3rd June 2015
Three days after his defiant acceptance of reappointment as President, Sepp Blatter stands down ‘in the interests of the organization’. What might have changed?
The news came in a rapidly-convened and unexpected press conference. Blatter The President suggested that his change of mind was a result of realizing his appointment was unacceptable to players, fans and to others in the great game of football.
He also indicated he would drive through the radical changes needed. This is if anything is as implausible now than when he made similar claims on his reappointment. His statement has presented a dilemma to an incoming leader and others in and outside FIFA. How will a new leader have freedom to introduce independent change if the outgoing leader is intent on initiating the process?
This suggests that Mr Blatter will not be able to cling to this proposed interim position.
The Tipping Point?
Consensus among commentators is that a critical incident has occurred maybe in the last few hours prior to the press conference. The emerging criminal investigations, particularly from the United States, are producing the butterfly wing flap that triggered the storm.
Another possible explanation is favored in an article in the Independent. This involved a bribery claim before the vote which appointed South Africa to hold the 2010 World Cup.
The Guardian suggested that Blatter had been urged by close aides to change his decision. A possible trigger point came from reports from America that Blatter was among those to be investigated for money laundering and tax evasion.
June 4th 2015
The storm breaks
LWD correspondent Paul Hinks noted:
As we keep saying, there will be more to come from this story. Suspect we’ll hear more from the accused, Blatter himself maybe dragged into the corruption allegations and questioned.
I keep thinking about President Bush’s reference to ‘Axis of evil’ … perhaps Blatter had an ‘Axis of evil’ or and ‘Axis of corruption’ that underpinned his power play.
I heard on Radio 4’s news this morning that Greg Dyke has suggested that FIFA bring in forensic accountants to go through FIFA’s books and trace the ‘lost’ funds? Good idea; FIFA desperately need to rebuild and regain trust; not easily achieved.
There’s also a nagging part of me that wants to recognise the good in Blatter’s (/FIFA’s) vision to encourage football development in countries like Africa … it’s just Blatter failed the ethics test in attempting to realise his goal.
Now [June 4th 2015] there’s the breaking news that Chuck Blazer [FIFA exec and US Supergrass] knew about the bribes: Fifa crisis: Ex-official Chuck Blazer details bribe-taking
June 8th 2015
FIFA official says that evidence of corrupt practices in the bidding process may be result in new votes for 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
June 11th 2015
Unconfirmed reports that Sepp Blatter is reconsidering stepping down.
European Parliament to intervene in FIFA constitutional crisis, and asks Mr Blatter to step down.
July 16th 2015
Various stories have developed in the last month concerning FIFA officials facing charges over financial dealings and corrupt practices. FIFA returns for first meeting since May to consider radical reforms.
July 20th 2015
BBC story that Michel Platini has been asked to stand as next president of FIFA, with adequate support from all FIFA regions.
To be continued