What Now For Fifa and Thoughts On The Community Shield | Brian Glanville

FIFA, what now? Those devastating revelations of how Qatar schemed and cheated its way to hosting the next World Cup have provoked the customary piece of obfuscation from FIFA and their present unimpressive leader Gianni Infantino. The inquiry, we are told and are supposed to believe, has already and sufficiently been made by their American nominee and all has been satisfactorily resolved. Accept of course it hasn’t. That so called inquiry was made by an American with one hand behind his back and no powers to demand statements and clarifications from the associations whom he approached.

The abundant and damning new evidence furnished to the Sunday Times by a whistle blower make it all too horribly clear that there was very dirty work indeed at the crossroads, that an American legal firm was hired to engineer a campaign to damage the bids of the USA and Australia. A campaign which succeeded and left Qatar, that putrescent little apology for a country with no footballing tradition, not only to be awarded the World Cup for 2022, but even to switch it because of Qatar’s fearsome summer climate to the European winter, thereby disrupting the season of every major European country.

That the members of FIFA should feebly and abysmally have acceded to both requests is a shocking indictment of the moral state of world football. As the political philosopher Edmund Burke wrote in the 18th century, “for evil to triumph it is enough for good men to do nothing.” But then how else could the monstrous Joao Havelange have stayed in office as the FIFA President for all those decades?


The so called Community Shield is not strictly the real thing, but the recent edition of it threw up some interesting facets. Not least the wonderfully precocious 18-year-old Manchester City inside forward, as I still prefer to call him, Phil Foden. Physically there is not very much of him, either in height or in weight, but what of it? How much is there of Luka Modric, the little Croatian who had strong claims through his brilliance to being named the best player of the recent World Cup. Foden showed at Wembley his wonderfully precocious flair and skill, his speed of thought and movements, his deadly accuracy with a pass. Altogether, the midfield star the England team have been missing for so long.

Another candidate for such an England role, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, for some reason was not even on the Chelsea bench, but Foden is a player, a prodigy who should be welcomed aboard as soon as possible. It was perfectly clear at Wembley too that he has the so-called Big Match temperament. Not to ignore Chelsea’s own gifted youngster, Callum Hudson-Odoi, he too a mere teenager who sparked for much of the first half in a team that was largely under the cosh.

True Chelsea were missing a couple of first teamers and could badly have done with Eden Hazard and his elusive speed in attack. But by the same token, City left out that inspired Belgian Kevin De Bruyne and were non the worse for it. The new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri hardly covered himself in glory. What on earth induced to resurrect the Brazilian centre-back David Luiz, arguably the worst player on the field and keep him on for the whole game?

Yes Hazard and Kante will make a difference when they return but this match puts a question mark over the new Chelsea manager. To be fair to Luiz, Alvaro Morata had an equally wretched game in attack wasting the one decent chance that came to him. But keeping Luiz on when his choice had so quickly become hard to rationalise was hardly the decision of a perceptive manager.

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