Well, that was fast. Sepp Blatter’s resignation earlier Tuesday as head of FIFA, the folks who bring you the World Cup is stunning only for the fact that it came just four days after he was re-elected to a fifth term.
Here’s a look at what could possibly have changed things since Friday.
It involves the beginning of a drip, drip, drip of new revelations; Europe’s real threat to fundamentally alter its ties to world soccer; the foolish — and I mean foolish — decision by Blatter to criticize America’s new attorney general; and your credit cards. Visa, in particular.
The 79-year-old FIFA president revealed his resignation in Zurich, Switzerland, and said a new, special election will be held soon.
His only challenger Friday was Jordan Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who lost, but kept up the pressure.
“He is responsible, and I hope that at some stage he actually does take responsibility for actions. Because he is the president of a governing body of the most popular sport in the world,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour
Monday. It’s unclear whether he will run in the new election.
Drip, drip, drip
It was quite a spectacle today when new revelations moved the bribe and corruption scandal a step closer to Blatter, and when FIFA tried to pin illegal payouts on a dead man.
Blatter was not named in last 47-count U.S. Justice Department investigation, but today, reports Reuters, FIFA was forced to deny that his right-hand man, Secretary-General Jerome Valcke, was implicated in a $10 million payment that lies at the heart of the U.S. case.
Valcke, secretary-general since 2007, didn’t do it, FIFA stammered.
A dead guy did — the late chairman of FIFA’s Finance Committee — FIFA said, pointing the finger at Argentina’s Julio Grondona, who died last year.
The European soccer association, save for Russia and Spain, wanted Blatter gone. UEFA President Michel Platini said before the vote — and again after it — that if Blatter stayed, the European soccer clubs may do things differently. Especially if reforms were not immediately. Platini wants the revolution Blatter batted away Friday and instead proposed evolution. Not bloody likely!
The Loretta Lynch rant
Trouble is all around you, Sepp. And you go after U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Really Sepp?Really? Yep. That’s what he did. Foolish. “There is something that smells,” a defiant Blatter said in his post-election victory lap. He zeroed in on Lynch. “I was shocked by what she said. As a president I would never make a statement about another organization without knowing,” he told a French news outlet. “Listen, with all the respect to the judicial system of the U.S. with a new minister of justice … the Americans, if they have a financial crime that regards American citizens then they must arrest these people there and not in Zurich when we have a congress.” Did I mention this was foolish?
The plastic in your pocket …
… the fast food you eat, the tennis shoes you wear and your soda pop. Visa, the company that backs your credit cards, was leading the corporate boardroom demand for change, including a call last week for Blatter’s ouster. Other companies were also rumbling. McDonald’s. Adidas. Hyundai. Coca-Cola. All made clear their strong dissatisfaction, the Telegraph had reported
. Done in by the dollar, the pound and the euro? You betcha.
John A. Oswald is the sometimes-opinionated editor-at-large of Metro.US. Follow him on the Twitters. @nyc_oz