Bangkok sketch: Infantino’s iron fist of democracy and the new FIFA currency of unity

May 17 – FIFA president Gianni Infantino opened the 74th FIFA Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, with a call for unity. It was a rhetorical moment, as the Congress proved as it rattled through agenda point after agenda point with very little debate and a button pushing membership pressing yes to everything on the electronic voting system that was put before them.

The big stuff, like the Palestine motion to suspend Israel, the FIFA membership were not deemed competent enough to vote on. This is FIFA’s idea of unity in action.

FIFA has all the unity it needs, driven by the iron fist of democracy, and the money it dishes out to its federations as though it was some kind of grace and favour stipend for good behaviour, rather than their right as a fully functioning and equal stakeholder in the world’s most important sports organisation.

Gianni gets what Gianni wants, in the name of unity, peace and Gianni’s prayers for the mothers and children suffering unspeakable atrocities in a territory whose name he clearly has trouble saying aloud.

“Football unites the world. But we all know as well that today we are living in a very aggressive world, in a very divided world. So, uniting this world is our responsibility,” said Infantino.

“It is our answer to the aggression, our answer to the hate. Our answer to the war? It is bringing people from all over the world together. This is what football does. (editor’s note: Gianni, you can’t take them to Gaza, the pitches and facilities have been destroyed, the players killed by a noisy neighbour gone bonkers and who has ripped up or flattened their infrastructure. You seem to have missed this point, not even your private jet could get in there).

“From south to north, from east to west. No matter which country, which religion, nothing matters. The only thing that matters is the colour of the jersey that the players wear for their club, or for their national team. So my pledge to start this address to all of you. Let’s focus on what unites us rather than on what divides us,” he continued as the Alice in Wonderland fantasy became curiouser and curiouser.

“And there is much more that unites us, believe me, than there are things that divide us…” Wow, if only Hamas and Israel knew.

“Many of us understand it, we understood it, the Council understood, and I would like to thank each and every Council Member for the very wise and unanimous decisions (read lack of meaningful debate) we have been taking in the recent past to bring the world together.

“Such as for the organisation of future World Cups and other decisions,” continued Infantino, demonstrating unity in action.

“And of course, we have to be strong. We have to have a strong organisation. We have to be a strong FIFA.

“And we are a strong FIFA. We are strong FIFA. Thanks to the way we live, thanks to the value and the values which channel good governance, integrity, transparency. Thanks for the way we work. Thanks for the fact that we are at the same time global. And local,” he opined, somewhat all over the place both spiritually and now physically.

“Our headquarters are in Zurich, Switzerland, but we are present all over the world and we are opening offices all over the world because if you want to truly be global you have to be with your people all over the world.”

“And we are strong because we have been able to multiply by seven the solidarity payments to all member associations through the four programmes, over $2 billion in the current period, and this will of course augment,” and don’t you forget it dear friends, this is the true meaning of unity.

Infantino was at last returning to terra firma as he rattled through the great success stories of his leadership like increasing the number of Women’s World Cup teams from 24 to 32 (surely a stroke of genius), expanding the number of teams at youth World Cups and making them annual events, banging up the men’s World Cup teams to 48 (soon you won’t have to qualify to get there), and the wonderful addition of the Mondial de Clubes with 32 teams because FIFA should be so much more than an organiser of national team events, and there is good money to be made out the clubs, especially in the fat-cat US, with teams and leagues you haven’t had to invest in and players you don’t pay for.

It is the kind of Viking business model that was so successful in the Middle Ages. Rape and pillage every summer, and once you have feasted, go back the next year for more. Those Norsemen knew a thing or two before they became so modern day woke and started rocking the longboat.

So its onwards and upwards for this renewed FIFA, all in the name of unity, and what a super rosy future it is.

What on earth do you have to complain about Palestine? We are all in this together. It’s called unity and you need to get with the programme, Gianni said so, and not for the first time.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1719307065labto1719307065ofdlr1719307065owedi1719307065sni@n1719307065osloh1719307065cin.l1719307065uap1719307065