Hard Man Henry Kissinger will boot out Blatter
Look what the sponsors are saying in public. Adidas talk about ‘the negative tonality.’ Coca-Cola adds, ‘The current allegations are distressing and bad for the sport.’
Here’s McDonald's: “We expect that the current issues will be resolved in the best interest of the game." Emirates is ‘disappointed.’ For Visa, ‘The current situation is clearly not good for the game and we ask that FIFA take all necessary steps to resolve the concerns.’
And Budweiser? ‘It is our expectation that FIFA will address and resolve this situation in an expedient manner.’ Castrol chip in, ‘We are watching the current situation very closely and expect FIFA to resolve these issues in a right and proper manner.’ You have to know that in private the phones are melting in multi-lingual expletives.
PRIVATE, MONEY-SOAKED MEETING
SO WHAT WILL Henry Kissinger do to FIFA? I have a hunch because back in 1999 I watched how he managed the IOC ‘reform’ process on behalf of the Partners. It helped that a source was slipping me the IOC’s confidential internal reports.
The parallels are eerie. The FIFA scandal erupted 10 days ago with the disclosure of Trinidad’s Jack Warner hosting, with Qatar’s presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam, a private, money-soaked meeting of the Caribbean Football Association.
In late 1998 the IOC was hit by revelations of bribes gleefully accepted by some of their members from the winter Games bidders from Salt Lake City in Utah. Within days the IOC sponsors went crazy – in private. An IOC board meeting was told, ‘Privately (the sponsors) have made it very clear to the IOC that if the crisis is allowed to drag on and the IOC is seen not to have addressed the issues at hand, the consequences could be fatal to their Olympic partnership.’
What’s to do? Panic. Surrender to the muscle.
BLACK OPS PEOPLE
The IOC called Kissinger. Why? He lists Coca-Cola as a client. Since leaving public service, Kissinger had traded his international celebrity and political connections for cash in the corporate world. His Kissinger Associates is the ultimate influence broker between corporations and governments across the globe.
When Blatter spoke last week of his promised ‘Commission of the Wise” I knew the New York PR men were already writing his script. Yes, there will Johan Cruyff and more utterly likeable ingénues. And the Black Ops people.
The IOC was advised to appoint spindoctors Hill & Knowlton. The IOC Marketing director was despatched to New York to seek their advice. Later, behind closed doors, he told the board that they'd been ‘under pressure from all their business partners.’
The stage-managing began. Kissinger played a key role setting up the grand-sounding ‘Reform Commission 2000’ to remake the Olympic Committee in the image the Partners wanted.
There were the bosses of several companies including Fiat, Xerox and Swatch. (Coke and the mainline Partners didn’t need to be there. Henry was on the Commission, looking after them.) There were some mistakes in the choice of IOC members. Volleyball’s Ruben Acosta resigned suddenly from the IOC five years later – and despite the rumours we never really knew why.