If you doubted the true independence of FIFA’s self-selected reform committee—a group mainly composed of existing FIFA members, led by an outside investigator selected and paid for by FIFA, and tasked with rooting out the causes of rampant corruption those highest up FIFA’s power pyramid had absolutely positively no knowledge of whatsoever—the latest comments from said committee head probably won’t steel your confidence.
François Carrard, a 77-year-old Swiss lawyer who once oversaw corruption investigations into the International Olympic Committee, is the man soccer’s governing body has appointed to guide their new 15-member reform committee. Carrard must be taking his job very seriously, with the knowledge that although many of the allegations involved individual decisions of various powerful federation members, the omnipresence of bribery and the upward mobility of the corrupt officials implies that FIFA president Sepp Blatter at the very least tacitly condoned the behavior through willful ignorance, if he didn’t orchestrate it himself, right? Not so, according to statements Carrard made to Swiss paper La Matin Dimanche. From the Guardian:
“There is something unfair in the way he is treated. I say that with complete independence. We are in the process of pillorying him. Unfortunately, it’s always like that when somebody stays too long, the negative side gets noticed,” said the 77-year-old Carrard.
“This man has been unfairly treated. And if we talk about corruption … I have the whole US proceedings on my table. In the indictment, there is not one word against him. Nothing. Today I am not aware of any indication of corruption against Blatter,” he said.
Yep, the head of a notoriously corrupt organization had no idea how his organization actually ran. The man who created the system of small-country empowerment which facilitated the conditions for mass bribery couldn’t possibly be responsible for the culture that inevitably sprang from that. Nothing to see here, just a handful of bad apples poisoning all the great work Blatter has done over the years.
I don’t know how much actual “reform” will come out of this committee, but regardless, it sounds like FIFA will be getting its money’s worth.