Pressing Issues: Sport and politics, football and goals

A statement attributed to an unnamed east European politician along the lines of “ze whole sing is politik” keeps playing itself out in soccer.

The general notion that sports and politics should never mix, has proved to be the biggest ­fallacy ever.

In reality, the two tend to be as good bedfellows as bread and butter. It is just a matter of them mirroring the chicken-and- egg conundrum as you can’t tell which comes first, politics or sport.

The latest example of this is the declaration by Asian football makhulubaas Mohamed Bin Hammam that he will challenge football’s il capo di tuti capi – boss of all bosses – Sepp Blatter for the Fifa throne, come June.

Not so long ago, the selfsame Bin Hammam appeared alongside the Swiss, both sporting smiles as wide as the Pacific, with the former declaring his unqualified support for the incumbent president.

That was before Blatter and his executive granted Qatar the rights to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup. Suddenly, Mr Bin Hammam remembered that there is a Fifa presidential election coming up in June, and no, “Sir.?.?.I’ll go for that”.

Since announcing this intention, he has adopted a new manner of speaking: for example “Fifa is always accused of corruption and it is not corrupt. What is missing, and lacking, is transparency which over the years we could not provide to the public.”

After the 75-year-old Blatter announced that it would be his last four-year stint if he won in June, Bin Hammam pointed out that he made the same promise before the last elections.

He has also said that he planned to meet with Uefa president Michel Platini – who was this week given another four-year mandate by his confederation – to ask for his support in return for supporting the Frenchman for the next term as “I only intend running Fifa for one four-year term”.

As matters stand, Blatter could easily be the one crying out: “Ze whole sing is politik.?.?.” – smseleku@citypress.co.za


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