Jérôme Champagne has come out swinging in these final days of the FIFA Presidency campaign, claiming that spending pledges tabled by UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino are “very dangerous”.
Manchester United exec Ed Woodward sees the newly-acquisitive Chinese Super League (CSL) as “another useful market if we are looking to sell players”. And the recent £20 million-plus deal that took Ramires to Jiangsu Suning, to the considerable benefit of Chelsea’s bottom-line, surely demonstrates that he is right.
The sorry Liverpool saga about season ticket prices, increasing prices, fans walking out, then price rise rescinded, has once again raised the question of what is the place of fans in modern football.
At the start of the FIFA presidential race, all we heard was the need for a clean campaign, with each candidate energetically promoting his own cause. No finger-pointing, no duplicity, no mud-slinging.
Even the slickest, best choreographed media events – and I have attended few slicker than this week’s descent on Wembley by FIFA Presidential candidate Gianni Infantino and his footballing legends – have revealing moments.
When candidates of opposition political parties in US and British elections, and in many other countries for that matter, want to convince the voting public that they are best person for the job, they frequently go head-to-head on television as an important way of their getting their messages across. So what’s so precious about football?
‘Oh shut up, silly woman,’ said the reptile with a grin
‘You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.’
From The Snake by Al Wilson
My social media threads at the start of this week were full of the sarcastic indignation that is part of the medium’s stock-in-trade.
It is a country with a rich history, a history emblazoned with glory and noble victories, though at present the Italian national team performances are a little ‘see-saw’. The Italian Football Federation look at their trophies and their world position and are struggling to understand what’s going on.
Isha Johansen, President of the Sierra Leone Football Association, has a little game she plays with taxi drivers whenever she comes to London. The taxi is taking her to Oxford Street, Selfridges, and the taxi driver asks, “Going on another shopping spree are you? Going to shop till you drop?”
United States attorney general Loretta Lynch may change FIFA, but old school football politics is likely to prove an altogether tougher dragon to slay.
“Birds of a feather flock together.” Aesop
When Sepp Blatter gave an interview to the Tass news agency recently it made headlines everywhere. The Football Association chairman, Greg Dyke, even took what Blatter had said to the British parliament. The widespread outrage arose from Blatter’s claim that he had intended to stitch up the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding in favour of the US and Russian World Cups.
Sporting traditions are supposed to die hard but not, it seems, when it comes to the FA Cup, football’s oldest – and greatest – domestic knockout competition.
One thing that unites all the Presidential candidates is their promise that they can deliver a FIFA that will get away from the scandals of the last year and become an organisation fit for purpose. Yet reading their proposed reforms what is striking is how timid these proposals are. None of them go far enough. They will amount to cosmetic changes that will not produce the new FIFA we need.
By many yardsticks, 2015 must go down as a pretty rotten year for sport. The crises at FIFA and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have put doping and governance issues squarely at the top of the movement’s agenda, highlighting how it has struggled to cope with the full consequences of the financial windfall which the digital media era has delivered.
CONCACAF has had its three past presidents banned, indicted, charged or convicted.