In a time where much of Europe, the Americas and Australasia have had enough of football’s governing body is it time for a breakaway federation to be formed? And who will be brave enough to take on such a mammoth task?
Last week was a truly exceptional week for world football’s governing body FIFA not only were seven high ranking officials either arrested or indicted but the divisive president Sepp Blatter was re-elected right in the middle of the FBI led storm.
It would be fair to say the re-election of Blatter for a fifth term was not well received here or in many other European nations where Blatter is seen as complicit in the corruption that has enveloped FIFA. It must be pointed out however that amongst much of the world’s football associations and confederations he is an immensely popular figure credited with spreading the message of the beautiful game far and wide. The 2010 World Cup in South Africa being the first to be held in the continent of Africa provided Blatter with huge support from CONCAF the African equivalent to UEFA European football’s governing body.
Whilst UEFA president Michel Platini openly called for Blatter to resign his national football association in France backed and voted for Blatter along with the Spanish. All of this would make a break away from FIFA a monumental task and it remains to be seen if anyone is brave enough to take the first step.
There have been vague threats of boycotting the next World Cup as a result of last week’s election from some in UEFA but this seems a very unlikely step given that not everyone is unhappy with Blatter at the helm.
In 1977 an Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer took on the world’s cricket boards which he saw as stuck in the mud and set up World Series Cricket. Whilst the venture did not last particularly long Packer managed to attract most of the games top players and Word Series Cricket two year revolution is credited with giving the game a much needed shake up.
Whilst a boycott of a World Cup might send a message to FIFA, the threat of a break away tournament would send shockwaves around the world of football. It may take someone like Packer who comes from outside the game to form such a tournament but if the world’s best teams and players could be attracted then FIFA would have to stand up and take notice.
As things stand no such person has stepped forward and the danger is that unless the FBI investigation goes much further the beautiful game’s name will remain tarnished by those at the top sweeping corruption under the carpet.
Someone with true entrepreneurial skill and foresight will be needed to take on FIFA and the pull of the World Cup but if history tells us anything nothing is impossible in sport. Football’s Kerry Packer may just be around the corner waiting to give the international game the lift it so desperately needs.