Sepp, this sounds familiar…
Guyana’s football association…was given $800,000 in grants for a training centre between 2002 and 2006, but has yet to start any building work. The football federation in Montserrat…got $788,139 from FIFA in the early 2000s for what it said would be a “complex” with floodlights and fences, but what Google Earth suggests is just a forest clearing.
The last time we checked in with Sepp Blatter, he was busy ignoring construction delays in Brazil while jaunting off to the Middle East to work on artificial cloud technology with Qatari scientists. Or at least something like that. News today, however, suggests he might want to make a quick stop in the Caribbean.
According to a report recently published by The Economist, a not-so-new scandal is currently unfolding between FIFA and a number of smaller island nations. FIFA has, for years, sent comparatively large amounts of funding to smaller member-countries like Montserrat, Guyana and Anguilla, with the supposed intention of developing the support structure of each country’s domestic game. But while vast sums have been pumped into the Caribbean, relatively little has been created as a result. There are no gyms, dormitories or fields, and much of the funding remains unaccounted for, simply misplaced. For their part, FIFA claim that “construction delays” are the main culprit, but it’s difficult to believe it takes more than a decade to build a fence.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Remember Mohamed bin Hammam, the would-be FIFA-reformer who was banned for offering financial incentives to Caribbean officials? A number of those same officials received short-term bans as a result of the scandal. One would think they’d be blacklisted from prominent positions within world soccer, but guess who’s back in charge? And guess who FIFA just handed more than $1m in “unspecified bonuses?”
Corruption is deplorable enough when votes are exchange for favors, but it’s entirely another when developing nations are deprived as a result. Recent news suggests that Sepp Blatter may step down from the FIFA Presidency in 2015, but with corruption so ingrained in the system, will it make any difference? [Posted by Maxi]