Less than 48 hours to kick-off and most of the news is about the suits not the football. Sepp Blatter the endangered FIFA President told the CAF African delegates at their congress in Sao Paulo a couple of days ago that RACISM was behind the British press revelations about rampant corruption under his watch..
DON'T SHOOT THE MESSENGER was the reply from the enraged UEFA delegates, led by Michael van Sprang, President of the Dutch KNVB and being a likely opponent to take on Blatter in the Presidential elections next year. His comments were followed by those of F.A. Chairman Greg Dyke at his first congress.
In 1974 I was at the 39th FIFA Congress in the convention centre in Frankfurt, West Germany for a momentous vote. 122 nations were present as against 207 this year. Englishman Sir Stanley Rous, the encumbant, knighted for organizing the hastily arranged 1948 Olympic Games in London was up against Joao Havelange the Brazilian, who had spent money from the FBD (Brazilian Sports Federation) without consent, to pay for many third world delegates to attend and vote for him. I was standing at the back of the room and the first vote was indecisive. Rous came and sat next to me to await the second vote. He was defeated 68-52 and Havelange ruled for 24 years.
In 1975 the most powerful man in world sport, Horst Dassler, head of ADIDAS got him a job as technical director of FIFA but not in the main office at FIFA HQ to start with. Dassler wanted to control the sport and get rid of then General Secretary Dr. Helmut Kaser by any means, which he finally did. I had made a courtesy visit to FIFA House a few years earlier 2 days before New Year on a brief stoppover. I was met at the door by a butler with a long cloak and some large dogs. I was ushered in and made welcome in front of a roaring fire with the snow falling outside for a brief chat with Dr. Kaser who was in office 1961-1981.
One day Mrs Kaser was greeted by a friend in Zurich and congratulated on her only daughter's wedding. It was a suprise. Sepp had eloped with her daughter and the parents were not told, nor invited. That was his second marriage and it didn't last very long.
Blatter succeeded Havelange to the top job in 1998 after being his General Secretary,1981-1998. He defeated the Swede, UEFA President Leonart Johansson who started the UEFA Champions League. Middle Eastern and Far East Asian cash and royal private jets helped in his campaign to swing the vote.
Havelange was stripped of his honorary FIFA Presidency after it was shown that he received millions in bribes and kickbacks. His son in law Ricardo Teixeira resigned in disgrace as head of the Brazil 2014 World Cup committee for the same reasons. They were shown to have received over $41 million in bribes between them. Antonia Wigand Teixeira his 11 year old daughter had $3 million put into her savings account 3 years ago through Sandro Rosell who was President of Barcelona.
CAF the African Confederation has 56 members and representatives from 30 federations received well over £1 million in bribes prior to the vote for Qatar 2022. Well over 50%.
In the next few days Michael Garcia the former US attorney is due to submit his report on the 2018 and 2022 voting. There is a rumour that Sepp Blatter will try and keep it from being published to the world. JUST LET HIM TRY !!!