FIFA get their Hamman but Qatar keep their Cup
This week’s announcement that Mohammad Bin Hamman had been found guilty of corruption by FIFA probably raised few eyebrows.
His life ban sounded dramatic and will certainly be used by FIFA President Sepp Blatter as proof that his commitment to weeding corruption and unethical behaviour from the game’s governing body is well on track.
A battle-weary and cynical football world would probably not agree with him.
Case in point: Jack Warner, the former CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president, resigned his position and was therefore spared an investigation when the organisation decided to drop charges against him.
By that logic, if the chairman of Westpac (or insert any big company of your choice) stood accused of shoring up his/her position by spreading the green stuff, but when the heat got too much, fell on their sword, would that be the end of the matter?
The fall of both Bin Hamman and Warner have removed the two biggest threats to Sepp Blatter’s ongoing Presidency and for that reason alone, the suspicion of self-interest has raised its ugly head all over again.
The beautiful game has some ugly chiefs.
Whether Bin Hamman and Warner deserve their fates is largely immaterial in the context of the game at large.
The investigations centred on bribery attempts to shore up support for the FIFA presidency and in the larger scheme of things, it makes little difference to the millions of fans and players around the world who the President is.
Who hosts the World Cup on the other hand, is of far greater importance.
Bin Hamman’s legal team have accused FIFA of finding the former AFC President guilty based on “circumstantial evidence.”
But surely the more pressing question is, how do you separate Bin Hamman and corruption from his role in helping Qatar land the 2022 World Cup?
The world football community would be less cynical of this so-called “clean-up” if a thorough investigation was launched into the outcome of the December 2010 twin World Cup bids that have caused so much of the corruption allegations.
It’s one thing for Blatter to successfully clear the decks for his own benefit. But World Cup hosting rights do resonate with fans around the world and circumstantial or not, there are huge questions over the awarding of the 2022 and to a lesser extent, the 2018 tournaments.
If those questions are not answered, FIFA’s reputation will never improve and Blatter will simply continue to look like another in a long line of power-hungry men motivated by self-interest, no matter how much they try to convince the world’s biggest fan base otherwise.
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