Fink: Blatter exit will be moral justice

ESPNSTAR.com columnist Jesse Fink urges FIFA president Sepp Blatter to quit his position for the sake of moral justice after the latest controversy.

Sepp Blatter wants penalty shoot-out alternative

This columnist's first reaction to the confirmation, a long time coming, that Sepp Blatter unequivocally knew about millions of dollars in bribes or "commissions" being paid to Brazilian roundball goodfellas João Havelange and Ricardo Teixeira through bankrupted marketing company International Sport and Leisure (ISL) was that there was no way he could ride this one out.

A FIFA president who openly admits to gross corruption on his watch? In football terms, it's Watergate.

But, you see, Blatter, as always, has a readymade excuse.

"You can't judge the past on the basis of today's standards. Otherwise it would end up with moral justice. I can't have known about an offence that wasn't even one."

Blatter managed to keep standing while his scandal-plagued executive committee went down around him like dominoes. He survived Jack Warner's promised "tsunami". He saw off the political challenge of Mohamed Bin Hammam and destroyed his rival in the process. He's mostly neutralised the forensic attention of crusading journalists such as Andrew Jennings, Jean François Tanda and Jens Weinreich.

He's to all intents and purposes been a bulletproof president. And given the fact that sponsors are locked in for the World Cup, World Cup qualifying is underway and Blatter can still count on the support of key powerbrokers in the game (one shudders to think how much Blatter knows and what he's prepared to do with that information if his own position is threatened) he's going to stay that way.

No one is going to jump from the FIFA ship (Blatter loves his nautical similes) with a World Cup in fun-lovin' Brazil just around the corner! Joga bonito!

Blatter's proffered excuse, though, just reaffirms why he must resign. 

"Today's standards" were already in place when these outrageous offences took place. It's just that Blatter's FIFA - and one cannot stress enough it was and remains Blatter's FIFA - consciously and deliberately ignored them.

The past can be judged on them.

Nor is it enough for Blatter to cowardly hide behind the inadequacies of Swiss law to justify why Havelange and Teixeira pocketed those millions. It does not make it right. 

And Blatter clearly knew it wasn't right because the ship he steers, FIFA, has spent years and a lot of money trying to suppress the release of this information. 

If it was all above board, why go to so much trouble to keep it from the press?

So sorry, Mr President, the game is up. We can't remove you. No one can. Only your conscience. For the good of the game, for the sake of preserving whatever shred of decency you still have, resign. 

Only then will this story end up with the moral justice you so conspicuously fear.



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