FIFA’s Blatter Exhibits Deception Regarding Collusion Investigation
FIFA President Sepp Blatter on November 19, 2010, made a public statement announcing the results for FIFA’s investigation into the corruption scandal involving alleged collusion and/or “votes for sale,” as reported in the Sunday Times. Despite Blatter’s declaration that the investigation was a success, the behavior exhibited in his statement strongly suggests otherwise.
For example, when trying to reassure FIFA followers of the success of the investigation, Blatter exhibited a significant cluster of deceptive indicators, including his qualified pronouncement that with its investigation FIFA had “the opportunity to clean a little bit, whatever has to be cleaned.” His use of the qualifier “little bit” suggests that the investigation had not uncovered or resolved all of the issues surrounding the alleged corruption related to the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The remainder of Blatter’s statement was focused on making a lengthy series of convincing statements that appeared to be a concerted effort to convince the FIFA family that they should not have any concerns about the results of the investigation, and that the voting process would be totally above-board. He went so far as to say that “all doubts can be cast aside” about the voting process. Interestingly, this was inconsistent with another comment in his statement: "You cannot avoid collusion, but if in such collusion there should be something wrong, then naturally somebody would intervene." With this statement, Blatter is clearly bemoaning the possibility of yet more problems to come with the bidding process.
Despite his efforts in his public statement to allay ongoing fears and concerns regarding the integrity of the impending World Cup vote, Blatter’s behavior indicates his awareness of the potential for continued collusion among the voting members of the selection committee, and the realization that FIFA can do little to prevent such collusion. Overall, the high volume and significance of the deceptive behavior seen in Blatter’s public statement reflect a tremendous amount of uncertainty on his part (as of Nov.19) as to which country will be selected as the host for the 2022 World Cup. Furthermore, his behavior reflects his expectation that regardless of the selection, the integrity of the vote and the overall selection process will remain tainted, and the controversy will continue.