By Isaac Massaquoi
I am very reluctant to congratulate you even after your resounding victory over Mohamed Bin Hamman for the FIFA presidency. That's not because I think the victory was not important. In fact, this was a fight like never before for that job. But the idea that for the next four years the world would have a Blatterite agenda at FIFA, is truly sickening. Throughout the next four years, the management of the beautiful game at the highest level is also going to be dogged by corruption allegations and trials all over the place. That's the story.
The best you could have done for the good of our game, was to have fallen on your sword because even though the world may not have direct evidence of your personal involvement in the practices for which indictments have been unsealed in the US, at least for now, why, in God's name can't you accept that since all the mess happened on your watch, you should also now quit FIFA?
Mr. Blatter, we still remember the small matter of those Rolex watches and a few other goodies in the hands of FIFA officials not so long ago. Now we are getting some clarity about the ten million dollars FIFA paid to Jack Warner's project on behalf of South Africa around the time that country won the bid to host the World Cup in 2010. What was that about sir? Are you also telling us you didn't approve that deduction from money due South Africa that was paid to Jack Warner's football project in the Caribbean?
Look at those pictures we saw on TV of your very senior colleagues being taken away by Swiss police with blankets over the heads - absolutely disgraceful. I want them to have their day in court but the bits and pieces we are getting now from the media suggest that they are in real hot water.
Now, I am sure you will be surprised that a Sierra Leonean living in Sierra Leone can be this critical of your leadership given the enthusiastic congratulatory hugs you received from the controversially-elected president of the Sierra Leone Football Association. The African bloc in FIFA largely kept their promise to help you get a 5th term. But a careful scrutiny of the figures show that some African associations deserted you in front of the electronic voting equipment. When the euphoria of winning settles down, check the figures again and discover the movements that took place away from your African constituency. You will surprised.
You know, deep down, even your enemies admire the way a man from your background has been able to build and maintain the kind of coalition that has kept you in power until now. You used up your ninth life at the most appropriate time. I would have bet my last penny that you would be swept up in the storm that blew across the Atlantic from the US Department of Justice and made land fall in the European country of Switzerland.
Let me now tell you why I am so upset with you re-election. On your watch, Sierra Leone football is in intensive care. You may hear a few surprises from our young players like those who in the last few days eliminated Cameroon from the Olympic qualifiers. As far as I am concerned, that is purely down to the determination of those young boys who are doing their best with the primary motive of getting into the rich leagues of Europe. So they are doing that despite the disorganisation and factional fighting in the SLFA. And I believe that FIFA is responsible for all the problems in the SLFA.
Without going into the details Mr. Blatter, you know that almost two years ago, an SLFA election of the most abnormal type took place in Freetown from which Isha Johansen became president. I say abnormal because, the true SLFA delegates were disenfranchised. In their place emerged delegates manufactured on the doorsteps of the Sierra Leone Police canteen with no less a person than the Inspector General of Police personally overseeing security at the venue as if the UN Security Council was meeting there.
That election, as you know was the final act in an unnecessarily long drama scripted in Zurich and directed on the ground in Freetown by your hit man Primo Covaro. Despite conclusive evidence that the true delegates were denied justice, FIFA went ahead and endorsed the result of that election. What you endorsed Mr. Blatter, was an executive that didn't have the support of its own members. I know that an overwhelming 35 out of 47 delegates are totally opposed to the current SLFA executive. And they have demonstrated for the second time that they would impeach Isha Johansen as soon as an opportunity shows up. That's the reason why, despite the personal involvement of president Ernest Bai Koroma, the last congress failed. It failed because of the same problem that your so-called Normalisation Committee failed to dispassionately deal with.
I read a very interesting letter one of your officials sent to Sports Minister Paul Kamara the other day. Even at this late stage, you are telling the world you still back an SLFA executive subsisting on a questionable democratic foundation. The only breath of fresh air in that letter is that you appear to have come to terms with the fact that those local football administrators and managers who call themselves Stakeholders, cannot be wished away. I note that now you want a committee, partly approved by them to sort out the issue of who the true delegates are and possibly another SLFA congress. Why has it taken so long, Mr. Blatter? A lot of damage has been done already to our game. Why did it have to take a letter from president Koroma to get you started?
While I believe that your proposal in that letter is a good step, I warn you not to be too optimistic. What the present SLFA doesn't want is a congress in which those everybody in Sierra Leone know as the true delegates were properly seated. So watch out for unnecessarily long delays in setting up the committee you are proposing, watch out for objections and counter objections to the participation of particular people, watch out for more letters of protest in your in-box. Please don't ever think about sending Primo Covaro to Sierra Leone. The very mention of his name is enough to open a Pandora's Box that could wreck you last push for some sanity in Sierra Leone Football.
To be honest Mr. Blatter, I don't believe in all this nonsense about European plots against you and all that. If there was any plot, then your people in FIFA created the conditions for one. The trial in America would reveal a lot but the world probably deserves a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to get to the bottom of all the corruption in FIFA. There should be a promise that no prosecution would follow the exercise. You will definitely not take this suggestion seriously in your clean up exercise but I want to demonstrate to you how frustrated I am with your inability to fight corruption in the global game and your unrelenting bias against the true football stakeholders in Sierra Leone.
© Politico 02/06/15