Paul Stainton: Why these questions need answers

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

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There is an old saying that power tends to corrupt and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

For some, even the merest taste of authority or control can turn rational people with good intentions, into tyrannical despots, intent on feathering their own nest and fulfilling their own agendas.

From huge multi-national organisations to local governments, you see it time and time again - people with too much power, too much control and too much to gain from their elevated and influential positions. They become so deluded by their own self importance that they think they are untouchable and unaccountable.

Bankers who believed that they were Gods, who played high stakes poker with our money and our lives all in the name of greed and the thousands of blokes in 
Nigeria who constantly email with details of our “big lottery win.”

Even those at the very top of the Olympic movement, the supposed citadel of fairness and sportsmanship, were caught with their hands in the Salt Lake City till in 2002.

It was a bribery bonanza that finally forced the IOC to clean out its stables but with all due respect that was just a couple of weeks of fun in the snow.

Sure Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace was something of a drama but with cycling’s well publicised and long standing drugs problem, we had all guessed the ending well before the final act.

No, the latest scandal involves our national game, the world’s most popular game and the impact on it and us could be huge, if the allegations against those FIFA bigwigs are proven to be true.

Of course football has been no stranger to the odd scandal down the years, whether that is match fixing, illegal betting or allegations of bungs and if I could prove all of the rumours that have been whispered softly into my ear, then the game would already be on its knees.

We have all heard them, about various clubs, managers and players, up and down the leagues. We have all raised an eyebrow over strange decisions that have been made and odd transfers that have left various clubs in perilous positions, but this would be something else, something far greater, something that would damage the very fabric of our belief system and cast a huge shadow that would stretch from Zurich all the way to London Road.

If those at the top, that are supposed to look after the interests of the game are found guilty of mass corruption, then what could have been going on further down the food chain?

How can the little boy from Stanground, walking proudly to his first Posh match, in his blue and white shirt, ever truly believe in anything he is watching from the terraces?

Trust in football would be lost and memories tarnished forever as every odd result, decision or performance from the past was scrutinised and called into question.

Like thousands of others across the country, that little boy from Peterborough would throw his football shirt in the bin and along with it would go our love of “the beautiful game.”