political, and economic power. In the US football/soccer is the largest growth sport, the most popular played at kindergarten level by boys and girls.

    It is also the biggest sport in the world and enjoys universal influence. Of course the Americans are interested in football and, with it, FIFA, the international body that controls the sport.

  15. Actually come to think of it, once they get finished with FIFA I hope they do over the IOC next, that’s another cesspit of corruption.

    Boxing too.

  16. Karl Stewart on said:

    Dan,

    They do like football in the US and its popularity is growing fast. Their team got further than ours did in Brazil last summer and the matches were watched by huge audiences over there.

    The US women’s team already is and has been for some time among the world’s best.

    Also, it’s grown at club level, which has raised the overall quality of their domestic game, for ewxample, there are several US players now playing at English clubs.

    Football’s always been very big among the USA’s Latin-American population, and it’s fast-growing among the USA’s established African-American and European-American communities.

    But that really isn’t the main reason for the US ruling class’s interest here – it’s the MONEY!

    What’s the country of origin of the World Cup’s two largest corporate sponsors? (MacDonalds and Coca-cola).

    They want full control of the World Cup because they want full control of the enormous profits.

  17. Pingback: Sepp Blatter resigns as world football boss | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  18. Myron Weldnick on said:

    “Wow, the inference that the US Justice Department has the right to reach across the world and obtain the arrest of citizens of other countries without going through the govts and authorities of said countries”

    But they DO ‘go through the the govts and authorities’ of other countries. The Swiss authorities made the arrests. All governments with extradition treaties have such mutual rights. Extradition processes happen all the time.

    The DOJ would have co-ordinated and informed the Swiss authorities as to the nature of the arrest requests and the Swiss authorities (already railing from serious banking scandals mind you) would have made a judgement based on that information.

    Disparate extradition powers is another matter, but this process is nothing unusual.

    Otherwise your defence of a private quasi-supra national ultra-capitalist organisation is frankly mind boggling.

  19. Myron Weldnick on said:

    Karl Stewart:
    Dan,

    They want full control of the World Cup because they want full control of the enormous profits.

    You clearly are very unaware of the motivations of the DoJ. But this is full-on conspiracy talk. The “US” has no interest in securing FIFAs profits for ‘itself’.

  20. Matt2 on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    I’m surprised by some of the reactions to John’s excellent article.

    I’m surprised too, a member of the far left has just tried to defend millionaire elites who have been pilfering from the sport of the working classes for years and rubbish got published.

    This is the state that is now making a naked power grab to take control of world football.

    Which is going the way of Sterling Hayden’s ‘precious bodily fluids’ speech

  21. P Spence on said:

    Listening to Radio 5 Live you would think that Blatter was some international gangster obviously guilty in the face of World public opinion (read as determined by us in the so called First World). Passing mention is made to the support he had from Africa and Asia but no voice is interviewed from that quarter;no, we just get one virulent and self righteous UK and US commentator after another. It’s, dare I say it, an imperialist kickback against the developing nations who valued Blatter’s support over decades and had diminished the dominance of the old footballing world.

  22. John on said:

    Myron Weldnick: Disparate extradition powers is another matter, but this process is nothing unusual.

    Yes, for you and others it may be, but in essence it is the ONLY matter in this regard. The idea that the US Department of Justice is concerned with justice is hard to accept, given the daily and monumental injustice of every US institution you care to name.

  23. Myron Weldnick on said:

    P Spence:
    Listening to Radio 5 Live you would think that Blatter was some international gangster obviously guilty in the face of World public opinion (read as determined by us in the so called First World). Passing mention is made to the support he had from Africa and Asia but no voice is interviewed from that quarter;no, we just get one virulent and self righteous UK and US commentator after another. It’s, dare I say it, an imperialist kickback against the developing nations who valued Blatter’s support over decades and had diminished the dominance of the old footballing world.

    That’s quite a statement. Did you know that the smallest football nations share in the profits of the World Cup equally with the largest nations? So the US gets the same as say, Nepal.

    Yet, not a single nation is complaining about this.

    Would it truly and honestly surprise you if there was large scale corruption within the African or Asian sectors? Is it truly shocking to think that the vast amounts received by African, Asian or Caribbean FAs are to some extent (large or small) mismanaged and such funds do not trickle down to those who truly need it rather than the relevant elites?

    Had it not occurred to you perhaps that Blatter’s support in some of these quarters was a result of the kleptocratic nature of these organisations? That it is in fact elites that own and control the receipt and distribution of funds in said nations?

    Does the case of Blazer, the Warner sons, the Valcke letter today not trigger anything in you other than a dogmatic response?

    You talk as if all these FAs somehow represent the will of those nations, when of course the reality is very far from that. The notion that developing nations actually truly benefit from the massive profits to the extent you assume is at best naive. Look a the recent Brazilian world cup and the resistance there – and now of course the terrible legacy and cost of said event.

  24. Andy H on said:

    Myron Weldnick:

    Otherwise your defence of a private quasi-supra national ultra-capitalist organisation is frankly mind boggling.

    Nailed it. If this article doesn’t convince you of the terrible “my enemies enemy is my friend” tendency that seems to infect the left all too often nothing will.

    The FIFA kleptocracy as a standard bearer of anti imperialism? What bizarre planet do you live on?

  25. Mick on said:

    Need to rid of that “one country one vote” FIFA nonsense
    What next votes for women!
    World Cup for England… 19666………Land of… God save… No surrender

  26. What an unfortunate end to a stellar career.

    Best wishes for the future Mr Blatter.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Satan, Prince of Darkness

  27. John on said:

    Myron Weldnick: Did you know that the smallest football nations share in the profits of the World Cup equally with the largest nations? So the US gets the same as say, Nepal.

    Which ‘they’ can’t stand. How dare those pesky colonials enjoy parity of esteem when it comes to doling out the dosh.

    Blatter, whatever you think of him, played a key role in developing the game throughout the Global South. This is simply a fact.

  28. Let us celebrate with this immortal classic.

    https://lockerdome.com/footballtweet/5132853828663570

    Turns out Valke, the FIFA number two, was Sepps bagman. DOJ are actively investigating him and they’ll be making a statement tomorrow.

    Reckon Bladders currently scribbling in his notebook ‘List of countries with no extradition treaty with the USA, in descending order of preference’.

  29. Karl Stewart on said:

    Myron Weldnick: You clearly are very unaware of the motivations of the DoJ. But this is full-on conspiracy talk. The “US” has no interest in securing FIFAs profits for ‘itself’.

    I can’t quite understand how my pointing out that the FBI and the US Department of Justice are both organs of the US state equates to “full-on conspiracy talk”?

    They are indeed both organs of the US state. It’s a simple statement of fact to say so.

    As to my “awareness of the motivations” of the US state, these motivations are ones of power and/or full control of profits – as ever.

    Are you making the case that the US state is motivated by the pursuit of justice? Of equality? Or of a desire to end all corruption?

    If so, this would be a first, in that states history.

    One doesn’t need to be a conspiracist to dismiss such naiive notions. There’s no “grassy knoll” or “magic bullet theory” here.

    One only needs to look at everything the US state has ever done throughout its history to see that it is only ever “motivated” by racism, power, control and the pursuit of profit.

    And this is clearly and self-evidently the US state’s “motivation” here.

    There simply is no other logical explanation for its actions here.

    (And incidentally, if there are any conspiracy theorists reading this, Oswald was guilty and acted alone)

  30. Andy H: If this article doesn’t convince you of the terrible “my enemies enemy is my friend” tendency that seems to infect the left all too often nothing will.

    Is that as big a problem as the tendency for liberals to courageously agree with whatever cause currently matches US state department interests?

  31. John: The idea that the US Department of Justice is concerned with justice is hard to accept, given the daily and monumental injustice of every US institution you care to name.

    Well there is a paradox, but the nature of paradox is that seemingly contradictory aspects can be contained within one reality.

    The legal system of the United States of America is firmly founded upon the principle of the rule of law and constitutionality. However, the liberal principle of individual citizens having nominal equality of legal rights is compromised by the actual disparity of influence and privilaged access to the law which grossly unequal wealth and economic power can bring. Similarly the boadly constitional foundation of the US government system is susceptible to the influence of wealth power, and the vested institutional interests of not only corporations, but the US state itself.

  32. John: latter, whatever you think of him, played a key role in developing the game throughout the Global South. This is simply a fact.

    I think that is right.

    Myron Weldnick: The notion that developing nations actually truly benefit from the massive profits [is incorrect]

    That also contains an element of truth

    the nature of paradox is that seemingly contradictory aspects can be contained within one reality.

  33. Isn’t it possible to be hostile to both a superpower like the US projecting its power round the world and flagrantly corrupt money-pumps like the main international sporting bodies? This apparent need to “take sides” is just weird.

  34. Francis King: Isn’t it possible to be hostile to both a superpower like the US projecting its power round the world and flagrantly corrupt money-pumps like the main international sporting bodies?

    I would have thought so.

    Quite apart from anything else, what seems to have been blatant corruption relating to the Qatar bid tarnishes the whole ethic of sport

  35. anonymous on said:

    The Americans are far harder on high level white collar crime than we are, both in terms of how they are prosecuted and how they are sentenced.

    I believe it’s because the ruling narrative is that capitalism is without fault and that any failings in the system are due to individual criminality, so when things go wrong indivuals get hammered.

  36. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman: The legal system of the United States of America is firmly founded upon the principle of the rule of law and constitutionality

    …for those of north European origin only.

  37. Andy Newman on said:

    Karl Stewart: …for those of north European origin only.

    Well clearly not.

    I would refer you to the debates that engulfed the United States throughout the early nineteenth century, which were very highly exercised on both sides about the constitutionality and the legality of both slavery and the expropriation of indiginous land.

    It is characteristic that the cataclysmic war that ended slavery was fought over the breakdown of constitutional compromise and ostensibly over the technical legal issues of whether states could secede.

    Respect for he rule of law, and paradoxically an astounding propensity for settling issues using violence have been the halmarks of the USA since the days of Washington’s Continental Army

  38. John on said:

    Andy Newman: Respect for he rule of law, and paradoxically an astounding propensity for settling issues using violence have been the halmarks of the USA since the days of Washington’s Continental Army

    Well, yes, as you rightly pointed out earlier, the word is ‘paradox’.

    The role of wealth and power in wielding an overweening influence over the law – if not in its letter, certainly and inarguably in its application – in as much as you receive the best justice you can afford in the US, no more and no less, is abstracted in such a rendering of its constitution and institutions.

    An legalistic/pro forma argument in favour of a state’s constitution and justice system is one dimensional and in its utilisation is an argument in favour of the status quo. For progressives it’s the impact of said constutiton and legal system when it comes to upholding existing property and socio-economic relations that count. The culture of racism that runs through every US institution, and has done since its creation up to the present day, describes a constitution and justice system which, rather than an arbiter of equality and civilization, is in truth more akin to an instrument of oppression and barbarism.

  39. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman,
    If you really think that, then I strongly recommend you read a book which I read a couple of months ago called “Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee” written by Dee Brown (ISBN 0-03-085322-2).

    The US state made and broke hundreds of treaties with the American people, showing absolutely zero respect even for their own laws, rules and regulations when dealing with non-European people.

    Have a read of the book Andy – it’ll make you weep. Seriously, it’s unbelievable what the American people suffered from the European settlers.

  40. Benjamin Mackie on said:

    You could say FIFA is an alternative corrupt empire that employs slaves (in Qatar). Yes, an alternative to the US dominated empire. But does that mean I support it and its greedy top brass? Call me a libertarian socialist if you want, but I say no. Pity that SU does.

  41. John on said:

    Benjamin Mackie: ou could say FIFA is an alternative corrupt empire that employs slaves (in Qatar). Yes, an alternative to the US dominated empire.

    This is, of course, daft. The article states quite clearly that the Qatari bid should be revisted in light of the appalling abuse of human rights taking place there. It also points to the hypocrisy involved, given that Qatari and other Gulf monarchies are close allies of the West.

    But here’s the thing that both you and most on here are probably ignorant of in this regard. Sepp Blatter voted against Qatar being awarded the 2022 World Cup, while Michel Platini (head of UEFA) voted in favour.

    Presumably, on this basis, we can look forward to an FBI investigation into Platini and UEFA.

  42. Benjamin Mackie on said:

    John,

    Proper labour standards – stipulating proper wages and decent working conditions – should be part of every bid for the World Cup. That’s a collective failure of FIFA.

  43. Andy H on said:

    Andy Newman: Is that as big a problem as the tendency for liberals to courageously agree with whatever cause currently matches US state department interests?

    Actually I think it’s a much greater issue – large parts of the left seem entirely unable to deal with the contradictions that you and others mentioned in comments above and treat so many things as black and white. FIFA looks like it may be the next in a long and inglorious line.

  44. Sam64 on said:

    Given Jack Warner’s allegations overnight, the title of John’s article should perhaps be amended: ‘The Trinidad election of 2010 was a victory for FIFA’.

  45. John on said:

    Sam64,

    Don’t worry Sam, I’m sure your Junior G-Man badge is in the post. You can add it to your US Marine outfit and the John McCain action man you’ve got sitting on your dressing table.

  46. John on said:

    Andy H: large parts of the left seem entirely unable to deal with the contradictions that you and others mentioned in comments above

    What is so difficult to understand about the way this investigation and arrests have been handled feeding a growing polarization between Washington and its allies and the rest of the world, deemed of lesser status and worth?

    You think the African and Caribbean nations are unworthy of democracy or a democratic vote? You think their cultures and societies are inherently corrupt and ours are not?

    This is Western liberalism, nothing more, and involves all the analysis of being able to read the latest US State or Justice Dept press release.

  47. Sam64 on said:

    John,

    Eh?

    I had to google ‘Junior G-Man badge’ to find out what one is. No doubt you drew on your knowledge of all things American, based on spending quite a few years over there from what you’ve said, for this little crack. Quite what an ‘American boys club and popular culture phenomenon during the late 1930s and early 1940s that began with a radio program and culminated with films featuring the Dead End Kids’ (Wiki), has got to do with FIFA’s corruption and chicanery extending to Caribbean elections in the 21st Century is open to question.

  48. John on said:

    Sam64: I had to google ‘Junior G-Man badge’ to find out what one is

    Your street cred just took a nosedive 🙂

  49. Matty on said:

    Venezuela’s FA headquarters have been raided as part of the investigation, according to Reuters: “Military intelligence raided the headquarters of the FVF on Wednesday as part of a corruption investigation following the arrest of its former president Rafael Esquivel in Switzerland.”

    More details
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/06/04/uk-soccer-fifa-venezuela-idUKKBN0OK06B20150604

    Obviously the Venezuelans are just another load of stooges of the US Empire. Is that right John?

  50. Sam64 on said:

    John,

    Only on the right side of Republican Street. How about one of these for you, strangley homoerotic?

    Enough already!

  51. John on said:

    Matty: Obviously the Venezuelans are just another load of stooges of the US Empire. Is that right John?

    They’ve gone bat-shit crazy arresting the world. Biggest laugh yet was US Attorney General Loretta Lynch claiming that “corruption will not be tolerated within the US financial system.”

    What a hoot.

  52. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya,

    Ahh! Vanya I see now. The last sentence of the article is interesting. The Morning Star is pro-FC Utd. Hence your change of politics from pseudo Trot to Tankie. 🙂

  53. Vanya on said:

    #60 Thanks John. I do like to think I was always a pseudo Trot. Much more comforting than the idea of being a real one.

    On the other hand, you should see the nice T34 I’ve got parked outside my flat. Surprised the housing haven’t been on to me about it 🙂

  54. Vanya on said:

    # 58 Corruption is obviously a major feature of finance capital (as it is potentially within any system where the powerful have access to huge sums of money that they can divert to themselves and their mates).

    However, there is no contradiction between certain elements within that system taking the view that corruption is a threat to that system and making huge elements to root it out on the one hand, and other elements being far more concerned with their own narrow interests than with the long term survival of the system.

    And clearly there is plenty of room for interpenetration between the two.

  55. John on said:

    Vanya: However, there is no contradiction between certain elements within that system taking the view that corruption is a threat to that system and making huge elements to root it out on the one hand, and other elements being far more concerned with their own narrow interests than with the long term survival of the system.

    Well said. Blatter’s corruption – and we’ve yet to find out what it involved and to what extent – is one thing, but the hypocrisy of those who assert the right to root out corruption is another.
    Capitalism and corruption are two sides of the same coin.

  56. Andy H on said:

    John: What is so difficult to understand about the way this investigation and arrests have been handled feeding a growing polarization between Washington and its allies and the rest of the world, deemed of lesser status and worth?

    You think the African and Caribbean nations are unworthy of democracy or a democratic vote? You think their cultures and societies are inherently corrupt and ours are not?

    This is Western liberalism, nothing more, and involves all the analysis of being able to read the latest US State or Justice Dept press release.

    Washington – nasty imperialists

    FIFA – nasty corrupt multinational. Any idea of them representing anyone other than the elites running football is laughable. Smaller nations have been done a huge disservice by FIFA allowing this bunch of kleptocrats to give the pretence of representing them.

    Have we so soon forgotten the demands made of host countries to change their laws to suit their sponsors, for example in Brazil with alcohol in stadia, or in South Africa with the special world cup courts completely bypassing normal justice procedures. Frankly how anyone can support this bunch is beyond me.

    And that is my point. You can criticise FIFA without supporting what the USA get up to – a plague on both their houses. John Wight has (once again) confused being an enemy of Washington with being a friend of the people. FIFA is an enemy of both.

  57. John on said:

    Andy H: You can criticise FIFA without supporting what the USA get up to – a plague on both their houses. John Wight has (once again) confused being an enemy of Washington with being a friend of the people. FIFA is an enemy of both.

    There no confusion here. I’m quite clear, as I write in the article: “This is not to assert that Blatter is completely without fault in the way the organization is run – indeed there may well be serious and legitimate questions in this regard.”

    But for this is clearly not enough. Your ire is focused not on the US – given your flippant remark re ‘US imperialism’ – it’s on the leadership (or former leadership) of one international institution, without providing any context to what’s taking place and without even one syllable devoted to the hypocrisy involved in the US Justice Dept making a huge fanfare about tackling corruption within FIFA while in Wall Street it’s back to business as usual.

    You may accept the US as the world’s policeman, I don’t and never will. I think that’s the difference between us.

  58. Vanya on said:

    #60 Also I thought I’d mention that I used the FC United friendly as an opportunity to wear my “Alive and Kicking” t-shirt for the first time since that season when King Eric took direct action at Selhurst Park.

    20 years old and still no moth-holes.

  59. Andy H on said:

    John: There no confusion here. I’m quite clear, as I write in the article: “This is not to assert that Blatter is completely without fault in the way the organization is run – indeed there may well be serious and legitimate questions in this regard.”

    But for this is clearly not enough. Your ire is focused not on the US – given your flippant remark re ‘US imperialism’ – it’s on the leadership (or former leadership) of one international institution, without providing any context to what’s taking place and without even one syllable devoted to the hypocrisy involved in the US Justice Dept making a huge fanfare about tackling corruption within FIFA while in Wall Street it’s back to business as usual.

    You may accept the US as the world’s policeman, I don’t and never will. I think that’s the difference between us.

    True, I didn’t write about the US actions and could have done. I suspect its because I read too many articles that feel it necessary to use lengthy preamble to set out in detail their political views on the wider world whether they are relevant or not, rather than just getting to the point. Not suggesting at all that your article does this, but maybe I’m brief to a fault and don’t see the need to chuck in the usual denunciations before getting on with my point. Shall have a think about that next time.

    Still think FIFA are a bunch of crooks who deserve no praise at all from socialists though 🙂

  60. jack on said:

    The idea that the response to US hypocrisy over corruption is to claim that Blatter is busy redistributing wealth to the poor is proof, if any were needed, that Stalinist politics damages your brain quicker than a career in boxing. Blatter and the other parasites that run international football have only ever redistributed wealth in one direction and it wasn’t to the poor, as those demonstrating against the World Cup circus in Brazil understood better than idiots like John Wight.

  61. John on said:

    jack: Blatter and the other parasites that run international football have only ever redistributed wealth in one direction and it wasn’t to the poor,

    This is refuted by Africans themselves, of course. Here, for example:

    An illustrative example is the GOAL assistance programme established in 1999 to fund football development projects.

    Most of the hundreds of millions of dollars disbursed by the programme have gone to resource-poor countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. In these regions, the money paid for the construction of modern new headquarters for national associations and a number of pitches.

    These are the kinds of financial mechanisms that lubricated the gears of FIFA-Africa relations.

    But loyalty to Blatter in Africa has also emotional roots: a collective affirmation of the extent to which Africans at FIFA have succeeded in making the world body their own.

    Unlike at the UN (especially the Security Council) and the International Monetary Fund, Africans are kingmakers at Fifa. They wield real power, shape policy, and gain wealth and status on a global scale thanks to the sport’s planetary popularity.

    http://mg.co.za/article/2015-06-04-fifa-blatter-and-africa-a-special-relationship/

  62. Sam64 on said:

    A couple of points here, well 3:

    1) It isn’t the case that US justice system (which isn’t an undifferentiated whole in relation to financial illegality, there are differences in approach between the Justice Dept and the Securities Commission) turns a blind eye to all forms of banking corruption, and is therefore 100 per cent hypocritical and 100 per cent political in going after FIFA, as this article indicates. Moreover, this point isn’t just true in relation to fines. Remember Allen Stanford, the Texan billionaire who used, amongst other means, 20-20 cricket matches in the Caribbean to lauder drugs monies? He’s now serving 110 years in the slammer.

    Making these points – and I’m making them because they’re true – is compatible with knowing full well 1) the US justice system, as all legal systems, is fundamentally skewed in favour of the rich and powerful, class and nation state; 2) there surely is a political motive in the US Justice Dept going after FIFA and clearly this reflects American imperialism, the world’s cop etc. The reason why some of us don’t make these sort of points in every comment is because they should, for socialists on a socialist blog, go without saying.

    2) The evidence of the success of FIFA Goal Programme actually resulting in investment in football facilities in developing countries seems considerably more mixed than the article John quotes from above, judging from an overview in last Friday’s Guardian. On this, wouldn’t the $10 million bribe of the SA FA for the 2010 WC have been better spent on football in townships in Soweto etc? Come to that, I wonder where the £3 million paid to the Irish FA to call off its legal action over Thierry Henry’s handball went to? I doubt it was new pitches in Dublin housing estates or West coast villages.

    3) Again, it should go without saying that those of us who are glad to see FIFA’s empire of corruption come crashing down, are sickened by the likes of The Scum to bang the drum for England to be awarded the WC 2018.

  63. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya:
    #60 Thanks John. I do like to think I was always a pseudo Trot. Much more comforting than the idea of being a real one.

    On the other hand, you should see the nice T34 I’ve got parked outside my flat. Surprised the housing haven’t been on to me about it :)

    Do I get a ride?

  64. John on said:

    Sam64: A couple of points here, well 3:

    Some good points there, Sam. The clamour for Blatter’s head here in the West is cause for a more considered approach to me.

    I think he’s being used as a lightening rod to distract from a much more malign agenda on the part of the big nations within FIFA. I don’t think he’s Che Guevera, but neither is FIFA a socialist organisation or a cooperative one. It is capitalist through and through, its objective to generate income and profit from the global popularity and reach of the beautiful game.

    In this regard it’s no different than the FA or any other football association. Certainly there needs to be reform and transparency and more accountability. I would not argue otherwise. But I still feel strongly that this is less about corruption and more about power – soft power – which I think the Star piece and this morning’s Guardian piece set out quite well.

    I do admit, in light of recent events, that the title of my piece was a tad unfortunate, giving the impression of wholehearted support for Sepp Blatter. It wasn’t meant that way. It was meant in support of the organisation’s existing democratic structures, in which the poorer nations enjoy complete parity with their richer counterparts.

    But as they say, a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, else what’s a heaven for.

  65. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya:
    #60 Also I thought I’d mention that I used the FC United friendly as an opportunity to wear my “Alive and Kicking” t-shirt for the first time since that season when King Eric took direct action at Selhurst Park.

    20 years old and still no moth-holes.

    Well done Vanya!

  66. John Grimshaw on said:

    Sam64: Come to that, I wonder where the £3 million paid to the Irish FA to call off its legal action over Thierry Henry’s handball went to? I doubt it was new pitches in Dublin housing estates or West coast villages.

    The editor of the Irish Republic Fc fanzine said this am that the money couldn’t be accounted for in any real sense. The managers of the national team claim it was added to the cost of the new stadium, but it doesn’t appear anywhere, so it could’ve have easily gone in someone’s back pocket.

  67. Sam64 on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    Not surprised to hear that. I heard that Irish FA said it was used to support a loan for stadia construction – it was formally that wasn’t it: a loan that was then written off. In other words it was a bribe, though presumably the official spin is that it was ‘an out of court settlement’ etc?

    Much, not all, of the media emphasis is on the principal major FIFA crooks involved. I suspect the story of £3 million from FIFA to the Irish FA would reveal a microcosm of a global pattern: a half secret, half everybody knew but kept quiet about it and carried on even after 2008, web of laid investments in complex financial packages for a single show piece stadium (the Aviva Stadium?), cooked up between football officials, financiers, planning officers in Dublin, possibly national politicians, construction execs and so on. All of them, in different ways and extents, on the take. At the same time, those who love the game at the grassroots, forced to play on poorly maintained pitches, at overpriced private 5 a side centres etc.

    There’s a line in The Wire about what you find if you follow the money, sort of relates – point being that investigators tend not to do so because the shit goes all the way to the top.

  68. John on said:

    Sam64: those who love the game at the grassroots, forced to play on poorly maintained pitches, at overpriced private 5 a side centres etc.

    Is this FIFA’s remit though? Where does local govt and council obligations to provide pitches and facilities kick-in? I’m asking. I’m just not sure what FIFA’s responsibilities are when it comes to this.

  69. Sam64 on said:

    John,

    No, obviously I’m not blaming FIFA for everything bad in the state of the game – although I would think that part of their mission statement does relate to grassroots football etc. If you look at, say, the chronic problems with the state of pitches for amateur and junior football in a city like Liverpool (a city that produces more professionals than any other part of the UK, but I’m sure the point could be made about Salford, Newcastle etc), the blame should be levelled at the mega rich Premier League’s lack of investment in the game (despite vaunted claims to the contrary) and Tory austerity of local government.

    My point about FIFA, the £3 million and the Irish FA is that one bribe surely illustrates what is happening in the globe more widely – and is indicative of capitalism and sport more widely.

  70. Excellent article – a refreshing change from the venomous racist garbage spewed out by most of the media.

    Sadly predictable responses from Sam64 and other usual suspects though.

    In broad terms, “anti-corruption” campaigns tend to be a tactic of the right and the left should have no truck with them.

  71. Sam64 on said:

    Zaid,

    Well you come across some whoppers on SU don’t you, but 83 must be up there in the pantheon of silliest ever comments.

    Try squaring this: ‘In broad terms, “anti-corruption” campaigns tend to be a tactic of the right and the left should have no truck with them’.

    With this (not left but liberal investigative journalism): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-33039014

    Meanwhile for any serious person with an interest in the relationship between capitalism, crime and corruption, this new book looks interesting, recently reviewed by Paul Mason in Guardian Comment.

  72. Matty on said:

    Zaid,

    In Colombia, I remember the FARC eulogising Simon Bolivar for his support of the death penalty for the corrupt.