It is generally accepted globally that Gianni Infantino will leave the FIFA Presidency soon, it is now simply a matter of ‘when’ and no longer ‘if’ this will happen, once he gets it through his head that his position at the helm of FIFA is no longer tenable and that he risks bringing the entire FIFA edifice down with him in the process, if he continues to cling onto it.
More importantly, the World watches bemusedly as his antics continue to compromise the careers of football aficionados within FIFA, some of whom might eventually have gone on to have decent post-FIFA careers thereafter, by putting them in precarious legal positions and bringing them unwarranted and adverse corporate attention, that would make it virtually impossible for them to rebound into corporate positions once the Infantino season is finally over at FIFA.
Some of these employees include Alasdair Bell, the FIFA Deputy SG and former legal head at UEFA whose recent utterances in vilification of Swiss justice processes smirk of arrogance and disdain, and whose full import and ramifications he is hardly able to comprehend at this moment.
Others like FIFA SG Fatma Samoura and Head of FIFA Associations Veron Mosengo-Omba have each not really had a chequered career at FIFA these last few years with their mishandling of successive crises all over the globe.
In contrast, former heads of various governance committees at FIFA who were sacked by Infantino with extreme prejudice appear to have landed on their feet, most of them snapped up by major corporate, academic and Government institutions.
For sure, current members of FIFA Governance bodies like Maria Claudia Rojas and Thomas Vezel have been misused by Infantino and their reputations (if they had any in the first place) systematically destroyed in the process and no self-respecting organization would want to soil itself by association with people who lack integrity and moral conviction.
September 18th 2020 is the day set aside by FIFA to crudely attempt a dry-clean of Infantino’s tattered credibility and hopefully give him a morale boost by rounding up members of FIFA to the annual Congress, where it is expected that someone will be asked to move a vote of confidence in his Presidency.
Should this vote of confidence pass, Infantino can be expected to face media cameras to reassure the World that FIFA membership has full confidence in his leadership while using the occasion to reinforce the notion that FIFA has found him innocent.
Obviously this is complete balderdash and hogwash because currently the charges levelled against Infantino have neither been made public nor has the special prosecutor Stefan Keller raised formal charges against Infantino.
It will be ironic if Keller accuses Infantino of a breach of confidentiality because the latter enjoyed using this hard-to-substantiate claim to sack close to 40 FIFA employees in order to create room for their replacement which triggered a mass migration of cronies from UEFA and other friendly Confederations to take up these vacated posts.
The million-dollar question on everyone’s mind currently is, who will be tasked with the role of moving the confidence motion during the Congress?
From where we stand, the most ideal person would be one of the FIFA Vice-Presidents, who also double up as Confederation Presidents from the 6 FIFA affiliate Confederations.
This is very critical for the reason that each Vice-President comes carrying a sackful of votes from their regions, and acts as an official FIFA whip and point of contact for member associations in that Confederation.
FIFA VPs also make up the crucial emergency committee by the name The Bureau of the FIFA Council, therefore giving them extremely high profiles and prominence within the global football body.
Next, the person would need to be of unimpeachable character which would automatically rule out Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad, whose arrest during the FIFA Congress in Paris 2019 coupled with accusations of sexual deviance or assault make him an improbable choice.
He also holds the record of the being the first and only Confederation President to have formally conceded his incompetence at running his own Confederation by asking FIFA to take over the day-to-day running of affairs, which FIFA did for 6 months, and in the process discovered the looting of more than $24 million from CAF reserves by Ahmad and his close cabal of dimwits and borderline retards.
Also very critical would be the eminence of the person and the Confederation, in which case the obvious choices would be either Aleksandr Ceferin of UEFA or Alejandro Dominguez from CONMEBOL.
Tricky situation here though, Infantino and the UEFA/CONMEBOL duo appear to have been having strained relationship for close to 2 years since it was discovered that the FIFA supremo had quietly been negotiating brand new competitions with monied benefactors that would have led to the collapse of UEFA/CONMEBOL competitions.
Ceferin would also raise serious objections and concerns about FIFA involvement in CAF affairs, rightly reasoning that a failure of leadership by its President Ahmad Ahmad should not encumber FIFA but rather be left with the African Confederation internal organs to deal with.
This would likely have meant the resignation of this Infantino crony (Ahmad Ahmad), and Infantino likely weighed this option against the backdrop of losing control over the 54 African votes (which Ahmad appears to hold in a vice-like grip), a prospect that scared Infantino so much that he ignored the advice and concern of UEFA and went ahead to send his SG Fatma Samoura to run affairs at CAF for 6 months.
It seems unlikely that either Ceferin or Dominguez would be approached for this humiliating and emasculating task, and nor would they consider it appropriate in the face of the criminal charges awaiting formalization by the Swiss judiciary.
This leaves 3 candidates for this role of moving a confidence motion at the Congress, and shamelessly proclaiming that Infantino is ‘white as snow’ to the other members, and ultimately to the rest of the World.
The 3 candidates would likely be Prince Salman (Bahrain) from the Asian Football Confederation, Victor Montagliani (Canada) from the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) or Lambert Matlock (Vanuatu) from the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC).
If Gianni Infantino were able to bag Prince Salman to move the confidence motion, it would be a brilliant and deft political manoeuvre for a few reasons.
For one, it would prove to Infantino that Prince Salman, who was his fiercest competitor for the FIFA Presidency in 2016 is not working with others behind the scenes to supplant him, with a view to replacing him upon his eventual departure.
Prince Salman, by virtue of being the most senior FIFA Vice-President, would likely become interim President upon Infantino’s highly anticipated exit, and allow him to pave the way for new FIFA Presidential elections, sometime in 2021.
In recent months, Prince Salman has been used as the official “whip” within the FIFA Council, driving Infantino’s agenda among the members. His most recent active participation was to lobby members to vote for the Trans-Tasman (New Zealand & Australia) bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup football tournament against a spirited Columbian vote last June.
Would Prince Salman accept the role? He would most likely not decline, reasoning quite rightly that the resignation of Infantino would be triggered by events outside FIFA and that a vote-of-confidence has little impact either way.
In this way, he could cement his institutional credentials within FIFA as a “company man” which would ultimately give him a leg up in the inevitable election to replace Infantino.
In fact, Infantino would likely be playing into his hands by giving him such a prominent platform to address all the voting members at a time when majority of them are tense or outrightly panicked at the possible change in the corrupt global football order, from whose tits they have become accustomed to suckling to their fill.
The next option would be Victor Montagliani from CONCACAF, a man known to have a very strong affinity for Infantino, likely because they share a rich Sicilian heritage, where rumors claim that they both have links to the “mob”.
However, Montagliani most recent claim to fame would be his Confederations winning the hosting rights to the of the newly expanded 48-team, 2026 FIFA World Cup which will be in his North American zone (NAFU) of USA, Mexico and Canada.
CONCACAF boss Victor Montagliani, Infantino ally with sicilian roots
CONCACAF also has a Central America zone (UNCAF) comprising 7 countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama).
Most importantly though is that CONCACAF also has a 31 member Caribbean Zone (CFU) of which 25 are full voting members of FIFA despite only totaling approx. 45 million citizens. For comparison, consider that Africa has 54 votes with a population of 1 billion, China and India both have a single vote each despite having close to 3 billion people in population.
Nothing smacks of racism by FIFA more than the decision to unplug the 31 member CFU from CONCACAF and lump it together with Africa (CAF) to be overseen by an African refugee (Veron Mosengo-Omba) under his so-called ‘development docket’ simply on the basis of their (CFU) being black.
This translated into a different set of rules for the CFU, which are distinct from those of the UNCAF and NAFU despite all three being in the same Confederation.
It is this distinction, plus the incompetence and blundering idiocy of Mosengo-Omba that has led to an embarrassing legal tussle between FIFA and the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association (TTFA) where FIFA entered appearance in a civil case, in a local court in Port of Spain, against elected TTFA officials and had judgement granted against it.
The small TTFA, unable to circumvent the corruption at the CAS, had executed a few moves on the chessboard, and in the process, had made the FIFA behemoth bleed, and now plans are afoot to punish elected TTFA officials during the same FIFA Congress of 18th September (next story in our ‘focus on FIFA’ series).
But we digress…
Montagliani is therefore quite important in political terms because one of CONCACAF members is the USA which has had its eye on FIFA since its DoJ executed the FIFA-gate arrests and indictments and is also the home of Infantino ally Donald Trump.
Montagliani therefore doesn’t have an opinion either way, and if approached to move the confidence motion, he would gladly do it for a multiplicity of reasons, the most important one being that majority of FIFA members would not need much prodding to vote for Infantino, who appears to have pre-bribed them with huge tranches of COVID-19 relief funds.
Finally, there is Lambert Matlock from Vanuatu who represents Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) which remains the smallest Confederation on virtually all indices, from membership (14), to revenues ($20 million annually).
However, they owe Infantino a debt of gratitude for personally steering the vote in June to find the hosts for the 2023 Women’s World Cup which was won by their members’ joint bid – New Zealand/Australia.
But in terms of influence and gravitas to communicate the seriousness of the vote of confidence, Infantino would likely need one of the other two FIFA Bureau members.
And so, as the desperation within the ranks of FIFA grows exponentially and its officers continue to miscalculate, presume facts not in evidence and generally show its membership just how panicked Infantino really is, this vote of confidence seems to be a last ditch effort, the kicks of a dying horse.
In-keeping with Infantino tradition, the vote will most likely come immediately after he pronounces himself on how much more money will be distributed to individual FIFA members.
In the meantime, the radio frequencies for all reputable global media outlets have zeroed in on the ‘Infantino wavelength’, and each day brings with it more revelations especially about how he has continued to abuse his power as FIFA President and running the organisation as personal chattel.
Rest assured dear readers, no matter what you might hear in terms of PR spin from FIFA and its misguided hirelings, this issue is not going away…