Anyone with the vaguest interest in football cannot have escaped yesterday’s news of the arrest of seven top FIFA officials on a multitude of corruption charges. For the vast majority of football fans the arrests were a shock, not because of the revelations but for the fact that it had actually happened. For years, FIFA has been the subject of many accusations of corruption, with the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals being the highest profile.
The organisation’s president, Sepp Blatter, has always managed to keep himself distanced from any alleged wrongdoing and continued to be supported by a large majority of members. However, yesterday’s arrests has to see him fall from grace. He has tried to spin the situation by saying that, although this is not good for football, it is good for FIFA that these alleged misdemeanours have been brought into the open so that they can be acted upon. He has tried to distance himself from the men that have been arrested but, and this is a big but, he has a big problem.
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