City Football Group (CFG)’s business strategy always seemed rather baffling. Yes, OK, assemble a collection of similar businesses – in this case football clubs – inside the same tent and you can shave back-office costs. You might be able to engineer a less wasteful talent development pipeline than one-legged rivals. And if the real aim is soft power, well, the Abu Dhabi flag has been well and truly planted in outposts of the beautiful game from Melbourne to Mumbai.
“In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.”
― Samuel Taylor Coleridge
While the decision of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to unilaterally terminate its 12-year $1 billion contract with Lagardere Sports (LS) continues to reverberate around the continent – and outside of it – informed Insideworldfootball readers will not be surprised about the development.
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley
FIFA’s decision to stage an expanded 24-team Club World Cup (CWC) in China, which will take place between June 17 and July 4 2021, has serious and grave implications for the future of Africa’s most prestigious tournament – the biennial Cup of Nations.
By David Owen
October 21 – Women’s football is on a roll – and more power to its elbow for that. Nonetheless, the viewing figures for this summer’s Women’s World Cup, released at the end of last week to some fanfare, deserve to be treated with a certain amount of caution.
By Andrew Warshaw
October 21 – Everyone was appalled by the headline-making events in Sofia recently when England’s black players were verbally abused by a section of the Bulgarian fans.
Alistair Burt, a former Minister of the Crown, is one of those increasingly rare Conservative MPs who don’t make you feel like you have been transported to the Planet Zog when you talk or, more recently, listen to them.
No sooner has the video assistant referee system been implemented in the Premier League after two years of experimentation than there has been an outcry over whether it is being used properly – or in fact whether it should be employed at all.
In a speech delivered at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, on 23 January 1963, Malcom X spoke about the House Negro and the Field Negro. He said:
After the shenanigans of the last few days, and weeks, in the Byzantine world of Confederation of African Football (CAF) politics, where Niccolo Machiavelli clearly has his ardent disciples – in the art of ruthless political bloodletting and the decimation of perceived, real and feared adversaries – my original plan was to write a column on the serial governance missteps that are a clear existential threat to the organisation.
In the three decades I’ve covered African football, I have gone through the entire gamut of emotions: exhilaration – over some of the continent’s great moments at the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup; frustration – over the comedic errors our football governors repeatedly make; and deep despair, as one continually questions whether the custodians of a game that means so much, to Africa’s one billion people, will ever live up to their responsibilities and do their darned jobs diligently.
So, how were the last four years for the FIFA business? With the governing body’s 2018 financial report finally published in the wake of the Miami Council meeting, a proper analysis can now be attempted.
By Paul Nicholson
January 6 – FIFA has a new human rights case to champion and this one looks like it is directly related to football. Following the Iraq vs Qatar game at the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates, British passport holder Ali Issa Ahmed was arrested, reportedly for wearing a Qatar shirt to the game.
By Paul Nicholson
The alacrity of FIFA’s move to call on stakeholders to find a solution to the detention of part-time footballer Hakeem Al Araibi in Thailand shows a remarkable new found conscience and morality in an organisation that eschews a philosophy of never mixing politics and football.
By David Owen
If there is one message to FIFA from the TV viewing figures for Russia 2018, it is that, if it wants to attract even bigger audiences, it must hope for, or somehow engineer, greater diversity in its crown jewel’s final stages.
Like UEFA president Alexander Ceferin or not, he has shown a steady hand running UEFA since he took over from – who was it again? Time flies, doesn’t it… The ‘man who came in from the nowhere’ and took charge of Europe’s football confederation has been accused of a lot of things since he took office. Most of them have had about as much basis as a Döner Kebab without lamb and onion.