Sepp's Big Show Starts Badly

Reportedly, Sepp Blatter was as close to furious as his fat and happy little Swiss self ever gets. After an entire year's worth of maneuvering, and literally millions of dollars wasted spent, today's FIFA Congress was supposed to be all about Sepp the Reformer, a sort of Roman Triumph celebrating his valiant, dogged and lonely battle against the forces of "corruption" in world football.

What he got in place of the carefully (and expensively) managed stories about FIFA Reform and FIFA Unity and FIFA Progress was headlines - all around the globe - about a veritable revolt in CONCACAF, a former close ally ("No one can ever separate Jack Warner and I; this is impossible") stealing and then hocking a $20 million building and a confederation standing accused of dodging the tax man.

Peter Hargitay - the very pricey World Class SuperFixer who steered Union Carbide through the Bhopal disaster unscathed, among other charming achievements - saw a year's worth of careful image building leading up to Sepp's coveted Nobel Peace Prize performance later today - blow up in his face.

So FIFA's most senior executives were sent forth to blanket the beautifully ornate Boscolo Hotel, track down every single Caribbean FA representative and pass along a succinct message:

Shut the Hell Up.

No more pithy quotes given to a gleeful media about an Executive Committee member being a "thief with a white collar".

No more angry complaints about how CONCACAF is "sitting on a bomb".

And most of all, no one better even think about leaping to their feet during "other business" and demanding that the Congress debate and vote the question of whether a senior executive is a crook who should be deposed.

The message was straight out of any Mafia movie you've ever seen:

"Nice little Center of Excellence you've got planned there. Be a shame if something happened to make the funding dry up."

Scott Gleba, CONCACAF's new Communications Director (H/T to Blue Lou), whose job had previously been limited to explaining simple stuff like Cuban players lambing it out of hotels hastily issued a statement to the AP saying "We've been alerted that the deadline has passed."

He put it this way because "Jerome Valcke threatened to line us all up and cut off our balls with a dull jacknife" just doesn't have the appropriate tone.

The whole problem here, of course - and don't think for a minute that Blatter hasn't noticed - is that Jack Warner isn't running CONCACAF.

When he was in charge nobody took a good healthy morning dump without clearing it with him first. No federation President anywhere in the zone would have dared to even consider speaking out of turn to a reporter let alone standing up in a FIFA Congress and making a motion that Warner had not just approved but written himself.

It would have been unthinkable.

So the first day of Jeff Webb's reign served mostly to demonstrate that, to paraphrase a former candidate for Vice President of the US: "You're no Jack Warner".

Just as a footnote (I mentioned this in a comment thread yesterday but it was late in the day and so I thought I'd repeat it):

When they voted on asking FIFA to expel Chuck Blazer yesterday, two delegates voted no and three more abstained.

It's probably safe to assume that Sunil Gulati was one of those five voters; Blazer is a former USSF Vice President and an old, old friend and ally.

So the question is: who were the other four. Nobody is saying.

And I don't know whether this is surprising or not but reportedly the man who rose to make the motion was Anton Sealey of the Bahamas.