The joker and the thief

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For nearly two decades, an incompetent buffoon has dominated the headlines. Barely concealed corruption plagues his regime, suspect associates wriggle around him like a woodworm infestation and he remains the root cause of widespread international embarrassment. A disillusioned public cannot believe he has even lasted this long. For the sake of football, the time has surely come for Sepp Blatter to step aside.

In the wake of Berlusconi’s resignation, it appears high season for the demise of the global village idiot. Though Berlusconi and Blatter are geographically divided by the Alps, they have a lot more in common than just their initials. Both have been tainted by the tentacles of corruption; indeed, the crooked pair are utterly immersed in its corrosive slime. Human oil-slick Berlusconi is currently facing two such charges against him. Blatter, meanwhile, has faced numerous allegations of corruption after Fifa inexplicably awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, an autocratic and unpronounceable strand of desert in the Middle East.

The latest Blatter debacle involves his views on racism in football. “There is no racism,” he apparently remarked. “I would deny it [exists].” This follows recent comments encouraging tighter shorts for female players and comparing the pampered multi-millionaires to ‘slaves’. His Italian counterpart meanwhile is no stranger to sex scandals – the term ‘bunga-bunga’ has become synonymous with his reign – while in 2008, Berlusconi referred to Obama as ‘tanned’. It would seem, given their shared opinions on racism and attitude toward women, the two ‘jokers’ would get on like a house on fire.

There is no question that Fifa, the governing body over which Blatter presides, is a shambolic testament to individual greed; Berlusconi, meanwhile, seems happy to preside over any kind of body that is female and under twenty-five. When a financial crisis is hovering over the peninsula and the Premier makes international front pages for sneakily grabbing a glance at the Danish leader’s rear end, clearly something is rotten in the Italian state. Fortunately, this particular tragic-comedy has reached its inevitable climax. Though it is exceedingly rare that I would advocate following Berlusconi’s example, Blatter would do well to imitate his comedy cousin and end the current Fifa farce.

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