Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Looking (with disgust) at the upcoming FIFA elections

Looking (with disgust) at the upcoming FIFA elections
by rick olivares with illustration from the pambazuka news

When I look at the current row between Sepp Blatter and Mohammed Bin Hammam, what comes to mind is that saying about the absence of honor among certain folk.

Once allies, they have conveniently turned against one another and the mudslinging is appalling. Apparently, a laundromat has been opened in Geneva and Kuala Lumpur to publicly wash and dry their dirty laundry. And in a highly suspicious if not a faux moment of clarity (in order to swing the minds of voters’ and the public) they have suddenly developed a sense of fair play.

Why only now? Because it’s election time again?

Hola, seƱor. We are bringing football to your side of the world. Oh, by the way, vote for me and I will see to it that you get to watch the next World Cup from a luxury suite while flying business class. We’ll introduce you to Pele and Zidane. That’s a photo op that looks good on your Facebook, eh? While were at it, we’ve got some leftover money from South Africa to put into your football association’s coffers. When you visit us in Geneva, you’ll stay in a luxurious chalet with a great view of the lake.

“Grease” is the word. Lay it down thick why don’t you?

To be FA president or a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee is like hitting the lotto.

For the longest time, pertinent issues such as instant replay, goal line technology, and match fixing were ignored. Now the FIFA leadership has put back on the discussion table for discussion and implementation.  

Wait a minute. Weren’t these the same people in charge when all these problems and controversies first reared their ugly heads? What did they do to address it at that time?

If these wise old men of FIFA believe they are defending the game then they are actually hurting it. They have grown too comfortable in their positions that they cling to for dear life. There must be mechanisms to prevent overstaying, indolent, and underachieving officials.

How about Hammam’s promise of increasing the Financial Assistance Plan? I figure it’s a euphemism for bribery. He pulled that stunt in the PFF Congress of three years ago to quell an ouster move of the former president, and well, the money never made the inflows. Furthermore, the situation got worse. I’d say he is just as much to blame for all the problems that came after that “gift” of his.

Oh, incidentally, eight members of the 24-man Executive Committee are under investigation for bribery and corruption.

While I like that the World Cup is rotated amongst the continents, it does however, open up the voting process to bribery and corruption. C’mon, all African nations will vote for South Africa, South American nations for Brazil, and Middle Eastern countries for Qatar. It’s ridiculous. If it is going to be truly a World Cup then they must increase the final slots for Asia and Africa. That is going to mean more to all than one country hosting the sports’ biggest event.

The situation of member associations mirrors the FIFA leadership – they are monoliths that are difficult to move. That attitude trickles down to the local associations where some have no program and where the leaders are difficult to dislodge. Why can there not be someone coming from left field to fix FIFA?

Are FA presidents now forced to choose between the lesser evil?

What comes to mind now is that saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

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