Germany Protests FIFA Decision That Blocked Rainbow Armbands
For seven years now, the U.S. Soccer Federation has been fighting a bitter and complex battle with the governing body of soccer in Brazil. In Brazil, a decision that should have been a simple one in favor of its own national team has become entangled in a legal, constitutional, political and social maze of its own making.
Last month, FIFA had to make a choice between two competing resolutions: one that would have allowed for a Brazilian delegation to attend a FIFA election meeting that FIFA President Sepp Blatter was planning that would determine the next FIFA Executive Committee president—a process called “re-elected.” The other side, a less controversial version, would have allowed for FIFA to “re-elect” president Blatter for the second consecutive term at the January 20th ceremony.
In Brazil, the decision has given rise to demonstrations that have turned violent at times, and the issue is only further complicated by political wrangling, accusations of vote rigging and a debate that has broken down into two distinct camps: the Blatter side and the camp of Brazilian soccer fans.
“By voting a certain way, we say ‘no’ to a system that has nothing to do with soccer,” said the Brazilian soccer federation president Carlos Alberto Torres. “FIFA has no business being elected by the citizens directly.”
On the Brazilian side, Blatter’s candidacy was always a given, but the resolution to make him an official candidate failed to gain enough votes. The decision to vote “re-elected” was not even discussed within FIFA, but rather was left to take place in the media. A number of critics, including former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, called on the Brazilians to vote not for Blatter, but for FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
The choice of Blatter was made, but it was not clear by the time the vote was over that Brazil would get exactly what it voted for. FIFA president Sepp Blatter, still in Brazil when the votes were tallied, announced that Blatter’s re-election was inevitable and that he was satisfied with the results.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (left) attended the meeting where FIFA president Sepp Blatter was to be