Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Although the move by the English FA, backed by the Scottish FA was expected to fail, this is perhaps a larger figure than was expected. If this had come up earlier than yesterday it probably would have been significantly more.
Unfortunately they had to make their minds up overnight, but this does show that the national Fifa representatives are becoming more and more uneasy with Blatter.
Some quarters are claiming that this leaves the English FA humiliated and boxed in to a corner. This will come as a bitter disappointment for David Bernstein, who wanted effectively to unseat Blatter and precipitate a wave of change in Fifa.
Bernestein needed 75% of the groups to back his proposal so Sepp Blatter will now go ahead and be re-elected. After all, he is the only candidate. Unless the unthinkable happens and the voters block him by showing no confidence and not voting at all it looks like this most slippery of football animals has escaped to fight his corner another day.
Bernstein remains adamant that this has been a hugely damaging time for the reputation of Fifa and that it should appoint a genuinely independent external party to make recommendations regarding improved governance and compliance procedures and structures throughout the FIFA decision-making processes for consideration by the full membership.
Blatter has himself proposed 'a committee for solutions not a committee for discussions'. If needed he has said that Fifa will call an extraordinary congress in order to stop the 'ulgly allegations'. He said 'We must take a look at this today and we must go ahead with all the power of this congress gatherered here today. I hope that we will follow the path that I am trying to chart... because we must know where we are going. We must build a better future for our game.
'We can perhaps be more at ease when it comes to the financial situation but we must protect football. You the National Associations are the ones in charge of protecting football. Give me the possibility to create this famous Solutions Committee. Football belongs to everyone and we are the ones in charge. Together we can do it, together we will get there. Fifa will once again find the credibility it must have.'
In other words, Blatter is passing the buck. He remains a hugely controversial figure but it looks as if it will be another four years of him at the helm unless some sort of two year deal is brokered. It is quite likely that after he is re-elected he will eliminate all his FIFA of all his detractors.
How Blatter manages to his hand on the rudder is extraordinary and is in some ways a tribute to his sheer tenacity and will power. Yet any measured thinking about the running of Fifa would come up with two conclusions. How can he stay at the helm if he didn’t know what was going on? If that is the case he is not fit to run Fifa. On the other hand, if he did know about the irregularities then his exit should be expedited because he will have been part and parcel of this whole degradation of the reputation of football. Yet such is the way of the world with secret and unaccountable organizations.
The sacrificial lamb offered up for his survival may well be Qatar. Pundits believe that the choice of Qatar to host the World Cup of 2022 may well be reversed. A new ballot could be held within a year.