Sports

FIFA elections must be postponed

31 May 2011 at 03:44 | 1431 views

Opinion

By Rodney Michael, Bo, Sierra Leone.

The world football body FIFA is in a mess and the world knows it but yet very few FIFA Executives are willing to speak out. The scandal which has led to the suspension of a good number of FIFA officials over allegations relating to corruption and unethical behaviour has in particular led to the suspension of the only candidate to have declared his desire to contest against FIFA’s incumbent Sepp Blatter.

The ethics committee has cleared Mr Blatter of any wrong doing and though some will contest their ruling, yet it must be respected and the FIFA President must be given the benefit of the doubt as far as allegations concerning his involvement/knowledge of the alleged bribery of officials from the CONCACAF by Bin Hammam aided by Jack Warner.

However, we must cautiously consider the future of football if, as FIFA’s General Secretary Jerome Valcke insists, the elections will carry on, and imagine the repercussion for football at the end of the inquiry into the allegations by the ethics committee, assuming revelations either find Mr Bin Hammam innocent or somehow implicates Mr Blatter with some new evidence.

The accused are adamant Mr Blatter was aware of the bribery, or as they put it, provision of funds for the CONCACAF delegates, and if so what further revelations could come out when both accused realize their end in football is near? Will they slip away quietly or would they start speaking? And what will their testimony or evidence reveal about the hierarchy of football?

It is undisputed Mr Bin Hammam has a lot to answer, as it is a well rumoured description of Mr Warner as a complex character, but yet according to FIFA “…both men are innocent until proven guilty…” and so if at the end of the inquiry they are proven innocent, does that mean Mr Bin Hammam was forced out of the race unfairly? And does it also mean Mr Blatter was given a cosy passage to re-election to serve his 4th term as FIFA’s President and what bad blood would have been created involving two of Football’s most influential personalities?

The English F.A.’s independent investigator has already cleared Jack Warner and three others of allegations made by Lord Triesman relating to the same corruption claims, and if the Ethics Committee also clears Bin Hammam and Jack Warner, it would make the election on the 1st June 2011 a farce and could lead to a rebellion against Mr Blatter over what would be purported as intimidating tactics and obstruction to the democratic process of electing FIFA Presidents.

It is therefore best for FIFA and Mr Blatter to restore the integrity of The Organization in general and The President in particular, by completing a thorough inquiry into the allegations, without fear or favour, or any form of interference, and to ensure the inquiry is witnessed and made public for all to be satisfied with the transparency of the investigation. It is the only way for a re-elected Mr Blatter to earn the respect he deserves “for doing a good job…” according to Franz Beckenbauer.

In addition, if Mr Blatter intends to keep Football under one umbrella, he needs to convince every member of his sincerity, and the only way he can do it is by acting in the best interest of the association and prolong his re-election until the inquiry comes out with a convincing report. It is necessary for this to happen or else as Dick Pound, a Canadian lawyer who was a former International Olympic Committee Vice President suggested;

"If Fifa is not going to do the game any good, the game may have to do something to Fifa," Pound told the BBC.

"You could withdraw from Fifa, for example, and say we’re not satisfied that the organisation is being properly run and it isn’t a credit to the sport we know and love, so let’s have an alternative. "That’s one possibility. It has been done in other sports."

The shame that is rocking the football world similarly rocked the Boxing World some time back and it led to a proliferation of different Boxing Organizations, and with the money in Football today, who knows if the big Nations would not come together and form themselves into one Super Power Footballing Body, and if they cleverly entice smaller Nations into becoming members from every continent, FIFA could be crumbled and the opposition may reduce the unity in Football to purely business like Boxing, and the human factor associated with the sport will no longer be existent.

The FIFA Executive must ensure this risk factor remains a figment of the imagination of Mr Pound, and act fast to renew the confidence of all, and not just attempt at satisfying a few. It must realize FIFA is not indispensable, and any body, if well organized, could overcome the power of FIFA as has been evident with the change in other sports, and in Football Leagues, particularly The English Premier League.

It is a genuine observation from Mr Pound and if taken lightly, posterity may end up being the judge of the delegates of all 208 members at The FIFA Congress in the next couple of days!

The majority of us can only pray that God helps them make the right decision for football.

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