The race for FIFA’s presidency is looking more and more like a Republican primary, but instead of a charismatic pizza magnate, blackout-sufferer Rick Perry and late-night infomercial star Fred Thompson, the race to unseat “President for Life” Sepp Blatter from includes random ex-player David Ginola and, now, Mario Balotelli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic agent Mino Raiola.
Raiola, who also represents Paul Pogba, among others, claims to be entering the race because he is sick and tired of FIFA. Apparently, he thinks he’s the remedy.
“I have been criticizing Fifa for years, so it’s time to act on it. I’ve had enough of how Blatter and Fifa have been treating the game. It makes me sick just thinking about it that Blatter is re-elected. Fifa should be there for the fans, professional players and amateur players, but they don’t do anything for these three groups.
That’s some straight populist rhetoric. For the people, obviously.
At this point, anyone with decent reading skills schooled enough in the art of being able to string a few sentences together could put together an anti-Blatter platform. And that’s exactly what appears to be going on. Raiola is tired of all the bad things and wants to do good things. For the people.
It’s an adorable platform. He even has a colorful metaphor for his candidacy, a requirement for any populist candidate:
“It’s incomprehensible that some FAs still vote for Blatter. If people vote Blatter, they vote North Korea, if they vote me, they vote South Korea.”
It’s unclear whether Blatter is supposed to be all of North Korea or North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in this metaphor. Nevertheless, Raiola just lost North Korea’s vote, which may come back to bite him in the ass.
Running for FIFA president isn’t as easy as just declaring one’s intention of running. Candidates are required to be endorsed by five national federations. North Korea is already out of the running, and of the remaining nations in FIFA, few outside of no one is likely to endorse the Italian agent.
But Raiola will not be deterred, a characteristic that will likely come in handy when he’s still not FIFA president in the future.
“If I don’t manage to be a candidate this time around, I will give it another try in four years’ time. I will find five FAs to back me. Which ones? I cannot say that just yet. A lot of things could change until the election.”
Do Balotelli and Zlatan count as federations? If so, that’s the only way we should start seriously considering how it feels to utter the words “FIFA president Raiola.”