Tuesday, March 22, 2011

FIFA, money, grass and roots

FIFA President, Joseph Blatter has offered to resign in 2014 if re-elected. In other words, he must be re-elected at all costs in June 2011. Less serious is the fact that if not re-elected, he will not quit. Then, there must be another no fly zone declared until he goes.

Talking about costs, FIFA Secretary General, Jerome Valcke announced on Monday in Johannesburg, South Africa, that due to a very successful South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup, member associations in Africa will pocket US$800, 000 bonus each from the federation and a further annual US$250, 000 development grant.

He explained how good business it was doing business in the jungle of Africa, calling it 'a huge success from all fronts' and 'was not the financial failure that some people claimed it would be.' It is a welcome gesture to see the money being planted back to African football development.

It is traditional that the money will be channelled towards the development of football at grassroots level. The issue here will be the channelling. Usually it gets tunnelled in bottomless pits and develops into 'insufficient funds' projects that turn into white elephants. These elephants should actually be termed black since they are the Dark Continent species.

In the process, there is always great desire to fund football development from grassroots by African associations. Usually, there is no grass to see here. Football is always done on rock-hard surfaces. Villages and academies have been claimed to be 'on schedule' being developed. I think this is where the trick is. They are always at root level.

FIFA has done a great job in getting this money into capable hands, as you and I would blow it away overnight buying football equipment. We would probably get rooted into projects that generate interest among the youth too quickly due to lack of red-tape, but then, you need roots to establish a very strong base for any foundation, like building a house on a rock and not sand.

Could Sepp be trying to buy Africa votes here, or Valcke fancies himself a successor in the FIFA presidency?