By Gabriel Oguda via Facebook
If I were Sam Nyamweya in that FIFA Congress today, I would vote Sepp Blatter without any shadow of a doubt. There is something about FIFA that some global football powers do not like – the power of the vote. You see, FIFA isn’t like the UN Security Council where a select group of powerful nations sit around and decide the fate of global security. In FIFA every member federation has one equal vote – whether you are five time champions Brazil or the tiny Island of Madagascar.
I will tell you something.
In 2002 when Issa Hayatou stood up against Sepp Blatter, he got a thorough lashing at the polls losing 139 to 56. Africa, alone, has 54 votes. The big boys making noise about Blatter now didn’t even consider an African contestant the likely candidate to clean house.
These scandals did not begin today. Shortly before the 2002 election, Blatter was the subject of a formal legal complaint from 11 FIFA executive committee colleagues who accused him of an abuse of power and financial mismanagement. ‘In one of the darkest periods in FIFA’s history, then secretary General Michel Zen-Ruffinen handed a document to Swiss prosecutors on behalf of the 11, alleging wrong-doing at the highest level.’ Of course, and as expected, he weathered the storm.
England have threatened to withdraw it’s membership from FIFA if Blatter is elected today. No problem. We all know their sour grapes began the moment they lost the World Cup 2018 hosting rights to Russia. Not even the lobbying by poster boy David Beckham and Royal Prince William helped matters.
I wil tell you another thing.
That Sepp Blatter has, over the years, taken it upon himself to take football across the world. Africa, for instance, after being denied the chance to host the 2006 World Cup by Germany, had to rely on Blatter to bring us football home in 2010. If World Cup hosting rights were to be left to a global competitive process, I can tell you for free that Africa would have to wait for a million years to have a shot at hosting the global showpiece. Look at Qatar 2022. Had it not been for Blatter, that tiny footballing nation would never have dreamt of selling a football shirt to fans outside their sweltering borders.
Why, for example, is Africa having only 5 World Cup slots yet we have more Federations than any football bloc? Why is Europe over-represented in the World Cup? In 1998, before Blatter came into office, Africa had only 3 slots at the World Cup. Now we have 5 – still a far cry from the 13 automatic slots reserved for the powers in Europe.
I am an advocate for equitable distribution of resources. Let’s be fair to Sepp Blatter. I think he has been Africa’s friend.