May 27, 2015
There have been shocking developments in the election that really matters, argues Whitehouse Consultancy Chairman, Chris Whitehouse.
In the election that really matters on Friday this week, police have swooped to make arrests for fraud, and hopes are rising that the incumbent will be unseated.
Yes, at last, there has been action taken on the long-standing and endemic corruption within football’s international body, FIFA. Six arrests by American law enforcement officers of very senior players from FIFA in their Swiss Hotel could lead to rapid extradition and court appearances for bribery.
The arrests and allegations do not, on this occasion, include action against FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, who has clung to that position at all costs for decades. But that charges are now likely to be brought for corruption within the organisation he heads cannot help his election prospects on Friday. What is more, Blatter will now go head-to-head against Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan after the two other candidates withdrew, thus uniting the anti-Blatter vote. Despite Blatter’s domination of the organisation and the complex electoral system this creates the best ever chance of international football being liberated from his suffocating throat-hold.
I’ve called consistently for action to clean out the Augean stables of FIFA, and it seems finally that action is beginning. Let’s hope that the new UK Secretary of State for Culture Media & Sport might give a clear instruction to his Sports Minister, the excellent Tracey Crouch MP, to ensure that any allegations of impropriety around our national Football Association’s failed bid to bring the World Cup to this country are now fully investigated and the police involved if appropriate. Nothing less will do if we are to restore international confidence in the UK’s national game and if the UK is to have any prospect in the future of hosting the World Cup for which we cannot again bid whilst Blatter is still running FIFA as his own personal fiefdom. Similar action is also required across Europe if we are ever to see meaningful change that will remove the world’s favourite sport from the suffocating grasp of one man.chriswhitehouse