Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bravo Grant - our day will come

"Many of them voiced the same message I heard in that Paris hotel lobby: 'We don't really like the status quo, but nominating you is impossible.' Nobody had the courage to do it. The prevailing mood was fear."

Grant Wahl will not become FIFA President in 2011.

The midnight deadline passed last night and it seems certain none of FIFA's 208 member associations have backed Grant's clean-hands campaign against Zurich corruption.

FIFA won't announce formally until Monday what nominations have been received, but it would be a shock if the presidential election on June 1st is between anyone other than Sepp Blatter and Qatar's Mohamed bin Hammam, after Chile's Elias Figueroa ducked out at the last minute (when his own confederation shamefully failed to nominate him).

Read Grant's conclusions on his brave challenge.

No surprise, but Grant's campaign helps reiterate a message that the football world is mightily fed up of an old boys' club running a global concern, so much so that even sportswriters are taking up arms in desperation at the lack of movement on this issue at FIFA H.Q.

Blatter has been in power so long any change might feel better, though Bin Hammam is ultimately cut from the same FIFA cloth. Like Jack Warner, he has been implicated in scalping World Cup tickets, and even lent Sepp a Boeing 747 for his 1998 presidential campaign.

I suppose it was too much to expect Chuck Blazer, having recently slammed FIFA's allocation of World Cup qualifying spots to CONCACAF, to back his fellow American's clean broom, as Chuck is in league with his crooked boss Warner, who, scandalously, will be re-elected unopposed as CONCACAF chief in Miami on May 3rd for a sixth four-year term. "I am honored by the trust placed in me by our members,"said Jack gratefully.

We all agree the men in charge of soccer are bent. But who knows what we can do about it? The door to a new and accountable FIFA remains bolted shut in 2011.

At least we should salute Grant for a noble attempt to get the wheels of change moving.

If only the 208 world soccer associations had such balls.

-Sean O'Conor

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