The title of this post comes from the IRS Chief Criminal Investigator Richard Weber. Yesterday, Mr. Weber labeled the scandal currently rollicking FIFA, the “World Cup of Fraud.” He also said the U.S. was issuing FIFA a “red card,” a reference to the penalty carried out by expulsion from soccer games for atrocious infractions.
Around the world and here in the United States, many are praising Attorney General Loretta Lynch for bringing down the indictments that could begin the process of systemic reform in FIFA and usher in a clear-out of all individuals affiliated with one Joseph S. Blatter, President of FIFA.
Fast forward 24 hours the same Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, spoke for the first time in Zurich since the news broke and the indictments were handed down.
“You will agree with me that these are unprecedented and difficult times for FIFA. The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football and over this congress,” Blatter said.
“Actions of individuals have proven to bring shame and humiliation on football and demand action and change from us all. We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud any longer. It has to stop here. I know many people hold me responsible. I cannot monitor everyone all the time. If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it.”
Blatter concluded his brazen and defiant speech, by telling everyone he will clean up the quagmire his sergeants and lieutenants created. UEFA President Michel Platini did not rule out European teams boycotting the 2018 World Cup (which will be held in Russia).
“I said, ‘I’m asking you to leave, FIFA’s image is terrible’. He said that he couldn’t leave all of a sudden,” Platini said today. “I’m saying this with sadness and tears in my eyes, but there have been too many scandals, FIFA doesn’t deserver to be treated this way. Enough is enough. Too much is too much. In terms of our image it’s not good at all. I am the first to be disgusted by this.
Platini also noted an overwhelming majority of his 53 members would back Blatter’s rival, Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein of Jordan.
Blatter requires a two-thirds majority of the 209 voters to win the opening round of the elections tomorrow. He would win presidency again if he gains a simply majority of votes in the second round of elections. It is understood if Blatter wins re-election, the FBI will question how much Blatter knew about the 47 charges in the United States indictment.
Prominent FIFA sponsors Coca-Cola, Nike and McDonald’s have released statements in varying degrees pledging cooperation with the FBI’s investigation into fraudulent practices within FIFA. However, credit card company Visa released a visceral statement calling on FIFA to take “swift and immediate steps to address” their issues and even threatened to end their relationship immediately.