Sepp for Nobel, FIFA for Platini

For years now we've been commenting on how badly the unimaginably ego-besotted Sepp Blatter craves a Nobel Peace Prize as the ultimate recognition of his life's work.

This quest, which flies in the face of anything remotely resembling reality, is largely what led him to create, in 2012, in cooperation with the Nobel Peace Center, the so-called "Handshake for Peace" which FIFA demands be performed by the captains before every international match and which Blatter himself regularly performs so often that one suspects it's part of his conjugal routine with his current mistress, a married woman whose husband swears he's OK with being cuckolded by a wrinkly 79 year old international pariah.

So it must have come as a bitter blow a couple weeks ago when the Nobel Peace Center announced that it was terminating their agreement with FIFA "as soon as circumstances allow". No reasons were provided but seeing as how the announcement was made just a few days after photos appeared of FIFA officials being hauled out of luxury suites in Zurich and carted off to jail, and Blatter's subsequent non-resignation, it isn't hard to connect the dots.

A clearly outraged FIFASepp responded the very next day:

"FIFA is reluctant to accept this unilateral approach on what is a joint initiative between the soccer community and the Nobel Peace Center (NPC),"

Reminds you of a jilted high school lover: "I refuse to accept that you're dumping me". Sepp will likely begin parking across the street from the NPC all night long, playing "their song" over and over on his iPod, dialing their number and hanging up when they answer and writing long desperate letters begging the them to take him back."I'll change, just tell me what you want me to do"

"This action does not embody the spirit of fair play especially as it obstructs the promotion of the key values of peace-building and anti-discrimination."

It's a sign of just how isolated from reality Blatter is that he sees the fact that the NPC doesn't want to be publicly associated with an international criminal conspiracy as "obstructing the promotion of key values of peace-building".

Fortunately for Sepp, the "Blatter for Nobel Laureate" campaign surely got back on track yesterday when no less a light of international peace and goodwill towards men than Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Blatter "deserves" the Nobel for his life's work.

The formerly globetrotting Blatter, a man who now doesn't even dare travel to Canada for fear of finding an FBI agent under his bed, is still hanging around Moscow after Sunday's World Cup draw since, frankly, there are few other places he can show his face without running the risk of being handcuffed and tossed in the back of a police vehicle.

Not even the Swiss are that thrilled about having him around any more.

(As an aside- a specialty of mine as long suffering readers can attest - we can't entirely blame FIFA for these gaudy, ludicrous "World Cup Draw" extravaganzas; they were invented by the US for WC 94, which event was held in that capital of modesty and restraint, Las Vegas. Havelange was horrified but Blatter, not surprisingly, loved it. Havelange was able, however, to stop them from using a giant pinball machine to display the picks and no, I am not making that up)

Of course Putin has other motives besides tossing his meaningless support behind the increasingly ridiculous figure of Sepp Blatter, namely keeping the 2018 World Cup on track.

In fact, it's more than likely that Blatter's reluctance to actually leave office until next year has less to do with his desire to "reform" FIFA - a laughable contention from a man who has devoted the last 40years of his life to corrupting it - and everything to do with forestalling any action aimed at moving 2018 to a non-racist, non-criminal, non-aggressor European venue.

Blatter is diligently running out the clock on a re-vote; as long as he occupies the Presidency, he can prevent the issue from reaching the agenda at an ExCo meeting, which is the only body capable of putting a stop to it.

What Putin is promising in return is anyone's guess, but like all good mobsters helping each other out there's certainly a quid pro quo. There always is.

Which brings us to Michel Platini, a man with a plan, a problem and a whole bunch of what looks like pure luck.

You undoubtedly recall that it was Sepp Blatter himself who picked Platini out of the chorus, making him his protege and carefully nurturing his career in football administration until he reached the Presidency of UEFA and was widely seen as the logical successor to Seppy at the head of the FIFA table.

And Platini, being a loyal guy, has always maintained that he would never run against Blatter for FIFA's Presidency. Even this year, after Blatter broke his 2011 pledge to not run again and the two sides engaged in more or less open warfare, Platini stuck to his guns:a promise was a promise.

So Prince Ali of Jordan ended up being the reform movement candidate, losing to Blatter but gaining a shocking number of votes just days before Blatter's shocking non-resignation.

But consider: if US Attorney General Loretta Lynch had opened her can of whoopass on all those FIFA officials a week earlier, causing Sepp to have to withdraw just before the election instead of just after it, Prince Ali, as the only remaining candidate, would now be running FIFA.

And Platini would be out of luck.

As it played out however, since Blatter claims that he will not be a candidate in next year's election, Platini is now free to run, and he will announce his candidacy sometime this week.

What's more, in a stunning development, he has already garnered the endorsement of CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and the AFC in addition to the unanimous support of UEFA, making him - assuming those confederations can hold their voters - an absolute lock.

One sign of Platini's growing influence: he flew into Vancouver and met with the CONCACAF ExCo during the WWC final, after which Mexico's Head Honcho Justino Compean told reporters that, despite the ongoing corruption investigations, Platini had promised him that the 2016 Copa America Centenario will take place in the US.

Leaving open the question of just how it is the President of UEFA can make that pledge. Compean himself provided a clue when he went on to say that Paltini has CONCACAF's full backing in the election, despite the fact that Platini has not yet declared his candidacy.

Even the President of adidas has weighed in,  telling German weekly Focus: "For me, Platini is the most suitable candidate."

Africa is grumbling - the hopelessly corrupt Issa Hayatou wants the job for himself but he won't get one single vote from anyplace else - and nobody cares what Oceania thinks or does, but Platini doesn't really need either one of them anyway.

There will be a couple other candidates - Prince Ali may choose to run again, and there are some others sniffing the winds - but at this point Platini is the way to bet.

Bottom line, the federations assembled in Zurich in May had a golden opportunity to elect a non-European to head FIFA, but chose to stick with Sepp instead. Sepp would keep sticking it to the Europeans for them, milking them for more and more money and giving them less and less say in things.

All Prince Ali wanted was a little transparency, a little less blatant corruption and maybe a little more respect for the women's side of the game. Not a ton to ask for. They said no.

Instead, they chose to go with Sepp who - try as he mightily is to tie the hands of his successor but won't really be able to do anything that can't be undone in a heartbeat - sadly for them, is likely going to be replaced not by one of their own but by a longtime representative of the European influence they resent so much.

The only problem on Platini's horizon: he allowed himself to be strong-armed by his government to vote for Qatar 2022.

And on that front, he's got some explaining to do.

Meanwhile:

Down in the Caribbean, alleged human being Jack Warner continues his dance with the US Department of Justice. He was supposed to appear before a judge on Monday but the whole deal has been postponed another month.

Leaving us with our old friend Jeff Webb, now enjoying the comforts of New York City after a bail agreement which requires him to pay for electronic monitoring to ensure that he doesn't travel more than 20 miles from the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn.

(Is Trump Tower within 20 miles of the Federal Courthouse? There may be some space available with an old friend)

The list of property Webb pledged to reach the $10 million in equity required to spring him is truly stunning: ten properties located from New York to Florida, three cars including a Ferrari, a Range Rover Rover and a Mercedes, five Rolex watches, a big stack of jewelry including his wife's wedding ring and her personal 401k and some other stuff.

And they say that crime doesn't pay.

Frankly, I think the best thing for the US budget deficit would be if Webb skipped bail. But that's just me.

And so it goes.