x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Fifa scores own goal

Sepp Blatter, Mohamed bin Hammam, Jack Warner - the mud is flying in all directions within Fifa. What a sad spectacle.

There are websites dedicated to the silly statements made by Sepp Blatter, the Swiss president of Fifa. But the one that could end up haunting him seemed, before events of the last few days, to be fairly commonsensical: "Fifa cannot sit by and see greed rule the football world. Nor shall we."

As the eyes of fans were on the Uefa Champions League final in London yesterday, and only days before Fifa's members elect a president, the association dropped a bombshell by announcing that Mr Blatter has been summoned to appear before its ethics committee today.

He will be joining two other Fifa officials, Mohamed bin Hammam - who requested that Mr Blatter be investigated - and Jack Warner, both of whom are facing bribery claims. The allegations only reinforce the lingering suspicions of millions of football fans that all is not what it seems in Mr Blatter's increasingly dysfunctional family.

Fifa wields power that many countries can only dream of, and is involved in every aspect of the game across six continents: from funding grass roots football in the remotest of villages to organising the World Cup.

Today its reputation is in tatters. If top officials are found guilty of bribery, you will not find many football fans who are sympathetic, although some might celebrate if the mighty are brought low.