FIFA members met to discuss about Sepp Blatter’s resignation earlier today and they shocked the world by electing Suresh Kalmadi as its next president . FIFA, an organization known for its integrity and honesty has been rocked by scandals in the past few weeks. Six officials of FIFA have been arrested so far. There are allegations that sports maketing executives paid more than $150 million in bribes to FIFA officials for broadcasting rights. Swiss authorities have opened parallel investigations concerning the bidding process for 2018 and 2022 worldcups.
To know more about this, our special football correspondent Gurinder Chadda spoke to Jack Warner, ex- vice president of FIFA.
Gurinder: Why Suresh Kalmadi?
Jack Warner: He has the experience. Commonwealth games, you remember? He pulled off one of the biggest scams that any sports administrator can think of. He is the man best suited for the position of President given the circumstances.
Gurinder: What particular qualities of Suresh Kalmadi do you think won him the election?
Jack Warner: What you might not be aware of is that he is a very talked about man among sports administrators. He carries a lot of respect in our circle. Personally, I think his ability to mislead an investigation and also the way he can blame everyone else but himself for the scam clinched it for him.
Gurinder: Do you think members of FIFA may have other reasons to elect an Indian as its president?
Jack Warner: I think the major reason for electing an Indian as a president may be that FIFA is exploring options to shift all the cases and investigations to India. FIFA members love Indian Judicial system. They want all their cases to be tried in Indian courts. Also, Indian media talks about football once in four years, that too only for two months. So there won’t be any chance of PR debacle.
Gurinder: There are allegations of irregularities in 2022 worldcup bidding process and it took place under your watch as Vice-President.
Jack Warner: USA lost 2022 worldcup bid to Qatar and they are avenging it by opening up investigations into the bidding process.
Gurinder: There are also reports that around 4000 workers will die building the facilities for 2022 worldcup.
Jack Warner: They are exaggerating the numbers. Sure, immigrant labourers are treated like slaves in Qatar and are made to work for more than 60 hours a week in tempratures that can cross 45 degree celcius. But, other than that, the conditions of the workers is phenomenal, even world-class I would say. Labourers will be treated with the same respect or the lack of it as they are treated all across the world.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Suresh Kalmadi’s selection as president of FIFA has inspired Sharad Pawar , Lalit Modi and Srinivasan to look beyond cricket and into new pastures. All three of them are planning to contest in the next FIFA elections.