Not exactly a hotbed of democracy, the capital of the Persian Gulf island nation of Bahrain is the setting for the 67 th FIFA Congress as reps from 211 nations jet set into town to wheel and deal, ask for handouts from FIFA and spend lots of money on luxury rooms and meals. Evidently the UEFA delegation stayed 45 minutes along the coast from the HQ hotel at the Sofitel with a report that the wives of the FA of Wales contingent were sunning themselves like lobsters in 38 C heat by the pool at noontime. How do the wives of coal miners and shepherds afford such indulgencies? £247.00 a night and up to £516.00.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino the Swiss-Italian bald headed supremo ranted and raved at False News and FIFA bashing in his opening remarks. He wants to be considered a fresh infuence after the goings on of his two disgraced predecessors since the Frankfurt elections of 1974 which I witnessed; The Brazilian crook Joao Havelange and his hand picked Swiss successor Sepp Blatter. A year ago Infantino was accused of hiring a private jet for himself and his family to fly to Rome to meet the Pope and then a private holiday.
Myself and other long time FIFA watchers were surprised that he didn't demand that the Pontive come to him in Zurich to kneel down and kiss his hand. Despite the denials of his General Secretary Fatma Samoura, he fired the two ethics chamber leaders who were up for re election once they arrived in Manama. Both Cornel Borbery and Hans-Joaquim Eckert were chairmen of the Investigatory and Judicial Committees and had lots of more work to do after their four year stints. Germany's new FIFA council member Reinhard Grindel broke the news.
Citing more inclusivity they were replaced by a Colombian female juudge and a male Egyptian. Dozens of cases of corruption in high places have yet to be dealt with and at the 2014 Congress in Marrakech it was promised that a full investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups would be completed by now. SOME CHANCE !!
Infantino, who comes from the Valais in Switzerland like his predecessor, wanted new blood and not investigators appointed under his disgraced fellow Valais. He did announce that FIFA will investigate the £89.3 million transfer of Paul Podga to Manchester United from Juventus of Turin. The super agent Mino Raiola supposedly received £40 million out of the deal. He spent £7 million of it buying the old mansion of Al Capone. He also represents Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
You might want to get your hands on a copy of a sensational new book published in Germany this week. THE FOOTBALL LEAKS; THE DIRTY BUSINESS OF FOOTBALL. by Der Spiegel journalists Rafael Buschmann and Michael Wulzinger. How much it costs to hire Ronaldo for 4 hours and Zlatan's £367,640 a week at Old Trafford and other tit bits.
The candidature of the 2026 World Cup bid by Canada, USA and Mexico has yet to be approved, to await any other candidates. The decision will evidently be made at the 68th Congress in Moscow on 13th June 2018 on the eve of the next World Cup.