It’s finally happened. After all the talk and promises about reforms within FIFA, we always knew nothing would happen as long as the sponsorship money kept rolling in. FIFA could say what we wanted to hear, but as long as they still had their money, they wouldn’t have to act on any of it.
In fact, we were even led to believe this would happen when FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced in May that he would step down as president after a new election was held in February. This all came in the wake of U.S. authorities indicting several members of FIFA on charges of corruption, bribery and racketeering charges back in May.
However just last week there were more signs that Blatter may not be planning on stepping down at all in February.
Multiple officials in Zurich say that Sepp Blatter has, on a few occasions this week, hinted that his term might not end in February.
— Sam Borden (@SamBorden) September 25, 2015
For all intents and purposes, as long as the money kept flowing, Blatter was going to stay in power. If he decided to run in another election there is a good chance that he would once again win re-election due to the overwhelming support he receives from the smaller nations within FIFA. Until the money stopped, Blatter would remain.
Well the first domino finally fell on Friday.
Coca Cola have just called for Sepp Blatter to stand down immediately
— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) October 2, 2015
As many people believed many of the sponsors were planning on walking away from FIFA it was simply a matter of each player not wanting to be the first to take the plunge. As was expected, once the first domino fells, just hours later the rest started following suit.
Visa joins Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch & McDonalds in calls for Sepp Blatter to step down pic.twitter.com/CiydVYdSgp
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 2, 2015
With the sponsors now threatening to pull out, Blatter will have no choice but to step down right? Not so fast…
Sepp Blatter’s lawyer says he won’t resign after Visa, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s call for him to step down. pic.twitter.com/rSJZQrbiau
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 2, 2015
Oh right, this is Sepp Blatter we’re talking about, the man who refuses to believe he’s done anything wrong.
While today has been a good day in trying to force reforms within FIFA it’s clear that we still have a long way to go. The sponsors threatening to pull out is a step in the right direction, but ultimately unless they actually do walk away it’s just an empty threat. Blatter has already proven that he won’t walk away easily and it’s clear he’s banking on the sponsors simply making empty threats.
This is just the latest piece of the puzzle in this whole FIFA story and this story isn’t going away or getting settled anytime soon. Only time will tell how this whole thing will play out.
Playing devil’s advocate for a moment. If FIFA PR had anything to do with the timing of Blatter’s lawyer’s statement then for the first time in this whole mess they actually got something right. Talk about burying the story right? This story broke at 5 PM ET, meaning two-thirds of the country had already packed their things up and checked out for the weekend. And that’s just America, Europe is already well into their Friday night. Tomorrow there are actual games to be played and that rolls right into Super Sunday, the biggest Sunday of the season so far. By the time everyone gets back into work on Monday, Super Sunday is all they’ll be talking about. Bravo FIFA, well done.