James Lawton: Appalling? Certainly. Shocking? Certainly not – nothing is, where Fifa is concerned

Prospects of a stringently ethical new era are not encouraged by the identity of Blatter's one challenger in the election

In London, under the protection of parliamentary privilege, Lord Triesman was telling us what we already knew about Fifa, the ruling authority of world football. He was telling us that it has the ethical underpinning of some ramshackle banana republic where the tanks periodically come trundling into the streets.

He told us about the notorious Jack Warner of Trinidad, who in exchange for a vote for England's 2018 World Cup bid suggested a monument to all his selfless work in the form of a school/football academy which would cost around £2.5m, all of which, of course, could be channelled through him.

We heard about some Paraguayan character who wanted a knighthood and someone in Thailand whose price was a match between England and Thailand with him in charge of the TV rights. A Brazilian wanted to know if the Football Association had an offer he couldn't refuse.

Appalling no doubt – but hardly carrying the power to shock, not when you considered for a moment that this is the organisation which has scheduled the 2022 World Cup for the desert enclave of Qatar, a place with not a single recommendation other than the fact that it is sitting on massive oil and gas deposits and has financial heft to throw wherever it chooses.

You had to think of this, beyond any evidence of individuals on the make, when you heard the reaction of Fifa president Sepp Blatter to Triesman's belated assault on the working morality of World Cup bids, from which Triesman was detached only because he fell into a Sunday newspaper honeytrap that put him out of office as chairman of the FA. Qatar is not a smoking gun but a funeral pyre for any confidence that Fifa can indeed re-make itself as something fit to govern the world's most popular sport.

Blatter said the latest accusations would be judged against Fifa's zero tolerance policy – and this came more or less at the time a British newspaper – one of those judged "unhelpful" in probing corruption by the FA when it was still hopeful of landing 2018 – was alleging corruption in the Qatar voting process.

There should not be too much moral indignation in the offices of the FA, not after their claims that it was in the national interest to disarm attemps to uncover the corruption of which Triesman spoke to the young female friend who had a tape running at the time.

The FA thought it could win cleanly and the fact that David Cameron and Prince William were flown to Switzerland to spin their wheels while Russia, hosts of 2018, and Qatar did the real business might just be the impetus for some government attempts to marshal international pressure.

Otherwise, yesterday's revelations are unlikely to provoke a drive for reform. Certainly the prospects of internal cleansing, a new era of stringently ethical football administration, are not encouraged by the identity of Blatter's one challenger in the upcoming Fifa presidential election.

It is Mohamed bin Hammam, leader of the Asian federation and, more pertinently, author of the Qatar outrage. It is a joke in the worst possible taste.

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Sport
football
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
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

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
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?