Stop me if you’ve heard this one: The FIFA president, secretary general, and media director are sitting in a car. Who's driving? (Answer: The Police.)
It was this joke, told on Swiss television last week by Walter de Gregorio, FIFA's own director of communications, that resulted in de Gregorio’s forced resignation. Something about this seems unjust. If anyone in the FIFA kingdom should be afforded a little room to make a pointed barb, it’s an official whose recent duties involved standing before the press again and again as one of the most sweeping scandals in sports history unfolded.
But the truth is that no one really tells a joke like that unless he or she is angling to be fired. According to a Swiss newspaper, de Gregorio’s sudden departure coincides with a report that FIFA Chief Sepp Blatter, who announced his resignation earlier this month, is now reconsidering his decision. This makes sense; de Gregorio had advocated for Blatter’s immediate departure and Blatter, who isn’t slated to be replaced until December at the earliest, has a history of saying he was finished and changing his mind.
“Blatter did promise in 2011 that he would quit as president in 2015 only to renege on that vow,” The Telegraph noted, “and his critics are suspicious his resignation speech may have been designed to buy him time to remain in office.”