The FIFA President left Jordan today on his way to Johannesburg, and defended his organization's choice of host countries for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. It was also suggested that the Qatar event might be moved to January, and that some of the matches be shared with other democratic neighbours such as Saudi Arabia, and Iran, which has a mutual defence treaty with the Qatari's.
It was also revealed that just one of the many 'soccer stars' who supported the Qatari bid, Zinedine Zidane, received $15 million for his efforts, more than any other bids TOTAL costs. Pep Guardiola, the Barca manager, was also paid huge sums of petro dollars, along with Ronald de Boer, Bora Mulatinovic and others. www.qf.org.qa
One other reward. The Qatar Foundation has since agreed a record breaking 150 Euro shirt sponsorship deal with FC Barcelona, to replace the strange 'sponsorship' of UNICEF. Barcelona, who are in financial meltdown, with debts of 430 Euros, and have cancelled plans to renovate Camp Nou. They have never had an income earning shirt sponsor in their 111 year history. They have actually been paying UNICEF $1.5 million annually for the 'honour' of wearing the logo. Of course NIKE pays a lot for having The Swoosh on their shirts.
Why would a charitible foundation such as the Qatar Foundation pay such a sum, rather than spending their wealth on charity, instead supporting millionaire footballers? The deal was negotiated by IMG, a strategic adviser to the Qatar 2022 bid.
What does a president or prime minister earn? Well, MOST are easy enough to find and are in the public domaine. the President of the USA earns $400,000, Germany $283,000, Great Britain $215,000, Singapore's Lee Hsien Loong $2,2 million, Raila Odingi of dirt poor Kenya, $430,000, Manmohan Singh of India $4,106, Ban Ki-moon - UN $300,000. Of course these are only base salaries. No telling what expenses they claim for secretaries or girl friends?
Former FIFA President Joao Havelange never claimed a salary, but according to past FIFA secretaries that I have spoken to, he used the FIFA bank account as his own personal one and lived lavishly. Sepp Blatter is more a 'meat and potatos' guy, according to his first wife, and mother to his only child, a daughter. He refuses to reveal what he earns, but claims it is 'in line' for such a world sports leader. I don't begrudge that, but we would all like to know.
To answer the question in the headline? Well, today I received a splendid Christmas card through my letter box from him, and also signed by General Secretary Jerome Valcke, so in the spirit of the festive season, he gets my vote to go 'up there' and won't be joining Jack Warner 'down below' when the time comes.