Sepp Blatter finally opened his mouth in public yesterday and put the lie to around a million "Blatter Resigns" headlines from less than three weeks ago.
The FIFA President for Life made a visit yesterday to the construction site where they're building a FIFA Museum, a project which hopefully will be more commercially viable than the dreadful, execrable movie United Passions, the paean to the greatness of all things Blatter which cost FIFA US$29 million to produce and which has just been officially designated as the lowest-grossing movie in history.
One would think that showing quite literally anything in 10 theaters over an entire weekend you could gross more than $918 simply by accident. None of which will stop them from running the thing round the clock in the Jack Warner Theater at the Sepp Blatter Hall of Greatness.
Anyway, since said construction workers are fortunate enough to be working in a suburb of Zurich and not building a World Cup venue someplace in Qatar, none of them dropped over dead during Sepp's visit.
This brief public appearance was almost certainly choreographed by the massive FIFA PR and Media shop as a tentative first step back into the public eye, the sort of toe-in-the-water, smile for a couple photos with guys in hard hats and then back into the limo cameo that carries little or no risk of going bad.
Or so they thought.
But Sepp, finally out from behind the desk where he's working 20 hour days on transforming FIFA from the greedmonster bribery and payoff machine he intentionally built it to be into something else entirely - we'll get to that in a minute - he couldn't help but say a few words for the boys in the coveralls, telling them:
"I have not resigned, but I put back my mandate at the disposition of the next extraordinary congress"
One only wishes there were some photos of the FIFA-employed media flunkies who were surely doing a first rate imitation of Qatari construction workers keeling over on the ground.
Sepp himself, apparently warming to the occasion, helpfully clarified by adding:
"Or in other words: the ball is round - but only those who come from outer space know the actual dimensions of our sport."
After which they tossed him back into the limo before he could say what planet he himself is from, yelled "step on it Hans" and made it back to the safe confines of FIFA HQ before Sepp was able to clarify his clarification.
FIFA later issued a very brief statement saying - yet again - that Blatter "stands by his June 2 statement".
Here's the operative phrase from that statement:
"I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress."
That's it. That's all. No "resignation". No "turn over my office", no "leave FIFA", not even "and you won't have Blatter to kick around any more".
Just Old Seppy, laying down his mandate. He doesn't say what he'll do if said Congress asks him to pick the damned thing up again, but he doesn't have to. We already know the answer.
Later on he does refer to how, because he won't be a candidate for reelection, he's the perfect guy to remake FIFA, but it comes across as more of an observation than any kind of a pledge.
In other words, the June 2 statement which FIFA continues to point to as definitive is really no such thing and has more than enough wiggle room for an accomplished wiggler like Sepp.
Which brings us to Canada 2015.
The women are putting on a great show up there, and since even Abby Wambach has been forced to apologize for some of her previous remarks - I have the greatest respect for her but I have a hard time envisioning Brian McBride blaming artificial turf for not being able to put a ball on frame with his head - maybe we can just concentrate on the games.
Then again, I can't imagine McBride trying to hit a PK left footed, either, but no matter. Well, maybe in a father-son game. Not at a World Cup.
The big question today - aside from "Will Jill Ellis ever do something smart?" - is whether Sepp Blatter and FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke will travel to Canada to participate in the awarding of the Cup in roughly ten days time.
Previously it was assumed that they would not. Hopelessly corrupt bastard Issa Hayatou, President of the CAF and the senior VP of FIFA, has been doing most of the honors so far and, in any case, Sepp showing a single hair on his head in public is guaranteed to draw the loudest, crudest and most sustained public booing, jeering and cursing the world has seen since Nicolai Ceausescu stood on a balcony and ordered an entire nation to go back to being his personal slaves.
.Everyone thought it was out of the question, but then the FIFA media representatives in Vancouver issued a statement on the subject yesterday, saying in response to an inquiry:
"In terms of the FIFA president and the FIFA secretary general (Jerome Valcke), their future travel plans will be confirmed in due course."
So who knows.
Maybe they're just delaying any announcement in order to keep the crowd down. One can imagine that, given a couple weeks notice, the US alone - let alone in cooperation with Canada - could easily assemble a crowd of 100,000 or so people to line the streets from the airport to the hotel to the stadium ten deep with beer-and-hate fueled soccer fans screaming personal invectives at the old bastard.
Admit it: you'd gladly take a couple days off work, get in a car with three friends and drive 2000 non stop miles to call Sepp Blatter a piece of crap to his face. Particularly if there was a lot of beer involved.
It could easily supplant US/Mexico Columbus 2001 as "The Woodstock of American Soccer". The t-shirt possibilities alone are endless.
On the other hand, there were reports during the Congress in Zurich - from Sky Sports among others - that the Swiss prosecutors office has ordered Blatter not to leave the country, and that is the primary roadblock to him expanding his carbon footprint on a junket to lovely Canadiastan.
Myself, I prefer the whole drunken abuse scenario. Call it Red, White and Boo.