“Sepp Blatter is Superman.” That’s what some bloke called (deep breath) Liutauras Varanavicius told England's Daily Telegraph as he arrived in Zurich for today's FIFA Presidency vote. Lit, as I like to call him, is the president of the mighty Lithuanian Football Association.
Inside the footballing halls of power, Blatter greeted the 208 members of his footballing congress by confirming he is, by a remarkable twist of FIFA fate, the only candidate after Qatar’s suspended representative Mohamed Bin Hammam withdrew on Sunday.
Yes, Bin Hammam. The man who persuaded FIFA his tiny, overheated, oily emirate should be awarded the 2022 World Cup ahead of mighty Australia last December.
Jack Warner, the CONCACAF bloke who is also currently suspended, has blown the lid on Blatter’s over-long reign. He showed us an email from Blatter’s oily henchman Jerome Valcke which said “Qatar cannot buy the FIFA Presidency like they did the World Cup.”
Bosh. Done. Blatter’s reign must end. The decision to go ahead with Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 must be reviewed.
Both the English and Scottish FAs earlier today called on FIFA to delay Blatter’s one-man election – but with Lithuanians and the like around, it just ain’t going to happen to Superman.
Unless Michael Platini, the head of UEFA, can be persuaded to run – or perhaps Danny Jordaan, the South African who ran the 2010 show so well - we may just have to accept another four years of Septic Blatter, 75, who has been in charge of the world game since 1998.
The FA statement insisted: “An external party should be appointed to improve governance of FIFA.”
Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International joined the chorus, with Sylvia Schenk, their senior advisor on Sport, saying: "Free and fair elections cannot take place when there is a suspicion that voters may have been swayed. Fifa delegates know that they must clean house if their vote is to have legitimacy."
Stewart Regan, chief executive officer of the Scottish FA, said his organisation wanted the vote postponed for three to six months while there was an independent review into the matter.
He said: “Things are changing on an hourly basis so we’ll decide as close to the vote as possible about what well do with our vote.”
Delays? Independent reviews? Preposterous. Blatter would never allow it.
The sad old dictator who frantically waved his ethics booklet around when verbally savaged by journalists in Monday night’s classic press conference opened his congress last night by saying: “I thought that we were living in a world of fair play, mutual respect and discipline, and I must say this is not the case any.
“It’s no longer the case because our pyramid of Fifa is suddenly unstable on its basis and there’s a danger.”
At least he’s admitting that much. The night before he was insisting there was no crisis and telling us to be elegant and respectful.
Blatter, standing for a fourth term in his personal FIFAdom, said he would speak to delegates tomorrow, is reported to have told the English Daily Telegraph he will be telling his delegates today “about this danger that’s lurking and tell you how we can fight and react to this threat.”
But football can take guidance from that other famously troubled international sporting body, the International Olympic Committe. Their president, Jacques Rogge (pictured with Blatter above), took the chance to tell FIFA’s delegates: “Thirteen years ago we were having to face the same ordeal in the Salt Lake City case. The IOC ultimately emerged a stronger organisation, and from within. Our past calls for humility, and I will definitely not point the finger or lecture you. I’m sure FIFA can emerge stronger, and from within.”
We can only pray that happens. I'm not holding my breath.
Who the hell is Neal Collins (nealcol on Twitter)? See www.nealcollins.co.uk.