There is a common misconception that seems to prevail within footballing circles that FIFA are a dribbly-chinned, stubbornly atavistic outfit – concerned only with trifling over the insignificant minutiae of the game, rather than addressing the monolithically obvious issues that should be taking precedent, in order to protect the integrity of the sport as a professional entity.
I am here to tell you, the ill-informed public, that this mindless prejudice is WRONG, and that you actually have a lot to thank FIFA for, despite what you may hold to be so resolutely true.
Allow me to present you with a short list of just a few of the wrongs that have been righted before and during the World Cup, thanks to the tireless crusades of Sepp Blatter and his diligent band of erstwhile cronies:
- We, as spectators, no longer have to suffer the sartorial ignominy of watching players brazenly traipse around the pitch with tape on their ankles that is different in colour to their socks. Thank you FIFA!
- In a similar vein, we are no longer exposed to players (I’m looking at you, Arjen Robben) malevolently sporting under-garments (under-shirts, all-in-one bodystockings and tights) that differ in colour to their kits. Thank you FIFA!
- Never again will we be forced to watch on in abject horror as 36 attractive Dutch women in non-descript orange mini-skirts mindlessly fill sections of the already completely orange-clad Dutch support, with little or no concern for anyone else’s safety. Thank you FIFA!
- Although pre-dating the World Cup, the effective crackdown on shirt-less goal celebrations has ensured that horrific scenes like this are now resigned to the history books. Thank you FIFA!
- There’s none of that nasty ‘tackling’ business anymore is there? Thank you FIFA!
- Thanks to stringent guidelines handed to the World Cup officials pre-tournament, simulation is also now a thing of the past. Thank you FIFA!
- Finally (and most crucially) with FIFA-sanctioned referees now fitter, more alert and better versed in even the most piffling of by-laws – human error is all but a redundant footnote in the footballing annals. Thank you FIFA!
So, after taking some time out to momentarily quell the ubiquitous backlash, it would appear that we all have quite a lot to be grateful for, don’t we?
Not that Old Sepp, being the unassuming selfless martyr that he is, wants or needs your plaudits.
You can rest assured that, despite the constant derision, Blatter (and co.) will be out there in world, fighting the good fight on all of our behalves until the day he drops dead.
Hopefully of a massive heart attack.