Wednesday 1 June 2011

Football is bigger than Fifa

The events of recent days won't exactly shock anyone with any knowledge of how football's governing body Fifa operates. For years Fifa's inadequacies have been an elephant in the room, wilfully ignored by FAs throughout the world for fear of rocking the boat. Each had their own agenda to further (notably the English FA with their bid for the 2018 World Cup) and giving Fifa cause for concern simply wouldn't do. Ultimately, matters escalated in November when Russia and particularly Qatar were awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in rather controversial fashion.

Supporters cried foul. The drum investigative journalists such as Andrew Jennings had been banging was finally heeded by the mainstream press and by hitherto indifferent fans. Public consensus held that profound change within the organisation was needed and senior officials finally stopped pandering towards the bureaucrats at Fifa. This has resulted in the admirable decision of FA chairman David Bernstein to take a stand this afternoon against the faux-election being held for Fifa presidency. Isolated though the FA may be among the 208 Fifa members (with some exceptions), he has won the respect of the fans who appreciate the need for change at the very top. He risked ostracisation and censure to stand up for what is right and to oppose the dictatorial governance of Sepp Blatter's organisation.

Early indications suggest his efforts will prove to be fruitless but undeniable progress has been made in these past few days. Fifa has been rocked to its core, even if it does still stand defiant, resisting the will of the very people it claims to serve: the football fans. Take away Fifa and football will still thrive; take away the fans and football is dead. And if football is dead, Fifa dies with it. If pressure presists, and the noble crusades of groups such as @FIFA_Boycott and @changeFIFA continue, Fifa must eventually bow to fan pressure.

We can't be certain of how long change will take  but the rising tide of public opinion is growing exponentially. Soon it will be too significant to ignore. Blatter will be ousted and change will happen as long as we fans keep fighting. This is not as much a call-to-arms as a reassurance, for it is simply inconceivable that football's international body can continue to ignore the demands of the supporters who feed their organisation without meeting their downfall. Football will always be bigger than Fifa, and as soon as Blatter and his reprehensible cronies (just look at vice-president Julio Grondona's comments regarding Jewish referees) realise this, football will be free of their poisonous influence.

Do not take Blatter's election as defeat. Revolution is only in its embryonic stages and we, as fans, owe it to the game we love to see it through to the bitter end. The FAs that sided with Blatter today seek only to protect their own selfish interests and are equally deserving of our ire. It's time that they learned that football is not about greed, power or money. Any efforts to get in the way of the will of the fans will be futile. Football will win.

                 "Come senators, congressmen
                 Please heed the call.
                 Don't stand in the doorway,

                 Don't block up the hall
                 For he who gets hurt
                 will be he who has stalled.
                 There's a battle outside raging.
                 It'll soon shake your windows
                 And rattle your walls
                For the times, they are a-changin'."


  1. You're a shockingly good writer Darragh. This blog is of the highest standard. Enjoyed the Dylan reference, it was a masterstroke at the end.

  2. i think i speak for eoghan as well when i say this article almost made me cum

    1. spoke to soon, i actually came