Covert Campaigns at the FIFA Game of Thrones

Infantino & Sexwale historic handshake

The FIFA presidential election was about covert campaigning, geo-politics, arrests for racketeering, corruption, fraud and sex: it did not have much to do with soccer.

There were two FIFA Presidential elections happening here in Zurich. The public one with fine sounding statements and pronouncements of public morality made by the five presidential candidates. Their speeches featured all the clichés mentioning “accountability”, “transparency” or “a few bad apples ruining it for the honest majority”, etc, etc.

Then there was a second campaign – a covert one – conducted in intense lobbying sessions and private conversations.

One FIFA presidential candidate that Bleacher Report spoke to in an exclusive interview sounded surprised at the idea that the FIFA campaign was anywhere but in private conversations. “I don’t understand,” he replied, when asked about public speeches. “Of course, the private conversations are more important. You can say anything to anyone in a public speech.”

To witness as much as possible of this second campaign during an election that one FIFA Presidential candidate described as the, “the most important in the history of FIFA”, Bleacher Report sat in the corner of the exclusive hotel that has witnessed many of the twists and turns in the battle to control international soccer: the Baur au Lac in Zurich, Switzerland.

The rest of the article can be found here at Bleacher Report.

There are lots of colourful stories and interviews but the highlight for most people may be the Swiss journalist reporting the brown envelope payments to some African delegates.

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