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Fifa extends its control to the summer even when there is no world cup

By Tony Attwood

There are many things wrong with international football in general, and English international football in particular – but at least one thing has already been put right.   The press don’t expect England to win every Euro, World Cup, and every other tournament that is invented.  In fact these days we are hardly expected to qualify.

It was only six or eight years ago that this was expected, just as it was seriously thought that we would actually get to host the world cup instead of it being in Qatar.  (We got two votes, remember, and one of those was from England).

But finally a bit of reality has come into the rather dense brain cells of football journalists.  England isn’t going to win anything, and just blaming foreign referees (“they don’t understand the rules abroad”) and Fifa (the racist bent organisation) doesn’t help, because the FA will do nothing about Fifa.

The big problem for the FA is that it is massively in debt, so no one dares to rock the boat, no one dares to deal with Fifa, indeed no one dares to deal with Rio Ferdinand.  Meanwhile clubs continue to pick up the tab every time a player comes back from an England sortie, injured (how are you Theo by the way?)

So what is the England response to this total decline?

England are going to pay Ireland on May 29th, and then go to Rio to play Brazil on June 2 (although there is a little doubt on this second trip, because the stadium is nowhere near ready.  But if that’s the case they will probably divert to Argentina and play a game there.)

Worse, the England manager, who has nurtured the attitude of being an awfully nice chap, says he will invoke the rules that say that clubs have to hand over their players for crippling, when Fifa dictates.  And Fifa dictates.

Arsenal, as far as I know, have no games then, and want everyone to get a good rest in May and June.  Manchester City and Chelsea have sorted the matters out themselves by playing each other on May 23 and again on May 26 in the USA.

So Fifa has now extended its influence into the summer, even when there are no competitions.  But what we particularly need to note is whether the FA do a deal with Manchester City and Chelsea so that most of their players are spared playing for England, while picking players from clubs like Arsenal who want to give their players a break.

The only solution for Arsenal will be to invent a couple of matches at the same time as the Fifa dates, and then not play those who need a long lay-off.

Meanwhile Fifa continue to be Fifa.  They have not told us the reasons for the lifetime ban on former presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam claiming that it is up to the committee that did the investigation to release details or not as they see fit.  This leaves the investigation into the awarding of World Cups in 2018 and 2022 as deep in the s*** as ever

Indeed if we just take a recent look at Fifa, it makes bizarre reading.  The big thing they do is unopposed elections to high paying jobs.  Indeed just last month Blatter said,  “Perhaps an election should have different candidates … [but] I think it is also a question of stability – and of the personality of whoever heads the organisation.”

Recently, Issa Hayatou the Head of African football won his election unopposed after he disqualified everyone who tried to stand against him.   Byt don’t expect to read too much about this in Fifa handouts and statements.  The head of the Fifa Internal Review Group made some criticisms of Fifa transparency, and so Blatter had a word.  After that word Blatter said,  “I have spoken to him. He has now accepted that he will not go public again unless I say he can.”

That was just about the time Alexandra Wrage of Fifa’s ethics reform group, reported that she had been told, very directly, that “a woman applying for one of the two top jobs on the ethics commission is not acceptable.”

Here’s another good one.  In 2012 Fifa appointed US attorney Michael J Garcia as head of the investigations arm of the ethics committee.  Garcia is a paid employee of Fifa… and when anyone has a criticism of Fifa (including whistleblowers) the complaints go direct to… Garcia – who also has 100% of the power to decide which investigations should be made public.
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The point about all this, and the point that the British media utterly refuse to take up, is that with the FA being a fully paid up member of Fifa, the FA is allied to whatever Fifa does.  There are occasional mutterings about reforming Fifa from within, but we never see any sign of that.   What is actually happening is that the FA is bending the knee to almighty Fifa.
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Until that stops the nonsense about releasing players in the middle of their summer breaks for pointless friendlies (doubly pointless if England are effectively out of the world cup by then) will continue.

The books…

The sites from the same team…

22 comments to Fifa extends its control to the summer even when there is no world cup

  • Mandy Dodd

    It will be the clubs that eventually move us away from FIFA

  • elkieno

    Talk about an evil empire.

  • bob

    Mr. Attwood,
    Given its rejection of anything tainted with democracy, perhaps FIFA ought to look to Der Sunderland for pointers on the way to proceed in our brave new (old) world. Behold:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/apr/01/paolo-di-canio-racism-sunderland
    In fact, perhaps DiCanio and Der Sunderland high command have already been promised by FA that there’d be no (relegation) worries, as (surely) “tomorrow belongs to them”.
    Indeed, with DiCanio in, perhaps all would be forgiven between them (a big ask, yes) and our Joey Barton; who would be limo’d back to the Agro-Studzups to better police Das Mittelfeld.

  • Norm

    Nothing will change the corrupt body that is FIFA. Notable journalist, Andrew Jennings, has devoted the past 20 years trying to expose the ‘brown envelope’ regime. I believe he has exposed the corruption, but nothing ever happens. World football needs another way, far away from these men.

  • bob

    Norm,
    As I recall, Jennings once bravely exposed the then Olympics boss Samaranch for having been an outright fascist under Franco. Perhaps it’s time for a look at Sunderland’s choosing DiCanio to replace Martin O’Neill. (Will they change the color of the uniform, or have the 12th men already got a lock on it??)

  • Adam

    It has become obvious to me that both FIFA & UEFA will only accept change when it is forced upon them or when their monopoly is threatened.

    As I have stated before both need to be relegated to competition organisers only and a new governing body/bodies brought in above both on the European stage and world stage. the conflict of interests that exist with both being governing bodies (Uefa with little influence) and both organinsing their own tournaments is evident within the background rules as Mr Attwood has highlighted.

    I believe the only way to accomplish this is via the EU and not the clubs as this will set a trend that will be hard to reverse. But,

    Good luck with that.

  • bob

    Adam,
    I don’t know how it would work, perhaps via an MEP tabling a bill in hopes of a vote. But it would appear that the EU wouldn’t vote or rule to disrupt (via a lengthy reorganization) the flow of all the “good” (goods?) that the current FIFA/UEFA regime brings into sorely-needy tax-coffers. And, as Mr. Attwood points out, the huge indebtedness at hand. So, it seems we have a too-big-to-fail situation, however dysfunctional. Would you agree/amend etc..?

  • nicky

    I am increasingly of the opinion that the progress of the national side is becoming less and less attractive as time goes by. As compared to the dedicated and fervent support being given to individual clubs, that is.
    If this switch of intense loyalty continues I can see the onset of isolationism in international football by Britain, which would end the reign of the corrupt FIFA insofar as our game is concerned….not too bad a result in my view.

  • Adam

    bob, I’m not sure how you would go about this? I believe it would fall in to the “specific nature” argument and specifically conflicts of interest, maybe even employment laws could be a considered route.

    As I cannot think of any industry where another organisation can take an employee out of their contracted workplace with no legal ramifications. The whole situation beggars belief.

    Need people a lot smarter than me to come up with the solutions. But if you think FIFA & UEFA are contributing their fair share in taxation, I’d think again.

    The big questions are;

    What is wrong with football? and

    What laws could be introduced to fix such problems?

  • Linz

    I don’t see why you are whinging about summer Internationals when Arsenal are traipsing halfway round the world playing lucrative preseason friendlies all through July.If Arsenal doesn’t like players being involved in international football,then stop buying international players,simple.Thank god our players have a bit of national pride,unlike you, whose footballing landscape consists of Arsenal,Arsenal and more Arsenal.I take it that you won’t want Cazorla and Monreal to play in the confederations cup this summer,or is your antipathy towards International football confined to just the English national team?

  • Andrei

    Is it a coincident that increase in complains about FIFA is happening at th time of diminishing influence of English FA in particular and decline of Western economies in general? It is not to say that FIFA is not corrupt. Quite the contrary – I believe they have always worked for the highest bidder. It is just we didn’t hear as many calls for FIFA to ‘reform’, ‘clean up their act’ or ‘accept the change’ coming from the British media and fans say 30 years ago. Why is that? Was FIFA less corrupt? Was football less racist? Was FIFA on the bleeding edge of innovation back then?

  • Stuart

    Andrei,
    On the subject of was football more racist back then, I think yes and so was society. Society has improved at a much quicker rate though.

  • Andrei

    @Stuart By ‘Society has improved’ I assume you mean Western democracies. Because, most of the ‘other’ world and we are talking about 90% of world population are pretty much where they were 30 years ago. And I’m not that sure about Western democracies either. Sure you hear less racist chants at Stade de France. But you still have banlieues around Paris. Or race riots in the areas surrounding White Hart Lane.

  • sneaker

    so if “society has improved” only in the west, what does that say about the rest of the world?
    the western democracies has improved ALOT over the last 30 years. you can now walk around the streets of most western counries and be a proud gay, a proud women and be free to execute whatever religion you may wish. Not everyone likes it, alot of people will look upon you bad, but you are free to do so.

    In most non western countries, women are kept inside, they shoot gays and religious freedome is not allowed(its hard to have religious freedom without secularity).
    In russia as an example the county has gone backwards, there is for example no such thing as free press anymore and those in power has effectivley “eradicated” or “silenced” anyone that oposed them.(looks abit like FIFA?)

    So yeh the west is not perfect but its miles and miles ahead of most non secular countries. infact, secularity and the ability to enter modernity(the western press may not be free nether but mostly journalists aint killed for their opinions) is what imo holds large parts of the rest of the world down.

    This may be one of the reasons why FIFA is going so strong in alot of non western countries. Their ideas does not fit into the modern western ideas, they fit better into non secular, non decomcratic patterns. its easier for a sovereign ruler of a small state to understand where FIFA is coming from than a member of a modern state. After all representatives of a modern european country as an example has to deal with gays, different kind of religions, women and all other “weird” things with “weird ideas” every day.

    A sovereign ruler can just decide that the “weird” things need to shut up and either die or change.
    In that way they and FIFA are on a much more similar wavelength than FIFA and the west.

    This i think explains why the “west” has been alot more opposed to FIFA than the “rest of the world”.

    “race riots in the areas surrounding White Hart Lan”you say. Things are not perfect, but the fact you can riot without the government pushing the army on you just shows you live in a civilized country. You should really start worrying when they send tanks and gunships against the rioters..

  • Andrei

    Another observation is that this purported conflict between international and club football appears to be an EPL phenomenon and a recent one at that. In other European leagues fans are at least reasonably enthusiastic about international fixtures. In Eastern Europe, South America and Asia national team games are always a major event and international football is number one priority.

  • bob

    Andrei,
    It’s not nothing to refuse to allow public sites to be used as latrines for private racism. That is progress. So-called race riots (as you might term them) are not only about race, but have a lot to do with other inflammatory factors that intersect with race. So the situation is a mixed one; but it is at least a step forward to refuse the open expression of say, skin head nazism, even though a handful in the crowd might genuinely believe it and, given the chance, would love to have a go, banana peels and all, at inciting an incident to polarize people. There are better and worser angels; and policies that educate the next generation as to the evils of racism are worthwhile – and are progess – even as the long-held hatreds still abide in the older generations. At least saying no to racism and enforcing that no in public will give the young who are influenced by racist parents and friends a chance to think about why their parents views are not allowed in public. And having that chance (as opposed to not having that chance to see a difference) is a step forward. Do I burst your bubble on this?

  • Andrei

    @Bob Sigh… What my bubble are you talking about? The only ‘bubble’ here is the idea that the world at large is eager to embrace liberal ideas of a relatively small Western elite. All you have to show for this idea is some sort of ‘a step forward’ thing which is supposed to give an angry and desperate young living in ethnic/racial/religious ghettos a chance ‘to think about why their parents views are not allowed in public’. And just ‘having this chance as opposite to not having that chance to see a difference’ will make everything kosher and we will eventually reach a nirvana of racial harmony.

  • nicky

    @Andrei,
    Your 12.24 may well be right about the popularity of international football elsewhere. The fact remains though, that here in the Mother Country, the majority of Arsenal fans will only watch the national side play IF one or more Arsenal players are in the team.
    And we are only one Club in the land.

  • bob

    Andrei,
    Is much of the world high and low racist? ethnocentrist? etc.? yes, of course. Is any change possible, no according to the gospel of Andrei outside of which all else is naive illusion. Sigh (you like that condescending bit, eh mate?) I didn’t say banning public racist displays would “make everything kosher” or create “a nirvana of racial harmony.” (Might be a bit Careful there baby.) You caricature what I said and then oh so bravely knock it down with your weary, condescending sigh. What I am saying that better is better. A step forward, on multiple possible levels. No child is born with these attitudes. And exposure does matter. I know it, have learned it and teach it. Your cynicism perpetuates the problem. Thankfully another generation beyond ours has its chance too; because there are other values that challenge racism – even in the places you write off as hopeless – and these values (both good and bad) do penetrate places they never have before. And interestingly, you don’t mention poverty as a key if not a main factor in why too many young people look for racial and ethnic and gender scapegoats (like their parents teach them) to blame for their conditions. And to slate this as liberal elitism is bullshit. I’ve seen many young people reject the hard-harded hatreds that you insinuate are forever.

  • Andrei

    @Bob I’m sorry for coming across as condescending and too confrontational in making my point. I guess we have to agree to disagree to use an old cliche. What I say is perhaps according to my gospel which has proven to be true for the most of recorded human history. You claim that there is light at the end of tunnel and it is possible to improve human nature by conditioning kids to not say certain taboo things in public. I claim that in doing so you lose any connection with the young who face everyday reality of poverty and racial/ethnic/religious segregation and see your efforts as insincere at best or attempt to diffuse discussion on the issues that really matter to them at worst. It may come across as very cynical but this cynicism is born by the first hand experience with the social experimentation in certain country that attempted to build a better society by improving human nature through brutal enforcement of new enlightened ideas.

    But we digress a bit. The only connection to the original post is that FIFA is a global organization and as such is a reflection of the world as a whole and this world is corrupt and racially/ethnically/religiously divided. It was true 30 years go it is true today. It is just certain have-beens who can no longer afford to be the highest bidder now cry foul.

  • bob

    Andrei,
    Thanks for your expanded views. I equate anti-discrimination campaigns with hands-on humanism, not violently enforced neo-stalinism. We have very different experiences of this world and I’m sure we’d learn something from each other over a pint, or stolie, or whatever. See you later.

  • weedonald

    I am going to subm,it a new article about the similarities between the above bodies and the underworld (Mafia)and some big religious organizations…..the similarities are stunning when one takes the time to consider them.