Ex-SFA chief John McBeth says Blatter is 'in crisis'

John McBeth
McBeth made accusations of corruption at Fifa in 2007

John McBeth has launched a withering attack on Sepp Blatter and says the Fifa president is "in crisis".

The former Scottish Football Association president is not surprised at the controversy surrounding Fifa.

McBeth warned of corruption within football's governing body in 2007 and was promptly denied the Fifa vice-presidency for which he was nominated.

He is adamant that corrupt officials in Fifa must be removed but that it could prove difficult to "expose them".

Despite the recent allegations of corruption that resulted in two executive committee members being suspended, Blatter said in a press conference from Fifa headquarters in Zurich on Monday that there was no crisis at Fifa.

And McBeth said: "It was predictable, almost funny. His last words of his interview I think showed up that he really is in a crisis - and he knows it."

McBeth added: "I think he [Blatter] actually knows what his problems are. He talked about the devils and the angels, but for years and years he has known who the devils are and done nothing about it, mainly because they carry a lot of votes. That's politics I suppose."

McBeth says that nothing has been done to tackle the corruption at the heart of Fifa since he first warned of the problem.

"I raised it four years ago and nothing has happened since. It's one of the problems that's endemic in a world organisation; it's hard to bring them to task," McBeth commented.

"They're not transparent, they're based in Switzerland, under different laws to the rest of us and it's very hard to find a way through that to expose them.

"I think in some ways he wants to hang onto power to keep the skeletons in the cupboard."

McBeth says it is an almost impossible task to rouse a movement to oust the long-serving Fifa chief.

"If they carry on with the election, which they shouldn't do, there is nobody standing against him so it won't need any votes," he said.

"Remember, you have got 208 nations from all over the world and to pull that lot together and to get a three quarters majority [the minimum required to postpone the election] will be very difficult to do."

Uefa must take the lead in calling for an overhaul of the entire structure of Fifa, according to McBeth.

"Uefa as an organisation should stand up and say 'we don't want to be part of this nonsense'. Uefa is run in a totally different way and is far more transparent than Fifa," he said.

"I think they need an independent audit committee, not an ethics committee appointed by Mr Blatter and his men, somebody completely outside it to go in and look at the whole setup and sort it out. It's in a poor way."

McBeth is not surprised at the latest allegations levelled at Concacaf president Jack Warner, who accused McBeth of racism in 2007 after his assertion that there were corrupt elements within Concacaf and the African associations within Fifa.

The row lead to McBeth being removed as the British nomination for a vice-presidency role with Fifa.

"It was a bruising experience. To have Warner call me a racist bigot, I thought was it was something very special that I now laugh at," he said.

"At the time, I thought 'he doesn't even know me but he just opens his mouth and out it comes' and I thought 'he is guilty as sin'. When that's the reaction you get then he's obviously guilty."

McBeth feels that the essence of the game has been lost by those running football, with financial rewards paramount to many of those in power.

"To me, football is a sport, a game," he added. "I've always said to them [Fifa committee members], if you look after the game money will follow, if you look after money you will kill the game. Unfortunately they've been looking after money for too long.

"It's endemic in football. You see the amount of money that's being exchanged for players in England and around the world. I think it's getting out of hand; it's losing its sporting aspect."