Sports Editor's blog: FIFA's black comedy just keeps on giving

Lately I find myself asking the same question more and more, and I suspect it's one many of you who have passed their 30th birthday may be familiar with.

Thursday, 19th January 2017, 1:10 pm

Is the world around me becoming more selfish and hard-nosed or has it always been thus?

Am I now just noticing it more as I shed a few layers of my own selfishness and fill the void with the perspective of fogeydom?

It’s the same with my overflowing reservoir of cynicism. Has the world become a more cynical, self-serving place or are my reserves of patience with twerps just drying up?

Melton Times sports editor Chris Harby at Regional Press Awards EMN-170401-160548002

At least there’s no moral ambiguity when it comes to football’s self-anointed gods.

You know where you are with FIFA: sport’s unholy of unholies. If you like a bit of moral outrage to start your day, then they are the fellows for you.

In a naive personal moment of weakness, the bizarre proposal to fix something which wasn’t broken and extend the World Cup to 48 teams seemed far-fetched and unlikely.

But in FIFA’s proud theatre of the absurd, of course, anything is possible.

Melton Times sports editor Chris Harby at Regional Press Awards EMN-170401-160548002

While the world was still puzzling over how to stage a summer tournament in the broiling deserts of Qatar, the vote was passed.

Extending an already overlong tournament, and diluting the quality of the game’s elite showpiece.

Now we just had to wait for the inevitable woolly PR fluff to follow.

‘We’ll just tell them it will enhance the soul of football, it will cleanse the hearts of our nations.’

And there’s always the failsafe codswallop which entails the beautiful game uniting the world.

I really love that one. Fear not Aleppo, FIFA will save you.

The fact is I’d have more respect if they were up just up front about the whole sorry business.

Admit they want more TV revenue, more cash, because, well you know, you can never have too many billions stockpiled in the vaults for a rainy day, can you?

Embrace the insatiable need for money and power; flaunt it, loud and proud.

If scruples or shame are beyond you, at least have some guts.

After selling the World Cup down the gas pipeline to the footballing hotbeds of Qatar and Russia, FIFA had carte blanche to do anything.

Maybe the unleashing of the FBI, dozens of arrests, and serious criminal charges would finally make the madness stop.

Surely to goodness FIFA was now so tainted by scandal, and the whiff of corruption so ingrained, it would have to be dismantled and a completely new body set up.

But this is FIFA; you know where you are with FIFA.

So can anything be done? Could football yet save its flagging soul?

There are probably a million-and-one legal barriers in place to prevent this, but couldn’t the major powers of world football tell the Geneva gang to sling their hooks and form their own World Cup?

Try attracting sponsors to a World Cup shorn of Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, Spain et al.

Would Coca Cola or McDonalds be so keen to splash their sponsorship cash at the thrilling prospect of a Kuwait-Paraguay final?

The English FA’s hostility to Sepp’s circus has long been clear for all to see, at least since their bid to host the 2018 World Cup was shown to be a big fat waste of time and resources.

So why don’t we set the example and walk away? Refuse to take part in their extended World Cup.

When would England have a better chance of emerging from a major tournament with their reputation enhanced?

The nobility of a principled no-show rather than the embarrassing no-show we get by actually turning up.

An extended Euro 2016 with 32 teams was bad enough - 48 would surely offer even greater scope for a toe-curling exit.

There you go, more cheap cynicism, dovetailing clumsily into my earlier quandaries. In answer to them both, there’s probably a smidge of truth in each camp.

But at least with FIFA you know where you are.