As if events swirling around FIFA needed to get any more surreal, Joseph Blatter was last week challenged for the Presidency of the world football governing body by a man purported to be a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad.
Remember the stock line about England World Cup winner Martin Peters? He was, they said, “ahead of his time”. This for the way he would ghost into the opposition penalty area unremarked.
Steven Gerrard always struck me as the opposite: a player “behind his time”; a throwback.
By David Owen
It was lost – understandably – in the Kafkaesque farce surrounding the Garcia report, but last week’s meeting of the FIFA executive committee in Marrakech has left us business of football types with another financial teaser to savour.
One of the qualities that have underpinned Sepp Blatter’s long career in sports administration/politics is his bouncebackability. This was on display again in Monaco last week.
Like interplanetary bodies whose orbits momentarily align, two of the Big Beasts of world sport were to be found for a few hours last Friday within the confines of the same building.
I read that Sepp Blatter is furious about the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s reluctance to allow him to remain a member beyond its mandatory retirement age of 80. This raises the following question: if true, is he furious enough to exercise his nuclear option by allowing the 2022 World Cup to clash with the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, to the considerable detriment of the latter?
Enough, as disco queen and noted football authority Donna Summer observed sagely in the 1970s, is enough.
With the Garcia report fiasco now piled on top of the 2022 World Cup timing fiasco, right-thinking football leaders have a responsibility to come together and get behind a challenger strong enough to unseat long-term incumbent Joseph “Sepp” Blatter in next year’s FIFA Presidential election.
FIFA’s mono-dimensional World Cup-based economy has been going gangbusters enough in recent times for the seemingly endless stream of corruption allegations against football officials to be no more than a superficial irritant,
It is, to use the technical term, early doors in the English Premier League club financial reporting season. Publication this month of Everton’s figures brings to all of three the number of clubs who have so far reported. Yet 2013-14 is already shaping up to be a landmark year for profitability in the English top tier.
The question and answer format is much resorted to in France. To one more versed in the “cut-to-the-chase” school of Anglo-American journalism, however, it can come across as woolly, evasive and self-indulgent.
By relating a conversation word for word as it happened, or purporting to, the convention both implies that every cough and splutter uttered by the protagonists is worthy of the reader’s attention and largely abdicates the editing function.
I have just returned from Monaco and an absorbing few days at the Sportel convention cum media rights bazaar. Boiling it down, I can recollect three moments worth recording for future reference.
I have been privileged to receive, in advance of this week’s Sportel sports content media convention in Monaco, a briefing on 2014 World Cup viewing trends from a leading specialist in the field. The briefing – from Kevin Alavy, managing director – mediabrands at Futures Sport+Entertainment, a US-based sports research consultancy – was unofficial in nature. But it gives an idea of what to expect when the official television audience report for the tournament is published by FIFA.
I have to admit I wouldn’t normally dwell on an announcement by FIFA President Sepp Blatter that the FIFA Executive Committee had decided that the football association of a rocky 2.3 square mile enclave at the tip of the Iberian peninsula cannot be accepted as a member of FIFA.
‘If you build it, UEFA will come.’ With apologies to Kevin Costner and the rest of those responsible for Field of Dreams, the fantasy Black Sox baseball movie, this looks like a more and more apposite slogan for a venue some four thousand miles east of Ray Kinsella’s ploughed-under Iowa corn-field: Wembley Stadium.
Given the number of times I read that football agent Jorge Mendes won the summer transfer window, it is ironic that his profession stands technically to be legislated out of existence before the end of the 2014-15 season. If world governing body FIFA gets its way, a new regulatory system dealing not with licensed agents, but with “intermediaries” will take effect on 1 April 2015. Some, including agents I have spoken to who predict that the new rules will produce chaos,
Recent reports suggesting that European Union countries were mulling a possible future sports boycott against Vladimir Putin’s Russia triggered two immediate thoughts.