Blatter on Resigning: "Why Should I?"

When asked yesterday whether his latest attack of Foot-in-Mouth disease, which led him to proclaim that launching racial slurs at your opponent during a match was just fine as long as you shook hands afterwards, would lead to him resigning from the Presidency of FIFA, Sepp Blatter had this to say: “I cannot resign. Why should I?

“When you are faced with a problem you have to face the problem. To leave would be totally unfair and not compatible with my fighting spirit, my character, my energy.”

If this makes no sense to you whatsoever, if it seems more like the deranged ramblings of the kind of street person you earnestly avoid making eye contact with rather than a distinguished citizen of the world who feels he has been unfairly denied the Nobel Peace Prize he so richly deserves, well, you're not alone.

For years now FIFA under Herr Blatter has led the world in professional damage control.

For example, at the height of the ISL scandal, Sepp shelled out an enormous sum of other people's money to employ the thoroughly repellant Peter Hargitay to handle damage control and ride herd on the media which is one reason why, 10 years later, we're still trying to get the facts.

When Union Carbide's gross negligence in operating their chemical plant in Bhopal India caused 16,000 deaths it was Hargitay whom they hired to limit their exposure and his brilliant performance saved UC billions of dollars which might otherwise have gone to the families of the dead and paid for the care of the thousands of subsequently deformed babies.

He also worked for Marc Rich, who was under an international arrest warrant for trading with Iran in violation of UN sanctions. Rich, once called the world's biggest tax cheat, chose Zug, Switzerland as his home base. Those of you who noticed that Zug is also where FIFA chooses to have their headquarters - and for the same reasons - may go to the head of the class.

Point being that when the stuff hit the fan Blatter has always known who to hire and how to tap dance. Professional damage control doesn't come cheap but since it all gets billed to FIFA anyway what does he care?

So it was something of a shock yesterday to see what FIFA's media department came up with to counter the flood of accusations that Blatter lacks any kind of racial sensitivity:

Under a banner reading: "Blatter: Committed to Fight Against Racism" they posted this photo:

The man getting the full Jerry Sandusky from Sepp is Tokyo Sexwale, a former South African apartheid activist, in a photo taken four or five years ago.

The message is as clear as it is clumsy: some of Sepp's best friends are black.

Even worse, Sexwale has recently come under fire for staunchly supporting ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, who was recently suspended from the party for, among other things, singing the banned anti-apartheid battle song "Shoot the Boer" and for describing South Africans of Indian heritage as “coolies”.

Whatever FIFA is paying their new PR team, they're getting robbed. "Send an intern to dig up a random photo of Sepp touching a black person" is not the kind of thinking that launched Madison Avenue.

But that was simply preamble to his interview yesterday where he made possibly his dumbest comment to date:

"I thought, and I'm still a very optimistic man, that after the World Cup in South Africa where it was really connecting the people, all different races, all different cultures being brought together through football, that not only in the continent of Africa but everywhere in the world that this was over."

No, you didn't misread that; Blatter believed that holding the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 put an end, once and for all, to worldwide racism.

Yet the most shocking thing about this whole affair is that, at the moment at least, the only voices being heard on this subject are coming from England.

Well, and some notable Brits who find themselves in Carson, CA at the moment.

It appears that football and government officials in Africa, whose citizens playing in Europe are frequently the recipients of some of the worst abuse, have no opinion on all of this. As long as the checks keep coming from Zurich, they're willing to keep silent.

Not that we've got a whole bunch to be proud of over here; anyone heard from Silent Sunil lately?