No, Sepp -- This Has Everything to Do with Money
As much as we’re disinclined to pick on FIFA President Sepp Blatter, it’s impossible to ignore the comments he made at a press conference in South Africa yesterday. His outrageous remarks directed at gays aside, Blatter’s continued focus on attempts to justify the selection of Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup events is becoming increasingly absurd.
According to the Associated Press, Blatter made the comment, "This is development of football and don't speak about money." This statement defies logic, and appears to have a deceptive ring to it.
Dismissing the money issue is nonsensical, given the staggering amounts of money at stake for host countries as a consequence of the World Cup selection process. At the same time, the more pressing issue is the question of whether there was any impropriety associated with the selection of Russia and Qatar.
Blatter’s post-selection statements continue to keep the door open to that possibility. His admonition that money should not be spoken about constitutes an extremely interesting unintended behavioral message. Blatter may want to avoid talking about money because doing so could lead to the unwanted discovery of the truth behind how the selections were actually made.
Blatter went on to convey several convincing statements in an attempt to persuade his listeners to abandon any further discussion of money:
"This has nothing to do with money as it had nothing to [do with it in] Africa. "It is the development of the game. We have to take [the World Cup] to places where it can improve and have a social and cultural impact. And it's what we did here in Africa."
Blatter would be well advised to spend less time attempting to convince his detractors to stop focusing on what really happened, and more time responding to the real questions related to how and why FIFA’s selection process can be improved and conducted in a manner that’s above reproach.