Financial Times

Fifa struts about on the world stage as if it is the Vatican of sports – a nation state that does not have territory or an army, but one that brooks little questioning of its authority and which through football can reach places no one else can. Its problem is that unlike the Church of Rome, Fifa has never acquired moral authority. And there is no evidence that, despite facing its gravest crisis, Fifa is prepared to accept that its moral standards may be deficient.

Instead, it continues to insist it is so unique it is answerable only to its own members, or the “football family”, to use Fifa’s favourite phrase. Like the sort of extended family that has gone out of fashion even on the Indian subcontinent, it bristles at the very thought that non-family members may have any right to pry into its affairs, let alone say how it must behave.

This was most evident on Monday night in Zurich as Fifa’s president Sepp Blatter addressed a press conference. Just over 24 hours earlier the organisation’s ethics committee had cleared him of wrongdoing in an alleged corruption scandal but suspended two members of its executive committee: Jack Warner, Fifa’s vice-president from Trinidad and the Qatari head of the Asian Federation, Mohamed bin Hammam. Mr bin Hammam, who was contesting the presidency against Mr Blatter, also withdrew from the race allowing the latter an unopposed fourth term.  Read More…


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