x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Fifa rules without need of a military

Roughly zero of the seven billion humans seem to admire Fifa, yet its might remains immense.

Sepp Blatter, left, has gained note for bizarre remarks during his three terms as Fifa president. His opponent in the June 1 elections, Mohamed bin Hammam, right, is unlikely to usurp him from office, though.
Sepp Blatter, left, has gained note for bizarre remarks during his three terms as Fifa president. His opponent in the June 1 elections, Mohamed bin Hammam, right, is unlikely to usurp him from office, though.

All aquiver? Yeah, me too. Here we approach the world's foremost election, and you can feel the anticipation welling somewhere along the digestive tract.

Other elections may affect people's lives and livelihoods, but Fifa's election next week in Switzerland impacts something, of course, much more significant: football.

Upon the Blatter-bin Hammam outcome could hinge, just for one example, the single most important question facing humanity today, that of whether to implement goal-line technology. Much of the world and Frank Lampard await.

Even if the Fifa election does not promise suspense given Sepp Blatter's mind-numbing sustenance as favourite, it lends a peek into two of our world's phenomenal aspects: bizarreness and power.

Roughly zero of the seven billion humans seem to admire Fifa, yet its might remains immense.

You never hear anyone in any stadium or other establishment utter one complimentary thing about it, yet it rules the planet without so much as a military.

Its three-term president often gains note for remarks that tilt toward clownish - OK, they tilt all the way and jam the metre - yet when Barack Obama finishes with his current job, he might want to seek Blatter's in order to move up in the world. When Blatter declined an invitation to appear before a UK parliamentary committee investigating the latest corruption, he reiterated a natural order in a world that cherishes above all else the sight of 22 men scrambling around a pitch.

Rather than the charmlessness of self-importance, Fifa should meet routinely under a gargantuan banner reading "Life Is Absurd". As well as any entity that serves as a distraction from day-to-day life, it demonstrates how the world is so much stranger than the adults ever let onto us during our childhoods. Perhaps they aimed to protect us.

Representatives of the 208 associations will meet and vote on June 1 amid a fresh swirl of corruption allegations, this one from the parliamentary committee and the Sunday Times, all of which does prompt a question: Does the fresh swirl count as news, or would news emanate only if the gathering occurred not amid a fresh swirl of corruption allegations?

It is beyond time that fresh swirls of corruption allegations get their above-board due. That should include an award at each gathering for Best Corruption Allegation, perhaps a statuette artfully depicting some sort of cash pay-off.

The nominees next week could be the knighthood marvel, the future-Caribbean-schools angle and the 2022 vote.

Even if these gems happen to be inconveniently untrue, the fact that a chunk of the world and a parliamentary committee deem them plausible shouts at the wacky, untold reach of this organisation.

As a first nominee, the knighthood bit came as such a nugget that just pondering it might shut down the brain out of fatigue.

If one of the voters amid the 2018 World Cup chase actually did inquire about a knighthood in exchange for a vote, that entry might prove tough to defeat.

Not only would the very thought demonstrate a power Fifa would feel in its bones, but imagine this "dignitary" walking around with a knighthood alongside the other knights who actually, you know, accomplished stuff in life.

Say, how'd you get your knighthood?

I bartered for it at a giant swap meet.

Next to that, the idea that a voter apparently wanted to build schools in Trinidad & Tobago suffers for its relative earnestness, even if England ought to build a school for Trinidad & Tobago to offset Peter Crouch yanking himself upward on Brent Sancho's dreadlocks to score England's first goal against Trinidad & Tobago in the 2006 World Cup.

You might envision the graduation ceremony at one of these envisioned schools, the commencement speaker extolling all the good that can spring from bribery.

And then, far from imaginary, Fifa did show its ultimate oomph last December by bestowing a very redefinition of the proper noun "Qatar" in the world. If that decision to award the 2022 World Cup did owe partly to two US$1.5 million (Dh5.5 million) pay-offs (a charge the Qatari committee vehemently and voluminously denies), and if the vote does wind up reopened (a prospect of great unlikelihood), that would lend a further redefinition, this one more haunting.

That, plus some love to the embattled US dollar.

Even as a mere allegation, though, this has sages reckoning it has doomed Mohamed bin Hammam's chances in the world's biggest election.

It's almost enough to make you think that matters of vast power might just pivot on fresh swirls.

cculpepper@thenational.ae