Joao Havelange was FIFA President when I was growing up. A giant of a man. He had the swagger and profile of any charismatic or powerful President or Head of State of any super power nation.
Havelange was the Blatter before Sepp Blatter was in diapers. And the world was a different place then, none of these transparency thingymabob. The world was opaque and shadowy figures ruled politics, sports and business.
The world has changed. Today, when people go on and on about the grandiosity of Sepp Blatter, I can immediately guess how old they are or realise how out of touch they were in those days before social media and Internet. Those days when you had to hunt for your news.
We now live in a new world. Transparency is every body's watch word. Corruption is a big issue and rightly so as the proceeds of corruption is fanning the emblems of many crimes around the globe.
FIFA to every body's knowledge has been under the intense spotlight of the America's FBI. Before then, several salacious stories have been swirling around FIFA. The FBI focus has confirmed what was been whispered or insinuated. FIFA is corrupt, rotten to the core. I'm even surprised that there is a functioning bureaucracy / administration after the FBI arrests in May 2015.
The events since then evidently points to massive / industrial scale corruption within FIFA. But should this be surprising though. FIFA runs arguably the World's most prestigious and richest sports event. FIFA is effectively like the United Nations, it transcends the laws of any country and is in reality answerable to no one. Is it a surprise that corruption thrives where there is opportunity and very little accountability?
So yes FIFA is corrupt. BUT BUT BUT. Was the FBI altruistic? Did they love football so much that they wanted to clean it up? Or was this another opportunity for America to annex another global organisation and place it under its thumbs? We will find out more when the FIFA cases are eventually heard in court. For this reason, however, I will be suspicious of any North American President of FIFA. To me this will be the next step in making sure FIFA does the bidding of America.
When the FIFA arrests stories broke, the European football fraternity and their media were very quick to distant themselves from Blatter's FIFA. I was amazed back then that a man like Platini could dare to position himself as the person to clean up FIFA. What bloody cheek. Fast forward 5 months later, it has all come out in the wash. Platini is part of the problem and should not be entrusted with the global administration of football.
In my opinion, ever since Blatter empowered 3rd world countries within FIFA and gave them a voice, the knives of the European football fraternity has been out for him. They are not happy at Mr Blatter's attempt to diversify football by ensuring Asian and African countries host the World Cup and participate fully. Europe has watched its dominance of football drain away and was quite eager to use Blatter's comeuppance as a backdoor to controlling global football again. I hope they fail and I hope a non European, none American succeeds Blatter as FIFA President.
Global football will be better for it. The beautiful game is for everybody, not just for Europe or the superpowers.