Mihir Bose: The silence of the world’s football players is deafening

Mihir-Bose

Like the dog that did not bark in the night in the Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles, one of the most fascinating aspects of the FIFA crisis is that one group has said nothing: the players.

It is astonishing to consider, given all that has been written about the problems of FIFA, that there is very little about what the players think. Their silence has been stunning.

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Mihir Bose: It’s time for Blatter to use the power he does have to clean up FIFA

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Sepp Blatter always complains that he is a leader who is not as powerful as his title of FIFA President may suggest. For a start, he is in the odd position that he cannot choose his own cabinet, something that Barack Obama or David Cameron would find intolerable.

So Blatter’s cabinet, the FIFA Executive Committee, are elected by the Confederations and foisted on him. There is nothing Blatter can do about that. He has to live with their choices.

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Mihir Bose: FIFA are in danger of falling in to the same trap as News International

Mihir Bose

FIFA is facing its own News International moment with its corruption scandal. News International thought that by saying phone hacking was the work of one rogue reporter, Clive Goodman, the royal correspondent, and his confidant Glenn Mulcaire, it could isolate the problem. As the world now knows, it could not.

FIFA is in danger of making a similar mistake if it thinks the corruption scandal has been dealt with once the Ethics Committee finishes its work on July 23.

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Mihir Bose: Blatter is famous for short-term tactical victories but will lack of long-term vision be his undoing?

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Is there anybody at FIFA minding the shop? Sepp Blatter, the President, clearly does not give the impression he is.

He may strut about as if he is the head of a unique Vatican-style sporting state, no territory or army, but through football, as the Vatican does through religion, reaching out to places no politician can. But the FIFA corruption crisis has exposed the fact that while Blatter is a master tactician who can turn almost every short term situation to his advantage,

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Mihir Bose: England in the Valley of Death after their disastrous Blatter charge

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The past, in football, is not a foreign country. It is ever present and always points the way to what is going to happen. The FIFA Congress in Zurich was a wonderful illustration of that.

What it showed was that Sepp Blatter uses the football past as if he owns it, and the English Football Association never seem to learn from history.

Sepp Blatter proved the ultimate politician, as he has done so often in the past,

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Mihir Bose: FIFA may lack the power to reform itself

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Reform is the cry of the hour for FIFA. But, the question is: where does the reform start? It is not enough to open up FIFA in Zurich.

For real reform, we need to go to the heart of the organisation which extends beyond Zurich around the world. Without a worldwide fundamental structural reform, no amount of changes in Zurich will enable FIFA to come out of the crisis that has engulfed it.

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Mihir Bose: Triesman’s revelations are explosive but there is no smoking gun

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Lord Triesman’s testimony in Parliament may not prove to be quite the defining moment for FIFA that the media coverage suggests. Triesman’s statements have been seen as FIFA’s equivalent of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Salt Lake City moment. That ended with the IOC cleaning up its act and expelling 10 members.

My worry is that the Triesman intervention could be great theatre but not lead to any real change.

I say this based on having witnessed an even more explosive drama at the IOC’s headquarters in Lausanne back in December 1998.

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Mihir Bose: QPR’s owner is richer than Abramovich but they won’t be competing against Chelsea in the transfer market

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Queen’s Park Rangers return to the Premiership will make their fans want to know is whether their rich owner will follow in the footsteps of Roman Abramovich. He is after all richer than Abramovich, indeed he is the richest man in Britain with a net worth of £24 billion ($39 billion).

But that’s not how Lakshmi Mittal sees things. QPR will not be a passion for him as Chelsea is for the Russian and,

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Mihir Bose: Kroenke deal as much about keeping David Dein away from Arsenal

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Soap operas dressed up as morality tales do not come any better than the American Stan Kroenke’s take-over of Arsenal. The official word from Arsenal made the latest arrival of a foreign owner sound like the welcome a 19th century father might have given a man seeking the hand of his daughter.

This is what Peter Hill-Wood, the long serving chairman of the club, said: “The board of directors and I consider it a key responsbility to protect the ethos and spirit of the club.

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Mihir Bose: English football faces moment of truth this autumn

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This autumn could see English football face its moment of truth

That moment being when the Government appoints a regulator to run the national game. Remember, this is a Tory-led collation wedded to free enterprise and firmly believing that sports bodies should run their own sports and the Government should be a facilitator not a regulator.

Now, talk of a regulator running the game is not new. Almost exactly a year ago,

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Mihir Bose: Blatter and Bin Hammam chances rest on who can claim credit for the Goal Project

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The FIFA Presidential election will turn on two words: Goal Project.

This was Sepp Blatter’s great idea, energetically pushed by him ever since he got elected as President. But, and this is crucial, it was run by Mohammed Bin Hammam. The Qatari can win if, through his stewardship of the project, he has built such support in FIFA that he can undercut Blatter, particularly in the small organisations round. It is a big if.

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Mihir Bose: Have we maligned FIFA or, for that matter, the IOC?

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Given how these organisations see themselves as accountable to nobody but themselves, and this in an era when the cry of democracy and transparency cannot even be resisted by Arab despots, this may seem a ridiculous question.

Yet I am inclined to raise it because of how different the Cricket World Cup in India is turning out compared to the Football World Cup in South Africa.

I have been struck by this comparison in the past week as I have travelled in India following the 50-over cricket tournament.

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Mihir Bose: The FA has never got to grips with English football

The problem with English football is not the Premier League. Nor that its chairman, Sir David Richards, uses industrial language.

MPs may have been shocked when Lord Triesman, former chairman of the FA, told the House of Commons Select Committee on football how Richards goes about his business and the language he uses.

But that is not the real issue.

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