Friday, September 18, 2015

The Company you Keep - Hublot and FIFA

Hublot today proudly unveiled their "countdown clock" in downtown Moscow.
Courtesy of Hublot

In what must be considered by many as one of the worst-timed PR events of all time, let me share with you some recent FIFA and geopolitical news -
Football and FIFA:

Several members of FIFA have been arrested and are facing extradition on corruption (among other) charges.  A search conducted this past week IN SWITZERLAND uncovered additional records that are suspected to lead to further arrests.  One key FIFA member you will NOT see in the photo above is Fifa’s Secretary-General Jérôme Valcke.  Perhaps in an effort to relieve some of the extraordinary pressure he is personally feeling, "Smilin' Sepp Blatter" very kindly offered up the head of Jérôme Valcke, Fifa’s secretary-general, throwing him firmly "under the bus" by "excommunicating" him from his inner circle on charges of scalping tickets for Brazil's World Cup last summer.  Whether Mr. Valcke did it or not, the timing of this announcement is more than a bit dubious.  Per the Independent -

Fifa’s secretary-general, Jérôme Valcke, has been suspended after being accused of agreeing to help sell Brazil 2014 World Cup tickets on the black market for millions of dollars in personal profit.

The Guardian provided an even more telling bit of reportage:

Jérôme Valcke ‘sought multimillion-pound payoff from Fifa’ last week

Jérôme Valcke tried to secure a multimillion-pound payoff from Fifa this month, shortly before he was suspended as secretary general, it has emerged.
Valcke, the right-hand man of the embattled Sepp Blatter since 1997, was suspended on Thursday and placed on indefinite leave in the wake of allegations he had colluded to sell 2014 World Cup tickets above face value. His case is being investigated by Fifa’s ethics committee. Emails seen by the Guardian appeared to suggest that Valcke knew tickets were being sold at up to five times their face value by the JB Sports Marketing consultant Benny Alon, although those emails are incomplete and could be open to other interpretations.
And to add insult to injury (further from the Guardian)- 
Valcke was en route to Russia for the celebration of 1,000 days to the start of the 2018 World Cup when his private jet turned back en route after Alon detailed his claims at a briefing in Zurich.
These latest shenanigans demonstrate that Blatter clearly lives in a fantasy world, and until he is tossed out, nothing in FIFA will change.  Football is the WORLD's game - it belongs to THE PEOPLE.  Give some money to kids programs in countries that NEED the aid and who LOVE the game.  I realize that Nepal, Laos, Uganda and Haiti might not represent large market share for potential Hublot buyers, but that is where the need really is.  And that is where the LOVE really is.
Again - football is the WORLD's game.

We'd like our game back, please.

Russia and Geopolitics -
It did not help matters that Russia has deployed tanks, helicopters, etc., to Syria this past week in support of that well-known humanitarian - President Bashar al-Assad.  Think this is not impacting the rest of the world?  Ask Hungary, Germany, Austria... 
Hell - ask the poor Syrian people FLEEING FOR THEIR LIVES and now living in "camps", families separated from each other.  Does any of this sound, I don't know, historically familiar?  

Yes, I know that Russia is an important market for Hublot - Per Hublot's CEO:

Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot, commented: We are happy once again to be FIFA’s Official Timekeeper for the 2018 FIFA World Cup which will take place in Russia. Russia is a key market for Hublot, with Russian clients among our most significant buyers today. We can’t wait for the 1,000-day countdown to come to an end and for the competition to begin!” 

In the end, everyone is judged by the company they keep.  So I guess we will go our separate ways on this issue.

I'm going to go look for a pick-up game at the park so I can watch and enjoy some real football.

No comments:

Post a Comment