Monrovia, 23 November, 1999. FIFA President Sepp Blatter pays respect to Liberian President Charles Taylor – currently on trial at The Hague for human rights abuses.
Taylor is accused of murder, mutilation, torture, human sacrifice, cannibalism, using women and girls as sex slaves, abducting adults and children, forcing them to perform forced labour and fighters . . . and burying a pregnant woman alive in sand.
Taylor was so grateful to be honoured by anybody that he immediately awarded Liberia’s highest honour, The Humane Order of African Redemption to Blatter – who omits this from his ridiculous list of honours.
At the time of President Blatter’s trip to Liberia, President Taylor’s horrific record was well-known. That didn’t worry Blatter; he will take votes from anybody, anywhere.
He visited Monrovia to thank Taylor for his support in FIFA’s elections the previous year – and to beg for Liberia’s vote again at the next election.
Blatter helped soften Taylor’s vile image. The favour was returned when Taylor’ son-in-law Edwin Snowe, boss of Liberian football, campaigned for Blatter to be re-elected in 2002 (see chapter 22 of Foul!)
When Taylor was forced from power Edwin Snowe needed to get out of Liberia in a hurry. Who would pay? FIFA paid. Poverty stricken Liberia had an annual grant from FIFA of $250,000. Edwin was allowed to pocket it, flee to America and pretend to enrol in a Denver college to study Sports Management and Entertainment Events.
Asked how this rip-off of poor people could be justified, Blatter mouthpiece Andreas Herren announced smugly that FIFA was happy to pay for Edwin ‘to further his education.’
(There is justice - sometimes; after a lifetime of lying for Blatter, Herren felt he was entitled to the top job when inept media boss Markus Siegler was shown the door. Herren was outraged when he didn’t get the job; and speechless when he found it had gone to another nonentity, Hans Klaus.)
When Edwin came back to Liberia he turned his back on sport and his expensive new education, becoming boss of Liberia’s Petroleum Refining Company. He’s since been indicted for looting it. The United Nations have placed a travel ban on Snowe, alleging that he funded the exiled Charles Taylor.