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.
“Si monumentum requiris circumspice [If you seek his monument, look around]” Christopher Wren, epitaph on Wren’s tomb
Ever since the Great Fire of London devastated its capital, Great Britain and its inhabitants have had an obsession with architecture. It is a nation that has spawned many Great Builders, such that naming only Wren, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Sir Joseph Bazalgette or Sir George Gilbert Scott is to commit a gross injustice to the others who came before and after them.
Auguste Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’, also displayed in this week’s cartoon (or, at least a variation of it), best qualifies the goings-on in FIFA, where the top floor stays lit up, even late at night these days.
He tried every way he could, for months on end, to distance himself from the ignominy and disgrace that that has snared so many of his former colleagues.
Friday’s shenanigans at FIFA prompted a number of sporting sages to prophesy the demise of Sepp Blatter well before the February 26 Congress that is supposed to elect a new FIFA President. I wonder though if the big loser might not turn out to be Michel Platini.
Simply writing that Antonio Conte, coach of Italian national team, risks a process, it could have a wrong meaning. It would be easy to blame this on a wrong formation, or a federation not happy with the results, or public opinion not satisfied with the way the team is playing its football. However, it is none of these. We are talking about a real legal process, as the coach of Italy in early July was indicted by prosecutors in Cremona,
It was never intended to end up like this. Jerome Valcke always expected to step down after eight years as FIFA’s number two once his boss, Sepp Blatter, announced he was calling it a day next February.
“If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has.” John Maynard Keynes
Like him or loathe him – and he splits opinion as surely as Marmite – John Maynard Keynes was one of history’s greatest minds. His writing has formed the basis of the modern economic system. (Although what he taught has been treated as a piecemeal buffet from which to pick and choose according to political expediency,
“Sacked in the morning, your getting sacked in the morning…” Terrace chant
It is one of football’s accepted truths that no employee in a club is more important than the manager. His influence on the most decisive input into the club’s operations – the results on the pitch – makes him so. It follows then that with so much swinging on how they do, there must be some objective measure for the quality of their performance.
It was the word “entities” that got tongues wagging. What was the US attorney general referring to when she opened up a fresh can of worms by warning football to expect a another surge of corruption-related arrests, this time involving entities as well as individuals? Companies? Confederations?
This has been a week when the names of Wayne Rooney and Bobby Charlton have been juxtaposed a million times, making comparisons between these authors of a combined 99 England goals inevitable.