x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Blatter and Fifa ship in choppy waters

Sepp Blatter will try to steer his troubled ship through the Ocean of Transparency but could end up on rocky ground again.

President Sepp Blatter has called on the 208 members of Fifa to solve the problems without external help.
President Sepp Blatter has called on the 208 members of Fifa to solve the problems without external help.

"I am the captain weathering the storm. We will put this ship back on the right course in clear transparent waters. Vamos! Vamos!"

— Sepp Blatter celebrates his re-election as Fifa president by 186 votes to nil, with 18 abstentions


Captain Blatter's Log, Day 1

Well, me brave hearties, we did it! We weathered the storm and saw off those treacherous pirates to boot! "Blue Beard" Bernstein and his 17 blackhearts will think again before trying to steal my ship, the MV Gravy (formerly HMS Football)!

I am so proud of my crew, or at least the 186 who did not mysteriously fall overboard last night. You cannot buy loyalty like that with all the gold in the world! Although, yes, I did promise several young deckhands a couple of new stadia and US$10 million for undisclosed "development programmes". What is your point?

This gladness in my heart is how Fletcher Christian must have felt when he defeated Captain William Bligh, that salty cur who tried to steal the Bounty.

Now, onwards boys, to our final destination: the Ocean of Transparency, a sea as sweet and clear as Sprite (a registered trademark of our good friends at the Coca-Cola Company) itself!


Captain Blatter's Log, Day 2

Platini, my Ship's Officer whose ambition outweighs his judgement, tried to sour the feast last night by claiming it was Fletcher Christian who stole the Bounty from Bligh, not the other way round. Fortunately my pet parrot, Julio, was able to set him straight.

"Squaaaawk! Another filthy lie from the English media!" said the colourful beast, which has sat upon my shoulder since I first picked him up in the Americas. I rewarded him with a biscuit and a morsel of salted mackerel. And US$1 million for undisclosed project work in Buenos Aires.


Captain Blatter's Log, Day 3

I decided to drape the MV Gravy's mast with a new flag today. It has a black background with a white football resting upon a pair of crossed goalposts.

My loyal men lined the decks to cheer this new ensign until they were hungry and hoarse, whereupon I ordered the Quartermaster to provide extra rations for all. The men were grateful but said they would rather have the money instead. US$40,000 a piece should buy them a pretty feast when we are next in port but, hey, these are legitimate expenses for global travel.


Captain Blatter's Log, Day 4

Platini begins to sour my patience. Last night he cast doubt upon our new flag.

"Captain," he simpered. "Does it not strike you that a white ball upon crossed goalposts could resemble the Jolly Roger?"

Julio's plumage began to ruffle in irritation but I calmed him with a nut, and a designer handbag.

"Monsieur, you are confused," I said. The sea air has corroded your brain. Ask our Haitian deckhand if he believes we resemble pirates."

"Very well," said Platini, "which one is he?"

"The chap with the wooden leg and the gold teeth," I replied with a grin, happy to draw a line under the unpleasantness.


Captain Blatter's Log, Day 5

A great hullabaloo on deck today, as Platini queried the absence of charts and maps in my cabin.

"But how will we ever reach this Ocean of Transparency you promise without charts?" he demanded.

"By following the moral compass in our hearts, which are truer than any instrument devised by man," I replied

"Hang on, didn't you say that in 2002?" he replied.

"Perhaps I did. But this time we shall also follow the Blatter Star."

"The what?"

"Call yourself a man of the sea?!" said I with a laugh. "The Blatter Star is that great shining beacon in the night sky, from which we calculate north."

"But surely, Captain, you speak of the North Star?"

"Deckhand!" I called, to a plump fellow from Africa.

"What is the name of the brightest star in the night sky?"

"The Blatter Star, sir" he replied, confused.

"And what has it always been called, Deckhand?"

"The Blatter Star, sir," he replied, with increasing incredulity.

"And any suggestion it was once called the North Star would be ..."

"Lies, sir," said the man. "Filthy lies spread by the English media."

I shall not trouble you with the detail of how this man was rewarded for his loyalty.

Suffice to say that, if you ever play football in the Democratic Republic of Congo, be sure to pack your Astro Turf studs.


Captain's Log, Day 1.276

Another glorious day on the High Seas, with the warm sun beating down upon us, our legs well rested and our bellies full.

Ever since Platini met with that unfortunate accident - seriously, who leaves a bar of wet soap lying on deck when we sail through shark-infested waters? - there have been fewer tiresome questions about when we shall reach our destination, the direction in which we are heading, or the origins of those plump envelopes with which the deckhands like to pad their hammocks.

Instead, we simply sail around until rations run low. Then we order some more from our good friends at Visa (TM), Sony (TM) and Coca-Cola (TM).

Have we reached the Ocean of Transparency? Not yet, but the journey is as important as the destination.

And, if we follow the moral compasses in our hearts, etc, etc (see previous Logs dated 2002 and 2011 for full speech.)