8 Jun 2011

Cloud of corruption to hang over FIFA for some time yet

1:39 pm on 8 June 2011

Though Jack Warner's threatened football "tsunami" remains stuck in the doldrums, the corruption storm raging around FIFA shows no sign of abating after another extraordinary week for the sport's governing body.

President Sepp Blatter is embarking on another four-year term and, despite his promise to reform FIFA, the 75-year-old Swiss lawyer is facing almost daily broadsides in the fallout from the corruption scandals centred on the awarding of hosting rights for the World Cup.

In the face of sustained assaults on the integrity of his organisation, Blatter has raised some eyebrows by turning to opera singer Placido Domingo as well as 88-year-old former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for advice.

They are among a group of people Blatter drafted in to form a "council of wisdom" to help restore FIFA's tarnished image after he was re-elected unopposed last week.

Sceptics are proving hard to win over though, with Diego Maradona branding FIFA a museum run by dinosaurs who do not want to give up power and saying that, despite the chaos and upheaval of the last few weeks, "nothing would change".

His view echoed those of the many observers who were not surprised when FIFA's over-worked ethics committee announced that Blatter had no case to answer, having provisionally suspended his previous presidential rival Mohamed Bin Hammam, and vice-president Warner, over bribery allegations.

Warner then said that he would create a "football tsunami" by revealing the content of email exchanges with Blatter.

However, he later said that on legal advice he would no longer do so "at this point in time" and restricted his announcements to a defence of his own position.