After the Ethics Committee issued it's finding that there was, in fact, credible evidence sufficient to warrant a full scale investigation into the pre-election activities of Mohammad Bin Hammam, Jack Warner and two pathetic lumps of Trinidadian road kill, the salient question was simply:
Are they serious?
That is, do they really mean to get to the bottom of things or will they - as has been the case on far too many occasions - go behind closed doors for a while and then issue a terse statement exonerating one and all?
And the telling evidence of this is always who exactly they select to conduct the independent investigation and submit a report to the committee for disposition:
Would it be some version of Inspector Clouseau of the Surite? Or some Frank Drebin clone? Surely the suspended Vice Presidents had to hope so.
Well, the word is out and it's not good news for the aging corruptocrats who until recently had FIFA by the tail; the man who has been engaged to investigate them is former FBI agent, former US Federal Prosecutor, former Federal Judge and former Director of the FBI Louis Freeh.
Jack, if you're out there someplace, a word of advice: when Director Freeh interviews you, go into that whole scowling-shouting-arrogant-do-you-know-who-I-am routine you always do when you're cornered.
Director Freeh:"Mr. Warner, did you in fact instruct two of your employees to hand out envelopes of money to CFU members?"
Warner: Go and ask your mother!
I'm certain it'll work great. Really.
According to PAUL KELSO of The Telegraph Freeh has already begun "interviewing witnesses who attended the CFU meeting".
Unsurprisingly, since Freeh took on the investigation, "a number of (other) national associations" (in addition to the ones who gave statements to Collins) have come forward, unbidden, to speak with Freeh.
Now clearly guys like Patrick John and Chet Greene and Horace Burrell and other assorted Warner stooges will never give it up; they'll stand by Jack no matter what, mostly because they have little choice. They're unpopular back home (all three have, at one time or another, been replaced by countrymen sick of the thievery) and the only reason they're in office is because of threats and bullying from Warner.
But you have to guess that a bunch of the others, who have been going along for the ride, are beginning to sense which way the wind is blowing, and I'm going to develop that theme separately, but for now, consider:
With regard to the breathtaking 180 that Uncle Jack did in the hours leading up to the vote, when he went from saying "Blatter has to be stopped" to violating the Ethics Committees' orders by contacting his loyalists and telling them to vote for Seppy.
It looked like another of his patented Machiavellian deals with the once-and-future FIFA President, but in reality I doubt it, for one simple reason:
Blatter was going to win easily, with or without Warner. He had no need to cut a deal that would have almost certainly come back to bite him in the butt.
Furthermore, rather than demonstrate Blatters' weakness it would only have demonstrated Warners'. If Jack could have gotten all of CONCACAF to follow him out the door in a show of solidarity you have to think he would have done so. It wouldn't have prevented Blatters' re-election but it would have shown everyone that he's still in control and still someone not to be screwed with.
But it appears now that at most 12 or 13 federations would have taken his order, and turned it into a show of weakness, which he cannot afford.
He would have looked ridiculous and, as a famous Hollywood producer (and ex-horse owner) once said "A man in my position can't afford to be made to look ridiculous"
As to the question of just how much Blatter had to do with the whole thing, at this point at least you have to figure: probably not much.
Sepp got lucky. Or rather, Bin Hammam and Warner got incredibly stupid and Blatter reaped the windfall. At the end of the day I truly believe that this whole thing fell into Blatters' lap, like a gift from the gods. Warner handed up his own ass wrapped up like a big old Christmas present. All Sepp did was rip off the ribbon and paper.
In more ways than one.
Because if Blatter is to cling to any kind of legitimacy, it will be because he makes enough noise and smoke about "reform" and "corruption", a position which looks insincere if not ludicrous as long as he has Jack Warner sitting next to him.
Long before the election campaign, it was widely thought that Warner was Blatters' biggest problem and the speculation was that the Old Swiss Codger would dearly love to rid himself of the constant embarrassment if only he could.
Well now he can.
At the same time, there was serious talk going around that Warner felt Blazer was becoming too independent, too powerful and influential within FIFA and he very much wanted to replace him on the ExCo ballot but decided in the end that he couldn't.
So a happy coincidence allowed Blatter and Blazer to each rid themselves of their biggest potential problem.
It's interesting to note in passing that of the 24 ExCo members, Blazer is the guy with the most in common with Blatter.
They're both in it for the power and the trappings and the action, not to pad their bank accounts.They're both technicians, professional administrators and organizers who came up within the international soccer infrastructure rather than from being President of a Federation (although Blazer was a VP of USSF at one time).
And frankly, although it won't happen, Blazer is the only one of the bunch who is qualified and capable of running FIFA. Wouldn't miss a beat.
A lot of people noticed that on election day Blatter walked by Blazer, patted him on the shoulder and they exchanged some jolly words.
Now I'm not suggesting that the words were "Well, we did it old boy.
But if you were to guess that they were saying "Merry Christmas" you might not be far off.