June 4, 2015 By Cabral Opiyo
“The man with a briefcase can steal more money than the man with the gun”.
Don Vito Corleone is considered to be one of the wisest movie gangsters of all time and might as well have been speaking about FIFA tyrant Sepp Joseph Blatter when he spoke the above statement.
Don Sepp has created a personal fiefdom to rival the stranglehold that Don Corleone had over the New York underground, what’s more impressive is that he’s doing it in the open, hiding in plain sight. When he took over from Joao Havelange who was also just as crooked he had a plan and the wheels have been in motion since 1998. He reckons FIFA is a ‘non-profit’ organization, this from a conglomerate that broke the 1 billion dollar barrier annually back in 2010.
After killing Don Fanucci of the Black Hand who ran a protection ring in his neighborhood Don Vito Corleone became the de facto go to guy if one was in a pickle and in return you only had to offer him your friendship and respect. It wasn’t free, a day would come when he’d call on you and you had to repay your debt. After taking over from Joao Havelange whose operations were too minute for Don Sepp he completely revolutionized how big his illegal activities would stretch, he went global. The godfather more or less predicts how FIFA has been run for the past two decades, complete with the kickbacks and money laundering. The Mafia is run very intricately and to make sure everything is ticking over and kosher, every Don has Capo regimes, these are lieutenants who deliver the boss’s orders to the ‘soldiers’, the pawns. Don Sepp has these in plenty.
“I don’t trust society to protect us; I have no intention of placing my fate in the hands of men whose only qualification is that they managed to con a block of people to vote for them”.
It’s as if those were the motto of Don Sepp’s posse because they harangued for votes for the Don very aggressively and subsequently indulged in some pretty gooey business. All for their own personal protection and gain.
- Mohammad Bin Hammam – racketeering, bribery, kickbacks. Those are only but a fraction of the action Mo was involved in, brilliant and buccaneering the Qatari native canvassed the world to solicit votes and wasn’t averse to the odd bribery to third world football associations to obtain them either. The Sonny Corleone of this tale, he was caught with his hands in the honey pot and subsequently banned only for it to be annulled and he was re banned, we all know how brutally Sonny Corleone met his demise too.
- Jack Warner – Trinidad and Tobago native, brash and in your face. The man who hates England to High heaven and a gargantuan chip on his shoulder that not even the Saville Row tailored suits can conceal. Bribery, accepting kickbacks, illegally selling world cup tickets, his rap sheet reads like an Al Capone associate pre 1940 arrest file. Finally gave himself up for arrest a few days ago. The Salvatore Tessio of this story, again a Capo regime who was dispatched inhumanely to ‘sleep with the fishes’.
- Issa Hayatou – surprisingly never caught but implicated in numerous bribery, kickback and fraud charges, has the African continent eating at the head of Don Sepp’s table. A very important source of votes for the Don thus kept much closer than most, with him at the helm the African continent’s vote is a lock.
- Jerome Valcke – the ‘clean’ man of this bunch, acts as a very effective smokescreen for Don Sepp much like Vito Corleone’s enforcer, Luca Brasi. More an underboss than an enforcer than an enforcer though, he keeps his image and that of the Don clean and free from scrutiny but you can see the guilt in the easy smile and indescribable composure, a preserve of psychopaths.
- Chuck Blazer – he was cornered and boy isn’t he singing, like a happy canary on a warm summer’s morning in the French Riviera. Once the archetypal bad boy, he cavorted with his ill gains in the public eye and courted attention almost arrogantly. Many have no hope of Sepp Blatter being taken down but it’s never over till the fat lady absolutely bellows out her guts. The Frank Pantangneli of this group, Frank turned on Michael Corleone and co operated with the FBI and was going to take him down with him until Don Corleone pulled a masterstroke and shut him up.
- Jeffrey Webb – FIFA vice president and red herring. In the godfather Fredo Corleone, Vito’s son was a weak minded man and not a serious player in the crime business, he was never seriously considered an heir to the Don. A serious player would never have been arrested in the Zurich raid yesterday, probably a puppet vice president with no inkling of the goings on above him.
- Joao Havelange – occupies two roles in my feisty tale. That of Don Fanucci whom Vito killed to start his operation, only this time Don Sepp kept him by his side and worked him for contacts and advice. The former FIFA president might as well have been running a local bicycle theft ring as compared to his heir. His associations with Ricardo Texeira and the bankrupting of the International Sports and Leisure Company are but a drop in the pond, he was so dirty he made a coal miner with soot besmirched on his face look clean. His second role has been as the Consigliere to Don Sepp, coming off a twenty four year dictatorship term he is perfect for the role. Absolutely the Tom Hagen of this tale, complete with the balding head.
“Tom don’t let anybody kid you. It’s all personal, every bit of business. They call it business, okay but it’s personal as hell. You know where I learned that from? The Don, my old man the godfather. If a bolt of lightning hit a friend of his the old man would take it personal. That’s what makes him great, he takes everything personal like God. He knows every feather that falls from the tail of a sparrow or however the hell it goes. And you know something? Accidents don’t happen to people who take accidents as a personal insult.
With the help of his ‘affectionate’ and greedy posse of be suited robbers Don Sepp has created an enviable fiefdom and most football associations have pledged fealty and kissed his ring. I don’t envisage a time when Don Sepp will ever be behind bars, he cleans his fingerprints and points the finger at his associates and since they never received any order from him they tumble alone. The structure is uncanny, the organization identical, the rule totalitarian, all courtesy of Don Sepp Joseph Blatter.
Let’s hope that none of his associates goes to sleep with the fishes.