Fifa Fo Fum, make sure your words don’t come undone

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 at 9:11 AM

Sepp_Blatter_1904829gLove it or hate it, football is dominating the front and back pages of the papers at the moment. To non-football fans the corruption allegations facing Fifa, the sport’s governing body, probably won’t be in the least bit interesting. However one piece of ‘evidence’ that’s been revealed is a stark reminder to make sure what we write clearly represents what we mean!

The two suspended Fifa officials at the centre of the scandal, vice-president Jack Warner, and Mohamed Bin Hammam, are desperately trying to clear themselves of allegations.

Over the weekend, Warner made public an email from Fifa secretary general, Jerome Valcke. The email appears to claim that Hammam ‘bought’ the 2022 World Cup finals for Qatar. It reads:

“[Hammam] thought you can buy Fifa as they bought the World Cup.”

Well, yes, I’d say that was pretty clear. However, Valcke now claims he simply meant that Qatar used their considerable budget to ‘heavily promote their bid all around the world in a very efficient manner.’

Ah, now I see. He also stressed he intended the email to remain private. Oh dear.

I guess Valcke isn’t the first person to treat emails as innocent informal memos that carry no weight. Problem is written words are powerful. They’re there in black and white to be filed away and used against you if you’re not careful.

So when we put things into writing, we need to make sure we’re very clear about what we mean. After all, it’s a bit hard to deny we’ve said something when it’s staring up at us from the page or screen.

Think like your customer | Jargon alert: mid-weight copywriter needed

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Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

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