Dear Mr Blatter,
I have been playing football for as long as I can remember. Whether it is just having a kick about with some friends on a piece of green, my first organised game at eight years old playing out a 2-2 draw and being named captain or the eleven a side game I played at the home of football, Wembley Stadium, just a few years ago after winning a competition. I have had passion for this sport throughout my entire life. Being born into a family obsessed with the game I was always going to be involved with it.
But I, unlike you and your organisation, find myself in a crisis. At the beginning of the 2010 / 2011 season I found myself captaining a Swindon Sunday League side that had just started up. The manager was the most passionate man I have ever had the pleasure of playing under, every training session was a joy because I could see that this man cared about his players, he wanted to see each and every one of us improve. I remember having conversations with him where he mentioned that he rarely slept the night before a game because his mind was racing with thoughts on the next day’s game. This man lit a fire under me and I wanted to play every second I could for him and the team, unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Five games in I tore the cartilage in my left knee and had to have an operation which kept me out for the rest of the season.
Tragedy then struck for our Sunday League team. The manager lost a member of his family and had to leave the club leaving myself as the captain and our club secretary to run team for the second half of the season. We struggled through the remaining 10 games of the season scraping together a team at times so that we could fulfil fixtures. I must admit that I very much enjoy the coaching aspect and at one point could see myself setting up a kid’s team, helping bring through the next generation of footballers but more on that later.
I have recently found out that I must have another knee operation and this is where I find my crisis Mr Blatter. As someone who loves the sport of Football I find my enthusiasm, my passion, my love wavering. I am on the verge of taking the next year out of football because I do not think I can put everything I have into it. There’s a big chance I would miss the beginning of the season injured and do I have it in me to come back from this to play again? In a time when football is a tainted word in a lot of circles, do I want to work hard to come back into a sport that is rotten to it’s core?
What you must remember Mr Blatter is that what happens at FIFA has a knock on effect to anyone involved in the game, at all levels. If I wanted to start up a children’s team in my local area how could I convince parents to let their children start devoting a big part of their life to a sport whose name is mud? Wouldn’t they rather their children took part in a sport that people in the street had respect for?
Now, I do not claim to know the inner workings of FIFA but how difficult is it for you to come out and be transparent. You speak about the damage done to the reputation of FIFA and you claim to be sorry for the fans of football worldwide. If this was truly the case you would listen to the millions of real football fans calling for you to resign so that FIFA can be rebuilt, from the ground up. You refuse to see that the organisation is crumbling around you, two of your biggest commercial partners Addidas and Coca-Cola are getting worried, if they pull out of their dealings with FIFA would you still claim that there was no crisis?
With footballs name being dragged through the mud, with no end in sight, I can see myself staying away from organised football when I am fit again. I think you would agree that would be a shame and surely I can’t be the only one? There are probably hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who are becoming disillusioned with the state of the game, the game that you have ruled over since 1998. I know football will go on without me but it would be sad for the sport to lose someone who at one time had thoughts of giving back to grassroots football.
Mr Blatter, if you truly cared about football you would come out and admit that your time is up and that your position is no longer tenable. You should make the decision to halt proceedings of this week’s sham election. You should also allow an outside organisation in to investigate the numerous allegations of corruption, if FIFA has nothing to hide like you seem to think then surely it wouldn’t be an issue.
Remember Mr Blatter, football is bigger than all of us and will ultimately prevail but it will prevail a lot quicker without you.