The Worst Person in the World

What do you do when, as the President of your national football federation for 22 years, your own government conducts an investigation and concludes that under your leadership said organization is "a den of crime, anarchy, incompetence and dishonesty" and cites you personally for graft, money laundering, tax fraud, embezzlement, corruption and a host of "inadmissible expenses" including $2000 a day limousines in New York, $12,000 restaurant tabs and a host of other improprieties like illegal political campaign contributions and sponsoring World Cup '98 (France) trips for a host of local judges with long stopovers in London, Budapest, Prague, New York and Los Angeles? And then the BBC produces FIFA documentation proving that you took US$ 1,000,000 in bribes from ISL, the outfit whose collapse in a veritable shitstorm of theft, greed and graft almost destroyed world football? And the head of the FA testifies before Parliament that you solicited a huge bribe as the price of your vote for the England 2018 Cup bid? And a Sao Paolo court then indicts you for stealing US$3,500,000 in TV rights money which has magically vanished into thin air?

Well, if you're Brazils' Ricardo Teixiera you get yourself re-elected six times, have yourself appointed Chairman of the 2014 World Cup and openly announce that you're going to be elected President of FIFA in 2015.

Way back in the distant past - can it really be not even three months ago? - when FIFA was in the process of re-anointing Sepp Blatter as it's Grand Poohbah, there was considerable talk about how his "one last term in office" pledge was simply his way of agreeing to being succeeded in 2015 by UEFA President Michel Platini.

Indeed, there were a goodly number of people who openly longed to have the Feckless Frenchman step into the breach after the untimely departure from the race of Mohammad Bin Hammam which, I understand from reading Europes' sporting press, happened because a cunning and shrewd Sepp Blatter conspired to have the Qatari fly into Trinidad and start illegally passing out great gobs of money so flagrantly that a few CFU officials reported it to someone in New York, forcing him by statute to hand the whole affair to FIFA HQ.

In fact, the siren call of the former Nancy boy was so strong that BinnyHam himself swore that his would be a one-term Presidency, this being what technicians in the Political Science business call a "bald faced lie" designed, again, to assure everyone that in four short years he too would personally preside over Platini entering the FIFA complex in Zurich like Christ come to cleanse the temple.

For his part, Platini remained as aloof and disinterested as - well, as a Frenchman intent on demonstrating aloof disinterest - giving us the time-honored "I'm focusing on my current position and have no interest in taking the top job" response expected of politicians who lay awake at night feverishly lusting for the top job.

Of course the real point of this shameless exercise was to fool the Europeans - the only ones who waste any time caring that FIFA is nothing but a corrupt cabal of venal old men who have somehow gained iron-fisted control over the most popular sport on Earth and who spend their every waking hour plotting new and ever more devious ways to use this unjustifiable power to line their own pockets - into believing that if they would just sit still and shut up for a couple more years of listening to a vain, pompous, luxury-loving old Swiss curmudgeon lecture them on Fair Play, a serious man would be allowed take over and make things right.

This is what's referred to in learned psychiatric publications as painful imbecility.

That's because the European federations, who represent the financial, developmental and media engines which have made football what it is, believe that the biggest problem the sport faces is the fact that the vast majority of federations within FIFA don't understand where all that lovely money actually comes from, namely the big clubs who create the big stars that everyone is willing to shell out all that big money to watch.

In fact of course, the problem isn't that the, shall we say, "less prominent" footballing countries don't know where the money comes from: they know perfectly well.

The problem is that they don't care. They have the votes, and thus the power, to keep things exactly as they are and they have no intention of giving up all those mounds of money and power just because it might be the right thing to do, and if a bunch of prominent players break down while playing in yet another meaningless "friendly" staged solely for the purpose of fattening up the Presidential office budgets of a bunch of two mule federations, well, as they say in the Arctic: tough titties.

Add in the fact that they're not all that thrilled at the notion of continuing to allow those arrogant Europeans with their silly notions to populate FIFAs' palatial Swiss digs. They figure that the Euros have held that building since Seppy took over in 1998 and if there's one thing they know for sure it's that, come 2015, it's going to be "someone elses' turn".

Enter: Someone else.

I will readily grant you that there's some really stiff competition for the title of "Most arrogantly corrupt bastard in FIFA", even with Jack Warner gone (although we can't even say that until he gives up the CFUs' keys and bank books, which have been being, shall we say. "reviewed" by four of his personal employees for the better part of two months now; by the time they get done I expect the records to reflect that half the Western world was on the take while Jack spent all his time handing out soccer balls to orphans and cripples. Or crippled orphans.)

But consider:

Teixiera reached the pinnacle of football the old fashioned way: he married the bosses' daughter Lúcia, after which said boss - FIFA President Joao Havelange - took him under his wing, greased the skids and, basically, turned Brazilian football over to him lock, stock and Pele.

What's more, Teixiera is so charming - and powerful - that even when he divorced the Old Gray Mare after 30 years of marriage so that he could pick up with a hot young doxie, Havelange continued to be his biggest and bestest pal as he does to this very day.

People were stunned a few weeks back when they held the World Cup draw in Sao Paolo and Teixiera refused to even allow Pele into the building. It says a lot about his power and sense of invulnerability that he can openly dis God in his own country without a second thought.

The President of Brazil ended up naming the Black Pearl the Honorary Ambassador for the 2014 World Cup so that she could get him a seat in the front row but not even she could get him a spot on the podium and it was her building. She got some revenge by arranging to talk to the media in a separate room so that she would not be photographed with Teixiera.

But Pele has occasionally had the audacity to mention that things aren't all they could be within the CBF and, well. Teixiera isn't big on dissent. No matter who it comes from.

Furthermore, FIFAs' new era of transparency, democracy and openness has had such an impact on Teixiera that two weeks ago he savagely attacked the England FA and told reporters that he intends to "make (Englands') life hell" as long as he remains on FIFAs' Executive Committee.

Still, none of this would be of any more notice than it's been for the last 22 years if it weren't for an incredible interview Teixiera granted with journalist Daniela Pinheiro of the Brazilian magazine piauí where he - incredibly - laid bare his plans for the World Cup:

“In 2014, I'll be able to get away with anything. The most slippery, unthinkable, Machiavellian things. Denying press credentials, barring access, changing game schedules. And you know what? Nothing will happen. You know why? Because in 2015 I'm out of here. It'll all be over.”

Where will he be going in 2015 you ask?

Why Zurich of course.

Ex Pop-in-Law Joao, a still-spry if not particularly circumspect nonagenarian, disclosed the fact that Ricardo had every intention of replacing Blatter this year but Havelange told him to wait:

“Put on a good World Cup, treat everyone well, and they’ll vote for you out of sheer gratitude."

Unfortunately for the overall plan, some fans in Brazil are fed up with the rampant corruption and have begun organizing protests:

(I'm reliably informed that the signs read, essentially "Ricardo Teixiera Out")

But the fact is that Texiera has been on the hot seat before and has proven to have asbestos boxers.

So even though he's now being investigated by Brazilian federal officials for the ugly disappearance of all that broadcast money, betting against his future prospects has proven many times to be a suckers' game.

And if that's how it turns out once again, then come 2015 if the choices are 1) Michel Platini, representative of European footballing interests and reform and 2) Ricardo Teixiera, represntative of grabbing everything you can with both fists, a quick perusal of the 208 nation FIFA roster gives one a sobering sense of who the choice is more likely to be.

Have a nice day.