And In Come the Wolves, Sepp Blatter’s Days are Dwindling

Honestly, it’s embarrassing that it took this long for FIFA’s major sponsors to lend their opinion on what should be done with the current cretin presiding over the presidency.

There’s no one left to defend Sepp Blatter, and all of the potential new presidential candidates connected to the seventy-nine year-old are losing stock in the runnings or have dropped out entirely.

Blatter has been in charge of FIFA for seventeen years now, and there is much evidence to prove that sponsors, namely Coca-Cola, have helped to place him there. Blatter was in charge of the FIFA’s global initiative program “Project One” in 1975, which tasked him with pushing the soccer frenzy that inhabited Europe and South America to the far corners of the world while also making Coca-Cola an international brand.

The partnership has been above and beyond lucrative. The marketing deal for the World Cup alone is worth over $100 million dollars (and that’s $100 million for every four years) while FIFA brings in a total of over $5 billion for every World Cup.

Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the World Cup spans over eight decades, all the way back to the first World Cup in Uruguay in the 1930s.

But with¬†former FIFA vice president Eugenio Figueredo facing extradition, former FIFA VP Jack Warner banned for life, and secretary general Jerome Valcke indefinitely suspended, Coca-Cola has decided that the bad publicity that Blatter comes with isn’t good for business.

A total of 14 officials with ties to FIFA were charged in a bribery and corruption sting carried out by the FBI.

The global beverage conglomerate released this statement earlier this week:

“For the benefit of the game, the Coca-Cola Company is calling for FIFA president Joseph Blatter to step down immediately so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest,” the statement said.

“Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish. FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach.”

Blatter apparently has no interest in being shamed out of his spot, his lawyer Richard Cullen released this statement in response to Coca-Cola:

“While Coca-Cola is a valued sponsor of FIFA, Mr. Blatter respectfully disagrees with its position and believes firmly that his leaving office now would not be in the best interest of FIFA nor would it advance the process of reform and, therefore, he will not resign.”

If you read between the lines Blatter’s statement is really saying, “If I step down now without a fight I’m practically handing over a guilty plea.”

Coca-Cola’s stance has caused a domino-effect among other major sponsors. McDonald’s has¬†also come forward about their views on Sepp Blatter continuing his presidency until February:

“The events of recent weeks have continued to diminish the reputation of FIFA and public confidence in its leadership.”

“We believe it would be in the best interest of the game for FIFA president Sepp Blatter to step down immediately so that the reform process can proceed with the credibility that is needed.”

The most refreshing part of these declarations is that they’re working.

FIFA ethics committee has called for a 90 day suspension of Sepp Blatter as he is investigated for entering into a television contract with former CONCACAF president Jack Warner that sold television rights for well below market value. A crime that is philosophically akin to insider trading.

There’s also the looming question mark of an ambigious $2 million dollars that Blatter authorized FIFA to pay to UEFA president Michel Platini.

The ruling will most likely come on Thursday after voted on by FIFA’s adjudicatory arm. If passed, Blatter would be able to return in early January.

But the reality is that if pulled from his position now, it’s likely that FIFA will move forward without him. Even if all the investigations turn up nothing, and Blatter is completely innocent, which no betting odds would favor, the stain is set on FIFA’s reputation under the president.

The fans, the critics, and the sponsors are all in unison: FIFA needs to clean-up and clean-out in a major way.

The shame is on all of us, as lovers of the game, that it has taken this long.

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