The Holy month of Ramadhan 2020 is come and gone, and like all major religions in the World, COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked its own brand of carnage on Islamic traditions, including the Saudi Arabian Government decision to halt travel to the holy Islamic sites as part of the umrah, the “lesser pilgrimage” that takes place throughout the year.
Saudi Arabia has urged Muslims to delay their plans for the Hajj, amid speculation that the obligatory pilgrimage may be canceled this year due to the coronavirus.
For the foreseeable future, it is likely that covid-19 will impact all global human interactions, including how football is played and enjoyed by both the players and fans.
FIFA earlier this week circulated a set of directives governing such interactions.
But the riots in the USA and protests all over the World with regard to the slaying of George Floyd by white police officers, that has caused a global double take on race relations and especially the quietly accepted strata of White, brown and black in that particular order.
And unfortunately, majority of the World seems to believe in the said order, where Caucasians are ranked highest, followed by those of Asian and Arab extraction and finally those of a black/African persuasion making up the dregs of humanity.
In fact, when Whites wanted to conquer and exploit the new World in the 17th and 18th Centuries, and needed manual labour for this endeavor, they turned to Arab slavers (from the middle racial strata) to kidnap and ship hundreds of thousands black Africans to the Americas and West Indies, a historical episode that has condensed into that moment in Minneapolis where for 8 minutes, a white police officer asphyxiated a black man by kneeling on his neck, a moment that will likely change the World forever.
We have often held that it takes ingrained and deep-seated dehumanization to sell someone into perpetual servitude, and the Arabs have been shown, time and time again, to consider blacks to be extremely low on the totem-pole of humanity, and to-date they continue to visit unspeakable atrocities upon them.
This racial chauvinism against Africans almost has official seal of approval by the Governments of Arab countries, considering the murders, maiming, torture, arbitrary beatings wrought upon Africans continues unabated today, to those unlucky enough to believe that they can find economic opportunity there.
In football, the presence of Arabs is felt strongly owing in part to massive financial muscle that is powered by the virtually omnipresent reserves of oil in their countries.
Ironically, apart from the 5 Arab-African countries who have had a measure of on-field football success, all other Arab countries struggle to put in any sort of a meaningful performance on the field.
On the African continent, the 5 Arab countries that make up the Maghreb (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Libya) are organized in a zonal-Union by the acronym UNAF, which is affiliated to CAF and recognized by FIFA.
Four of these countries (Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt) hold the 4 top slots in Africa for having qualified for the most number of AFCONs and also hold the top 4 current FIFA rankings for Africa.
Morocco even went toe-to-toe with USA during the 2018 vote in Moscow for the hosting rights to the 2026 FIFA World Cup, giving a good account of itself despite losing at the close of voting.
At FIFA, Africa is represented by one member of UNAF, the irascible Egyptian Hany Abu Rida while Morocco’s Fouzi Lekjaa represents the continent on the CAF Exco, both as Chairman of its finance committee and 2nd Vice-President.
On at least 2 occasions in the last decade at FIFA, Arab candidates have angled for the FIFA Presidency, hoping to clinch the top seat, without a commensurate on-field performance by their countries.
Former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Mohammed Bin Hammam from Qatar had announced his intention to vie for the FIFA Presidency in 2011 against incumbent, Swiss Sepp Blatter, promising to establish a “transparency committee”, adding that the selection of a World Cup host ought to be an open process, where it should be made public which bid FIFA Executive Committee members had voted for.
If such a vote was public, Bin Hammam said it would “cut the doubts in FIFA back to zero…I don’t see any reason why we should not vote openly.”
Bin Hammam also vowed to limit the Presidency of FIFA to a maximum of eight years in office.
This must have irked FIFA Executive committee members to no end, given that Qatar had been a beneficiary of the same corrupt system, having only months before been awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting rights.
On 25 May 2011, following allegations by FIFA Executive Committee (ExCo) member Chuck Blazer, Bin Hammam was charged with offering bribes for votes and appeared before FIFA’s ethics committee on 29 May.
Bin Hammam withdrew from the presidential race the day before the ethics committee hearing.
Chuck Blazer, remember him?, the obese, Santa Claus bearded American, who when he discovered he had been covertly investigated by the US Department of Justice for years, quickly turned informer and rolled on his corrupt friends at FIFA, which led to the now infamous FIFA-gate scandal in 2015.
To date, the reverberations of the Bin Hammam case continue even in faraway Africa, despite the fact that he and his PA Najeeb Chirakal have been banned from football for life.
In 2015, Sepp Blatter made the tactical error of vying once more for the FIFA Presidency, despite his verbal promise in 2011, that it would be his last 4-year tenure at the helm.
His biggest challenger in 2015 was the then 40 year old Jordanian Prince Ali bin Hussein, President of the Jordan Football Association and also the founder and President of the West Asian Football Federation.
Despite the arrests of FIFA Executive committee members from Zurich’s Baur au Lac hotel, the elective congress proceeded on 29th of May, and which Blatter won convincingly by over 60 votes, leading to Prince Ali’s capitulation before a 2nd round of voting.
Barely a month later, Blatter disgracefully announced his intention to resign the FIFA Presidency owing to his adverse mention in the FIFAgate scandal, and Prince Ali took this as the cue to announce his contention for the seat in the 2016 election.
Only that this time round, the replacement election of 2016 also had Gianni Infantino and Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa from Bahrain who was is also the President of the Asian Football Confederation.
The rest as they say, is history.
So what would explain the rapid-fire rejection of 3 Arab (Muslim) candidates in FIFA Presidential elections in a period of 5 years, coming as it did on the back of the historic grant of FIFA World Cup 2022 to Qatar, a small uber-rich emirate?
Europeans are dually diabolical in their outlook, for instance whilst they built their economies on the backs of black slaves in the US and the Caribbean, they honored white slavers with monuments and the global blue-chip companies that grew out of slavery like Unilever, remain highly regarded, with that portion of their history cleverly sanitized from modern education.
We only saw this week, the “woke” reaction of their citizens in the wake of the #blacklivesmatter demonstrations to this obfuscation of history when the statues of leading slavers and confederates in the US and Europe were violently brought down.
Europeans however, happily project the perception of slavers onto Arabs, preferring to blame the supply side of the equation, who obviously were responding to real lucrative demand for free labour from Europeans, to build massive industry around sugar and cotton.
But you also just have to look at level of impunity that leading Arabs or Muslim leaders deal with issues to appreciate the mistrust with which they are viewed globally.
Ultra-rightwing US media outlet Fox News has for the last decade driven a narrative that the liberal left has a plan to kill-off Christmas, one of the most central religious festivals in the Judeo-Christian belief system.
During the festive period in late December, Fox News channel’s most toxic presenters will greet each other, with a meaningful look, saying “Merry Christmas” to each other in a thinly veiled reference to the supposed attack on their so-called faith.
In the face of this narrative, you have the top employee at FIFA, its SG Mme. Fatma Samoura, (a woman who waves her own Islamic faith as a matador does his cape), in her first edicts at FIFA removed the annual Christmas party, and instead pushed the celebrations to late January and early February, ostensibly to coincide with Chinese Lunar new year, and in the biggest ‘f**k you’ to Christendom, the same people who invented the sport of football and gave it to the World.
Over and above this being extremely bad optics for an organization like FIFA, it sent the subtle message of a coup in FIFA and that religious considerations were a centerpiece of the new administration.
Hot on the heels of this micro-drama, it was leaked that FIFA President Infantino had been having secret meetings and an agreement that would allow FIFA to sell off rights to new competitions and the precious FIFA archives for staggering amounts of money.
Unfortunately, there was already suspicion due to the opaque nature of the negotiations and alarm when the European countries consider that FIFA proposed to literally dismantle their existing competitions and drown them in a deluge of new ones, effectively crippling the money-making potential and independence of their Confederation – UEFA.
Moreover, when it came out that the buyers of the FIFA competition rights were the Saudis, who were using the Japanese Softbank as a Trojan horse, it caused a lot of angst and suspicion among the Europeans…
Softbank is known to manage the entire Saudi sovereign fund…
Negative perception was compounded when barely 6 months later, the de facto Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) ordered the execution of a Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October.
So brazen was the attack and execution, where Khashoggi was incapacitated, killed and dismembered, according to surveillance tapes by Turkish intelligence, then spirited off the consulate premises never to be seen again.
No less than the US CIA confirmed that the hit had been ordered by MbS despite his protests and sham trial of the so-called rogue security agents who had carried out the hit.
Just as Argentina love and worship Diego Maradona just as long as he stays away from their football, Europeans love to do business with MbS but felt constrained to let him into their bedroom, because why would the World entrust its football commercial rights to a man who has no compunction killing his critics with utmost prejudice?
UEFA remembered the unholy alliance between its erstwhile SG Gianni Infantino with Arabs and their money, where Gianni appears, like a moth to flame, incapable of resisting the allure of their cold, hard cash.
Didn’t Infantino piss on the UEFA financial fair play (FFP) rules when he allowed the Arab owners of Paris –St. Germain and Manchester City (both owned by Emirates in the Gulf) circumvent UEFA disciplinary procedures?
Due to these violations, the two clubs potentially faced being banned from participation in the Champions League, the harshest penalty. The Qatari owners of PSG and the owners of Manchester City, who come from Abu Dhabi, tried to prevent such a penalty by exerting massive pressure on Infantino, who capitulated shamelessly.
Elsewhere and in another example of greed, Gianni Infantino and FIFA earlier this year withdrew its criminal complaint against PSG President and Chairman of BeIN media group of Qatar, Nasser Al-Khelaifi and partially against former FIFA SG Jerome Valcke over the fraudulent award of broadcast rights to BeIN (in the MENA region) for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.
The Swiss office of the Attorney General (OAG), which is run by Gianni Infantino co-conspirator Michael Lauber, and which had brought the indictments against both Valcke and Al-Khelaifi, said that FIFA had informed it of an “amicable agreement” reached with Al-Khelaifi.
Across the way in Africa, the 3-year tenure of Confederation (CAF) boss Ahmad Ahmad has been fraught with scandal and outright theft, all of which came to light following the 2019 FIFA-commissioned audit by giant firm PWC that discovered that Ahmad and his close allies had made away with more than $24 million.
Ahmad, who operates with unrefined thuggery, is buttressed by the 20-odd members of the so-called “Muslim brotherhood” of CAF, a cartel of FA Presidents who profess the Islamic faith, and who have organized themselves in such a way as to sell their collective loyalty, to the highest bidder.
This “Muslim brotherhood” are equal-opportunity a**holes, to say the least, and they will run over anyone who is at cross-purposes with their goals as had been shown time again in that 3-year period.
When FIFA sent its own SG Fatma Samoura to CAF as FIFA special delegate last August, aside from commissioning the PWC audit, she implemented reforms that did away with the use of cash in CAF.
The use of millions of dollars in cash by CAF had been the conduit through which $24 million had been siphoned away from the organization. Her decision to close the cash taps caused so much outrage and anger at her and FIFA, considering too that Ahmad had invited FIFA in a bid to save his Presidency following an arrest in Paris circa 5th June 2019 for corruption.
So the “Muslim brotherhood” of CAF ganged up against their fellow Muslim Fatma Samoura, and at the end of January in Sale, Morocco refused to extend her tenure at CAF.
Another hilarious anecdote from CAF is the tale of treachery against Lagardère Sports and Entertainment (LSE), the French agency that had a 12-year commercial and broadcast rights contract with CAF worth a minimum guaranteed $1Billion.
Compared to AFC who have a $4Billion, 8-year deal of their own or UEFA with revenues topping $4 Billion annually, the CAF deal has always been rather tame.
So in the latter part of 2019, CAF (but in reality, its “Muslim Brotherhood”) withdrew from the deal, under the protection of FIFA, with extreme prejudice.
FIFA, who were then running CAF through SG Fatma Samoura, thought to bring a new commercial partner by the name Dalian Wanda from China, in exchange for the award of the Club World Cup (CWC) 2021 hosting rights to the Chinese FA.
However, UEFA belligerence at Infantino for his harebrained proposals, attempting to cut its legs from under it, have put the CWC in jeopardy, and so too the CAF deal that had initially been all but virtually assured.
COVID-19 has sunk the final nail into that coffin…
Everyone remembers the infamous picture of CAF boss Ahmad and his coterie of “Muslim brotherhood” members, and who had asked LSE Africa CEO Idriss Akki to accompany them to the “lesser Hajj” (Umrah) in Saudi Arabia, a very intimate religious sojourn.
Yet the “Muslim brotherhood” did not give him a 2nd thought when they pulled the plug on the agreement, at the prospect of more money from the Chinese.
Currently CAF has no commercial contract with anyone and have been attempting to hawk the rights, with little interest from other agencies, and it looks likely that they will need to swallow their pride and crawl back to LSE for a contract that will be markedly worse than the one they vacated.
Idriss Akki, to his credit, has been retained in the new LSE structure released last week, as Africa & Middle East boss.
CAF boss Ahmad Ahmad even went to the extent of selling the hosting rights to the CAF Super Cup, the one-off pre-season clash between the winners of the CAF Champions League on one hand and winners of the CAF Confederation Cup on the other, to Qatar for 3 years.
This would indeed mark one of the few times in the history of any self-respecting Confederation, to relocate one of its premium properties to another confederation, for no other strategic benefit than for money, the only lingua franca understood by Ahmad and his “Muslim brotherhood”.
Pictures of Ahmad in Qatar for his own Confederations’ tournament show a forlorn figure, haunted by betraying the continent that elected him, yet somehow managing to look differential to the rich sheikhs and emirs who congregate at this event.
Which ultimately brings the argument full-circle, with unlimited and seemingly infinite financial resources for close to a Century, why haven’t these Arab states developed their own leagues and other sports competitions?
Instead, they prefer to procure established sports entities, buying them at inflated prices, and breaking the rules in the process, just as long as they can find black-hearted moral vacuums like Gianni Infantino and Ahmad Ahmad, who are ready to prostitute themselves for the almighty dollar.
But it doesn’t stop at football, these emirates have been known to purchase the citizenships of random top performers in Athletics and other sports disciplines, athletes and sportspeople who trade-in their Nationality and religion, for an opportunity to access this free-flowing money.
Are the Arab natives born deformed, too lazy, lacking physical robustness or are just too entitled to actively pursue sports, preferring instead to spectate as others slug it out like gladiators in the colosseum?
The fact remains that these Arab/Muslim football officials remain deeply mistrusted, with good reason, and their actions have cast aspersions on even those of upstanding character.
Truth is, behind all the bluster, Allahu Akbars, Alhamdulillahs and Inshallahs, many of these pretenders are just thugs, and football is their new slave trade, Africans their slaves and Europe their markets.
No one in their right mind would vote them into supreme football positions!