When a news story breaks that is met with universal condemnation, it takes a brave and often foolish person to go against public opinion. The MPs who were named and shamed yet refused to return the thousands of pounds they incorrectly claimed in expenses are a prime example of such misplaced stubbornness.
Another example has recently come to light following the revelation that many Fifa officials received complimentary £16,000 watches. Senior football administrator Michel Platini maintains the incident has been blown out of proportion. He also insisted he would keep the watch he received, saying “I’m a well-educated person. I don’t return gifts.”
However, unlike the few backbench MPs who continue to publicly defend their stance, it would be a surprise if Platini is at the peak of his career as a football diplomat. Within Uefa, the Frenchman has powerful allies and few rivals. Consequently, when Sepp Blatter finally retires as Fifa president, it seems almost certain Platini will be one of the leading contenders to replace him.
This begs the question, if defending corrupt practices in football doesn’t hinder him, what would the former Frenchman have to do to prevent his seemingly inexorable rise to the top of the game?