Switzerland has many things to admire: cheese, chocolate, mountains, lakes, expensive watches, four languages, on time trains, banking, cleanliness... WELL NOT EVERYWHERE !
The recent disclosure (which we all knew about for years) that the two FIFA executives who had accepted bribes in the past from ISL Marketing were former FIFA President Joao Havalenge, while he was in office, and his former son in law Ricardo Teixeira, then and until recently President of the CBF, and head of FIFA World Cup 2014 until he was forced out in March, and now living on his ill gotten gains in Miami, Florida.
The proceeding from the Federal Court in Zug, an hour out of Zurich, were finally unsealed, and it's not believable that current President Sepp Blatter, General Secretary until he succeeded Havelange, did not know about it and blow the whistle.
DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach remarked recently at a Referees Symposium in South-West Germany " I am speaking for the whole board of DFB when I say that I was appalled". The President of the DFC, The German Football League, Reinhard Raubia went even further. " Sepp Blatter must step down immediately. For the reform process at FIFA to work, we need someone who is prepared to make a new start", he quoted to Die Welt.
Blatter does not take such criticism lying down. He indicated that perhaps the vote for the 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP, won by one vote by Germany, was tainted. He told Sonntags Blick that Charles Dempsey, Scottish born FIFA Executive Member and the OCEANIA President, suddenly left Zurich and took the first flight home to Auckland. Blatter said that the vote was then taken and resulted in 10-9 in favour of Germany over South Africa. Blatter had indicated that if it had been a tie, as President he would have then voted for South Africa.
Franz Beckenbauer shot back through Bild saying than the vote was actually 12-11, and that all 8 European votes were for Germany.
Blatter claimed that at the time of the payments, such bribery was not a criminal offence in Switzerland, and could even be deducted for tax purposes, and therefore he had no recourse. OF COURSE THAT IS RUBBISH-BLATTER BLATHER !! He knew it was wrong, including the 1 million CHF Swiss Franc check ,($US1.1) that came to FIFA by mistake, and was redirected to Havalenge's personal account, with no other action taken. Teixeira and Havelange were given over $US 23 million between them from ISL.
Havelenge is now 96 and I last saw him visiting the exhibition booths at the SOCCEREX Forum in Rio de Janeiro last November, after which he resigned his seat at the I.O.C. (International Olympic Committee) top table, when they were about to start a disciplinary enquiry into his finances. He is still FIFA Honorary President and receives a fat pension. Most people would like to see the Brazilian stripped of both. Blatter says that he does not have the power to do so, only the FIFA Congress.
Many years ago on a previous visit to Rio de Janeiro I had dinner with the daughter of a former Brazilian World Cup Final referee. I suggested that I would like to visit the FIFA President's office and she said that she knew one of the secretaries there. The next morning we went to the tower block near to the ocean and took the elevator up to the correct floor. I was greeted by the great man's secretary who said that he would arrive in an hour.
I was issued into a lounge where three of his lieutenants, who had been with him on a recent trip, had a huge pile of US $100 bills. They were dividing them up as part of their expenses and per diems. The President arrived and greeted me and we had a short chat. His English is not much better than my Portuguese, so we spoke in French, his mother tongue, and then I was off.
After the very successful 2006 FIFA World Cup Blatter was awarded The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and there is a move to take it back.
Today in Zurich a new CODE OF ETHICS committee was voted in, to come into effect on 25th July, 2012. There will be no time limit of prosecution for bribery and corruption. Michael J. Garcia of USA will head the investigatory branch, and Hans-Joachim Eckert of Germany the separate adjudicatory branch. Look at www.fifa.com and the members of these two committees and you might not be too enthralled. Guam, Colombia, Mauritius, Namibia, Senegal, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Barbados... HELP !!!!