It is a wonder, indeed, that anyone serious about change in football governance even dignified Fifa's first 'ethics summit' with their presence. In Blatter's opening address on Friday morning he made not a single mention of the bidding scandal over the 2022 World Cup, or of why many of his top men had returned from Brazil with luxury wrist-wear that should have sent them straight through the red channel at customs, or of chief investigator Michael Garcia's report on Qatar. Instead, fittingly, he stepped down from the rostrum holding a glass trophy.

Blatter bristled recently when pressed on Fifa's lip service to any notion of transparency or ethical practice. "Listen, I am still a member of the international sports writers' organisation (AIPS)," he said. "I just ask for a little more respect." There are two outrages here. The first is that AIPS allow the man to be a member in the first place. The second is that Blatter, having since 1998 turned Fifa into a temple of grace-and-favour largesse that would have made Louis XIV blanch with embarrassment, makes the presumption of meriting any respect at all.

For he deserves nothing but the strongest and most sustained ridicule. "We have an exemplary organisation on ethics," he said on Friday. That must be why he plucks out locations for the Fifa congress in the manner of someone idly flicking through a Kuoni brochure. 2009: the Bahamas. 2011: Mauritius. The Mauritian expedition was such an extravagant Indian Ocean holiday for the delegates that each of them allegedly had a £300 tablet computer thrown in just for turning up.

Blatter's translation of "exemplary" must also explain his refusal to clarify whether he is one of the 65 recipients of the Hublot watches. It is a legitimate issue, considering his Fifa sidekicks were happy enough to accept the gift of free handbags from England's 2018 World Cup bid team. Speaking of the English, the abject 'Watch-gate' episode also reflects terribly poorly on Greg Dyke and the Football Association in their efforts to hold Fifa to account.

Dyke's lamentable 'dog-ate-my-homework' excuse that he was unaware of a £16,000 watch in his Rio goodie bag, claiming that he was "waiting" to give it away to charity, raises far more questions than it answers. What was he waiting for, the right charity or simply the right time? The FA's silence on the matter gives the unfortunate impression, too, that while they are content to sack Edward Lord from the board for daring to speak out of turn on Richard Scudamore and sexism, they are prepared to do nothing about their chairman receiving a free watch so ostentatious that Dyke should, by rights, be feeling the full wrath of Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs.

But then, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, where Fifa is concerned. We should perhaps welcome Jérôme Champagne's decision to stand against Blatter in the 2015 presidential election by championing a more democratic agenda, but it feels, rather like the previous effort by Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl, a purely token gesture. Trying to reform Blatter's army of superannuated freeloaders is rather like throwing a pebble against the Hoover Dam. For Fifa, as all the evasions at its ludicrous ethics summit prove, is not a force for reform, but a pestilential swamp of greed.