ZURICH: FIFA proudly announced this week that its star-studded annual gala will take place on Monday, January 11 in Zurich, the world football federation’s home since the early 1930s.
The date confirmation promised to “celebrate the brightest and best from the world’s most popular sport, [recognising] excellence and achievement in football, on and off the pitch.”
For all of its past two decades the gala has been commanded by Sepp Blatter, first as general secretary then as president, enjoying the public eye and the opportunity to share the stage with a kaleidoscope of stars from Ronaldo and Van Basten to Ronaldo and Messi.
Each year Blatter also presents a presidential award.
But what sort of gala can FIFA put together next January 11 with the entire edifice crumbling around Blatter’s feet . . . even if Blatter himself can survive through until the next year which is not now a given.
Who will want to accept the tarnished presidential award which will be presented, FIFA has confirmed, “for outstanding service to the game”?
Will Messi and Ronaldo want to be pictured happily sharing the limelight with the FIFA president?
Promises to be more of a wake than a gala.