Will the demise of Sepp Blatter as head of FIFA, the corrupt outfit that governs world soccer, produce meaningful reform? Maybe. But Francois Carrard, the man in charge of leading FIFA’s reform task force has a lot in common with Blatter.
Both are 77 years old; both are Swiss; and both hold views that are out-of-fashion, at least when it comes to expressing them.
Blatter’s insensitive comments are legendary. They include these gems:
We now have three ladies on the board. Say something, ladies. You are always speaking at home, say something now.
Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so. . .
I’d say [gay fans] should refrain from any sexual activities [while in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup].
[John Terry losing the captaincy of England’s national team for sleeping with a teammate’s partner] is a special approach in the Anglo-Saxon countries. If this had happened in let’s say Latin countries then I think he would have been applauded.
Carrard is unlikely ever to top Blatter in the political incorrectness department. But he has already pulled off a three-fer, managing to insult American soccer in both ethnic and gender terms.
Carrard opined that in America soccer is “just an ethnic sport,” something for “girls to play in schools.” The statement is ridiculous — even an old man should be embarrassed for uttering it (if you excuse me for saying so). But there is a certain elegance to insulting so many people this economically without resorting to out-and-out slur words.
Carrard, by the way, is the International Olympic Committee’s former director-general. The Salt Lake City Winter Olympics scandal occurred on his watch.
In his comments about soccer in America, Carrard was comparing the IOC scandal with the current FIFA corruption affair. The former, he said, was worse from an American perspective because (1) it happened on U.S. soil, “in the heart of Utah, amongst the Mormons” — steady, Francois, don’t make this a four-fer, (2) soccer isn’t very important to Americans, other than “ethnics” and school girls, and (3) the FIFA scandal involves “only a few rogues.”
Carrard doesn’t look like a good candidate to reform FIFA. But he likely will entertain.