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August 2021

Pest control: Fifa and its internationals

By Tony Attwood

Internationals are a pest because…

1: They stop our club matches

When did Arsenal last play?  It seems ages ago.  We are three weekends into the season and it all stops.  And we are supposed to be thankful.

2: Our players might get injured

Diaby is the only Arsenal name on the list so far.  Mr Wenger says it is not serious, and he might even be ready for the weekend – but certainly should be ok for the game after that.

But we have suffered so often – and even if it is just a little injury why should those of us who pay to watch Arsenal have to suffer?

Less worrying for us Van Persie got a thigh injury and was taken off.  Rather sickeningly Dutch manager Louis van Gaal said, “We took off Robin for precautionary measures. It doesn’t seem to be too serious, but you never know. We didn’t want to take any risks.”

How come?  They certainly took every risk under the sun when he was at Arsenal.

Shinji Kagawa  missed Japan’s 1-0 victory over Iraq with a back injury, so at least Man U have to worry on two fronts.  But here again the player said, “It’s not that serious and I don’t think it will keep me out for long.”

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3: There is a growing sense that some games are fixed

Fifa’s former head of security, Chris Eaton, has claimed Fifa has investigated the 2010 World Cup match between Nigeria and Greece.  Greece came from 1-0 to win 2-1 after Nigeria’s Sani Kaita got sent off.   Eaton said  Fifa’s anti-corruption unit had been contacted by a footballer playing in the Championship expressing concerns over corruption.

Eaton is the International Centre for Sport Security’s director of sport integrity, and has said that corruption is embedded in the global game and that referees and other officials are targeted.

“A referee approached a member of the Fifa investigation team and told him that he is the only person with any honesty and integrity in the room,” said Eaton.

“How many officials? It may not be thousands but it would certainly be hundreds. We have a number of clubs and federations who are actively under investigation today to see the extent to which criminal infiltration has taken a hold of their decision- making processes….Corruption cannot be solved at a national level.  This is across borders and it is not just contained in regions like Europe or regions like Asia, it needs a global response.””

Uefa revealed it is investigating possible match-fixing in a Europa League qualifier between Aalesunds and KF Tirana.  Fifa denied any wrong doing.
4: There is a growing feeling that many games are unnecessary
There are no pre-qualifiers in Uefa territory, no preliminary rounds like you get in the FA Cup.   So small countries that never win games get to play against big countries from the off.   The rest of the world either has small groups of countries (like South America) or have preliminary rounds which reduces the number of smaller nations.

5: The media hype them up, even though lots of people are utterly disinterested.

Page after page after page analysing these pointless games.

6: Fifa is involved

Anything with Fifa in it is by definition bad.  If the English FA had had a single shred of decency it would have pulled out of Fifa years ago.  It hasn’t and so it doesn’t.

7: Countries can now buy clubs

PSG is, I think, the first big club in the world to be owned by a country – in this case Qatar itself , rather than by a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.  So why bother with internationals at all?

8: Blatter now says that there is no racism in football.  

In an interview with Al Jazeera in November last year Blatter was asked if he thought racism was a big problem in the sport.  He said…

 “During a match you may make a movement to somebody or hurt somebody or you may say something to somebody who is not exactly looking like you, but at the end of the match it is forgotten.

“Racism is when there are spectators or movements of discrimination outside the field of play. But on the field of play I deny there is racism.”

By supporting any match organised by Fifa, then you are supporting that statement.

How to fight back

Don’t go to games.  Don’t watch them on TV.  Don’t buy newspapers that cover them.  Don’t support the sponsors.

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16 comments to Pest control: Fifa and its internationals

  • Jez

    To be honest I can’t stand the international break but last season it did us a favour when it gave us time to regroup. We had just been humiliated by Manu and Arsenal I think needed the break to recover from it.

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Tony…you forgot one: These games fill the coffers of FIFA and therefore Blatter & his band of merry robbers pockets as well…..what a waste of time it all is!

  • James

    On the unnecessary games issue, I’ll make two observations.

    (i) I don’t know if the South America group rids itself of some smaller countries before the qualifying group begins, but if they do, they then dump all of the remaining teams into a single group which is even larger than any of the European groups – nine teams, 16 games.

    (ii) You don’t need to have a pre-qualifying round in Europe to reduce the number of games. Eliminate the play-offs, and instead of having nine groups, spread the 53 teams across 12 groups of four and one of five, and just have the 13 group winners qualify. Instant reduction in pointless international matches.

  • rusty

    While I certainly wouldn’t say I’m glad to see Robin down after getting kicked around in an international, it’s one of those “well, nothing really changes, does it?” moments.

  • Damien Luu

    “Don’t go to games. Don’t watch them on TV. Don’t buy newspapers that cover them. Don’t support the sponsors.”

    I already do all those 🙂
    Actually I have been doing so since long ago.

  • Dec

    ‘“Racism is when there are spectators or movements of discrimination outside the field of play. But on the field of play I deny there is racism.”
    By watching a FIFA game on TV, by attending a FIFA game, by buying a newspaper or supporting any sponsors of such a game, I support Blatter’s ridiculous statement?????
    A tad overboard methinks, Tony.
    Try making a sentence that includes the words ‘baby’ and ‘bathwater’.
    If it were not for the vile friendly last night at Craven Cottage how could the host of new young players that emerged in green ever get a chance? When there are. valuable WC qualification point at stake?
    Or is the FIFA World Cup also evil?
    Blatter’s a muppet, FIFA is corrupt to the core but Football is Football.

  • richard

    I think most right thinking people will accept that the level of corrupton in FIFA is nauseating and the lack of a true willingness to clean it up short of their typical band-aid approach is enough to drive you mad. That being said,to boycott International fixtures is just not on. It may work in England as your national team isn’t much to follow really, but it just won’t catch on in Brazil, Argentina, Holland, Germany, Spain, all of Africa and most, other if not all other countries. If the English FA was to suddenly take your advice and pull out of FIFA, do you honestly believe that Brazil, Germany et al will follow? Not a chance I say, not a chance. Will the EPL be in a position to leverage its strength, yes, but they won’t because the outcome will not be financially favourable.If you really want to make a difference then start a worldwide movement to clean up FIFA. Rally the troops from around the world, who just like you are absolutely sick of FIFA but love their inetrnational football.Get involved in the process; elect the right folks, limit the terms that anyone can serve to 2 terms max, not the President for Life (not exactly, but you get the point) BS that seems to be the calling card of FIFA and the IOC.

  • LRV

    I really don’t like internationals very much mainly because of the way FIFA behaves and the way they give country power to bullshit Clubs. Countries do not pay all these exhorbitant player wages; Clubs do. When a player is injured, who pays the medical bills? Who keeps paying the player wages until he gets well? So, why should a Country be given so much power to damage, not just the career of players through unneccessary injuries, but to also damage the chances of Clubs that expend so much money on the players?

    I support the view put forward by ‘richard @ 5:00pm’. Football supporters can collectively stop FIFA if we just realise how much power we actually have together as one unit. Without spectators/supporters, football is meaningless to both FIFA and their sponsors.

  • Goona Gal

    All I hope is that our players are not injured. So far there are reports that Chamakh, Theo & Diaby are not returning to the club in good nic. Cazorla played a lot of Int’l football, which is suprising as correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t remember him being such a regular starter for Spain even in friendlies. I watched the France game and Giroud was well roughed up and took a massive bash to the head and nose so whether he is okay, I don’t know. Gerv always comes back with really tired legs from his long haul trips and as for Alex OC, I think Hogson is playing the lad too much. He should of brought him on as a sub in the first game and then started him in the second, or vice versa. The player is still learning his trade in the premiership at senior level and I have no idea what’s to be gained from what England is doing. The minute Wilshere plays a few minutes for Arsenal, I can’t think how ridiculous England will be over calling him up and over playing him.

    These breaks are becoming more than a mild irritant.

  • Goona Gal

    I know an Italian who still goes on about the South Korean WC game and now he has been proven right, thinks the whole tournament is fixed. As for the Nigerian Vs Greece, if Kaita did do something dodgy, then I wonder if it was worth it as I heard his extended family had to flee because people wanted to kill them and there is still a lot of anger towards him even now.

  • Goona Gal

    As for the Arsenal Vs Olympiacos NextGen game. I think Arsenal were poor from start to finish. There was no fluidity of movement, no dicipline and no tactics. Some of the loss blame has to lay with the youth manager Terry Burton. The Olympiacos players seemed a lot older and the Arsenal players were roughed up without the ref giving any kind of reprimand to their players, we also had a very good penalty shout denied, but that isn’t the reason for my disappointment. Today I saw a very ‘un-Arsenal like’ display which was a bit concerning.

    In a tail of two defenders Elton Monteiro caught my eye, in previous games I have seen him play, I have to admit I have overlooked him because, for the most part our attackers and midfielders are so good the defenders aren’t too troubled. Today I think Monteiro put in a MotM display, especially since he partnered Sead Hajrovic in defence, who I don’t think will make it at Arsenal. If he is let go at the end of the season, I won’t be suprised. Monteiro’s last ditched interceptions was the reason it was 0-0 for much of the game.

    Terry Burton has to do better if he is going to shape these players into future Arsenal 1st team stars.

  • Goona Gal

    I will rephrase ‘Some of the loss blame has to lay with the youth manager Terry Burton’.

    Some of the blame for the 2-0 loss, has to lay with the youth manager Terry Burton.

  • ATAF

    “By supporting any match organised by Fifa, then you are supporting that statement.”

    I can’t stand fifa or blatter but I would only expect to see that kind of comment in the daily mail as they try and whip the nation into a frenzy about assylum seekers and the unemployed!

  • ATAF

    I also hate racism and international games btw

  • Ja Gooner

    I love world cup qualifiers as it gives me a chance to see my national team in action even though they have only reached the world cup once. To do away with International football is to do away with the World Cup and I love the World Cup. I just hate the stupid meaningless friendlies.If England started winning the world cup and being dominant on the international stage would you still feel the same way? I doubt it.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    The media hype them up, even though lots of people are utterly disinterested.

    Actually, Tony, we are not disinterested (neutral)…we are uninterested or actively hostile because our players get injured.