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How the football insanity of Fifa helped wreck a small English club

By Tony Attwood

Here’s a thought and a half.  Plymouth Argyle is bust, bankrupt, kaput.  So far gone they have brought in Mr Ridsdale who is currently facing a few charges by the authorities in relation to the small matter of his running of affairs at Cardiff City.

Now think of this: In backing England’s bid to host the World Cup in 2018 Plymouth Argyle spent £1.2m on plans for a new stadium.  Not on a new stadium, but plans for one, so that the world cup matches could be seen to be played in all parts of the UK.

Money that could have meant that Plymouth would have been saved, and almost certainly Mr Ridsdale would not be there.

The problem with insane and corrupt Fifa is that this is just one local tragedy among millions.  The problem for English football is that the FA knew how insane the Plymouth expenditure was yet they set up a system to encourage it.  They knew how corrupt Fifa was and is, and they carried on being part of it, accepting the Fifa bidding process, instead of pulling out and saying to the rest of the world – “fancy an alternative?”

That alternative could have included the clubs and players, so that some sort of sanity could have been restored to football, with the endless fight between internationals matches and club games resolved once and for all.  But the truly awful FA stayed in bed with the truly awful Fifa, until it was far too late.

As things stand Qatar is taking legal action against the Fifa secretary general for saying  Qatar purchased the 2022 World Cup, everyone is suing Lord Triesman and the FA, and the evil Blatter actually said “Crisis? What is a crisis?….  I am sure that the day after tomorrow at the congress we will prove we can solve the problems – if there are any – inside the congress.”

For him there is no crisis, since he will be elected unopposed this week to be the Fuhrer of Fifa.  Members of the Fifa ethics committee will give him the nod, which just about says it all.

Some of this is amusing.  Jack Warner of all people is trying to show that everyone else is corrupt but not him.   Meanwhile photos of the cash bundles paid to the  Bahamas Football Association by president of the Asian Football Confederation have been released.    Coca-Cola, one of the corporations that actually finances the whole fiasco said “We have every expectation that Fifa will resolve this situation in an expedient and thorough manner.”

Yes, well, I think it is Pepsi for me from now on.

It seems some Middle East papers have said that the fall of Fifa is like the attack on governments in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and the like.   Since Egypt is now run by the military, and the others are still fighting, it doesn’t hold out much hope for football.
And just in case you think anyone is going to come out of this clean, here’s just one of the allegations doing the rounds.  This is from Jack Warner…

“I indicated that at the Miami Concacaf Congress on 3 May Mr Blatter made a gift of $1m to Concacaf to spend as it deems fit. This annoyed [Uefa] president Michel Platini who was present and he approached secretary general Jerome Valcke complaining that Mr Blatter had no permission from the finance committee to make this gift to which Jerome replied that he will find the money for Mr Blatter.

“I also indicated … Fifa through Mr Blatter organised gifts of laptops and projectors to all members of the Caribbean and no objections have been made … to date.”

Of course everyone has known about this for years – and in our own small way we’ve been pushing the story here; there are Fick Fufa stories going back to our origins.

But nothing has been done because

a) The FA, along with its allies in the Royal Family and the House of Lords have been chums with Fifa all along.

b) The clubs have not seen fit to take on Uefa and run their own show.

Either or both of those would be preferable to having this bunch of crooks travelling the world, taking money, and through their actions encouraging the bankrupting of small clubs like Plymouth.

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14 comments to How the football insanity of Fifa helped wreck a small English club

  • Shard

    The entire point about FIFA and FA being corrupt, poorly run administrations is spot on. But I’m afraid Plymouth need to be accountable for their own actions. It’s true I’m not very well aware of what the case really is, but surely if they cannot afford the money then they should not have spent it on something like this, regardless of the encouragement provided to them?

  • Dark Prince

    So let me get this, Plymouth spent money on plans for a stadium, and as England lost the bid to host, they are wrecked?? Thats a mistake by Plymouth bcoz of their overconfidence. I dont know why but people in England think they own the right to host the World Cup when they want to?? I mean, if Fifa hadn’t allegedly been bribed, then is it necessary that England would definately won that bid?? Where does this overconfidence come from?? There was a bidding process and every other country involved had an equal chance of winning. So what Plymouth did was their own mistake. Really proporterous to blame Fifa for Plymouth’s overconfidence.

  • Phoenix Gunner

    Nice Pepsi line. I hope the whole house of cards comes falling down. It’s ironic that the intent of keeping politics out of football was to prevent corruption… perhaps it was equally to remove any form of accountability

  • Bergkamp10

    I 100% agree that FIFA is getting beyond the joke, as an Australian I still feel raw not just that Australia missed out on the 2022 WC, but mainly that the hosting rights were granted to Qatar in the most corrupt and undemocratic of circumstances. I would say that the governing body needs a complete overhaul, but it seems that with the ever-increasing amount of evidence of back-room deals, coupled with what seems to be a severe power struggle that Blatter is unconvingly trying to play down, it certainly seems that FIFA has already begun eroding from within.

  • Nitesh

    i never liked coca-cola, too much gas.
    on a serious note, someone needs to give Fifa a kick up its hooters before they admit to any discrepancies in its running.

  • Gord

    No organization can investigate itself in matters like this, and be believable. Canada has gone through a few instances where the RCMP was investigating itself, and the people that worry about public perception of the RCMP started noticing that the public was losing admiration for the RCMP. I believe a while ago, the IOC volunteered to look into matters at FIFA. If FIFA doesn’t like the IOC, maybe there are other organizations who can step in. But FIFA cannot investigate itself.

  • bob

    BTW, these Puritans at Plymouth spend 1.2M on the plans but Who receives the dosh? Any kickbacks? Somebody makes a killing on this… Just follow dah money. And, btw Cole Porter seems to have some insight about the outcome of such rash ventures into the “unknown” when he wrote in “Anything Goes”:
    Times have changed,
    And we’ve often rewound the clock,
    Since the Puritans got a shock,
    When they landed on Plymouth Rock,
    If today, any shock they should try to stand,
    Steada’ landing on Plymouth Rock,
    Plymouth Rock would land on them.
    Well, the Rock might have landed on the supporters and their dreams, but somebody else made off with the 1.2M rock, it seems to me.

  • This story is currently running on the Guardian website. I am putting it here in full because it shows complicity in ticket touting by a referee involved with Fifa. That is not match fixing of course, but it shows some interesting activity.

    As far back as the 1998 World Cup in France, there were strong suspicions that World Cup tickets assigned to senior officials and confederations were being sold for big profits on the black market. It was considered a routine perk of football life. During an investigation for The Independent in late 1998, I was told by a source that Concacaf officials were particularly culpable, including senior figures.

    I had an eye-witness account from somebody who had been in a hotel lobby in Montpellier and said that Chuck Blazer was present as a batch of tickets changed hands at above face value, passed between people in the Concacaf party – including a female Blazer employee and her boyfriend, a Costa Rican referee – and some fans.

    This was, potentially, a sensational story: Blazer, who had been a Fifa ExCo member since 1996, party to the irregular distribution of World Cup tickets in a hotel lobby.
    I contacted Fifa and asked for an explanation. None came. I contacted Fifa again – it was late November 1998 by this point. On 4 December 1998, I received a response by fax (left, click to enlarge) from Keith Cooper, who was then head of media at Fifa. (Copper was axed, years later, in a Blatter purge).
    ‘I have spoken with Chuck Blazer about the incident you mentioned and he explained as follows,’ Cooper wrote to me.

    Cooper went on to explain that Blazer had indeed been in the hotel lobby in question – just passing through, just as one of his female staff, and her Costa Rican referee boyfriend, were ‘handing out some tickets to the Canadian Soccer Association President, Jim Fleming, and and a group of Canadian persons traveling with him. Mr Blazer was not at all involved in this distribution.’

    Blazer was not touting tickets himself, it seemed. A senior Fifa insider separately told me at the time that Blazer was ‘not very happy that the Costa Rican referee was involved in this’ and that ‘the system [of ticket distribution] is anyway far from perfect’.

    The story never made it into the paper. Keith Cooper’s fax to me is published here for the first time ever, ending with the sentence: ‘After the match, [Blazer] left with Dr Henry Kissinger direct to London.’

    Newspapers will routinely have large amounts of information that they can’t or don’t publish for various reasons. On this occasion, we’d been told Concacaf tickets were touted in France, and Concacaf officials were involved, and that Blazer was present. But Chuck Blazer gave his explanation as to his own non-involvement, and with no big scalp, we didn’t run it.

    It would be interesting to know now what measures, if any, were put in place after that to make sure that Fifa official tickets, especially within Concacaf, didn’t get touted from within. Evidently not many measures were taken: Jack Warner took the touting in-house, and Fifa certainly knew this and privately censured him for it as long as five years ago. Only in the past few days has he apparently become expendable. Or not.

  • Here is something else. Somehow FoxLingo got installed on my laptop and has started to put a link from my name to a wiki site about Tony Attwood. Very nice, but it is the wrong Tony Attwood. I am trying to disable this

  • walter

    What is strange is that for years people have been warning about Jack Warner and Blatter ignored it.
    But now when Warner has apparantly chosen the side of a person who wants to replace Blatter suddenly Blatter knows how wrong Warner has been handling and wants him banned.
    What a load of nonsense. If Warner would have been on the side of Blatter he would still be a saint for Blatter.

    Fuck Fifa and fick Fufa also….

  • BobbyP

    How does Peter Ridsdale keep getting hired? Surely his track record of taking club after club to near-bankruptcy can’t go completely unnoticed?

  • Sean

    Interesting article. As a

    Sorry, but we actually have a rule on this site about the discussion. It has to be on the topic raised by the writer. This comment has been written 100 times on this site, but still we get commentaries on utterly off topic issues.

  • Kentetsu

    If the FA was so keen on having world cup matches in all corners of England, the FA should have done research for new stadiums and upgrades themselves. But in the first place you’d have to be insane to suggest a world cup stadium for a team playing in League One. And equally insane is the club that forked out 1.2 million when their finances were not safe and sound.

    The FIFA is a disgusting organisation that does not exist for the benefit of football, but merely for the benefit of the ExCo. The next two world cups clearly go to the two countries that profit FIFA and its ExCo members most. At the same time they were my last choices for either world cup. And probably not alone in this.
    It has become inevitable that Blatter will stay on as president, but at least Warner has started to poke the fire. Lets hope he continues doing so.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    And if the British government intervenes against the FA, England and perhaps Scotland and Wales (who knows) would be suspended because it is in the FIFA laws that a national FA must be independent of politics.

    And if the British government intervenes against FIFA it is powerless because it is a corporation in Switzerland

    Unless a good number of European countries pressure our chocolate munching SWISS friends,too as they may have some leverage in the form of trade.