Is UEFA seriously threatening to leave FIFA over corruption report?

Irony and international soccer seem to be a match made in heaven these days. No other example may be greater than a report released on Saturday, suggesting that European soccer governing body UEFA may leave international soccer body FIFA behind.

All of it apparently over the failure of FIFA to release the full report of the findings in to corruption allegations regarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding processes. In a report by The Guardian in the UK, German football president Dr. Reinhard Rauball laid all of the dirty laundry to bare.

He suggested that the 54-member UEFA block could end up leaving without the full report released thanks to a major rift between the two key figures in the report. The split between the ethics committee judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert, and Garcia, the US attorney who heads the investigatory arm and spent 18 months probing the race for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has been growing seemingly by the day.

Garcia is unhappy about the summary containing only certain facts and twisting the results in other cases as well.

“The result was a breakdown in communication, and it has shaken the foundations of Fifa in a way I’ve never experienced before,” said Rauball, via The Guardian.

“As a solution, two things must happen. Not only must the decision of the ethics committee be published, but Mr Garcia’s bill of indictment too, so it becomes clear what the charges were and how they were judged,” he told the German website

“Additionally, the areas that were not evaluated [in the report] and whether that was justified [should be published]. It must be made public. That is the only way Fifa can deal with the complete loss of credibility.”

If it doesn’t do what UEFA (and the rest of the sane soccer public wants), the biggest and baddest of the regional confederations has issued a serious warning to the boys in Zurich.

“If this doesn’t happen and the crisis is not resolved in a credible manner, you have to entertain the question of whether you are still in good hands with Fifa,” Rauball added. “One option that would have to bear serious consideration is certainly that Uefa leaves Fifa.”

This stance shouldn’t come as a surprise, because UEFA president Michel Platini has been calling for the full report to be released for over a month.

Platini has also been on record as not that big a fan of current FIFA president Sepp Blatter. He went as far as to publicly state Blatter is not serving the game, but becoming the game.

“Sepp is not the president of Fifa anymore. He is Fifa,” the Uefa president, Platini,  told the French sports daily L’Equipe via the Guardian’s translation.

“Platini, Pelé, Blatter, [the former FIFA president João] Havelange must yield to the interests of football. One must not use football, but serve football.”

Clearly the two organizations don’t see eye-to-eye these days, but what would UEFA severing ties with FIFA accomplish? Will it make a difference?

If this isn’t blustering and UEFA’s membership are serious about this threat, this could be the best way to help clean up the sick and often times unthinkably disgusting underbelly of international soccer.

However, actions are going to speak louder than words. Until UEFA publicly calls for Blatter’s ouster or threatens to hold out of international soccer competitions, we should all be skeptical of what is being said.

Until there are votes to kick Blatter out or UEFA holds an emergency meeting to vote to withdraw from FIFA, this is all chatter and rumor.

Besides, what about its member, Russia, who is set to host this little thing called the 2018 World Cup. I mean, would the Russian’s really want to risk leaving FIFA and the multi-billions it will receive for hosting the World Cup?

Sure, the talk is nice but it’s going to be a lot tougher to go from talking the talk to walking away from the world governing body.

Call us cynical, but we’ve seen threats like this before and nothing has come of it. So, take this with a grain of salt for now.


About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!