Sepp Blatter, ESPN and the Joys of Being in Charge

ESPN has finally discovered soccer.

No, I don't mean the game with 22 guys in short pants running around like mad, kicking a ball and occasionally rolling around on the ground as if someone had set their liver on fire.

Rather, I mean that they've discovered FIFA.

Because as we all know - and the ESPN geeks are ever so slowly waking up to - FIFA doesn't just run the game, it owns the game.

Yesterday, in a rehash of the England non-goal kerfuffle - and seriously, how in the hell did they blow THAT one - ESPN lawn gnome Mike Cirico was discussing the call, and the possible remedies, with Steve McManaman and Juergen "I've turned down every coaching job on Earth because none of them are good enough for me" Klinsmann.

They were explaining to Bob that the technology exists and it's ridiculous not to use it and the whole "we don't want technology to intrude on the game" excuse is so much horse puckey.

So mike asks how them what it will take to get a straight answer out of FIFA about this particular incident and when Sepp Blatter in particular will face the media in regards to same.

McManaman laughed out loud. Klinsmann rolled his eyes and grinned. "This is FIFA" Steve said. "They're not going to do anything at all."

This morning, the amazingly lifelike Bob Ley tried again with Alexi Lalas:

What will it take to put enough public pressure on FIFA to finally allow goal line technology?"

Lalas - and God bless the man, everybody needs a paycheck and I don't begrudge him a nickel of it but I swear the more words he emits the less he says until, eventually, there's this vuvuzela-like drone coming out of his mouth that contains nothing intelligible at all - manfully tried to come up with an answer, something about how it will change "when it starts to affect the popularity of the game", and then added that, well, that's never going to happen.

Nice try, Panayotis, but no cigar.

(Of course he's still more listenable than John Harkes; the man has an absolute mastery of imbecilic comments. My favorite from yesterday:

"When things get hard out there, that's when adversity sets in")

Because, as you and I know there's only one thing that motivates Sepp Blatter:

Getting re-elected.

And at it's base the reason why this isn't going to change is because the people with votes in the FIFA General Congress don't want it to change.

They know that "we'll just do it at the World Cup and other super-important events" will las about six months or until the first time one of the officials in their federation blows a goal line call.

They'll be under increasing pressure to implement the FIFA solution and, in fact, it will become a status symbol of sorts: if your competition is really top notch then you'll have the end-line buzzer (or whatever).

And nobody - I don't think even the countries with lots of money - wants to spend what it would cost to buy, install, maintain and monitor this stuff. To them it's just another expense and they intensely dislike spending money.

Did you see that, two days before the first match, at the FIFA General Assembly, Sepp announced to the assembled delegates that FIFA had had a wonderful, prosperous year and, as a result of his sterling leadership was simply brimming with money and as a result he had a $250,000 check to hand out to every person in the room?

They were delighted. The fat that this is nothing more that blatant vote buying couldn't matter less.

Now of course some of these guys - like Sunil Gulati - will dutifully go home and deposit the money in an appropriate Federation account.

Many many others, like Jamaica president Horace Burrell, the man who stole a FIFA development grant and used it to install air conditioning in his home, are likely to find other uses for it.

(And since, by iron clad rule, local governments cannot interfere and FIFA doesn't want to know, everyone is aware that there is literally no way to stop them from doing whatever they like with the money.)

The point is that the voting members of FIFA are only happy when the money is flowing their way. They have no desire to waste some of it on, you know, soccer and stuff.

Blatter knows this, and he's more than happy to take all the heat, all the disdain and all the complaints that the footballing public can dump on him. The various feds all know full well that he's doing it for them, and they love him for it.

Speaking of Sepp, alert BigSoccer member "Barbieri", who is another good reason why Atlanta should get an MLS side, sent along a link to an apparently hammered Steve Nash waiting for Blatter:

Someone needs to explain to Steve that MLS realy doesn't care much to have their owners - however minority they may be - standing around stadium concourses mocking the President of FIFA.

I mean sure, we put up with Drew carey for a while, but eventually even Seattle ans got hip to the fact that, at heart, he's a guy with a bunch of money invested in a team wihich makes him, you know, an owner.

Just doing my bit here.

And longtime BS habitues will fondly recall "Eggy", who passed along the fact that Sepp Blatter, in his "Man of the People" mode, began a Twitter (@seppblatter) at the beginning of the World Cup.

Like the late, great Nicolae Ceauşescu and his lovely bride Pigface, he operates under the delusion that people actually love him and see him as an All-Wise, Grandfatherly kind guy.

Whoever it was at FIFA who talked him into this has likely been fired by now, as 38,000 people are now following Blatters' Blather, and some of the comments are, well, not exactly warm:

eoghaner: @SeppBlatter Why are there so many empty seats? can you guarantee that Fifa officials have not sold their tickets to touts like in WC2002?

MaryGlazerOut: Just discovered there are over 17,000 idiots on Twitter all of which are following that rotten ******** @SeppBlatter *shakes head*

XTRMNTR_Imp: RT @bobwinckworth @seppblatter Please retire you sexist crook

MIDmikeindenver: @seppblatter RT @christoy: OK FIFA GONE TOO FAR; FIFA ejected 36 girls wearing Dutchy dress from yesterdays match

Ceronepop: RT @behnisch: Oh joy, we can now tell @SeppBlatter personally to resign and make way for more democracy & less corruption at #fightthepower

mr_onions: @SeppBlatter What steps are #FIFA taking to rid the corruption that has historically been linked to the governing body? #wc2010

FrankvE: RT @jensweinreich: @SeppBlatter You promised to answer questions. Take this: The ISL bribery system: 138 million CHF for senior officials

It's become rather hilarious, frankly, but Sepp bravely soldiered on (although his promise to "answer your questions" seems to have fallen by the wayside) until yesterday when, after announcing that he was on his way to see germany and England, his commentary suddenly ceased.

Maybe, as Sepp says, modern technology simply can't be trusted.