If the European football association (UEFA) opts to break out of the scandal-plagued international organization FIFA, Norwegian football officials have promised to go along. An alternative could be to boycott the next World Cup.
“If UEFA’s answer (to Friday’s highly contested re-election of FIFA President Sepp Blatter) is to break out of FIFA for a period, Norway will back that up,” the president of Norway’s football federation NFF, Yngve Hallen, said over the weekend. Norwegian officials were unhappy with Blatter’s re-election. “This was very unfortunate for football,” UEFA board memeber, Karen Espelund of Norway, told newspaper Dagsavisen. She said she was at least pleased that 73 countries did not want Blatter, meaning that he faced the most opposition ever.
“This case (the charges of bribery and extortion against more than a dozen top international football bosses) will keep rolling,” Espelund said. “I’m not sure Blatter will remain in his post for the next four years.”
While Espelund was getting high marks from football commentators in Norway, who also contend that FIFA under Blatter has greatly harmed the reputation of football, Hallen and Norway’s other top football official Kjetil Siem, were catching flak. They’ve been criticized for not being more concerned about earlier charges of corruption at FIFA, and for not better tackling the fading reputation of football in Norway either, where it’s become subject to contested player trades, high salaries, match fixing and declining attendance. Hallen didn’t seem to recognize the seriousness of the scandals around Blatter until raids were carried out last week, wrote Dagsavisen, while Siem has earlier called Blatter “a unifying leader for football.”