Daniel W. Drezner

Today in global governance follies…

Rest assured, dear readers, I’m hard at work cobbling together the 2010 Albies.  It’s a Friday, however, which means there’s a preternatural instinct to look for something amusing to blog about.  Unfortunately, today’s payroll figures don’t cut it.  Fortunately, there’s a golden rule for humor in world politics:  sports + global governance = comedy gold.  ...

Rest assured, dear readers, I'm hard at work cobbling together the 2010 Albies.  It's a Friday, however, which means there's a preternatural instinct to look for something amusing to blog about.  Unfortunately, today's payroll figures don't cut it. 

Fortunately, there's a golden rule for humor in world politics:  sports + global governance = comedy gold.  And sure enough, today FIFA president Sepp Blatter didn't disappoint:

FIFA President Sepp Blatter criticized the International Olympic Committee on Friday while defending his own organization against corruption allegations, saying the Olympic body handles its finances "like a housewife."

Rest assured, dear readers, I’m hard at work cobbling together the 2010 Albies.  It’s a Friday, however, which means there’s a preternatural instinct to look for something amusing to blog about.  Unfortunately, today’s payroll figures don’t cut it. 

Fortunately, there’s a golden rule for humor in world politics:  sports + global governance = comedy gold.  And sure enough, today FIFA president Sepp Blatter didn’t disappoint:

FIFA President Sepp Blatter criticized the International Olympic Committee on Friday while defending his own organization against corruption allegations, saying the Olympic body handles its finances "like a housewife."

Mr. Blatter, a member of the IOC since 1999, said FIFA was more transparent than the IOC, and backtracked on plans to create an anti-corruption commission.

"Our accounts are open to everyone. … We’ve [done] it since I’m the president. It wasn’t done before," Mr. Blatter said in Qatar, where he is attending the Asian Cup. "The IOC does it like a housewife. She receives some money and she spends some money."

Mr. Blatter also said the IOC "has no transparency," and that any transparency was left to the Olympic-sanctioned sports themselves….

Mr. Blatter’s criticism of the IOC comes as FIFA, soccer’s governing body, faces an IOC probe.

The IOC ethics commission is studying evidence provided by the BBC after it broadcast allegations that FIFA officials—some with Olympic connections —took kickbacks from the soccer body’s former marketing partner in the 1990s.

The story does a decent job of highlighting the absurdities of Blatter’s claims, but the New York Times’ Rob Hughes details the precise absurdities regarding FIFA’s vote to have Qatar host the 2022 World Cup: 

The vote for Qatar was jaw-dropping.

Only after the decision did FIFA executives, including Blatter, give credence to the notion that the tournament might have to be switched from June to January. It seems that FIFA is having second thoughts. Having accepted Qatar’s promise to build a dozen stadiums air-conditioned, the fear is that players or spectators could fry in the desert heat in summer.

Franz Beckenbauer, a former player who is about to give up his seat on the FIFA panel, was the first to suggest the switch. But FIFA’s own general secretary said it could not be right to vote for a tournament in June/July, then arbitrarily move it to another time of year. Blatter, on a visit to Qatar, however, contradicted him.

Bloomberg’s Tariq Panja explains the problems with Blatter’s proposal to switch the time of year for the Cup: 

If the tournament is moved, major European competitions like England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A would be severely disrupted. Those leagues would need to shut down for about two months and a longer-than-normal international break during the season may lead to more injuries.

“That would demand a complete re-organisation of the whole world’s fixtures and I cannot see that happening,” Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger said at a press conference today. “If all the championships are not going from March until November and you re-organise and then the dead (off) season would be in December.”

Here’s a good and simple rule of thumb:  if an international sports organization has to choose where to host a high-profile, touist-generating moneymaker of an athletic competition, then it’s corrupt. 

The hard-working staff here at the blog would like to thank Sepp Blatter for managing to live up to the comic presence that his very name suggests.  Way to go, Sepp! 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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