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The same rules for everyone?

by Walter Broeckx

As we have yet another international break in front of us I just wanted to take on two international matters and talk about my beloved friends from FIFA.

Yesterday in my paper it was said that Fifa has suspended Nigeria because Fifa thinks that the political regime in Nigeria is interfering with the Nigerian FA. And if there is one thing that Fifa cannot stand it is that a governement is interfering with the way a local FA is being organised. I must say a very valid point at first sight. I just wished we had some Nigerian internationals in our team for the moment as that mean they could have some extra rest.

According to Fifa the governement in Nigeria had decided that no teams would go down for some reason. Maybe the favourite team of some politician was going down?  Also the fact that board members of the Nigerian Fa have to come over to the governement to explain why something was done or not done is something that Fifa can not allow.

So Fifa wants football as far from the politics as possible. And again I think this is a point of view that can be defended. We dont want the result of a football match being dependable to the likening of a president or king.  But is this the same in every case for Fifa?  

Because, “Greenland can not become a member of Fifa” according to Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

Greenland has some 53 clubs and some 5.102 football players and it had hoped to become a member of Fifa. The president of the Greenland Football Association mr. Kleeman has said that football is the most popular sport on Greenland and that it is their biggest wish to become a member of Fifa and be able to play qualifying games for European championships and world cups.

But Fifa president Blatter has said in a radio interview that this will not be possible. And he even gave a reason for not allowing Greenland in to Fifa. He said: “According to our admission rules you should be an independent state, recognised by the international community, meaning  the United Nations and then you can become a member of Fifa.

And for the moment Greenland is not an independent country. It still is a part of Denmark. It has a large autonomy but the Danish government is till in charge of foreign affairs, security and financial policy.

Well those rules are clear enough one could say and bad luck for Greenland. But is the reason that Blatter is giving the real reason? Let us just examine what Blatter has said.

You have to be a country recognised by the international community, the United Nations organisation.

But when I take the list of members of the UN, I cannot find the name of let us say the Faroe Islands.

And yet I can remember the Faroe Islands playing games to qualify for European competitions and world cups. In the official Uefa ranking they stand at 50. And in the Fifa world ranking they occupy with pride spot 138 of the 207 Fifa members. And if we take a closer look at the Faroer Islands we can see that they are a part of Denmark with also some autonomy but also the Danish government is still very much in charge over there. And isn’t it a bit strange that there are only 192 countries who are member of UN and Fifa has 207 members?

So it is very strange that the Faroe Islands could become and stay a member and Greenland cannot become a member. Both have their own competition, both are not a member of the UN, both are part of Denmark. Still one is allowed and the other has the door slammed in their face.

If we take the rule for admission to Fifa, according to Blatter serious then even one could wonder how it is possible that the home countries are still a Fifa member. I could be wrong on this as I am not from the UK but as far as I know it is the UK that is a member of EC and UN. Not England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. They all have their areas where they have some competence in making their own laws and rules but when it comes to foreign affairs, security and financial policy I still had the impression that it is the government in London that is making up the rules. Am I walking on thin ice now and has there been a chance lately that I don’t know of?

So in fact the home countries shouldn’t be allowed anymore as separate members if what Blatter is saying is the rule. But because of the one example I already gave it is clear that what Blatter is saying is not that straightforward as he pretends it to be.

I could think of two reasons why Blatter don’t want Greenland as a member. One could be that Greenland should pay more money to become a member. I don’t know on which account they should make the payment but a good reader will maybe understand what I mean.  Maybe Greenland should ask Jack Warner, Fifa Vice president a bit more information. ( just check the name Jack Warner vice president of Fifa on the internet together with the word corruption)

But I think that maybe the refusal has more to do with revenge. We all have seen on some occasions how Fifa and their leaders have sometimes reacted like real dictators and are not afraid of some financial wrongdoing. (again just check the name Jack Warner vice president of Fifa on the internet together with the word corruption) And like any real dictator they want that things go like they want them to go. And if you don’t act as they want you to do and listen to them you will get in some kind of trouble.

And yes Greenland committed a terrible crime against Fifa. (Not listening to dictators is a terrible crime in their eyes) It happened in 2001 as the Greenland national team played a landmark fixture against a Tibet XI in Denmark. The Chinese government was against it and also Fifa did all what they could to prevent the game to take place. The Greenlanders and the Greenland FA came under great POLITICAL pressure but they didn’t give in and played the game against Tibet. Standing up against dictators like Fifa, this is something that will not be forgotten by most dictators. And they will get back on you when they can. It’s like elephants, they never forget.

Now they finally could and the Greenland football federation is paying the price for that game in 2001. And the reason Blatter is giving the world are just another set of lies from Fifa, if you ask me.

And the fact that the Greenland FA has shown they will not track back for any political pressure, something that Fifa should like, is coming back on the head of the Greenland Fa and their football players. Ah, well this is FUFA you know…

And lets just keep our fingers crossed for the next 5 days and hope we get no more casualties…

15 comments to The same rules for everyone?

  • Abhishek Kumar

    Hey Walter

    What an article. Very informative and very well written.

    Good to see that you also gave us the history of the fight. But just wanted to ask if its possible to give membership to semi autonomous regions, is it possible to give membership to regions like Catalunya also.

    Overall a great read and hey can you please also comment on the comment by FUFA on brutality killing the game.

  • FinnGooner

    good article. Honesly after reading the excuse I automatically tought England, Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland. So not same rules there.
    Weather catalunya could be it’s own they would need to separate themselves from Spanish FA at first and create their own. And then be nice with FUFA and then they would be fighting about getting their chance to play in tournaments, but they do have great divers and actors who first almost die after a tackle but then heal 100% in seconds after ref does something (I found that as disgusting (or maybe bit more) as bad tacles (thanks to shawcross and co).

  • walter

    And if anyone would doubt: I have nothing against England, Wales, Schotland and N-Ireland being members of Fifa at all.
    Just to make sure and to make things clear.

  • walter

    Abhishek,
    About the comments from mr. D’hooghe, my compatriot it would like to point at my article written on June 9 this year.
    Good to see that the press is only just a few months behind. 😉
    My article can be found at http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/5273

    So I only can be glad that what I wrote before the world cup started is getting more and more in to the open. But I now D’hooghe has been saying this for a while and I can only hope that the rest will follow him on this.

  • kabaila

    Well, theres also Zanzibar as a member of FIFA while it is part of Tanzania. There is also Tanzania as a member of FIFA. Funny how things work out!

  • Fifa is a mixture and a mess – and the fact that the four parts of the UK play quite separately, and that one of them Northern Ireland can hardly be called a fully fledged autonomous region, is really odd.

    The reason of course is that the FA in England was there first, and the oldest international fixture was England against Scotland. The four elements of the UK would never give up their footballing autonomy, and there’s been many fights down the years to preserve that.

    But it doesn’t fit with the Fifa model. Indeed it doesn’t fit with it’s own model at times since Cardiff City and Swansea City play in the English Championship.

    The battles and the lack of logic is endless. Newport County (in Wales) was told by the FAW (the Welsh FA) that when it lost its place in the English fourth division it had to move into the Welsh League (from which there is no promotion back to the English fourth division).

    The club refused, and the FAW revoked the licence of Newport – so they had to play their home games about 50 miles away across the border in England, until a series of court cases gave them the right to play in the English feeder leagues, but in their home city of Newport (it is where the golf thing was last week).

    Since then they have fought their way into the Conference (one league below the old fourth division) and are flourishing. The Welsh Premier League however is in decline, stuck with very small attendances and no media interest except for English commentators laughing at the Welsh names which they cannot pronounce (being English and thus expecting the world to speak English, and certainly not expecting anyone in their right mind to speak Welsh).

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Scotland and Wales enjoy autonomy in terms of non-defence/foreign affairs now, although they are subsidised by London. Northern Ireland is similar although it happened much more recently.

    The tide is turning for the moment against separate nationhood for Scotland. But there are a lot of Scots who want it. If they join the Euro, the smugglers of SW Scotland will be in dreamland in terms of tax caroussels etc etc.

    The most interesting anomaly we exhibit here, Walter, is when we compete in the Olympics, our team is referred to as ‘Team GB’. Now GB = Great Britain, which is Wales, Scotland and England.

    Our nation’s full title is, though, Her Majesty’s United Kingdom of Great Britain AND NORTHERN IRELAND.

    You can see the issues of enormity with which our politicians and administrators grapple, can’t you????

  • WalterBroeckx

    Rhys,
    It almost sounds like Belgium. LOL.
    But at least you can still form a governement. We event cant do that anymore.

  • kiwigooner

    Interestingly Walter, since Tibet is now a ‘province’ of China. Was this a statement of wanting independence by the Tibetan’s or played with Chinese approval. I doubt if even FUFA have a memory as long as the PRC!

  • kiwigooner

    Oh and

    fawr erthygl Gwallter You wedi dadorchuddio ddrygair!

    Couldnt resist!

  • Terence McGovern

    Northern Ireland is about the closest example to Greenland in terms of Autonomy.
    Walter is on the money. Dictators do not forgive. Denmark should withrdaw from international competrition in protest of the blatant discrimination. I wonder how many national associations have either agendas or axes to grind and might support them.

  • rusty

    Catalunya fields a football team http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalonia_national_football_team that plays maybe once a year against other countries’ full international XIs, which I guess means that they’re FIFA-approved (even if not a member).

    Autonomous region or no, China treats Tibet much differently from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, FIFA members all (Taiwan being entered as Chinese Taipei, as in other international sporting competitions).

    Sepp Blatter gives terrible interviews, and I see no reason to believe that there are any “admission rules” that would allow OR prohibit Greenland from joining on. It’s all just politics.

  • Paul C.

    Sorry, this is going to be completely off-topic (great article by the way, Walter):

    Manchester United – 83million loss.

    BLOODY HELL!!!!!!

    I wasnt expecting that!!!!!

  • walter

    I think Tony was. 😉

    The Manchester clubs are fighting it out between themselves to make the biggest loss….

  • RedGooner

    Think Greenland should take legal action in the European courts

    Yep Paul C, knowing Manure wouldnt be spending in the jan transfer window is nice 🙂