Forget envelopes full of cash, this is why 'Football Family' voted Blatter...

A slew of corruption allegations mean Fifa's reputation in the UK is at an all-time low, but most of the world, and their football associations, seem unconcerned. Glenn Moore explains why

Sepp Blatter's landslide re-election as Fifa President caused surprise and consternation in England, but there is no great mystery to it. The "Football Family" support Blatter not because they all receive brown envelopes full of cash but because for most of the flock he has been an excellent President. Here are 10 reasons Blatter won.

1. Increased revenue, without strings attached

Fifa generates huge amounts of cash with a revenue of $4,189m over the last four-year cycle creating $1.28bn reserves. This is largely generated by television and marketing fees which have mushroomed under Blatter – TV rights for the 1998 World Cup were £115m, for 2010 £1.48bn. This has enabled Fifa to offer all 208 members a $550,000 World Cup windfall bonus on top of its generous annual "development support finance" subsidy of $250,000. How this is spent is up to the local FA, or its head. One of Mohammed Bin Hammam's main election pledges was to double this unaudited subsidy to $500,000.

2. Goal programme has built facilities worldwide

This huge financial power has enabled the largesse of the Goal programme, a Blatter brainchild. This is regarded by its critics as a front for vote-buying and, given the paucity of auditing, a licence for corruption. There may well be some truth in that. It certainly seems quite a co-incidence that the small island of Tahiti has had four projects, and also supplies one of the ExCo members, Reynald Temarii (who is currently suspended over corruption allegations). He may just be an excellent lobbyist.

What is undeniable is that Goal has led to the construction of hundreds of facilities in poor countries from artificial pitches to education centres and youth development programmes. To date there have been more than 500 projects approved in nearly 200 countries at a cost exceeding £150m. In many countries the money is spent as it should be. For example, among those who have benefited are Wales (the national training centre in the Vale of Glamorgan, $400,000 grant) and Northern Ireland (an artificial pitch in Londonderry, $400,000 grant). No-one is suggesting either FA is corrupt, but neither backed the English FA's call to postpone the election.

3. Every country counts

In many international organisations (the IMF, the G-20, even the UN with its security council) the traditional world players dominate influence. In Fifa every country counts. Germany, with 170,000 club teams and three World Cup victories, has one vote, so does Liechtenstein, with a population of 35,000 and no professional league. Both get the same $250,000 annual subsidy. For members like those from Benin, DR Congo and Cyprus, who stood up at Congress to speak against the English FA this week, it is a chance to feel as valued, and as powerful, as the big nations.

4. Growing the game across ages, sexes, formats and geography

While the FA missed out on the five-a-side boom sweeping the UK, Fifa actively embraced such off-shoots as futsal and beach football. It has increased the prominence given to age-group competitions and those catering to disabled footballers.

Sepp Blatter's suggestion that female footballers should wear skimpy shorts – as they do in beach volleyball – to gain greater attention was rightly condemned, but less highlighted is the progress the women's game has made under his stewardship. This year's women's World Cup in Germany is likely to be a huge success. Fifa also promotes U17 and U20 tournaments and the impact – in countries where women's rights are restricted – of the rise in the female game may be significant. The creation of the World Club Championship may have been a shot across the bows of the club game but it has helped develop the game at that level outside Europe.

All these ventures are largely loss-making, subsidised by World Cup profits. They also offer smaller countries, which would never be able to stage a World Cup, a chance to host a global tournament. This year Singapore, UAE, Trinidad & Tobago and Colombia are staging Fifa tournaments with Thailand, Canada, Uzbekistan, Costa Rica, Turkey, Chile, Azerbaijan and New Zealand all confirmed as future hosts.

5. It is a bulwark against the clubs

Fifa may be full of vested interests, but so is the club game. Without a powerful governing body behind it, international football would become a sideshow with its best players made unavailable by the wealthy clubs – either because they were not released, or because compensation payments would be demanded. This would especially affect the poorer FAs, largely outside the game's traditional centres, and wreck such competitions as the African Nations Cup, Concacaf's Gold Cup and the Asian Cup. The global fixture calendar, with guaranteed release of international players, is created and enforced by Fifa.

6. Prevention of government clean-ups

Fifa outlaw Government interference with local associations, and back this threat up by suspending countries in which this happens. Faced with the prospect of their national team being barred from World Cup ties, most governments back down.

This is popular among FAs as it protects them from political interference, but in practice it has also enabled inefficient or unscrupulous FAs to escape government reform – as, allegedly, in Nigeria and Poland in recent years. Incidentally, in theory the Parliamentary inquiry into the English FA could fall foul of this rule.

7. Protecting the health of players

In 1994, Fifa established a medical department, F-Marc (FIFA Medical Research and Assessment Centre), which conducts research into football-related injuries and health aspects of the game. Their findings influence Fifa policy. A large amount of detailed literature, dealing with subjects such as nutrition, hydration and female football, as well as injuries, is available on its website. The "11+" is an impressive warm-up programme, developed by Fifa experts and proven to reduce injuries.

8. Welcoming Palestine into the fold

Of those countries that care about the issue, more support the Palestinian viewpoint in the Middle East than the Israeli. Thus there is approval that, while Palestine is yet to be recognised as a state at the UN, Fifa accepted it in 1998. It subsequently helped subsidise, through the Goal programme, facilities in Gaza and the West Bank including a stadium to play home matches. Palestine competes in World Cup qualifiers. Somewhat inconsistently, Kosovo has been denied entry into Fifa until it receives recognition at the UN.

9. Expert tournament organisation

Fifa has been organising tournaments since the 1908 Olympics and now has it down to a fine art. It is not much of an exaggeration to say Fifa ran the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. This did not always go down well, some of the regulations, especially those protecting sponsors, are over the top, and Fifa expects a host country to pick up the tab for almost everything, but the tournament functioned more smoothly than anyone could have imagined. Fifa even ran the television coverage, bringing in its own staff instead of using the host nation. Fifa will bring its organisational expertise to bear in Brazil in 2014 as it does with the age-group tournaments.

10. Law changes that improved the game

Blatter's long-standing opposition to goalline technology appears to have softened after he was in Bloemfontein to witness the consequences as Frank Lampard's "goal" was not given. He remains opposed to such FA initiatives as the adoption of rugby's 10-yard dissent rule, and refuses to allow FAs to correct refereeing errors (e.g. by changing a yellow card to a red).

However, his stance has not always been as Luddite. Blatter and Michel Platini were the driving force behind many of the changes in the laws, or their interpretation, brought in since the turgid 1990 World Cup. These have focused on allowing attacking players to flourish without fear of injury (outlawing tackles from behind and two-footed tackles), reducing time-wasting (the backpass law, players having to leave the pitch after treatment for injury) and interpreting the offside law to favour goalscoring. These have clearly improved the spectacle.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn