Asian Federation President Mohamed bin Hammam weathered the bitter, angry challenge from dissident fellow greedbags - excuse me, "reformers" - and has been reelected to another four year term on FIFA's Executive Committee, thus ensuring that he'll be around to cash in on the lavish financial asskissing the various bidding nations will engage in leading up to the 2011 selection of the World Cup venues for 2018 and 2022.
Just prior to the balloting, the Federation received an "impassioned plea" from FIFA President Sepp "Leaky" Blatter, whose demand for "discipline, respect, and a fighting spirit, but all in the spirit of fair play" within the AFC came after a couple months of blatent bribery, vote buying, insults and threats from all parties concerned.
The final vote tally was 23-21 with two "spoiled" votes disallowed. How two out of the 46 ballots were "spoiled" remains unexplained. Did someone tip over an inkwell on them? Were there hanging chads?
In any case, with only 46 guys in the room it shouldn't have been too hard to figure out. Apparently, since the losing side hasn't cried foul, what it came down to was that nobody wanted a tie and so a deal was cut that let bin Hammam keep his job.
Part of that deal may have been the lifting of sanctions against Kuwait, where the dreaded "government interference" had caused FIFA an the AFC to issue a death sentence. bin Hammam had previously said that he would deny them their vote, but in a surprise announcement just hours before the ballot, suddenly relented.
At the same time the President also announced that he was abandoning plans to move AFC Headquarters out of Maylaysia, where they've been since 1965, to his home country of Qatar, a plan which created a great deal of anger in the Far East, where the member nations felt they were being pushed aside by Middle Eastern oil money.
The biggest bone of contention, of course, centered around bin Hammam's "dictatorial style" and the shroud of total secrecy which surrounds his handing of Federation finances, both of which put him in good stead if, as expected, he intends to replace Blatter sooner or later.
All of which serves as the preliminary bout for the full FIFA Congress scheduled to convene in the Bahamas next month. (What, you were expecting someplace cold and clammy?)
High up on FIFA Grand Poobah Sepp Blatter's agenda - along with his proposal to limit Olympic teams to U21's with no "overage" additions", a move which his pal UEFA President Micheal Platini is insisting on - is a further crackdown on "government interference" with FIFA affairs.
Apparently the "death penalties" issued to the likes of Spain, Poland, Peru and Kuwait - prior to them coming to their senses and begging for forgiveness - isn't producing nearly enough fear and respect for the inviolability of FIFA's prerogatives.
According to the new rules, which will most assuredly pass assuming that enough delegates can be dragged out of the five star restaurants and casino high roller rooms and away from the hookers long enough to form a quorum, national associations will be punished for any attempted interefernce in football affairs by "politicians, governments, states, media, etc.'' EVEN IF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION IN QUESTION HAD NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH IT.
In other words, it's not going to be enough that a politician is totally ignored when he makes comments regarding football; the nation involved can be sanctioned by FIFA anyway.
Of course the hypocrisy of this postion is outrageously brazen, even for Blatter since "interference" is roughly defined as "stuff Sepp doesn't like"
Take for example British Prime Minister Gordon "Dead Man Walking" Brown, who has had his nose stuck so far up Blatters rear in an effort to get the 2018 World Cup for England that they need to pump him oxygen through a chest tube.
Brown has been on a nonstop campaign to BROWBEAT THE HOME COUNTRIES into participating in the proposed "Team GB" that FIFA has been suggesting for the London Olympics.
Hell, Brown is running around trying to name the Team Great Britain manager. I WONDER IF HE CHECKED WITH SIR ALEX FIRST.
Not only has Blatter not objected to this obvious "government interference" but he has, in fact, URGED BROWN TO DO IT.
For his part, Brown has said he is "DETERMINED" TO SEE A UNITED GB TEAM in 2012, admits that he's engaged in "high level talks" with Blatter towards that end and has been engaged in an open squabble with Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland politicians on this subject for over a year.
Furthermore, Brown's repeated insistence that a united Great Britain football team would in no way create a conflist with the independent status of the home countries flies in the face of Blatter's own statements, like, for example:
“If you start to put together a combined team for the Olympic Games, the question will automatically come up that there are four different associations so how can they play in one team.
“If this is the case then why the hell do they have four associations and four votes and their own vice-presidency?
“This will put into question all the privileges that the British associations have been given by the Congress in 1946.”
Basically, Blatter has been using Brown like a five dollar hooker, allowing him to take both sides of the issue at the same time and making Brown look like an idiot.
Not that that's much of a challenge.
The point being that Blatter's cheer leading - even orchestrating - of Brown's embarrassing campaign to get the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Federations to do something they have absolutely no intention at all of doing (and everyone knows it) flies in the face of his demand that governments butt out of FIFA's business.
It's only "interference" if Sepp doesn't like what you're saying.