Apparently Sepp Blatter resigned from FIFA the other day. Apparently he finally put his hands up, admitted he was an evil bastard and restored order, peace and democracy* to world football’s governing body.
Except that he didn’t. Instead, old Sepp just Frank Underwooded us big time.
Like the fictional US President from TV’s House of Cards, Sepp isn’t shuffling off anytime soon. He has indicated he is leaving, but he is still in the Oval Office/in control of FIFA, until the next election, whenever that may be.
In the meantime he is going to institute “reforms” that will protect himself, his legacy and most importantly, whomever he anoints as his successor. American Works this ain’t. What it is, is political brinkmanship at its best.
Sacrificing your career is a desperate political move from a desperate man. But Blatter has made a career out of betting the house and then staring his opponents down (and then handing out lots of gifts to make nice).
It is naive to think HBO is going to kill off the main character of their hugely popular series. It’s equally foolish to assume we have seen the last of the Swiss comic book villain out of central casting. While he may be cuffed, extradited and thrown in front of a court like the other FIFA cronies, Blatter’s presence will be felt for a long time to come.
Without serious reform to FIFA, there’s no reason to expect someone just like Sepp Blatter – or even his hand picked successor – won’t continue to pull the same tricks: handing money out for favours, ignoring the wishes of wealthier nations, and gladhanding smaller ones.
All those people rejoicing in the streets need to postpone their victory jigs. There is more life in old Joseph Blatter yet. And yes, House of Cards has at least one more season to run.
By Ben Shine
*it should be noted that one of the biggest problems with FIFA lies in its pure ‘one country, one vote’ democracy. Without that, you wouldn’t get pork barreling populists like Sepp Blatter in charge.