KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Ahead of FIFA election mysterious emails assail various campaigners and journalists from a hidden source suggesting he or she or it has explosive inside information about the murky finances of certain executive committee members.
Meetings are proffered to reveal more, in hotels whose desk staff have no record of any booking and are puzzled by the insistence of a flock of inquisitive and equally baffled reporters.
The game appears to have been revived this time around after Prince Ali bin Al Hussein’s presidency campaign election team revealed it had rejected an offer to provide details of incumbent Sepp Blatter’s personal finances and reportedly deliver “dozens of votes” in Friday’s ballot at congress here.
Quest, an intelligence firm run by former Metropolitan police commission Sir John Stephens, confirmed the offer. Quest had been commissioned by Prince Ali to “guard against any threats to the integrity of the election process.”
Police authorities had since been informed though not FIFA. A statement from the world football federation said: “The FIFA administration has not been informed of any such matter. However the body to deal with such cases is the investigatory chamber of the independent ethics committee.”
In 2011, ahead of the Blatter’s election for a fourth term, the ‘financial details’ on offer concerned the likes of veteran exco members Julio Grondona, Ricardo Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz. Grondona has since died and Teixeira and Leoz have taken their own leave of football administration.
Hence few of Blatter’s old guard remained to have their names used malevolently and mischievously . . . apart from the man himself.