Like UEFA president Alexander Ceferin or not, he has shown a steady hand running UEFA since he took over from – who was it again? Time flies, doesn’t it… The ‘man who came in from the nowhere’ and took charge of Europe’s football confederation has been accused of a lot of things since he took office. Most of them have had about as much basis as a Döner Kebab without lamb and onion.
If an unindicted co-conspirator in a US federal criminal case tells you “I want to thank Gianni Infantino for being here – he’s the president of FIFA and a highly respected man,” it is a dubious honour at best. If the same unindicted co-conspirator continues to say “Let’s see, in 2026 I won’t be here [as president]. Maybe they’ll extend the term? If they don’t extend it the media is going to be very boring,
With his announcement to resign, Richard Scudamore has demonstrated once again a certain class and intelligence: he leaves at a time when the Premier League is in the best of health, successful and solid to the core.
Before Morocco threw its hat in the ring, there was only America. MAGA appears to be the name of the game anywhere you look these days. Make America Great Again everywhere and anywhere. As long as the US profit and their competitors eat sand (or salt water or rocks – you choose), all is good in Trump’s special democracy.
Carrying a gun into a football stadium is forbidden by Greek Law. Reaching for the gun in a threatening fashion takes this to the next level. Demanding the ref to change a decision at gun-point is an altogether novel approach to winning a title. But when PAOK of Thessaloniki scored an offside goal in the 90th minute to win the match, that’s exactly what happened. The goal was not given and the proverbial hit the fan.
If there ever was a snub, then it is this one: Transparencist-in-Chief and FIFA-Almighty Gianni, The Infantino, made a trip recently to see how his flock are faring in the timid December heat of the Middle East. It was a fine trip, with lovely meals, lovely people everywhere and lovely sights to see (sic!).
The US were beaten by lowly Trinidad & Tobago (no, it is one country, they weren’t playing two countries at the same time), lost fair and square and to add to their grief, Panama equalised against Costa Rica with a Thierry Henry type goal (“…the referee’s decision is final”, so don’t expect a Samoura-Senegal type replay decision to bail the US out).
The man who was arrested by the anti-corruption unit of the Guardia Civil in Madrid the other day, former FIFA and UEFA Grande Angel Maria Villar-Llona (alongside his son Gorka who ran CONMEBOL, leaving behind a major shambles) should not have been arrested at all.
She coined the phrase “FIFA Slayer” and prided herself to be just that: the woman who dismantled FIFA.
Few seem to understand that former Brazilian chieftain Ricardo Teixeira’s possible/likely/somewhat unexpected crawling to the bosom of the US Department of Justice (for cover?) is potentially the most dangerous reality people like Sepp Blatter, Urs Linsi, Jerome Valcke and one very special Zurich lawyer are facing. And possibly global sportswear manufacturer Nike too.
African football is in a dilemma. Not the first time, for that. CAF, the Confederation of African Football, is voting tomorrow and the result may well be remarkable.
The Swiss Prosecutors are investigating the scraps that the US Department of Justice left with them. The DOJ used spooks to identify the bad men at FIFA. They didn’t just do this in the US where super-snitch Blazer was caught in his electric armchair on his way to yet another eatery. They did it throughout Europe, and one would now be permitted to assume also in Russia.
2016 was a remarkable year. In football, it saw an entire generation of administrators dragged before the courts. Sorry: before a US court in Brooklyn. After all, the US is the final authority on matters of the law… The woman who set out to become the “Slayer of FIFA” (her own words), suddenly found herself in a bit of a bind when she met with Bill Clinton on a private jet to discuss grandchildren – absolutely not Bill’s wife’s issues with the DOJ,
On May 27, 2015, in Brooklyn, New York, Loretta Lynch, Attorney-General of the United States, made a media-savvy appearance. Accompanied by her subordinate (“I am honored to be joined today by Director James Comey of the FBI […])” she highlighted a series of charges that put a number of mainly non-US football officials into serious trouble: “[The individuals indicted today] were expected to uphold the rules that keep soccer honest, and to protect the integrity of the game.
I have been watching social events, political mayhem, financial meltdowns and cultural phenomena for too many years not to understand and accept how very important every human interaction is to, well, at least SOMEbody.