Category: Sepp Blatter
Published on Thursday, 26 May 2011 14:26
Ever since FIFA announced that its Ethics Committee will conduct a hearing this coming Sunday into allegations of bribery supposedly committed by my opponent in the race for FIFA's presidency, some remarkable, some very concerning, some serious but also some truly asinine comments were made.To make a point very clear, let me say this: I take no joy in having to observe yet another Ethics Committee hearing and investigation. And I take absolutely no joy in seeing my friends and colleagues of many years dragged before the ethics committee which was convened after the United States ExCo Member Chuck Blazer filed a complaint against my contestant and his own Confederation President.I take no joy to see men who stood by my side for some two decades, suffer through public humiliation without having been convicted of any wrongdoing: nobody is guilty until a judge has found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt. This maxim in law must apply to all men, no matter where they come from, no matter who they are.
To now assume that the present ordeal of my opponent were to fill me with some sort of perverse satisfaction or that this entire matter was somehow masterminded by me is ludicrous and completely reprehensible.
I say it again because it is important that those who apparently know everything start understanding something that their modest intellect seems unable to take on board:
I am shocked, saddened and deeply unhappy about the charges levelled against a man whose friendship I enjoyed for many years. It gives me no pleasure to see him suffer public disgrace before an investigation would even have started.
I am all for the zero-tolerance policy I announced a while back and will continue to fight corruption in football to the best of my ability. But I also admire Chuck Blazer's civic courage and an initiative that resulted from reports he received from within the confederation he administers as its Secretary General. And from nowhere else.
I am horrified by the most recent developments that are shedding a very bad light on FIFA yet again: no sane person can take pleasure in this development, and no decent person will enjoy the troubles of others, be that friend or foe.
I do not know how these most recent events will affect the FIFA Congress and global football as a whole, and I refuse to prejudge what may come of the hearing scheduled for this week Sunday. What I do know, is that – unlike some malicious others who have neither put up nor shut up – whatever the outcome of this most recent investigation by the FIFA Ethics Committee will be, it must encourage FIFA's leadership and world football to re-invigorate its determination to do the right thing and to govern itself without any tolerance for wrongdoing in the years to come.
FIFA does not need a revolution. What FIFA needs is iron-clad laws that are implemented forcefully
and allow world football's governing body to conduct its affairs transparently, properly and professionally in every respect.
FIFA needs a much improved dialogue with its fans, the clubs, the national associations, the professional and amateur footballers, the administrators of the game and the media around the world. I take responsibility for the fact that we have not communicated to the best of our abilities and at a level that would have generated understanding and respect for the vast majority of positive things we have achieved over the years.
I shall make it a key initiative of my last term as FIFA president, if re-elected, to do just that: open the doors, re-enforce dialogue, improve our corporate governance and handle our public affairs with the kind of priority it deserves and must deliver.
I am saddened by the awful events that face us today but I am hopeful that FIFA can weather the storm of its own creation and rise from the ashes of individual malfeasance as a cleansed phoenix to the benefit of all who love our sport.
When a Swiss farmer's neighbour has a cow while he has none, the less fortunate farmer will work twice as hard so that one day he can buy a cow as well. When another farmer, elsewhere, on an island, say, has no cow but his neighbour does, that
farmer will kill the neighbour's cow out of sheer malice.
I'd rather be a Swiss farmer, like it or not.