The ‘Beautiful Mind’ – John Nash – died in a car crash on Friday (May 23). Nash is believed to have explained to his friend mathematician Cedric Villiani, only three days before the fatal crash, that he had just discovered a replacement for Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Over the next few weeks, months or years, we may or not get to know Nash’s discovery. But we do not mind waiting for it.
The following Wednesday (May 27), the ‘Beautiful Game’ suffered a vicious kick in the gut. A kick it is not likely to recover from in a hurry. Maybe, never. There were 14 arrests on corruption charges last week. There could be more and we do not mind waiting for them either.
And barely five days after being re-elected for a record fifth term as the president of FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association), Sepp Blatter sensationally announced in Zurich that he was stepping aside. He has called for an extraordinary FIFA congress “as soon as possible” to elect a new president.
On Tuesday, in Zurich he said, “My mandate does not appear to be supported by everybody.” He went on to say, “The next ordinary FIFA congress will take place on 13 May, 2016 in Mexico City. This would create unnecessary delay and I will urge the executive committee to organise an extraordinary congress for the election of my successor at the earliest opportunity.”
He added, “This will need to be done in line with FIFA’s statutes and we must allow enough time for the best candidates to present themselves and to campaign.” The extraordinary congress is expected to take place between December 2015 and March 2016.
Though the awarding of the World Cups 2018 and 2022 to Qatar and Russia respectively may seem to have been the undoing of Blatter-led FIFA, but ironically, it seems it was the past that caught up with him – as the charges of bribery to award South Africa the 2010 World Cup is what did him in.
Allegations appeared in the New York Times, that Jerome Valcke, secretary-general of the FIFA, may have authorised the payment of $ 10 million to accounts controlled by Jack Warner, the former president of CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football). The ‘bribe’ it seems was to secure votes for South Africa to get the 2010 World Cup.
Valcke said that he had not authorised the payment and did not have the power to do so, so that leaves open the question ‘Who authorised the payment?’ and whether Blatter knew about it.
On Tuesday, FIFA denied reports that Valcke authorised the payment to Warner. The moment FIFA said that, it seemed the ball was now at Blatter’s feet in a manner of saying.
With the noose tightening around him and FIFA as the series of long-time sponsors started asking questions and began debating their sponsoring of FIFA and its events in such murky circumstances, the case against Blatter was building up.
Maybe, some more actions of justice department of the United States of America and the FBI, expected to come up in the next few days/ weeks, will throw more light on as to why ‘Blatter suddenly decided to quit’ after staying defiant till only a few days ago. Maybe, Blatter knew the Feds were almost at his door, prompting him to call time on himself.