Did John Oliver bring down FIFA's Sepp Blatter? Or was it the heat on smarmy FIFA Sec'y Gen'l Jérôme Valcke? Or maybe heat from other sources?
The June 2014 FIFA report
Sunday night's "FIFA II" update
In Sunday night's "FIFA II" update, John made a heartfelt plea to FIFA's commercial sponsors: "Please! Make Sepp Blatter go away! I will do anything!" (And he demonstrated the point.)
On Sunday night's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver returned to the subject of FIFA, of which he did such a devastating takedown last June on the eve of the World Cup in Brazil. Obviously recent developments called for a further look, and John didn't overlook the now-famous (I hope) $6,000-a-month Cat Apartment in Trump Tower, rented by former U.S. FIFA exec-turned-cooperating-witness Chuck Blazer, which we looked at at some length last week.
John on the $6,000-a-month Cat Apartment(Chuck, you'll recall, had his own $18,000-a-month apartment in Trump Tower, and I thought it was pretty white of him to be paying for digs for the apparently "unruly" cats at a 1:3 ratio to his own domicile. Of course he wasn't paying for any of it, so maybe that's not as nobly pet-friendly an instinct as it might first appear.)
"Wow!" John declared in Sunday night's "FIFA II" update. "None of us know what aloof really means until we meet a cat that has its own apartment in Trump Tower."
EXTRA! EXTRA! SEPP CALLS IT QUITS!
In the "FIFA II" report John hit some of the highlights of the four four-year terms to date of FIFA President Sepp Blatter and ventured, "You would think all this might cost Sepp Blatter his job. Come on! He provided over the worst fiasco in [FIFA's] history." But as he noted, on Friday Sepp had been reelected to a fifth term.
Well, today, to the surprise if not astonishment of most observers, Sepp packed it in. You would think this development had something to do with the most dramatic previous development since Sunday night: "Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke accused of transfering money central to bribe case" (to quote the headline on The Telegraph's report).
What a team! Sepp and his right-hand goon, Jérôme
You may recall Jérôme as the single most odious presence in last June's Last Week Tonight FIFA report -- from his visit to Brazil to deliver the message to the Brazilian government that the law barring beer sales at football stadiums, designed to stem the country's rising death toll from beer sales at football stadiums, would not under any circumstances be allowed to interfere with the business of FIFA, which happens to have as one of its core sponsors Budweiser. (If you don't recall the charming Jérôme, and John Oliver's hilarious impression of him, do take a look -- at 5:00 of the June 2014 report.)
This afternoon washingtonpost.com reported:
Sepp Blatter to resign FIFA presidency
By Matt Bonesteel
June 2 at 3:05pm
In a stunning announcement made at a hastily called news conference Tuesday in Zurich, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he will resign after FIFA elects a new leader at an “extraordinary congress” that will be called by the organization’s executive committee.
The election will be at least four months away, a FIFA official announced. FIFA’s next congress, at which such decisions usually are made, is not until next May in Mexico, but FIFA announced its desire to speed up the process in order to put the scandal in the past.
[Who will succeed Blatter at FIFA?]
“It is my deep care for FIFA and its interests, which I hold very dear, that has led me to take this decision,” Blatter said.
Blatter was elected to a fifth term as FIFA president on Friday, two days after U.S. prosecutors indicted a number of FIFA officials on corruption charges and promised more indictments were likely, though Blatter’s name was not specifically mentioned. However, after Blatter’s announcement, news broke that he is being targeted by the FBI.
“While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football – the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at FIFA,” Blatter said.
“Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA president until that election.”
On Monday, reports linked FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, Blatter’s right-hand man, to a $10 million payment sent to former FIFA vice president Jack Warner in exchange for what prosecutors say was a positive vote on South Africa’s bid for the 2010 World Cup. . . .
SO DID JOHN OLIVER BRING SEPP DOWN?
Or if not John himself, perhaps some of the darker forces at work, as he explained in Sunday night's report?
By way of background John his some of the "high points" of the Blatter reign at FIFA, and suggested that the reason he was immovable from the presidencyis that under the organization's rules, the World Cup profits that FIFA distributes to its member organizations are paid out equally, regardless of population, which means you've got lots and lots of countries (and not-even-countries) hautling in sums that guarantee their undying loyalty.
"AND SO," JOHN NOTED, "UNDER FIFA'S
SYSTEM, LEADERSHIP NEVER CHANGES"
"Their elections are such a joke that four years ago Blatter ran unopposed. This was the actual ballot paper from that year."
"And they should have at least added a second box, so that your options were 'Vote Blatter' or 'Go fuck yourself!'
"And the problem is, all the arrests in the world are going to change nothing as long as Blatter is still there. Because to truly kill a snake, you must cut off its head, or in this case [pointing to graphic of Blatter on monitor] its asshole. But if America keeps driving this investigation -- this is important -- and actually finds something to indict him, I don't think you understand how much that would mean to everyone on earth. The whole world's opinion of America would change overnight."
"Let me put this in terms you might understand. If the Dutch somehow found a reason to extradite and lock up Donald Trump, you would think, 'Holy shit! The Dutch are awesome! What a country!' That is what is on the table for you, America [pointing to camera with both hands].
"And if you won't do it, the last hope to get rid of him is in the hands of the only group more powerful than world government. . . ."
"BARRING INDICTMENT, THE ONLY PEOPLE WITH THE POWER
TO GET RID OF SEPP BLATTER ARE FIFA'S SPONSORS"
"These companies. And I would like to make a plea to them tonight: Please! Make Sepp Blatter go away! I will do anything!"
"Adidas, I'll wear one of your ugly shoes [audience howls], one of these shoes that make me look like the Greek god of aspiring DJs."
"McDonald's, I will take a bite out of every item on your Dollar Menu, which tastes like normal food that was cursed by a vindictive wizard."
"And I will even make the ultimate sacrifice. Budweiser, if you pull your support, and help get rid of Blatter, I will put my mouth where my mouth is, and I will personally drink one of your disgusting items. I'm serious! It can be a Bud Light. I will even drink a Bud Light Lime! Despite the fact that all the lime in the world cannot disguise the fact that this tastes like a puddle beneath a Long John Silver Dumpster.
"But I will do it! I will drink one, maintaining eye contact with the camera, and I will say it was delicious. Because if you get rid of the Swiss demon who has ruined the sport I love, this stuff will taste like fucking champagne."
OF COURSE THE THING NOW IS --
Who's to say that the person who follows Sepp won't be worse? Especially once he (and I think we can guess that it will be a "he") has a chance to consolidate his power. The conditions for giant-scale corruption -- those billions of dollars circling the globe, and an organizational structure designed to divert as much of the loot as possible into compliant pockets -- are all still in place, aren't they?
I suppose it counts for something that some people, at least, will be watching. But haven't some people been watching for a long time?