SWANNY'S WORLD OF SPORT: Sadly. no serious change at the top
Am I missing something? Why is the FIFA presidential election victory of Gianni Infantino a cause for celebration?
He’s not Sepp Blatter which is undoubtedly a good thing. He’s not Michael Platini which is also a plus point, but as he has worked for the disgraced Frenchman for the last seven years, it’s pretty amazing that Infantino was seen as the most honourable of the five candidates.
Infantino is a FIFA insider. He’s free of all corruption suspicion, but he worked closely with Blatter and Platini while they were cooking the books, offering and accepting disloyal payments and sending World Cup tournaments to the most inappropriate countries imaginable.
Incredibly Infantino’s main rival was a man from Bahrain, a country with human rights and torture allegations hanging over it.
His other opponents promised genuine reform and probably never stood a chance as a result.
His election victory doesn’t fill me with great joy or even slight optimism. Infantino was never the ‘clean sweep, start again’ candidate. He’ll just be a more honest (hopefully) version of what went before.
Even his final pre-election speech smacked of Blatterisms, most obviously the doubling of grants to developing football nations. Election inducements in other words
On the surface this appears a good thing, as long as the cash is used for its intended purpose and not as a ‘get-rich-quick’ payment for the thieves and charlatans who have occupied senior FA positions in many countries.
Of course the English FA is incorruptible. Their biggest problem is stupidity.
Listening to Greg Dyke is like listening to the bore down the pub. He’s the ‘know-it-all’ who actually knows nothing.
Let us not forget the English FA were all ready to vote for Platini for FIFA President until the unsurprising news he was up in his neck in filth broke.
Now Dyke and the shadowy figure of FIFA Executive member David Gill want us to believe that Inafantino will be a splendid leader of the world’s most popular sport.
I doubt that. Infantino also won the election by promising a 40-team World Cup in the future. Good news for Wales and Northern Ireland, and probably for England if they keep Roy Hodgson as national coach, but bad news for those of us who like a major tournament to be competitive from the start.
If Infantino really wanted to prove he was up for change, and for correcting the errors of the past, he would start the process of taking the World Cup Finals away from Qatar in 2022.
He might also distance himself from the deluded, despotic Blatter rather than hint he might make his former boss some sort of honorary FIFA president.
Blatter and Infantino are both Swiss and they are both FIFA loyalists.
So what’s really changed? I am happy to wager nothing good will come from it.