Fear and Loathing in Zurich

On Friday, when I heard that the FIFA Congress had received an early morning bomb threat, it occurred to me that someone should have told Jack Warner that when the police give you your one phone call you probably shouldn't waste it on a long distance prank.

But hey, his call.

Still, nothing can beat his performance on my new favorite channel: Warner TV. It is, as they say, "Must see TV"

In case you haven't seen his latest offering, check it out at warnertv.net, which is where you'll find the now-reaching-legendary-status spectacle of, among other things, Uncle Jack holding up a printout of a page from The Onion and reporting that FIFA had suddenly granted the US a special 2015 World Cup, to begin play that very day, and using this as evidence of a bribe.

All of which is, of course, good for a chuckle: as I wrote elsewhere, the poetry of seeing Jack Warner holding up a page from the Onion brings tears to my eyes, and the scene has been justifiably mocked from one end of the interwebz to the other.

But few if any commenters have noted the real sham here: Jack Warner was a FIFA Vice President and ExCo member for 30 years. He knows as well or better than any man alive that there is not one single thing about a World Cup that can be organized in one day. Simply impossible.

So while Jack has probably never heard of The Onion - a pity, really; the man could use a laugh - he knows full well that the story is a hoax. There's just no chance he believes it.

In other words, Jack is holding up something he knows is a fraud and claiming it's real because he figures his audience - the voters of Trinidad & Tobago - won't know the difference. After all, Warner TV isn't for us, it's for them.

All the people who wrote pieces over the weekend laughing at how clueless old Jack Warner got taken in by an Onion bit HA HA HA, completely missed the point.

Warner's performance isn't a misunderstanding by a doddering old idiot; rather, it's a cynical, baldfaced lie delivered with a straight face. In other words, classic Jack.

Comedy aside however, now that everyone has had the chance to digest the events of last week, the question now becomes:

What next?

Is international soccer really and truly going to be saddled with that disgusting, cynical, preening piece of sewage Sepp Blatter for another four years?

(Or more. In 2011 he swore up and down that he would not run again, ever, cross his heart and hope to become an American citizen, and look how well that turned out. Oddly, he never said a word about it this time around until late last week when he dusted it off and began repeating it Nobody believes him. If it's up to Sepp, he'll leave that office feet first. If he can still sit up and gum his food in four years, there's just no doubt that he'll run again. And win.)

If you were unfortunate enough to witness Blatter's preening, giddy, almost manic post-vote media performance - or have read some of his comments since then - it's clear that he believes himself untouchable, and it's easy to see why; in the face of an enormous worldwide public scandal a very substantial majority of the world's soccer federations supported him.

Maybe not all of them with the same fervor as the CONCACAF delegate who, two weeks ago, compared him favorably with Jesus, Mandela and Lincoln of course. (One does wish Sepp was just a little embarrassed by that level of slobbering sycophancy, but we all know that he's not.) but everybody in FIFA knows who butters their bread.

All that's left for Sepp is to find ways to punish those who stood up against him, and the dust had barely settled before he announced that as far as he's concerned, Europe has too many seats on the Executive Committee and it's high time some of them got passed around to more deserving toadies.

It's worth noting that on Friday the Congress voted on approximately 17 items - thankfully, banning Israel wasn't one of them - before they got to the Presidential balloting. These votes were conducted electronically, unlike in previous years where everyone would hold up either a green or a red card and the podium would do a hand count.

But when it got to the Presidential vote, they used paper ballots, like always. The reason for doing it this way was because the US insisted on it. They knew no one would believe that Sepp's IT people didn't have a way to monitor everybody's vote - in truth, even to the likes of me, that sounds ridiculously easy - and a lot of countries wouldn't dare run the risk of making an enemy of the President.

Paranoia strikes deep, and Blatter never forgets.

As for what's going to happen next,the ball is squarely in Michel Platini's court.

UEFA will be holding a meeting next Friday in Berlin. If Platini has enough support, one suspects he'll take the next step, which is to threaten to cut FIFA off from the money by boycotting the World Cup.

If he doesn't have the backing of a solid majority of his members, there's very little he can do. FIFA will continue on as before, Sepp Blatter will have won and we'll all be back in four years to do it again.

Because for Sepp and his majority, the status quo works just fine thanks.