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Let's keep on cracking those rotten eggs within Fifa

By Steven Beacom

Published 28/05/2015

Under investigation: The image of Fifa has been hit again by allegations of fraud and bribery
Under investigation: The image of Fifa has been hit again by allegations of fraud and bribery

Rackateering, fraud and money laundering involving tens of millions of dollars.

Over 24 years.

Note: This is not a charge sheet against members of the Mafia.

It's another mob entirely being accused of corruption on a mass scale by US Prosecutors.

And who do they belong to? You've got it in one... Fifa...world football's governing body... supposed protectors of our beloved game!

Early yesterday morning in dawn raids, seven high ranking officials were arrested in a luxury Swiss hotel following an FBI investigation.

Some of them used bed sheets to shield themselves from public view.

One more cover up for the road.

It's been alleged that over $150 million, or £97 million in our money, was stolen away by these people.

Hours later, the Swiss authorities launched their own criminal inquiry into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, with police raiding Fifa's headquarters in Zurich and seizing electronic evidence.

All told, as of yesterday, 14 people had been indicted.

You couldn't make this stuff up, though there are some in Fifa who would no doubt prefer to sweep it under a carpet.

The thing is there's no room left with all the muck already there.

Just when you thought the image of Fifa couldn't get any worse, officials, appointed or elected to represent all that is good and proper about football, had dragged it through the gutter once again.

Isn't football the people's game?

Well, we want it back.

It's the sport we cherish, the sport that brings out more emotion in most of us than any other, the sport that can make our hearts fill with joy when our teams win and the sport that can break them with pain when our teams lose, though even then there's always hope for the next match.

It's also the sport that we play with our kids. When they run around with smiles on their faces having scored the goal to win the World Cup.

It is called the beautiful game for a reason.

It shouldn't be rotten and dirty and grubby and evil, but that's what some Fifa officials make it.

And they have been getting away with it for too long... 24 years in some cases clearly.

No more. That carpet I mentioned... yesterday when those arrests were made there was almost something noble about seeing the rug being swept from under them.

Finally, and let's be thankful for this, there is something seriously being done about all these wrongdoings. Let's not stop now. I hope the authorities, from the US and elsewhere, continue to find the corrupt, the culprits and rip out the weeds in the garden.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter last night promised to do just that, describing yesterday's events as 'a difficult time for football'. Not difficult enough though for him to postpone tomorrow's election which is likely to see him win a FIFTH term in office.

Normally in football it is the boss who gets the chop when those under him aren't performing well.

Could some of the Fifa members led away by police yesterday, who Blatter incidentally has praised to high heaven in the past, performed much worse?

Yet Sepp, unless he has a dramatic change of mind and decides to resign, is all set to continue as president.

Surely the man, as figurehead of Fifa, has to take some responsibility for what has been going on in his organisation.

It will also be interesting to see what happens now with the 2018 World Cup in Russia and 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Fifa say those countries will host as planned, but the final chapter of that controversial tale may not have been written just yet.

Northern Ireland play Qatar in a friendly in Crewe, of all places, on Sunday.

Expect a little more media interest in that game now.

What every decent person involved in football is interested in most is having trust in the people who run the sport. That is in short supply right now.

We can only hope that will change in the future.

Those dawn raids may be the new start we needed.

Belfast Telegraph

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