Weeks before the start of the 2002 World Cup, Sepp Blatter, FIFA'spresident, was accused of corruption and mismanagement by none other than his most senior administrator. (In a 21-page dossier, Michel Zen-Ruffinen, FIFA's general secretary, alleged among other things that Blatter had repeatedly made unauthorised payments from FIFA accounts; had, in the presence of witnesses, handed over a cheque for $25,000 to a former referee; and had had FIFA write off a $9m loan to the Caribbean and North American football confederation, which is run by Jack Warner, an ally of Mr Blatter's).
The politics of soccer had always been byzantine. Indeed, after a brief involvement with FIFA in the 1980s, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger remarked that the experience had made him nostalgic for the Middle East!
[In 2002, a member of the Somali football federation claimed hehad been offered thousands of dollars to vote for Mr Blatter in the 1998 FIFA election.]