Matt Scott: From graft to grass. Corruption allegations could stink out World Cup matches

“The Turks have a homely proverb: they say ‘the fish stinks first at the head’, meaning, that if the servant is disorderly, it is because the master is so.” Sir James Porter, Observations on the religion, law, government, and manners of the Turks

Considering its position as regulator of a game so steeped in laws, regulations and statutes, certain elements running FIFA have been disorderly for a long time.

Read more …

Matt Scott: Premier League transfer volcano looks primed to erupt


“Anyone who lives within their means suffers a lack of imagination.” Oscar Wilde

A lack of imagination is not football’s affliction. This game gives flame to our childish dreams. The nine-year-old Aberdeen fan Boyd Gibson, who submitted a transfer wish list to his club requesting they purchase such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovich, Gareth Bale and Lionel Messi, was only echoing the boyish fantasies that consume every one of us at times.

Read more …

Matt Scott: FFP Judgement Day tests the work clubs have done

“Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.” Corinthians 3:12-13

When the angel comes out of heaven with the key to the Abyss and holding that great big chain thingy,

Read more …

Matt Scott: FA’s stats analysis is as flawed as its development

“Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered in, which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends.” Isabel Paterson, The God of the Machine

Since it first issued from its English womb on a centuries-long odyssey of global cultural conquest, the game of football has been like a scornful child towards its disdained parent.

Read more …

Matt Scott: Regulating modern football is no child’s play, just ask Barbie

“Authority should derive from the consent of the governed. Not from the threat of force.” Barbie, Toy Story 3

When Barbie exasperatedly vents words more suited to a treatise by Friedrich Hayek than to an animated doll, the scriptwriters at Disney gave us one of the truly great lines of movie history. Because although spoken by the very embodiment of infantilism – a plastic doll played with by generations of young girls –

Read more …

Matt Scott: Liverpool build means more than just a new main stand

Liverpool stadium build

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” John Donne, No Man Is An Island

Liverpool’s time was the 1970s. This is not at all to diminish their achievements or the anguish that great club enjoyed and endured in the 1980s. But the foundations for becoming the club they are today were laid under Bill Shankly in the decade before.

Read more …

Matt Scott: F1’s turbo-charged financial fuel provides a warning for football


“To sell a bargain well is as cunning as fast and loose.” William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

Football fans today must be as literate in financial matters as in the intricacies of the midfield-diamond formation or of the Cruyff Turn. Recent reports that some clubs will face regulatory sanctions in the first application of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play environment show that to be the case, and columns such as this owe their existence to money’s ever-growing role in the world’s biggest sport.

Read more …

Matt Scott: India’s passions – cricket, Bollywood and…football


“The song of the future must transcend creed.”E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

In India, some call it Sachinism. The legacy of Sachin Tendulkar, cricket’s greatest batsman ever to emerge from the South Asian sub-continent, is so great that he has achieved the status of a demigod in what is already a pantheistic culture. The doleful impact on popular consciousness there of the day he was run out for 99,

Read more …

Matt Scott: What should football care of the child stars who fade?

“Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.”William Blake

When Barcelona received a two-window transfer ban for their trade in minors last week, the reaction among the internet wits was predictable. “Must be horrible,” was the gist of it, “a life at Barça earning millions to play football. Wish I was suffering like them.”

But that kind of commentary misses the target as spectacularly as when Lionel Messi hit the bar from the penalty spot against Chelsea in the Champions League a couple of years ago.

Read more …

Matt Scott: What is good for PSG is good for France, and the Qataris

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 08.58.43

“Plus tard, je serai président du PSG!” Nicolas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy became France’s most unpopular president in history at the end of his tenure but his nose for a political wind remains pretty keen. It was inevitable that, with French joblessness at record levels, the incumbent Socialists would lose out to his UMP party in municipal elections on Saturday. Cue a clamour for his return to the Elysée palace,

Read more …

Matt Scott: Time for FIFA to be content with what it has

IWFfifaaccounts240314 Sheet1

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have,” Hebrews 13:5, King James Bible

How much is enough? It is a question we should all perhaps ask ourselves in pursuit of happiness. According to several passages in the Bible, having enough is simply when your belly is full, whereafter the leftovers should be given to the needy. Trying to convince yourself of that is probably a bit extreme in a 21st Century consumer society but it is definitely a question that should concern those who work for distributive not-for-profit organisations.

Read more …

Matt Scott: Yeung experience should show Leeds Cellino is no way forward

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters,” Albert Einstein

Football, to paraphrase the former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, is a very important matter. Most would agree that paying your debts should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds too, but for years some of those involved in the game have played it fast and loose with their obligations to the tax authorities.

Read more …

Matt Scott: Want to get doshed up? Then work the agency gravy train


“Friendship is constant in all other things Save in the office and affairs of love… Let every eye negotiate for itself And trust no agent,” Claudio, Act II, Scene 1, Much Ado About Nothing

William Shakespeare seldom got much wrong about life and how we live it. His comedies, his tragedies and his histories contained some fairly implausible scenarios and embellishments at times but the enduring value of his work lies in his ability to skewer all facets of the human character.

Read more …

Matt Scott: Let the high-flying stars be Pied Pipers for football everywhere

“We bring you the circus, pied piper whose magic tunes greet children of all ages, from six to 60, into a tinsel and spun-candy world of reckless beauty… and high-flying stars. But behind all this, the circus is a massive machine whose very life depends on discipline and motion and speed. A mechanised army on wheels, that rolls over any obstacle in its path.” Narrator, The Greatest Show On Earth

Football today is as the circus of the 19th and early 20th Centuries,

Read more …

Matt Scott: Football’s new megastars are worlds away from the players of yore

IWFfootballersfacebook Sheet1

“I have hit rock bottom and I don’t see any way out of it,” Chelsea’s former European Cup Winners’ Cup winner, Alan Hudson

Alan Hudson is 62 years of age now but when he was the playmaker for a useful Chelsea team during the 1970s he was one of the Kings of the King’s Road. He was a household name, leading a lifestyle as flamboyant as the football he played over the 400-plus top-flight appearances he made as the creative force of clubs that consistently challenged for trophies.

Read more …