Printed in the Southern League Central Division game v Bedfont Town Saturday 11th December 2010. After four straight victories we drew 1-1 in front of 221.
It probably sounds like sour grapes but FIFA and Russia are made for each other. A huge corrupt money laundering scam has just officially got into bed with a country described as a "virtual mafia state".
Arms trafficking, money laundering, personal enrichment, protection for gangsters, extortion and kickbacks, suitcases full of money and secret offshore bank accounts. All this is from Wiki-leaked secret diplomatic cables that paint a glowing portrait of Russia but could just as well describe FIFA.
A sting by a Sunday newspaper saw two of FIFA’s executive committee members suspended for asking for bribes. Then BBC Panorama's programme alleged bribes to members in access of $100 million. To get an idea of how FIFA operate, when Panorama accused FIFA member Issa Hayatou of massive bribery charges, FIFA said it would not investigate. However Hayatou is also a member of the International Olympic Committee who have asked the programme makers to pass on any evidence.
It was 12 years ago that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suffered the revelation that some of its members had accepted bribes and gifts worth $1.2m from the Salt Lake City team bidding for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The corruption emerged because the media exposed it but unlike FIFA the IOC did not wave the allegations away or describe the programme as "an embarrassment". Instead it led to a complete overhaul of the IOC's rules and culture. Six members were expelled and there are now rules banning representatives of bidding cities from meeting individual members. We all know rules are broken and many believe there are accidental meetings between bidding cities and IOC members in airports all over the world, but it certainly beats the whole World Cup bidding process where countries prostitute themselves in the hope of a vote.
I’d have loved the World Cup to have gone to England. But I wouldn’t have loved the fact that getting the bid would have meant us weakening labour laws, bringing in new laws to ban ‘hijack’ marketing and changing tax laws so FIFA can keep all the cash. What sort of arrogant organisation can demand that? Infact FIFA have got themselves one hell of a deal. Every 4 years the worlds top athletes sign up for a FIFA tournament for which FIFA don’t pay them, in a country that foots the bill for holding the event and all the commercial revenue goes to FIFA tax free!
Fair enough if it the World Cup is destined to go to a new country or continent every four years. (But Qatar, really?) But make that clear on the packet before countries waste millions. With millions spent and hundreds of hours schmoozing by our government with the FA submitting a mass of technical and practical proposals including from 12 local authorities facing sports cuts from Cameron's government what did we get? Two crummy votes and no explanation why.
Some people blame the media for stirring up a hornets nest. Call me old fashioned but aren’t journalists there to put the spotlight on such corruption? Cameron was elected promising complete transparency in government, so surely he believes this must extend to the worlds footballing governing body?
It’s time to sack all the executives of FIFA and start again. Then at the very least put a time limited on how long each member can stand, make it illegal to lobby individual members, stop them dictating to countries to change their own laws. In effect stop everyone dancing to their tune and make FIFA fit for purpose for the 21st century.
* Andrew Jennings ‘Foul - The secret world of FIFA: bribes, vote rigging and ticket scandals (Harper Collins)