Andrew Warshaw: A tricky day for 2014 public relations, but the tickets are selling even if the security stories aren’t

Whoever is being economical with the truth about the reasons for the Soccerex global football convention in Rio being cancelled, the news was timed with a shambolic attempt at promoting Brazil’s World Cup. What started out as a good idea and looked like smart timing for a push to get people to travel to the 2014 party, rapidly went downhill.

When Thierry Weil, FIFA’s marketing director, and Ricardo Trade, head of the local organising committee,

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Andrew Warshaw: Uncomfortable games in high places

Amidst all the rhetoric in recent days from FIFA and UEFA over the separate issues of racism and World Cup slots, the bigger picture seems to be one of canny manoeuvrings being played out in front of the world’s media by Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini in order to gain the moral high ground.

“Anything you can do, I can do better” appears to be the basis of the rather silly (at best uncomfortable) mind games being employed by the respective presidents of football’s two main governing bodies.

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Andrew Warshaw: More questions than answers in the long ball game

As an autumnal evening sunlight settled over FIFA House in Zurich last Friday and a phalanx of cameramen packed away their equipment after a somewhat anti-climactic Sepp Blatter press conference that focussed almost entirely on Qatar, I found myself humming the lyrics to that 1970s hit, More Questions Than Answers, by Johnny Nash.

Two generations after it was released, I reasoned, one could quite easily apply the title of the reggae ditty to the position we are still in as far as the 2022 World Cup saga is concerned.

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Andrew Warshaw: Eerie calm before the desert storm

Whatever transpires at the eagerly awaited gathering of FIFA’s top brass in Zurich on Friday, any decision to switch the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from the searing heat of the Gulf summer has suddenly taken on additional intrigue following the revelation that FIFA’s chief corruption-buster is stepping up his investigation into the entire bid process for 2018 and 2022 to find out what, if any, illegal shenanigans took place.

FIFA’s executive committee,

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Andrew Warshaw: They call themselves Yids and they’re proud of it

Sometimes in football, as in other walks of life, a debate splits public opinion so far down the middle that it seems impossible to reconcile the two sides of the argument.

For once I am not talking about the Qatar 2022 World Cup but a highly complex domestic issue in England that is generating emotion-packed comment and opinion.

Anyone who has suffered from anti-semitism knows how vile, pernicious and hurtful the insults and alienation can be.

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Andrew Warshaw: Forget the legals, it’s staying put, but May change?

Ever since FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s exclusive interview with this website explaining his preference for switching the 2022 Qatar World Cup to winter, time has hardly stopped still over the issue.

Everyone, it seems, is having their say and whilst many stakeholders have expressed intelligent, sensible, well-argued points, many other so-called experts have been jumping on the bandwagon for no other reason than to cynically question Qatar’s right to host the event.

Let’s make a few things clear,

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Andrew Warshaw: Breakfast with Platini, Qatar 2022, but don’t mention the FIFA presidency

Breakfast with Michel Platini is an annual media gathering on the fringes of the Champions League draw in Monaco that has become almost de rigueur for anyone trying to get inside the head of the UEFA president.

Informal and charmingly mischievous, you invariably get him in an engaging, outgoing mood – in a variety of languages – away from all those official functions and formalities.

Yet among the nods, winks, innuendos and wise-cracking,

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Andrew Warshaw: Qatar 2022 – A third option

It is only an idea at this stage but one which perhaps might work and should be considered.

For the last few months, seemingly everyone involved in football politics has had their say over whether the 2022 Qatar World Cup should be staged in summer or winter.

The latest voice to be heard on the issue is that of Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the FIFA-appointed expert whose inspection team went round the world in the build-up to the December 2010,

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Andrew Warshaw: Qatar 2022 – Winter Rules apply

So now we finally know where we stand on the 2022 World Cup. More importantly, so does Qatar.

Six months ago, I wrote that every time FIFA was asked whether it would sanction a winter tournament, it gave the same answer: only if Qatar, as host nation, officially requested it. I also wrote that every time you posed the same question to the Qataris, you also got the same answer: only if they were formally asked to switch by FIFA.

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Andrew Warshaw: Fulham, the latest club to fall into American hands

What do Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Fulham have in common? Okay, they are all members of English Premier League but that’s not the answer I’m looking for.

The answer I’m looking for is they are also now controlled by American owners or majority shareholders, Fulham being the latest to join that particular ‘club’ for a reported £200m.

Not so long ago, the notion that almost a third of top-flight English clubs would be in American hands 13 years into the new millennium would have been dismissed as fanciful given the fact that professional football,

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Andrew Warshaw: Cup traditions, old and new, play the dating game

Tradition has increasingly taken a back seat in the modern age of football. Sometimes, it has to be said, for the right reasons but not when it comes to the English FA Cup, the game’s oldest domestic knockout competition.

For the last few years, the cup final, watched by billions of armchair fans worldwide despite many of them getting out of bed at some ungodly hour, has been shunted into unfamiliar territory, given whatever end-of-season slot can be found for it –

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Andrew Warshaw: Are the old perceptions still the reality?

When Sepp Blatter praised FIFA’s ship for emerging from troubled waters as the waves lapped gently against the shores of Mauritius last week, cynical heads turned away in barely suppressed mirth. “How many times have we heard that before?” was their silent refrain.

As self-proclaimed “captain” of that ship, Blatter was in congratulatory mood as he cajoled his audience to show their appreciation of past misdemeanours being replaced by a new era of transparency with a collective round of applause.

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Andrew Warshaw: A classic tale of football powerbroking

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa’s runaway success in becoming the new leader of Asian football – on paper only until 2015 but in all probability far beyond – was about as clearcut as you can get. But it nevertheless contained all the elements of a classic Shakespearean plot: revenge, intrigue, conspiracy theories, false promises – and just as many questions as answers.

Revenge, says the old cliche, is a dish best served cold.

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Andrew Warshaw interviews Hassan Al-Thawadi on his bid for FIFA’s executive committee

During the increasingly fractious battle in Kuala Lumpur to become President of Asian football, it has been conveniently overlooked amid the political in-fighting that the position is effectively transitionary and only for 18 months.

Potentially far more significant is the other separate vote for a spot on the FIFA executive committee – the most powerful elite gathering in world football. Not least because it is a four-year term as distinct from just keeping the seat warm for possibly someone else.

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Andrew Warshaw: It is hard to get a turkey to vote for Christmas – reform ins and outs

When FIFA President Sepp Blatter told the world over two years ago that his organisation would clean up its act and enter a new era of transparency after sinking to a low following an unprecedented period of corruption, supporters took him at his word while cynics – of whom there are a fair few – looked to the heavens and questioned whether it would really happen.

Since then there have been hundreds of column inches written about the Great Reform Process designed pull FIFA into the 21st century and which comes to head on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius at the end of next month when 209 member nations vote at FIFA’s annual congress on the need for change.

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