Category Archives: FIFA

US focusing on 2022 World Cup bid

In the official report, that goes down as a Ronaldo-style laser into the back of the net

The United States withdrew its bid to host the 2018 World Cup in order to focus on the 2022 finals. That means two things. One, that Europe is guaranteed to host the 2018 World Cup (England, Russia, Netherlands/Belgium, and Spain/Portugal are the only remaining bidders). And two, that the US will likely get the 2022 World Cup, which is fantastic. Granted, the latter is only my speculation because I don’t think the US would withdraw unless it got Europe’s support. Then again, since Europe is now competing against itself, who knows if there was a deal made (I do think the US will support England for 2018, with the reverse being true for 2022).

So, what of 2022? The remaining bidders, other than the US, are Australia, Japan, Qatar, and South Korea. Of those, I think Japan and South Korea are longshots at best, simply because they hosted the World Cup in 2002. Australia may or may not have the stadiums (there are five with capacities over 45,000 and eight between 20,000 and 31,000). The weather will be fine, though, which is nice.

I figure Qatar will be the main competition, if only because of the money it has. The problem is the temperature, which is about 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), during the World Cup. That will necessitate covered stadiums, or very odd game times. Speaking of stadiums, there is only one 50,000 seat stadium in the country, while the others are either 20,000 or 25,000. I still think Qatar will be a serious bidder, but that the US will win out.

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Filed under CONCACAF, FIFA, World Cup

FIFA and the Ministry of Truth

In the official report, that goes down as a Ronaldo-style laser into the back of the net

Let it be known that Big Brother, a.k.a. Sepp Blatter, is an idiot. That, I believe, is a commonly accepted truth.

Let it also be known that FIFA’s attempts at control in the past couple of weeks have reeked of the Ministry of Truth. First, it was decreed that there was no problem and that the referees were doing fine jobs. Now stop asking questions! Next, the Ministry decided that the stadium jumbotrons would not show replays, lest it upset the masses (or show how the referees screwed up). Although the FIFA spokesman used the word “mistake” it was not in response to on-field human error, but in response to showing replays on the big boards.

Now, however, after yelling at him a lot, Blatter has changed his mind and said that us of video technology will be reviewed. Again. So Big Brother will stick to his guns, unless Europe is affected (yes, I think that the tune has changed because England was involved; it was just Mexico and the US, Blatter would be telling us that everything is fine).

So Blatter finally removed his head from his ass. That’s good. But it doesn’t solve anything. “Reviewing” is just that: a platitude that will mollify some people for now until, sometime after the World Cup (maybe 6 or 7 months), the issue will be quietly dropped again. FIFA will not change unless it’s forced to. And the only thing that will force it to change is a colossal mistake during the final. And I, for one, am hoping that happens.

There are several easy ways to fix this without messing up the games. All referees wear microphones that, so far as I can tell, don’t actually do anything. Add a fifth referee who’s watching a video feed and is empowered to tell the referee on the field of any fouls or missed calls. Simple. For the scrums in the box on free kicks and corner kicks, add one referee behind each goal whose sole job is to watch those scrums for infractions. As a bonus, he/she can also watch the goal line. Blatter’s beloved human element is still in place, and it might even clean up the game.

Nothing is perfect and things will be missed, even with HD cameras all over the pitch. The goal is to cut down the number of ridiculous errors, the kind of game-changing errors that cost England, Mexico, and the United States (just to name three). Referees have a difficult job because the game moves at such a fast pace; therefore, FIFA should give them all the help they need, including video technology. To do anything less is idiotic. But I’d expect nothing else from Sepp Blatter.

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Filed under FIFA, World Cup

How to play a vuvuzela properly

The Guardian helpfully provides a video on how to play the vuvuzela properly. Seriously: Samora Ntsebeza is a vuvuzela orchestra member.

On a lighter note, has this tutorial via YouTube:

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Filed under FIFA, World Cup

This is getting ridiculous

Those cursed vuvuzelas

Really? The BBC is going to filter the vuvuzela sound? The only downside is that the filters also catch the rest of the stadium’s noise, like cheers, chants, whistles, and player complaints. Some players complained about the noise, saying they couldn’t communicate on the pitch, but FIFA General Secretary Sepp Blatter has refused to ban them, citing “tradition.”

Watching on television, I didn’t find them that annoying last year during the Confederations Cup and I don’t find them that annoying this year. The players might have a legitimate complaint about communication, but I find it difficult to believe that what they have to say is so crucially important that they can’t yell it down the line, like they do in every other stadium in the world. In my opinion, the vuvuzelas add to the atmosphere and if people don’t like them, they can wear ear plugs.

The vuvuzelas are here to stay. Stop whining and play the games.

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Filed under FIFA, World Cup

FIFA is that crazy girlfriend you can’t avoid

Sepp Blatter: "I used this one myself. Swear!"

There’s no other explanation for the decision to investigate Thierry Henry’s handball. Or maybe that just makes Sepp Blatter indecisive. Or maybe he’s just insane. Who really knows at this point? The whole Ireland-France situation has devolved into the worst parts of a kindergarten class: everyone whining and then FIFA taking its ball and going home. Of course, the Irish FA’s request to be the 33rd team in the World Cup was absolutely insane. Then again, so was FIFA’s handling of the matter – a one-off playoff would have been an acceptable solution, with international precedent – and now the stupid, misguided, idiotic singling out of Thierry Henry. Why hasn’t the referee been called out? Or, better yet, the referee’s assistants who most definitely should have seen the handball. I know the answer: FIFA is insane. As an organization, it is greedy, bureaucratic, obstinate, controlling, jealous, selfish, imperious, and possibly corrupt. Would you date a girl like that? I think not. Unless you’re a gold-digger. In any event, FIFA – and Sepp Blatter – are clearly insane. The world needs to break up with them ASAP.

This whole thing is frustrating me.

I need a drink.

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Filed under FIFA, World Cup

On baby farming

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager

Chelsea signed French striker Gael Kakuta. Manchester United signed French midfielder Paul Pogba. A few years further back, Arsenal signed Spanish midfielder Cesc Fàbregas from the Barcelona system. And then, yesterday, Manchester City signed two 14-year-olds from Leeds United in an act Leeds chairman Ken Bates called “baby farming.” Manchester City executive chairman Garry Cook said, “Everything to do with this is under the microscope, call it child trafficking, baby farming, whatever you like, it has opened up a Pandora’s Box, with everyone looking into that box, and clubs like ours are being unfairly pinpointed for all sorts of reasons.” And that’s exactly what it looks like: a non-denial denial. So what, if anything, should be done to prevent big clubs from signing talented youngsters from smaller clubs?

Of course, most of the big clubs have no come out in support of a ban on under-age signing but that smacks of covering their own asses. It’s now politically unacceptable to sign players who are under 18.

Arsène Wenger is one of the few to suggest that “baby farming” is an acceptable practice. “Look at the alternative. If you ban players from moving before the age of 18, you know what will happen? The player will be sold anyway,” he said. “To whom? To agents. At what age? At 13, 14. Where will they go? Not to top-level clubs with top-level education.” You know what? That makes sense to a certain degree, if only because it was Wenger who said it and he strikes me as believable.  But it only makes sense where there isn’t enough regulation.

I am thinking of South America, where third-parties are allowed to own economic rights, as a case on point. There, and in other places, FIFA needs to step in and police the domestic leagues. Oversight is necessary. FIFA needs to start earning the billions of dollars it takes in by ensuring that all those youngsters around the world who are trying to be professionals have some protection from unscrupulous agents.

The answer to this vexing problem lies, of course, at the intersection of competition and economics. At what point does competition trump economics? Or vice versa? When it comes to young players, the goal is to provide two things: soccer education and proper academic education. Perhaps the answer, in poorer nations, is FIFA-sponsored national academies, akin to the current projects in South Africa.

This is a prime opportunity for FIFA to step forward and be a leader. It should not be passed up.

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Filed under FIFA, Premiership

Soccer gets the Colbert Bump

Last night on the very excellent Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert discussed whether or not it was time for the US to embrace soccer. Click through the first two segments and get to the third (4:47) and fourth segments. Anyone know how to just post one segment?


Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Soccer gets the Colbert Bump“, posted with vodpod

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Filed under Confederations Cup, FIFA