In Depth

Groundhog Day for 'Orwellian' Fifa as the bombs rain down

Garcia's resignation would shred the credibility of any organisation other than 'wretched' Fifa

It's Groundhog Day for the British media as the papers resume their bombardment of Fifa and Sepp Blatter in the wake of Michael Garcia's resignation from the organisation's ethics committee citing a "lack of leadership" and a lack of confidence in his colleagues' willingness to adopt any kind of reform.

The American attorney made his disenchantment with Fifa clear in his resignation statement, leaving with what The Guardian describes as a "broadside against the organisation's culture and practices".

It has left many observers tearing their hair out. "If this wretched Fifa regime had even a shred of credibility left to lose, it would have disappeared yesterday," rages Oliver Kay of The Times. "His angry, despairing resignation tells us all we need to know."

The pronouncements of Blatter on matters of ethics are "nauseating" and, as Garcia discovered, "no independent governance committee, investigator or arbitration panel can change the culture of a regime that is terrified of true reform".

But, as Kay notes, the likelihood of reform under Blatter is minimal. After all, turkeys do not vote for Christmas.

Fifa has descended to the level of Orwellian farce, wrote Owen Gibson of The Guardian earlier this week. Kevin Garside of The Independent agrees, describing football's governing body as an "organisation beyond parody".

"The surprise is that it took Michael Garcia so long to walk," he muses, agreeing that his departing remarks "would shred the credibility of any conventional organisation".

Having left Fifa, could Garcia leak his report? Possibly, suggests Garside, adding that the FBI, which is conducting its own investigation, could also be interested in its contents.

But that misses the point, slightly. "It is not so much the content of Garcia's report that threatens Blatter and Fifa but the corrupting of its findings, demonstrating another rank breach of trust," says Garside.

For Fifa, its hopes of closure on the toxic issue of the Qatar World Cup vote are as far away as ever, says Dan Roan of the BBC. "Some may question Garcia's motives, and wonder whether he is trying to distance himself from a discredited organisation to preserve his own political ambitions, but his move certainly piles yet more pressure on Fifa."

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