Saturday 3 December 2016

John Delaney exclusive: Sepp Blatter will resort to his usual tactic of doling out election promises like confetti - but football is no longer being served under his watch

John Delaney

Published 28/05/2015 | 02:30

A member of staff walks past the logo of soccer's international governing body FIFA at their headquarters in Zurich. Photo: Reuters
A member of staff walks past the logo of soccer's international governing body FIFA at their headquarters in Zurich. Photo: Reuters
FBI agents carry boxes from the headquarters of CONCACAF after it was raided in Miami Beach, Florida. Photo: Getty Images
Presenter Fernanda Lima alongside FIFA President Sepp Blatter during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Draw at the Costa Do Sauipe, Bahia, Brazil.

Over the past 24 hours, the eyes of the world have been on FIFA - and for all of the wrong reasons.

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Sadly, it has been clear to everyone that football's world governing body was in need of reform for some time.

It didn't require yesterday's dramatic arrests to confirm deep-rooted and chronic problems, but they should certainly act as a wake-up call for change.

Wide-ranging probe that goes right to the heart of the game  

That can only come from the representatives who are here to vote in Zurich. It is important that each of us with voting powers does the right thing. And, in my view, that means a change of leadership and with it a series of radical reforms to get back to the values that the world governing body should represent - primarily the promotion and growth of the sport through an open and transparent relationship with its member associations.

I am still sceptical that it will happen, but it should happen, and it is the duty of everyone to do the right thing.

There are simply too many problems with FIFA's governance not to.

Don't look to UEFA for the knight in shining armour  

Sepp Blatter has been at the helm of FIFA for the past 17 years. Despite saying he wouldn't run for this fifth term, he plans to go ahead. He is clearly blind to the damage that his continued grip is doing to world football.

In that time, he has presided over proven corruption of top officials, vote-buying among FIFA executive committee members, commercial demands that have little to do with the good of the game, a failure to publish the full Garcia report, the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar in the summer of 2022, and the list goes on.

Fifa's Blatter 'blind to the damage' he is causing football  

Throughout this, UEFA, the European confederation, has been a champion for good governance, and has shown the way football can be managed positively for everyone involved. If UEFA members were voting, Blatter would be long gone.

National associations across the globe should look to UEFA as an example of what can be achieved with the proper structures and a genuine interest in furthering the development of the sport.

FIFA chief Blatter faces questioning over 'corruption'  

I sincerely hope that other confederations will now follow UEFA's appeal for Sepp Blatter to stand down. Regrettably, Blatter will no doubt resort to his usual tactic of doling out election promises like confetti but football and its interests are no longer being served under his watch.

The time for change is now and it shouldn't need yesterday's arrests to confirm it.

John Delaney is the Chief Executive of the Football Association of Ireland

Irish Independent

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