It is doubtless not the smartest move to begin a column you hope one or two people might actually read in the style of an IQ test or a maths exam. Just this once, however, I am going to chance it.
Sepp Blatter’s revelation that there was a deal in the FIFA executive, and in particular with Michel Platini, to vote for Russia for the 2018 World Cup and Qatar for 2022 has raised a hue and cry that the vote was a fix with Greg Dyke demanding the return of the £21 million England spent on the bid. The assumption is that the vote was bent and therefore the election invalid.
So now we know who’s in and who’s out. A list that at one stage comprised only two candidates suddenly burgeoned to eight – or rather seven after the David Nakhid debacle – in the final hours before the deadline last Monday with the anticipated rush of last-minute applications.
Everyone knows that putting living things in a vacuum is not to be advised. Apparently the tongue dries up and becomes covered in ice as consciousness is lost. Expulsion of digestive gases causes unpleasant things to happen with bodily fluids. The entire body then swells like a balloon and eventually the subject suffers fatal cardiac arrest. It is very nasty indeed.
The clock is ticking and the behind-the-scenes horsetrading is in full swing. But like a canny game of poker, nobody is revealing their hand until they are sure of their ground. With Monday night’s deadline for FIFA presidential candidates fast approaching, cards are being clasped tightly to chests in anticipation of who will emerge as challengers for Sepp Blatter’s crown.
“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” Jane Austen, Emma
Jane Austen’s fourth novel was published on Christmas Day in 1815 the Vienna peace accord had brought the Napoleonic wars to a close. With it began a century-long era of British commercial dominance through an empire whose roots had already begun to take hold with territories in Newfoundland, the Caribbean, west and South Africa, India and Australia.
One word dominated this year’s Sportel event in Monte Carlo. That word was China. The explanation for this can be encapsulated in one word as well. That word is money.
“Il n’y a pas le feu au lac” – “The lake’s not on fire.” Swiss saying
If the famous Lake Geneva is not painting the sky with flames – and, quite obviously, it never has nor will – it’s said to be difficult to rouse a Swiss to any sense of urgency. Other French-speaking nations believe that in the land of the cuckoo clock and precision watches, time moves slowly.
The slick first public appearance of Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool seems to have caught English media and football fans by surprise, and has already made him a favourite with many.
Michel Platini has always presented himself as unique. That he was a unique footballer cannot be doubted although the fact that he could not guide his country to a World Cup win means for all his great achievements as player he will always remain to an extent the nearly man, not quite in the class of Franz Beckenbauer. But it is his role as administrator in the last decade that raises questions about why and how he was ever considered a football administrator in any way different to the less than reputable bunch who have governed the world game for so long.
As rumours swirled around Zurich on Wednesday that ethics investigators were about to throw the book at Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s headquarters was bathed in thin autumn sunshine and looked a paragon of normality. From the outside at least.
From my name, you might think me as Welsh as a laverbread breakfast. But I’m not, so I have been able to observe the recent Welsh sporting resurgence with cool, objective detachment.
German media and fans are united in agreement that after just eight weekends of the Bundesliga the championship is decided. Although the club bosses won’t entertain the same opinion, the frenetic 5: 1 victory over supposed challengers Borussia Dortmund has eliminated any lingering doubts concerning the dominance of Bayern.
“We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.” John F Kennedy
Strategy for both the Eastern bloc and the NATO allies during the Cold War was simple: arm yourselves to the teeth until the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction guaranteed neither side would be stupid enough to go to war.
The football world is agog over a SFr2 million payment made by governing body FIFA to Michel Platini, the man who aspires to be its next President, in 2011 – for work completed in 2002.