World Cup 2018 – peace at last

January 17, 2016

“Amid the dying embers of 2015 there was a spark which spoke volumes about the nature of football and politics, which are always one and the same. And it all revolved around the fallout from the bids for World Cup 2018. In Russia, as we know, all football clubs are political vehicles. They are backed by local cities/regions, or by politicians/businessmen, bar one exception.” backpagefootball

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SI Now: Wahl on European coaching carousel, Arsenal, FIFA election

January 10, 2016

“The European coaching carousel is in overdrive, with a number of the sport’s biggest names on the move. Jose Mourinho is gone from Chelsea, and Guus Hiddink is in charge for the rest of the season. Pep Guardiola announced he’ll be taking a Premier League job after this season with Bayern Munich, where Carlo Ancelotti will then take over. Zinedine Zidane has taken over for Rafa Benitez at Real Madrid, where Zidane starred as one of the world’s greatest players. To make sense of it all, speculate on where the carousel might stop next and also delve into Arsenal’s Premier League title chances and the latest regarding the FIFA election, SI’s Grant Wahl joined Maggie Gray on Thursday’s SI Now. Watch the video above for the entire interview, and for more on the goings on in the world of soccer, listen to the new Planet Fútbol Podcast here.” SI


Brighton Floored by a Wolves Sucker Punch

January 6, 2016

“When the Football League’s longest unbeaten run from the start of the season came to an end, it at least did so with a degree of finality. Being the last unbeaten club in the upper echelons of the English league system had, in all honesty, become something of a millstone around the neck of Brighton & Hove Albion. After last season’s closer than expected or wanted brush with the possibility of relegation back to League One, a year of mid-table security might have been enough for the club, but from the start of the season Chris Hughton’s team had been grinding out results week after week, seldom looking likely to set the world alight, but being consistently difficult to beat.” twohundredpercent


Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini Are Barred From Soccer for 8 Years

December 21, 2015

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“Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, two of the most powerful figures in global soccer, were barred from the sport for eight years on Monday morning after being found guilty of ethics violations. The suspensions were imposed by the independent ethics committee of FIFA, soccer’s international governing body. Mr. Blatter, who is FIFA’s longtime president, as well as Mr. Platini, who is the president of UEFA, which oversees soccer in Europe, are prohibited from taking part in any soccer-related activities while barred — a sanction that, in Mr. Platini’s case, seemingly ends any chance that he will be able to run in February’s special election to fill the post Mr. Blatter has said he would vacate.” NY Times
NY Times: The Rise and Fall of Sepp Blatter
NY Times: A Hemisphere of Soccer Corruption


The good, bad and ugly of FIFA’s Mad Men

December 21, 2015

“I discovered it late but I’m glad I got there in the end. As a 1960s nut, the TV series Mad Men was made for me. In the last few months I ploughed through all seven seasons of a program that looked at the decade and its changes, especially in terms of gender relations, through the prism of the advertising industry.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


More Charges as FIFA Inquiry Widens

December 3, 2015

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“The investigation into corruption and bribery in soccer that in May rocked FIFA, the sport’s multibillion-dollar governing body, metastasized on Thursday when United States officials unsealed a new indictment that alleged an even more extensive network of criminal behavior across dozens of countries and involved some of the most powerful people in international soccer. Sixteen new defendants were identfied, with charges including wire fraud, money laundering and racketeering, aimed almost entirely at individuals from Central and South America. Among them were aformer president of Honduras, a judge on the Constitutional Court of Guatemala and the current and former presidents of Brazil’s national soccer federation.” NY Times (Video)

Five-Star Zurich Hotel Again Figures Into FIFA Arrests
“Just before 6 a.m. here Thursday, Swiss law enforcement officers briskly entered a side door of the Baur au Lac hotel. Moments later, a hotel custodian, in a starched uniform and polished shoes, stepped out the front door of the five-star property and dutifully vacuumed the entryway carpets, seemingly oblivious to the police raid underway behind him. It would have been a bizarre juxtaposition for this plush, historic hotel on the banks of Lake Zurich if it were not so familiar. Just six months ago, the Swiss police arrived at the Baur au Lac for the first roundup of top soccer officials, rocking the soccer world and providing an august setting for charges of corruption, bribery, money laundering and other ignoble offenses.” Y Times


Platini and Blatter’s “thing between two men” defense explains why neither should be FIFA president

October 21, 2015

“This has not been a good month for Michel Platini. When September turned to October, UEFA president Platini was the clear front-runner to replace beleaguered FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who was supposedly planning to finally step down after the February 2016 FIFA presidential elections. Platini had it good. Europe had his back, so did many Asian and South American nations. Everything was rainbows and champagne, even though there were always plenty of questions about Platini’s past and candidacy. And then everything crumbled. It must have been devastating.” Fusion