Beyond Redemption


On his throne

Things seem to have gone quiet, temporarily no doubt, on the FIFA front, but once the media has stopped burying all the interesting political issues arising from the Rochester & Strood by-election under the manufactured outrage over an innocuous treat, Switzerland’s favourite international organisation will once more take its place in the ongoing arguments over… well, over what, exactly?
At the moment, it’s the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively – especially the latter. Because Qatar is probably the least likely country in the whole world for playing world-class football. But it’s also one of the richest and most despotic countries in the world. Q., as they, E.D.
I’m not going to rehearse the saga so far, it’s too well known. Like all of us who are interested in football, for whom it has been the most exciting and visceral game we have ever known, for whom it is sunk in our hearts, things are only too plain. It’s been suggested that reform cannot begin at FIFA, that transparency and probity cannot begin until the bloated spider known as Sepp Blatter finally retires, but the truth we’re all refusing to face is different.
FIFA is corrupt. It is rotten to the core, in action, deed, word, thought. Corruption is the air that FIFA breathes and it has been for far too long for there to be any possibility of the least significant improvement. FIFA passed the point of no return far too long ago. It cannot be reformed, it cannot be changed, it cannot become something that it is not, which is fair, decent, open, democratic and an organisation that exists for the benefit of others.
There is no hope. The only recourse, literally the only recourse, is to destroy FIFA entirely, to burn it to the ground, to erase it from existence. To shatter it beyond the ability of anybody to put even two splinters back together. To sow of dragon’s teeth to make the soil where FIFA stood infertile for centuries. And to forbid, on pain of imprisonment, anybody who has had even the remotest connection with FIFA in any of its myriad forms, from having anything whatsoever to do with any organisation that seeks to replace it.
This is, of course, impossible. Leaving aside the enormous and wholly despotic powers needed to raze FIFA to the ground, even if it were not to be faced wih opposition from the vested interests that constitute the entirety of this organism, we are talking about the destruction of football in any form that we know it now.
In short, the only way to counter what FIFA is, is to rewind history to the very beginnings of football, and start again: fresh, clean, untramelled.
What are the chances of that happening? Zero would be optimistic. We are, after all, talking about an organisation that behaves like a Nation-state, that invades Nation-states at four year intervals, casting aside all their laws, disrupting their domestic economy, riding rough-shod over its populations and, in short, behaving in every respect like a Fascist occupying power, and which somehow can get self-regarding countries and governments who would normally bristle at the slightest suggestion of outside interference to compete to invite this degrading and despoiling organisation to do so.
Remember that by vampiric lore (unless Stephanie Merritt has revoked it), the vorwulka cannot pass your doors unless you ask it to enter.
Personally, I would be willing to sacrifice International Football for as long as it would take to sweep FIFA aside, consign it to the history books, destroy all the people associated with it, distribute all its money to individual Football Associations in a fair and equitable manner, sell all its holdings and imprison every administrator above secretarial level to indefinite imprisonment in a Turkish jail (I could be persuaded against this last provision by evidence being produced of a worse prison environment).
And I suspect that a substantial proportion of football fans globally, possibly even a majority, would take a perfectly impious delight in such a thing happening, and indeed would create the world’s greatest Black Market in the pursuit of ringside seats to the spectacle (who, with the very slightest degree of humanity, would not openly thrill to the sight of Jack Warner being reduced to penury?).
We’d love it, just love it ((c) Kevin Keegan) if it would happen. But it won’t. Like the Banks that are too big to be allowed to fail, FIFA will not suffer dissolution. There will be mutterings about a change of culture, about transparency and reform once Blatter steps down, but that is like expecting the vampire to turn up for an outdoor lunch on a sunny August day eating garlic bread.
Because FIFA is rotten beyond redemption. It can only be handled by being placed into Quarantine, from the rest of the world. Preferably in a vacuum. Somewhere in orbit about Uranus. Or Sepp’s.

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