Has the FIFA scandal once again plunged South Africa into scandal?
When the US Department of Justice’s investigations into irregularities at US banks led to the arrest of 5 FIFA officials in Zurich the world was shocked. It seems as if there is no doubt that money was laundered, lies were told, bribes were offered and demanded and once again a beloved sport has been plunged into controversy.
It is disheartening to learn that, once again, money has played such an ugly role in the management of international sport. One is forgiven when thinking of the Lance Armstrong affair, the Hansie Cronje scandal, the Indian Cricket Board fiasco and the Spanish basketball scandal at the paralypics when it was found that 8 players had no physical disability whatsoever. Oh boy, these are not the only examples! Not by far. Just check http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sporting_scandals and you will see a list that will make you want to cancel all your sports channels. Is nothing sacred any longer? Is there no honour in sport any longer? Is money the great God of sport? Sure looks like it. The latest FIFA scandal just proves the point.
It is even more disturbing to learn that South Africa may be involved in this latest FIFA scandal. Apparently, more than a R100 million was pent by South African in support of the diaspora in Caribbean countries. Our esteemed Minister of sport, Fikile Mbalula says this is normal practice. As if there is not a need inside this very country of ours for sport opportunities! In any case, the American Justice Department disagrees. They say that this money was shared by Warner and CONCACAV members to secure votes for South Africa.
So, what will happen next? Seb Blatter resigned as president of FIFA just days after he has been elected yet again. There are those 5 officials in custody. And there is the South African Minister of Sport saying nothing untoward happened. Unfortunately, South Africans have learned that the assurances and solemn promises of politicians are not to be taken at face value. We shall see if South Africa was in the picket of FIFA for the 2010 world cup. Don’t hold your breath.