Reflecting on the way FIFA history is being rewritten with its new reform championing president, one wonders if two weeks ago football (we’ll soon be calling it soccer) had its WMD moment.
You see, the thing about Weapons of Mass Destruction is that when we actually got there…there weren’t any, however hard we tried to find them and however many people were killed for the cause. But, really, we knew they weren’t there all along.
So move fast forward to the soft geo-politics of FIFA and a vicious leadership battle of lies, media leverage and high moral something or other; and substitute WMD for HR abuse allegations. Did the Shaky Shaikh get grounded by the fast jetting euro traveller because of the HR allegations or because of the innovative campaign promises of giving the money to the boys with a vote (isn’t that what old Voldemort – the man who can’t be named or seen at football – used to do in the bad old days?!). Or was it just plain brilliant sports political engineering that won the day? It is probably a bit of all three.
The problem with the HR allegations is that ultimately there is no proof that Shaiky was stubbing his cigarettes out on his national team players. In fact, the players say he wasn’t. Even the sports editor of the leading Shia newspaper told this website that much of what was written in the West (including by this website in 2013 when the allegations were last made – they were first made in 2009) has no basis in the reality of the situation.
But s**t has a habit of sticking…and for s**t lovers in the west what a very useful habit it can be. So did we have a WMD moment and did our racial prejudices and our religious preferences win the day so gloriously in Zurich on February 26?
It is a very uncomfortable thought.
Assuming we got the right man – time will tell – did we get him for the right reasons.
One FA that needs to ask that question of itself is THE FA – we love their use of the word The, as there surely can be no other. It would certainly he hard to find another so confidently self-righteous – it’s what makes them so lovable, trustworthy and popular on the international circuit.
A week before the election, the president of The FA – Greg Dyke, a man who knows a lot about WMD from his time bossing another great British institution, the BBC – had a phone call with Shaiky.
Shaiky asked him if there was anything he wanted to talk about – “ask me any question you like” is what he would say to journalists so I reckon he may have said the same on that phone call.
A couple of days later, the man (who famously put a rat puppet – human name Roland – on-screen to host breakfast television) trumpeted to his media that the problem with Shaiky was that, even if he hadn’t been jabbing the arrested footballers himself with his cigarettes, he had clearly not done anything to get them released from their prison torture chambers. Clearly on this one Mr Dyke was a man with inside knowledge, belying his growing ‘man-in-the-pub’ reputation.
And, of course, he had had a phone conversation with him. So back to the “ask me anything” phone call. One assumes the man from the THE FA must have taken the opportunity to ask the big question of Shaiky himself…sadly the answer to that question was that he didn’t ask the question. But hey, why let the truth get in the way of a political aim…
One question that was never answered by THE FA to this website was whether one of the FA board members recused herself from the decision on who to support in the upcoming FIFA presidential election – she is the partner of the PR strategist behind the Euro-champion of that contest.
This is of course now behind us as we climb new Swiss mountains seeking cleaner air and virgin snow. And as interim president Hayatou implored the faithful after the election – we must all unite together for the common cause. A good start was made by our new president – the next day he called all his big name former footballer mates in for a game of soccer (Platini is currently serving a red card suspension so was unavailable) on the FIFA House pitch, followed the next day by the opening of FIFA’s $129 million museum. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose as our multi-lingual brother might have said before he became king, but to be fair the museum spend wasn’t on his watch and it is one museum that really is worth a visit.
So as this new play in Swiss wonderland progresses let’s hope that it doesn’t turn into a Greek tragedy. The Gods know we have enough untended problems there already.
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