By James Dostoyevsky
While FIFA offered up some lukewarm criticism of its best friend at the Kremlin – without naming the blatantly obvious, namely the criminal attack of Ukraine – its own Gianni, The Leader – proud recipient of the Putensian Russian Order of Friendship in May 2019 – seems to have some issues with reality. And with understanding criminal conduct.
This is of course the guy that has an ongoing criminal investigation into him in Switzerland but tells everyone it is just a niggling technicality and of no import..
At a news conference, after the FIFA Council Meeting, “Infantino declined, on a personal level, to add this own denunciation of Putin’s conduct and dodged a question on whether he would retain a friendship medal awarded to him by the Russian supremo”, wrote Insideworldfootball.com yesterday.
The Leader of world football said this instead: “The situation is obviously very tragic and worrying. We are constantly reflecting on the role of sport, particularly the role of sport in trying to bring people together in a peaceful environment. Even people and countries who don’t have relations or are in a conflict with each other. This is a constant in our thinking. Football is the people’s sport. It’s not about individuals.”
By now, it has become abundantly clear that English is his 15th language, although it is still unclear what his 1st language could be. How else could a half-way sane person mumble such inane gibberish? But all of that aside, one wonders whether the man who staggers from one gaffe into the other, without any detour via logic or comprehension, whether this man has any honour left at all.
There is a criminal war of aggression going on in Ukraine. Innocent civilians are being slaughtered. Families are being torn apart. Thousands, soon to be hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of refugees are forced out of their homes to save themselves, their children, their families, the little they can carry with them.
“We are constantly reflecting…”
And at a time like this, all Infantino can say is: “We are constantly reflecting on the role of sport, particularly the role of sport in trying to bring people together in a peaceful environment.”
The role of sport? Seriously? People are being slaughtered and you are “constantly reflecting on the role of sport”? A bit like you reflected so intelligently about the role of the biennial world cup at the Council of Europe and concluded that maybe Africans wouldn’t then die in the Mediterranean?
Is this the best the world football has on offer? Utter bullshit like that? We are all adults and we understand the relevance of sport. But this is not about “reflecting on the role of sport”. This is about taking decisive action. This is about taking the Medal of the Order of Friendship and sending it back to the sender.
No backbone, no decency
This is about standing up for some of the most basic human rights. Some of the fundamental maxims of the United Nations. This is about backbone and decency. This is about things that Gianni Infantino doesn’t have a damn clue about.
Now is not the time to play nice. It is not the time to condone when condemning should be the first item on the menu. It is not the time to suck up to the atrocities of a fascist and criminal move that endangers no, not football, but the coexistence in Europe, living together in peace. This is not the time to chat shit that “Football is the people’s sport. It’s not about individuals”.
But it is very much about individuals. It is about one particular individual who has become the pariah of the civilised world. And sport is so sorry that you prefer to kiss ass instead of standing up for human rights. I understand that human rights don’t pay. Kissing ass apparently does. But pay-back is afoot.
Ban the National Team – and Ban the Russian Clubs!
At a time when FIFA in its glorified wisdom (you wish) should be banning the Russian national football team from the world cup qualifiers, at a time when it should convene with UEFA to decide about banning all Russian clubs that belong to, or are close to, Putin’s oligarchs (they all are, aren’t they, one way or the other), at a time of a criminal invasion by Russia of its neighbour – its much weaker neighbour – Ukraine, Infantino has this to say: “The situation is obviously very tragic and worrying.”
Are you kidding? Worrying? Who would have thought it. Tragic? Wow. Tragic. The tragedy is that your bud has ordered near to two hundred thousand troops to invade a country in a criminal move of aggression. THAT’s what’s tragic.
This author has recently put an open question to our readers. It was the question whether it is bearable to have a mediocre mind run a global organisation (into the ground). The Annexation of Crimea by Putin was apparently the model for the Annexation of Africa by Infantino. There must be an end to all this lunacy.
Siding with the oppressor
This is no longer about War and Peace. This is about War and a Piece of every cake Infantino sees before his little eyes. He wants it.
And most of the FIFA Members and Councillors are guilty of doing nothing.
The man is under criminal investigation. The man is clearly way in it over his head. Somebody help him already and drag him back to reality. Because it seems that he’s convinced that he is the New Viceroy of an imaginary global government that will chant his name in complete ecstasy.
Let me end with Desmond Tutu, whose wisdom has not reached FIFA:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality’
James Dostoyevsky was a Washington based author until the end of 2018, where he reported on sports politics and socio-cultural topics. He returned to Europe in 2019 and continues to follow football politics – presently with an emphasis on the Middle East, Europe and Africa.