David Owen: Blatter now has the opportunity to reform FIFA and restore its image

David Owen(2)

One is rarely quite 100 percent sure with FIFA.

But it now looks like Joseph Blatter will get the go-ahead on Wednesday to extend his stint in the governing body’s top seat to 17 years.

Unless 75 percent of the organisation’s 208 member associations vote down the congressional agenda, it is hard to see what can stop the ‘election’ from going ahead, in spite of a campaign that has achieved the seemingly impossible by turning FIFA into even more of an international laughing-stock than it was before.

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David Owen: Blatter win would give him the perfect opportunity to reform FIFA


Former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman’s allegations last week to a UK Parliamentary Committee concerning four FIFA Executive Committee members certainly caught the eye of the media.

And they have already resulted in one of the four – Worawi Makudi of Thailand – claiming he is planning to sue the former UK Foreign Office minister, who also headed England’s unsuccessful bid for the 2018 World Cup until forced to resign a year ago.

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David Owen: Why we should reluctantly applaud the success of Mark van Bommel


“Congrats to Mark van Bommel for being first player to win league titles in four different countries (PSV, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AC Milan).”

When I read this on Twitter on Sunday morning, I nearly went straight back to bed.

If there is a player who epitomises the way the Dutch national team has been transformed over the past decade from Europe’s foremost footballing artists to a group of efficient, but soulless functionaries,

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David Owen: Blatter’s pledge for World Cup vote reform is clever but will it change anything?

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It would have been hard for the candidates in FIFA’s Presidential election to avoid the subject of World Cup vote reform.

And in fairness to Joseph Blatter, his latest proposals came as a direct response to an interviewer’s question.

Nonetheless, several points need to be made about the FIFA President’s “positive solution” for preventing a repetition of the “uncomfortable experience I had here in Zurich on 2 December”.

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David Owen: Bin Hammam can win FIFA election but will he make any difference?

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The race for the FIFA Presidency is turning out to be as dull as those for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were fascinating.

The incumbent, Joseph Blatter, is thus far adopting the wholly predictable strategy of emphasising the value of continuity in an unstable world while detailing the torrents of cash that have rained down on planet football over his 13-year tenure – and critically, he says, will continue to do so.

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David Owen: Arsenal takeover might be good news for Russian Olympians

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The link might not be immediately apparent.

But this week’s move by US businessman Stan Kroenke to take his stake in Arsenal, the underachieving English Premier League football club, to 63 percent while agreeing a mandatory offer for the rest of the shares could turn out to be good news for Russia’s underachieving Olympic athletes.

Why? Because Arsenal minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov may sooner or later be in line to receive a very large cheque.

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David Owen: Eastern breakaway could send shockwaves through FIFA – and win China the 2026 World Cup

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As members of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) made their way last week to Pago Pago to vote for a new President, word reached me of an idea that could transform their futures and send a shockwave through the murky world of global football politics.

The idea of a breakaway Asian confederation, embracing Oceania and several easterly members of the current Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is being actively discussed.

At present it is hard to assess the timescale,

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David Owen: Compelling night of theatre as schmoozing hits new heights

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In one corner of the room in one of Switzerland’s plushest hotels, the unmistakable figure of Chuck Blazer, FIFA’s Tweeting Executive Committee member, holds court.

On the other side of a large Christmas tree, a Boys’ Own triumvirate of David Beckham, Gary Lineker and Fabio Capello cluster around a small coffee table.

Nearby, English Premier League boss Richard Scudamore has been doing his bit, engaging the Asian Football Confederation chairman and Qatari ExCo member Mohamed Bin Hammam in earnest conversation for quite some time.

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David Owen: Time for a changing of the guard at FIFA


The BBC’s Panorama programme told us nothing new about the 2018-22 World Cup campaign.

But it underlined the need for a changing of the guard in FIFA’s upper echelons.

World football’s governing body plainly has no intention of further investigating the nature of links between football officials and the ISMM/ISL sports marketing organisation which collapsed nearly a decade ago.

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David Owen: English football’s coming national inquest

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Once the white smoke from FIFA’s conclave of cardinals has dissipated into the clear alpine air on Thursday (December 2), the way will be clear for an almighty inquest into the way English football is run.

The disappointing nature of the national team’s 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa has ensured this inquest will happen whether or not England’s bid to stage world football’s flagship tournament in 2018 succeeds.


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