The King Stay the King

photo credit: thesportreview via photopin cc

photo credit: thesportreview via photopin cc

In the third episode of The Wire, D’Angelo explains chess to the younger members of the Barksdale drug gang. This being The Wire, it’s understood that when he says “the king stay the king,” he is talking about not just chess, but the drug trade, America, and perhaps the world. FIFA is a lot like Baltimore inThe Wire: everything is fucked up, everyone knows it’s fucked up, but despite that it will remain fucked up. And Sepp Blatter stay the king.

He has been called, at various times, out-of-touch, reptilian, and bumbling.  At 78, he has some outdated thoughts on issues such as race and sex. The organization he presides over is notoriously corrupt and incompetent. But Sepp Blatter damn good at this game. There’s a reason he has been President of FIFA since 1998. And there’s a reason he’ll be getting a fifth term.

Two weeks ago he did something we don’t expect from FIFA: he admitted a mistake. Now, he believes Qatar’s World Cup to be a mistake for the least consequential of the many reasons why it’s a mistake, and he did nothing towards fixing it, but after years lost in the desert this was a small step in the right direction for FIFA.

We should have known there was more to it. Since when does FIFA admit mistakes? On Saturday Blatter announced, to little surprise, that he intends to run for a fifth term as FIFA’s President. Less than 12 hours later, the other shoe dropped. The Times put proof to widely-held suspicions that Qatar bought and bribed their way into hosting the 2022 World Cup. The figure at the center of the story is Mohamed bin Hamman, who was banned by FIFA for unrelated bribery in 2012. His biggest mistake, however, may have been running against Blatter for FIFA’s presidency in 2011.

Blatter’s expected challenger in 2016 is Michel Platini, who is currently head of UEFA. He voted for Qatar, he famously attended lunch between Qatari royalty and the French President, and his son now works for a Qatari company.  When Blatter, who is thought to have voted for the U.S., labeled Qatar a mistake, Platini was quick to disagree, and he has been in support of moving the 2022 tournament to winter even though European clubs would be most affected. He will learn, if he hasn’t already, that disagreeing with Sepp Blatter is a dangerous thing to do. Blatter’s gonna get his fifth term, don’t you worry.


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