Sure, FIFA has earned more money, and expanded the women's game, and spread the sport throughout the world's corners during his tenures. But, today, FIFA has also become more scrutinized than ever. And more ridiculed. The corruption scandal unfurled this past week happened on his watch - does anyone think his rule and example did not at the very least - allow and condone such behavior, through, again, at the very least, turning a blind eye? Blatter has recently championed the idea of rooting out corruption, but I don't think anyone outside of his family really thinks he means it.
I like the idea of one federation, one vote. There is a certain charm to the ideal of any member as invested as the next in promoting the game, awarding the right bids, and ensuring each other's standards of fair play are as high as Blatter likes to espouse. But an inherent problem in the one fed / one vote system is the reliance that the representative from, say, St. Lucia has the same commitment to the sport as, say, the United States. And that just isn't true. Now, never say never, but St. Lucia is never going to host a globally competitive team, nor host even a Caribbean-wide senior tournament. Yet, the FIFA congress member from St Lucia is expected to have been appointed by his countrymen to act as a global rep as faithfully as the rep from, say, France. And, to be honest, St Lucia's rep doesn't have anything close to as much at stake as France does. St Lucia's team will never be in a World Cup, and whether or not the rest of the world has to go to a wtf choice as Qatar doesn't really matter to them. So, the lure of selling votes from such smaller nations is obvious. If your vote has no impact on your home team, then maybe it can impact a certain pet project. (Note: not trying to pick on St. Luica here - I don't know anything about their member or their football history!)
Yes, we the public often projects certain democratic and westernized ideals of fairness onto world bodies such as FIFA and the IOC that really rub harshly against the background of a large swath of those bodies' members. With an abundance of smaller and poorer African and Asian and Oceanic members with no practical history of home-grown successful bureaucracies, maintaining an ideal of propriety is a sometimes a longshot. But the history of democratization also includes the pressure from those within, and that is why such clamor as we've seen this week can't let up. Holding FIFA accountable for fair play is a consistent and persistent need. As well as the pressure on its enablers - sponsors who continue writing a paycheck, and teams that continue to participate. It's a complicated and long road, but a worthwhile one. The beautiful game deserves the fight.