The FIFA scandal continues to dominate headlines worldwide, particularly after Sepp Blatter announced on Tuesday he would step down after being reelected for a fifth term four days earlier.
Venezuela is right at the center of the scandal, as Rafael Esquivel, the head of our football federation for the last 27 years, was one of the FIFA members arrested in Zurich. He’s still in jail, facing possible extradition to the U.S.
The FVF’s new chairman, Laureano González, told the sports newspaper Meridiano that he’s not afraid of any investigation, but asked caution as “…the FVF is currently going through a very particular situation”.
Funny enough, the announcement of Esquivel’s investigation first came from Nicolas Maduro during his weekly TV show Tuesday night. But that wasn’t enough for him, as he called for a constituyente for both FIFA and the FVF, so “…football players can take power”.
Mr. Maduro seems to ignore that Article 13 of FIFA Statutes indicates that only FIFA can intervene in the internal affairs of any country’s federation, and national governments and courts are barred from doing so, with the only exception of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as last resort.
So, the authorities can investigate Esquivel’s wrongdoings? Yes. Can the government openly intervene the FVF? No. They can try for sure, but FIFA have shown no tolerance for that and has suspended many countries in recent years. So Mr. Maduro, with his innuendos, is threatening to ruin Venezuelan football, just as he has ruined everything else.
The central government has joined the global outcry over the state of football (and supports Vladimir Putin’s claims that the U.S. of A. is behind it all). Not that they weren’t cozy with the FVF before – they even gave them a new bus.
And back in the good old days of 2007, when Venezuela hosted the Copa America for the first time ever (and Mr. Maduro was Foreign Minister), Mr Blatter was a guest of honor in Miraflores Palace: the late comandante eterno awarded Sepp and Mr. Esquivel with the second highest honor in the country, the Order of Francisco de Miranda. There were even discussions about hosting either a U-20 or U-17 World Cup in the near future. (It didn’t happen.)
That hasn’t stopped Maduro from proposing a candidate to replace Blatter: none other than Diego Armando Maradona. After all, who better than an old friend of Hugo Chavez and current host of his own show “De Zurda” on Telesur?
Thankfully, this will never happen.
UPDATE: A source inside the FVF told El Estimulo’s Jovan Pulgarin that the Public Ministry probably won’t find any “smoking gun” after its raid on the federation’s offices Wednesday night. Why? Because they got a tip-off a day earlier.
They won’t find anything important, unless they’re terrible at disposing evidence… The day before the raid, the FVF was warned, or in this case (Rafael) Esquivel’s friends. Her secretary took care of erasing any evidence. Same thing in the FVF’s Administration & Marketing Department.”