The Farce from Zurich was so grotesque that at least it has revealed to the world the venal, cronyised, incompetent and indeed corrupt way that FIFA is run. This may lead to pressure for a change, but these practically-unaccountable multi-billion international organisations are so powerful that I wouldn’t bet on it, especially as the courage is lacking to make a stand AND of course these people know how to divide and rule – as well as give subtle inducements to toe the line.
I have like most objective observers plenty to criticize, but first let’s prick the myth of “sour grapes”. At one level I couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss where the World Cup is held. Everyone knows that football long ago sold its soul to money; you only have to look at the British Premier League, where success can now be bought by a handful of unimaginably-rich oligarchs so that the concept of “a level playing-field” and the notion of “sport” have long gone. And sadly, in most World Cups patriotism often spills over into a degree of cynical nationalism, with gruesome results; I watched the Dutch performance at the last World Cup in stunned disbelief.
No, it’s not England “losing out” that bothers me, but the way it was all handled. The whole process was a complete and utter disgrace for all sorts of reasons:
- What the British media did or didn’t do should have had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the decision. The media in Britain may often pander to the lowest taste, some news outlets may be more or less controlled by individuals (Rupert Murdoch for a start) but the number of news sources in Britain is so large and varied that people can take their pick for news and make their own minds up about the reliability of such and such a source. This is what is quaintly known (and some FIFA members are clearly challenged by this concept) as “a free press”. The problem is that half the FIFA voters are used to their own governments manipulating the media and have no idea what this expression means. The FA had absolutely no say whatever in what the BBC produced and to punish them for it is the most abject betrayal of professionalism and decency that you can imagine from people who are highly-paid and cossetted beyond the dreams of most of their compatriots, particularly those from “developing” countries. (i.e. poor ones)
- The BBC revealed corruption at the heart of FIFA. Nothing new there of course, but it apparently so enraged the cosy coterie of self-perpetuating and overly self-important cronies that scurry around FIFA that they complained bitterly and said it would “harm the FA’s bid.”
- Just BEFORE the final vote Mr Sepp Blabber (is he supposed to be neutral?) apparently spoke to FIFA members about “the evils of the media”. He is clearly unaware that it is almost exclusively fascists who use such expressions, since they of course find anything negative the media might have to say about them – even if true – “evil”. The media can be a pain, but we accept that because we know that the absence of a free media can only further the gigantic amount of corruption already swilling around in certain countries (including the winner of the 2018 WC) and in these large NGOs.
- The FIFA voting procedure is almost designed to favourize corruption, with a ridiculously-small number of voters (under Blabber they changed the procedure some years ago – well done, Mr President and the reason you changed it was, WHAT exactly?) in a system that lays them all open to the temptation to take bribes.
- The BBC Panorama programme REVEALED such corruption and FIFA subsequently was forced to suspend SIX of its own members pending their own enquiry. You’d think that any ethical organisation would WELCOME the free media unearthing activity that was bound to bring the organisation into disrepute, but “NO”, several FIFA members (and Blabber himself in his utterly-shameful “evils of the media” rant) SLAGGED OFF the BBC, presumably for having the temerity to criticize his all-powerful and basically-unaccountable kleptocracy. (What happened to the £TWO BILLION QUID FIFA made in South Africa?)
- Only TWO voting members asked to see the UK’s “bid book”, where the technical specifications that apply to bids are laid out by each bidding country. In fact, the TECHNICAL CRITERIA for bids was TOTALLY IGNORED by FIFA. Qatar had – I believe – among the WORST technical bids. In essence, it is up to FIFA (which of course SHOULD represent all countries) to lay down the criteria to be considered when bidding; if technical aspects are officially announced to be irrelevant, then at least bidders would know where they stood, but a LOT OF MONEY and EFFORT goes into this aspect of the preparation of bids and to see all that TOTALLY IGNORED is sickening – quite apart from the huge waste involved.
- Voting on TWO World Cup venues in the SAME process obviously opened the way to all kinds of secret deals. The reason for this arrangement is incomprehensible. The phrase “couldn’t run a whelk stall” is the one that comes to mind.
- The choice of Qatar has nonplussed almost everyone. This is a country where homosexuals risk five years in prison, where women are treated in a religiously-perverted manner as second-class citizens, where human rights are pretty much a joke. Is Blabber on some sort of “evangelising crusade”? Fair enough, but why not award Qatar the Women’s World Cup Final and see how they get on with that? The sight of all teams being decked out in burkhas would be nothing if not amusing. Is the idea to “bring Qatar into the “World Community” and further “Human Rights”? I wouldn’t bet my shirt on success matey.
- In Qatar it can reach 50°C in the shade in summer. Brilliant. So they’ll have air-conditioned stadia? More brilliance, as if a globally-heating world needs a considerable number of air-conditioned venues for football that will almost certainly NEVER BE USED AGAIN after the event. It’s only “fair” to have a Middle-East country? Really? Hardly any of them are democratic. Human rights and democracy in most are a joke. Their contribution to the world’s development is limited not only to financing mudassars where endless generations of kids are brainwashed into hating Jews but also to spending their vast oil wealth buying up western companies where people actually do WORK and/or posh residences in London that could be used to house the homeless. (Getting priorities right seems such a problem for UK governments).
Britain is not spared the criticism. The individuals in the bidding team did all that could have been asked, with a very-professionally prepared “bid book” and presentation, with a good team of people – among whom Beckham for me gained a fair few Brownie points with his measured and sportsmanlike comments after the announcement.
No, the problem with the British bid was the sight of our Prime Minister among those grovelling at the feet of FIFA members. At a time of economic meltdown in Europe, and enormous freeze-up costing BILLIONS, the British PM has to jet off to Zurich to “add his weight”. But WHAT HAS HE GOT TO DO WITH FOOTBALL? Why does anyone imagine that this sort of toadying up to FIFA members – thus hyper-inflating their own sense of self-importance – has ANY relevance to a purely footballing matter? It was sickening, and I believe the lessons will be learned. Putin got it right, whether because he had sewn it all up in advance or not.
Of course, Cameron was on a hiding-to-nothing. Had he NOT gone then there would certainly have been some elements of the “evil media” who would have put the blame on him.
Conclusion: One of the most astonishing aspects of all this is that FIFA’s fascist bigots have so lost sight of any concept of morality that several of them ADMITTED that the Panorama programme “harmed England’s bid”. Perhaps they didn’t mean to admit this? Perhaps they don’t even understand what they were talking about – nothing new there then; you only have to listen to Blabber for a couple of minutes to understand that.
The effective message to all countries was: “DON’T LET YOUR MEDIA SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT US OR YOU’LL NEVER HAVE A CHANCE.”
“IF YOU ARE A MAFIA STATE AND APPRECIATE THE WIDESPREAD CUNNING OF OUR CORRUPTION HERE AT FIFA THEN YOU’RE IN WITH A GOOD SHOUT.”
Let’s restate this, since it is central to these criticisms and is so unbelievable that it has to be stated several times to sink in:
A) The British FREE media criticised FIFA and revealed CORRUPTION leading to the suspension BY FIFA of at least SIX of their own officials. How many people believe that this corruption would EVER have been revealed except by the media?
B) The British FA has NO CONTROL WHATSOEVER over the British media.
C) Numerous sources at FIFA have said that the MEDIA caused us to have such a poor showing. (“If the [England bid team] think they did not [suffer because of the media], then they are stupid and naive,” Lefkaritis of Cyprus said on Friday – a strong contender for the “Most Crass, Undemocratic, Intellectually-Dishonest and Immoral Statement of The Year award.”)
D) Ergo – honesty and a desire to reveal corruption are PUNISHED even though the media has NOTHING whatsoever to do with football or the state – it is INDEPENDENT of both.
THIS IS A DISGUSTING SITUATION. I would favour all like-minded nations to pull out of FIFA, a clearly corrupt and incompetent, self-perpetuating kleptocracy that is past its sell-by date. The world is sinking in a morass of corruption; the rich and powerful are gaining an ever-stronger hold on almost every aspect of our lives. (see here) Now they even have FOOTBALL by the throat. NO, NO ….Refuse to be divided and ruled.
It is time to make a stand.
PS Perhaps Mr Assange could take a rest from his hysterical anti-America crusade and have a go at FIFA? I wouldn’t bet on that either …..