World Cup afterthoughts

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter leaves a hotel in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter says he met Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin and talked about the Russia team’s good start to the World Cup and to pick up another big brown envelope for his ‘helpski in securing the tournament over those decadent running dogs from capitalist England’ said President Putin, as he handed it over. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

Just a short update on my last posting. I see that whilst the FiFA members (or at least the Eurpoean contingent) recently vetoed the idea to expand the 2022 World Cup tournament to 48 teams, it has already been agreed to an expansion to 48 teams for the 2026 event, to be hosted across 3 countries – the USA, Canada and Mexico. That will mean an extra week will be required to cater for the increase in the number of matches from 64 to 80.  It will also mean huge amounts of travelling for fans and teams alike. And how can you compare playing matches in the heat and atmosphere of Mexico City with the more temperate conditions in Edmonton, Canada? It’s ridiculous. And speaking of things ridiculous, that nitwit Blatter has been given a platform to pontificate in Russia and this morning he’s being quoted as saying that England should be awarded the 2030 World Cup (or at least he thinks it should be spread over the 4 countries of the UK and Ireland, if not the whole of the Commonwealth).  A few thoughts:

a) the last thing we need is this twat backing our cause

b) what is this fascination with spreading tournaments far and wide? We have plenty of great stadia within England to host the events and guesss what – they aren’t venues that would normally host baseball, American football or rugby games and would need no adaptation (I’m sure they’ll have sorted out the London Stadium by then!). Travel links are good (I’m sure they’ll have sorted out the rail timetable fiasco by then!), we are highly effective at policing and stewarding and there’s tons of hotel accommodation and places to eat, drink and visit. Jeez we hosted the Olympic Games in and around London and they were outstanding.

c) the 2026 hosting arrangements would mean that since England (generally acknowledged as the nation which set the rules of Association Football and its spiritual home) hosted the WC event in 1966, Mexico will have hosted it no less than 3 times and Amercia twice.  Before we get the sniff of hosting it again. I don’t care what you say, both those countries have no greater right to host it than England.

d) I’d like to think that my grandson will be at his footballing peak at around 2030 and should we get awarded it, then I can visualise him receiving that World Cup trophy from King William as the winning captain, following in the footsteps of my hero Sir Bobby Moore. That would be a wonderful book-end to my life-long love affair with the game.  If only I could be around to see it eh…

pp

Come on Blatter, do the decent thing for once

I’ve a solution to the problem Sepp Blatter has been facing for some years – how to end his tenure as President of FIFA on a high note, respected around the world for his courageous convictions. It’s to look at what happened yesterday with the shocking shooting down of the Malaysian airline over Ukraine and to make some important decisions:

–  to accept all the evidence that the civilian airline was taken out of the skies by an SA11 Buk missile supplied by the Russian regime to a trigger-happy bunch of pro-Russian separatists, thinking they were targetting a Ukrainian airforce transport aircraft (similar to the one they shot down last week), and who were in open telephone contact with their Russian military advisors at the time.

–  further accept that Russia is fighting a proxy war against another sovereign state and annexing territory just as Hitler did in the Sudetenland in the prelude to WW2.

–  recognise that the families and loved ones of the 298 innocent people who were killed in the atrocity included some 80 children and a number of mad keen football fans, following their teams’ pre-season progress, deserve to know that their deaths weren’t simply tragic but also resulted in some significant change.

–  question for the first time whether awarding major footballing tournaments to developing countries and the financial burden it imposes on countries like Ukraine (co-holder of the 2102 Euro Championships), South Africa (2010 WC) and Brazil (2014 WC) actually benefits the country or weakens and de-stabilises it, as seems to be the case for sure in the Ukraine.

–  make the obvious conclusion, on behalf of the world-wide football family, that as Russia is acting aggressively and against international law, FIFA should withdraw its grant to host the 2018 WC. Instead FIFA should invite the other bidding countries; England, Belgium-Neths and Portugal-Spain 3 months to submit a new tender document to host the tournament at minimal additional expenditure and based on plans utilising, optimally, existing stadia and current and already planned infrastructure. Winner to be determined within a further 3 month period by a new panel of 6 FIFA delegates and 6 respected external candidates.

–  ignore any threats from Russia on boycotts of future tournaments and hope that FIFA’s actions help, in some small way, to bring an end to Putin’s vile regime.

–  make a just decision that the bidding process for the 2022 WC was almost certainly flawed and compromised by corrupt practices, and that the final bidders should be re-invited to make a fresh submission for the tournament within a 6 month period with a pledge to make a final decision on the best bid within a further 3 months by the same panel.

–  plan future events around a rotating series of well-established centres eg EU states, N America, and the Far East with S America, Africa, Middle East being the prefered venues for under 21/Masters tournaments.

Then Mr Blatter you will go down as a fine, just and decent administrator. Are you up for it Sepp?

pp

last word on the 2018 fiasco

As strap lines go, it’s a doozie. But can you name me one person in the whole world who believes it? Nah. If you crossed out the last word and substituted the words “the guys’ bank accounts” it might be a little closer to the actual truth.

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jimmy’s just desserts

I was delighted to read that Sepp the mad hatter Blatter has done something positive for once by rewarding the squad players from 1966 and previous World Cup winning teams with their winners’ medals too. It was outrageous to think that all these guys had received, formally, before now was the £1000 per man that was awarded to all the squad by the FA (which Bobby Moore had to argue for) plus the commemorative track suit which the FA issued freely to all squad members. How big of them. I think you all know how annoyed I was that several of the WC final team were awarded knighthoods whilst people like Alan Ball got the equivalent of a Boy Scout badge. Either Bobby M got the award as captain or they all got it was my view. The non-knights have belatedly been recognised with a Cabury’s Creme Egg or something but at least the forgotten squad members have now had their medals and Blackpool’s finest have at long last been recognised. About time too.

pp

tick tock

Hey what’s that sound,? Listen….it’s the clock ticking……on Avram Grant’s time as Chelsea manager.   I haven’t done a football posting for ages but couldn’t resist it this morning after reading that Chelsea are to appoint the Ajax coach Henk ten Cate ( which looks like an anagram of ‘The Canteen’ – spelt with the alternate K on Dutch days) as AG’s assistant. Actually his title’s not quite clear. Variously he’s described as Assistant Manager, Head Coach or Avram’s Deputy. Maybe it’s all those. Whatever, it looks like he’ll be taking control of  first team training and shaping team tactics. He’ll also be paid £2m a year, twice what Avram’s on. Tick tock tick tock. Continue reading