Tag: FIFA

Blatter Matters…
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Blatter Matters…

There is no other way to say this. FIFA President Sepp Blatter is an embarrassment to a proud sport and must go now. If he doesn’t resign he should be summarily dismissed although given FIFA’s convoluted governance structure and Blatter’s arrogant cussedness it may not be quite as simple as that. He has inhabited a parallel universe (somewhere between planet headinthesand and planet outoftouch) but his latest pronouncements show that Blatter possesses not one iota of the skills required to lead the world’s biggest sport. It’s not as if his ‘shake and make up’ comments on racism were a first offence, indeed in isolation these would not be a shooting offence. But there is a litany of abject and risable mismanagement associated with Blatter’s reign. He has managed to offend, ridicule and generally demean nearly every demographic involved in the sport. Way back in 2004 he suggested the fastest growing group should take a leaf out of beach volleyball’s book and legislate that women wear skimpy outfits and more make up presumably in the short time they were released from the confines of the kitchen and the bedroom? In the lead up to the ‘momentous’ decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, rather than take up the cudgels for gay rights in a country where homosexuality is outlawed he obsequiously tugged his forelock and decided it would be better for all if they merely refrained from practising sex during the tournament.  Global claims of match fixing have been passed off as isolated incidents and a 19th century attitude to technology are further indictments on a tenure characterised by a total lack of leadership. Throughout this tenure FIFA has been beset by governance problems culminating in the woeful and weird 2022 finale. And now this! Sport has the power to change things for the better and there are a myriad of examples where this happens. Football has achieved more than its fair share but for all its’ pre-eminence and potential it is at the very pinnacle where it founders and flounders. No doubt about it, Blatter is a dinosaur that should have been made extinct many years ago.

This article first appeared in the Northern Star on November 21st

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Decisions, decisions

It’s a big week for football in Australia.  No, not big. Gargantuan! Early Friday morning (AEST) there will be two countries metaphorically jumping for joy and many more besides slumped in total physical and emotional exhaustion. Around 2am FIFA will decree the hosts for their World Cups in 2018 and 2022.  With hosting comes a long term, demonstrated economic boom as well as a chance for infrastructure development far greater than that seen for the Olympics in 2000, for the world cup goes to a country (or countries) not a mere city. In laying out our near $50 million shingle we are now totally beholden to the 24 members of the FIFA Executive Committee who are largely non descript, faceless men. They wield enormous power and the process is a ‘cross my heart, hope to die’ secret throughout.  If you tried buying a cloak and dagger in Zurich this week you’d be sadly disappointed!.  FIFA are driven by three things: 1. money; 2. an evangelical zeal to colour in the map of untapped markets (much like the British Empire in the 1800’s); and 3. more money! Australia ticks the second box but location means tv revenues will be many millions less than our competitors. There is no doubt our stellar event management cv will hold us in great stead but even then, billions will be required to build or revamp the stadia we can manage! One confounding factor may well be the looming shadow of China, It’s the largest untapped market in the galaxy and, while not bidding this time around has signaled an intention to do so soon. In handing Asia, through Australia or Qatar (heaven forbid) the 2022 jamboree they would effectively preclude China from bidding until 2034.  The US ticks more boxes than Australia given its population base and lucrative tv market but fairs, fair they had it 1994!  Qatar would be a nightmare but do not underestimate the influence of their President Mohamed Bin Hammam – a very powerful man. For mine the 2018 gig will go to Russia leaving my Mother country blubbing Gazza-like into their pints! And 2022? Photo finish between Australia and USA.

This post first appeared as Monday’s Expert in the Northern Star on Monday, November, 29th.

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