Anybody who has witnessed the last few weeks of politicking in world football can’t have failed to notice that there has been a fundamental sea change in the way that FIFA is both regarded and reported.
Prior to the current crisis there was an almost resigned air of fatalism that the world’s governing body was beyond shame but also beyond breach. A heavily fortified fiefdom of fat cats and bureaucrats that would be with us into perpetuity.
Something though has altered. Call it resentment over the World Cup allocations or call it moral indignation at a backroom meeting too far, but what it really amounts to is a large-scale shift in mood.
Doesn’t sound too dramatic does it?
But it is a change in mood that is the force behind the current political unrest in the Arab World. It was a change in mood that brought down the Soviet Union and the dictators of the Eastern Bloc; a change in mood should not be underestimated. It can be a powerful thing.
Of course no-one would actually put FIFA in the same moral wagon as despotic tyrants or brutal dictators (well some would but they go too far), but there are similarities in perception that are too striking to ignore.
The stench of corruption, the sense of power for the sake of power, and the feeling that something beautiful is being presided over by something ugly.
If FIFA were the ruling party of a Totalitarian state they would almost certainly be shredding the documents and checking the fuel levels on the helicopters just about now.
So good will eventually triumph over evil and will be well? If only life were that simple.
We have come to accept the truth that the overthrow of a hated ruler is necessarily a good thing; that it brings freedom and prosperity to a beleaguered populace. That is the lesson that we learned from Europe in 1989 and it is the meme that we attach to all uprisings against tyranny in the modern world.
But the history of Europe has other lessons to teach us.
A series of revolutions also spread across the continent in 1848 which, at the time, were hailed as being the harbingers of democracy and freedom, but instead resulted in the violent and bitter splintering of rival factions and an even more despotic and authoritarian rule taking hold in many of the nations affected.
Splintering of factions anyone? A small number of national associations have already placed themselves effectively outside of the FIFA organisation in everything but name, and it seems likely that others will follow.
More despotic rule? Whilst Blatter remains as President does anybody doubt that he will not only look to protect his legacy but also root out those that have opposed him?
The sport currently stands at a precipice that is both enticing and treacherous, for it seems likely that the mood of the fans will force FIFA to become a very different entity than it is at this present moment.
Whether that means the world game will be more united than ever or a fractured remnant of what we now know is something that will only be revealed in the coming years.
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