It Seems To Me. . .
Blatter might not be going away that easily.
By Robert Wagman
(Thursday, June 19, 2015) -- Sepp Blatter is out as president of world governing body FIFA. I know, I have read it on the front pages of the The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Times of London, and have seen it repeated over and over on television news and sports broadcasts.
It must be true. Well. . . how many of the people writing these headlines have actually read what Blatter (and FIFA) have released? How many understand some of the nuances?
Bottom line: FIFA might have Sepp Blatter around for some time to come.
Blatter in his letter of "resignation:" wrote:
"I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA President until that election."
This "extraordinary Congress," which will be called by Blatter and will meet under rules established by Blatter, will be held sometime between December and March and almost certainly closer to the end of March than the first of the year. It is also possible, maybe even likely, that it could be postponed in order to give prospective candidates -- and there could be many-- time to organize and to campaign.
What is of central importance is that Blatter will be setting the agenda for this extraordinary Congress.
To start, Blatter wants to restructure the executive committee and to reduce its size. In a major change, he wants its members to "be elected through the FIFA Congress."
Currently, the FIFA Executive Committee consists of the president, elected by the Congress in the year following a World Cup, eight vice presidents and 15 members, appointed by the member confederations and associations.
By giving the power to appoint executive committee members to the Congress, Blatter would limit the powers of the Confederations and essentially pass power from major countries, such as England, Germany, etc., to smaller member countries. Remember, in the Congress, it's one country, one vote. So the vote of the smallest of FIFA countries, such as tiny Montserrat (population: 5,215) is equal to China (population: 1.36 billion).
The big soccer countries, especially those in Europe's confederation UEFA -- England, Germany, France, Spain, etc. -- have for years chaffed at having their votes cancelled out by the Andorra's and St. Vincent's of the soccer world. This whole election process could end up as a pitched battle between the soccer giants and the small countries over rewriting the rules to change to proportional voting that would favor the bigger, European nations.
Then, too, Blatter wants additional changed: "The integrity checks for all executive committee members must be organized centrally through FIFA and not through the confederations," he wrote.
By centralizing the checks within FIFA, the central organization becomes more powerful at the expense of the confederations and the big countries.
Now, he wants to limit the power of individual officials by instituting term limits for the position of president and executive committee roles. By bringing them in now, he neuters whoever replaces him.
Now we come to Article 19 of the FIFA statutes:
"The Congress may bestow the title of honorary president, honorary vice- president or honorary member upon any former member of the Executive Committee for meritorious service to football."
Who better would deserve this than Blatter, at least in his mind? And with it would come the highly generous FIFA expenses package and Blatter would continue on full salary for life. He would be in the middle of any battle over power being shifted to the major countries and confederations from the small countries where Blatter's closest allies reside.
So, by "laying down his mandate," Blatter would retain his salary, his FIFA-paid perks and he would gain behind-the-scenes power. Now you might read those headlines much differently.