Change Fifa: The Sponsors Need To Kick Blatter Out

Want to help oust Septic Sepp? Then join ChangeFIFA in their campaign to lobby FIFA's corporate sponsors - the only organisations powerful enough to stand up to him.
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Want to help oust Septic Sepp? Then join ChangeFIFA in their campaign to lobby FIFA's corporate sponsors - the only organisations powerful enough to stand up to him.

Sepp Blatter will not resign. FIFA is an insular, money-fueled organization that has been built to shield Blatter from the outside world. He was not elected President by the people: everyone who plays, watches or operates clubs. He was elected President by his allies, men in FIFA blazers who are deeply grateful for all he has done and continues to do for them. This small, elite group of men are better known as either 'The Football Family' or 'The FIFA Family'. The stark reality is that everyone else has no place venturing an opinion - not even top clubs, Prime Ministers or people that actually play the game. Even worse, fans who fund and are the life-blood of the game don't even come into the equation.

To demand his resignation is to scream into the void. Blatter will not care about the incandescent anger his comments have caused. He believes he is untouchable, safe within FIFA House from the furious, spittle faced plebs. A bone will be thrown to the world, probably in the form of some sickening press saying that many of his friends are African. You know, Bobby Mugabe, Charles Taylor and blokes like them. It is disingenuous with rockets on.

Blatter banks on everyone outside the FIFA Family Circle of trust being too disorganised to effectively challenge him. He knows that football fans will keep coming back for more, clubs will threaten but ultimately do nothing and that the real stakeholders of change - the players - are way too nervous to make a stand. The nominees for the Ballon D'or ceremony, due any day now, will turn up, shake his hand and smile. They should refuse to attend and send him instructions on where to place his awards, but they won't.

Right now you can bet your life that Blatter is chuckling over the day's papers. Editorials that describe him as a dictator will be giggled at, reports of Rio Ferdinand's Twitter complaints will be met with guffaws and Stan Collymore's rage will probably have had him asking one of his minnions to find out who he is...and to print his photo off for the dartboard. Grant Wahl's demand for his resignation will have probably been met with the biggest laugh of all.

There is no place in the modern world for an unchecked, global, money-fueled, fear-inducing monopoly ruled for the benefit of an elite few.

The one group who could pull the plug on FIFA House are the sponsors. They have ridden corruption scandal after corruption scandal from within the family. They are fine with unresolved allegations of impropriety haunting a span of FIFA’s most senior leaders.  Also tolerated is sexism, crime, homophobia, charade democracy, selective justice and bullying, but can they ignore a call for tolerance of racism from the very top? The answer is obvious to anyone with a pulse. The World Cup is big business - any sponsor severing their ties with the global FIFA monopoly will find that their rivals will fill the space they left pretty quickly and almost certainly at a profit to FIFA. It is highly doubtful that any of FIFA's major sponsors will make a stand. They may, at a push, express regret at Blatter's comments and distance themselves from racism, but making a stand on behalf of the game and fans is most likely beyond them.

Closing your eyes, crossing your fingers and praying that corporations will save football from Blatter and his Family is probably futile, but miracles can happen. We continue to lobby FIFA sponsors. Will they make a stand?

That said, what happens if Blatter really is toppled? The sad reality is that the vacuum will almost certainly be bunged up with another cognac soaked scoundrel, eyes fixed on the vast reserves of cash and limitless power inside FIFA House and the aptly named FIFA Family.  Should Blatter resign or be removed, expecting even the slightest change in the way that FIFA operates is the very definition of insanity - doing the same thing and expecting different results.

FIFA, as we know it, must end. There is no place in the modern world for an unchecked, global, money-fueled, fear-inducing monopoly ruled for the benefit of an elite, fitted FIFA blazer, personally enriched few, who’s dominant cult of personality appears to have an alarmingly and incredibly offensive, self-interested and 11th century world view.  Having come this far in history, we must open up the governance of the game and demand a clear out of the bigots and the self-interested shysters.  In the year 2011, even starting from scratch, we deserve and can easily do far, far better.

Change will never come from within FIFA as we know it.  Reigning from the apparent safety of his palace in Zurich, will Sepp Blatter resign?  No, he's too busy laughing at us.  But maybe, just maybe, the football Arab Spring is coming.

Oliver Fowler, Founder + Co-Director of ChangeFIFA

Follow on Twitter @ChangeFIFA

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