FIFA leadership scandal Implications for Botswana

The leadership scandals rocking the world football governing body FIFA have been dominating the headlines off late, both locally and internationally. Accusations, counter accusations, suspensions and banns have been the order of the day. Even those who though they are untouchable, have got the wrath of the ongoing investigations.

Over some time, while accusations were flying around, most of the FIFA leadership denied any wrongdoing. One by one, FIFA President’s former aides and close confidantes were implicated and suspended or banned, among them former Blatter right hand man and influential man Jack Warner. While all this was going FIFA President Sepp Blatter remained resolute, denying and rebuffing all allegations made against him.

I for one could not believe that everyone can be implicated and he can claim ignorance to everything. The 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids have opened a can of worms and the chickens are coming home to roost. It seems there was a lot of under hand tactics involved in the awarding of the tournaments to Russia and Qatar. Things took a turn for the worst a fortnight ago when FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his right hand man Secretary General Jerome Valcke and UEFA President Michel Platini were suspended. As would be expected, they all deny any wrongdoing.

What does this mean for Botswana football? Well, Botswana is but a small factor in the wider FIFA echelons of power and influence. However, we are powerful in that we have a vote when it comes to some important decisions, like voting for FIFA President. We also sit in some FIFA sub-committees. In the last elections, and despite all the allegations made against Sepp Blaltter, we stood behind him and endorsed his bid.

Even though BFA President Tebogo Sebego did not come out and say we voted for Blatter, all signals indicated that we did vote for him. Apparently; allegedly, our support for Blatter did not go down well with the powers that be in high offices in Botswana. This was brushed off as mere speculation after being reported in the media, but like I always say, there is never smoke without fire.

I have been reliably told in the past that Blatter had endeared himself to Africa, and indeed Botswana, hence Africa’s loyalty to the man, despite all the allegations against him. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Was his concern for Africa really genuine, or he only said what was right at the right time so he could secure the many African votes. Botswana was among those countries that has always sang Blatter’s praise and his downfall would have disappointed the BFA top brass.

BFA President Tebogo Sebego has been quoted saying what is currently happening at FIFA ‘is very unfortunate and is not good for the image of football’. Sebego has said current FIFA developments are a painful period for the sport.  That is a no-brainer, and I wonder why it took the whole world so much time to realise that something was indeed fishy.

It remains to be seen as to who we will now throw our weight behind for FIFA Presidency. And it will be very interesting as the names that have consistently come up as possible candidates are rather lightweight, except for Michel Platini, who is also currently suspended. Whatever happens, we have to make an informed decision so that we don’t irk anyone and rub off the powers that be wrongly. We need to throw our weight behind someone who is principled and will help advance African football.

Editor's Comment
Escalating fuel prices cause panic

Nowadays it is not uncommon to purchase an item for a certain commodity and return to the shops in a week, to find the same item has gone up by a significant amount of money.Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) last week announced yet another fuel price increase, which follows yet another increase that came into effect on March 29. Hardly two months later on May 12 boom, BERA announced yet another increase, which came into effect at a...

Have a Story? Send Us a tip
arrow up