D Day for FIFA
Today’s the long-awaited day when FIFA president Sepp Blatter will provide details of the measures he intends to use to restore confidence in the sport’s governing body.
Blatter’s resignation, somewhat surprisingly given that it would instantly restore FIFA’s credibility, is not on the agenda. Instead, his ideas are understood to include the creation of a new-look ethics committee with more powers to investigate alleged wrongdoing, with FIFA members having to prove they have no skeletons in the closet before they are permitted to sit on the executive committee.
It sounds not too dissimilar to the Premier League’s ‘fit for purpose’ statute and we all know how effective that has turned out to be when it comes to preventing tyrants laundering their ill-gotten gains.
Blatter has already announced some other plans, including having all 206 FIFA countries voting on future World Cup hosts rather than the 25-man ExCo. It’s a big pie, so why not let everyone have a bite of it, appears to be the thinking behind that one.
Transparency in action?
There have been reports that Blatter may propose to end FIFA’s legal action to block the release of documents from a court case in the Swiss canton of Zug concerning payments made by FIFA’s former marketing partner ISL.
According to BBC Panorama, Brazil’s FIFA member Ricardo Teixeira and former FIFA president Joao Havelange both received payments from ISL. Paraguay’s FIFA member Nicolas Leoz was named in court as having received $130,000 from the company.
The release of the documents would be welcomed by UK Minister of Sport Hugh Robertson, as a first sign of greater transparency within FIFA.
“I would welcome the release of the documents. FIFA’s credibility in general is very much on the line over all this and Sepp Blatter’s credibility in particular is on the line,” he told the Guardian. “This would be a welcome first sign of openness and transparency. But there is a lot further to go than this and what they need is widespread reform of the whole system.”
An announcement about the release of the papers couldn’t be more timely either, as coincides with the decision by the UK government to release all papers relating to the Hillsborough disaster. Twenty two years after the event. And they have the gall to ask FIFA to be more transparent.
Greater England team?
Stuart Pearce has been appointed to lead the Great Britain Olympic Football team at the 2012 London games. It will be the first time in 52 years that a British team has appeared in the Olympic football tournament, although initial suggests that this will in effect be a greater England team.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland oppose the idea of a united British team, as they fear losing their independence within FIFA.
Former Scotland manager Craig Brown told BBC Radio 5 live: “I wish them every success but I would still be disappointed if any selected Scottish player took part.
“We fear the autonomy of Scottish football would be jeapordised if we were to play and it would be selfish of the player.”
There’s nothing the individual associations can do to stop their players taking part, so it will be interesting to see how they react should someone like Gareth Bale opt to play for Britain.
Goal of the day
Andres Iniesta was involved in several one-twos, followed by a lovely flick over the defender before volleying home against Viktoria Plzeň.
Brawl of the day
South Korea’s Suwon Bluewings have called for Qatari team Al Sadd to be punished after their AFC Champions League semi-final was marred by an ugly brawl.
The trouble started when a Suwon fan invaded the pitch, sparking jostling between the players. Eventually all players and numerous members of staff from both teams were brawling, while the referee looked on helplessly, aware that the situation had deteriorated to such an extent that the issuing of red cards would have done nothing to halt the anarchy.
Lost in Translation – the remake
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the latest footballer to claim his words were lost in translation when he was reported recently as saying he was fed up with football.
The Swede said he was misquoted in Italy over an interview he gave in his homeland before a recent Euro 2012 qualifier.
“I’m not sad, I’ll have to teach people Swedish because they didn’t understand what I said in that interview,” he said after scoring in the 2-0 Champions League win over BATE Borisov.
“I’m fine and I think I showed that on the pitch.”
Corinthians value Tevez
Corinthians director of football Edu Gaspar has confirmed that he has inquired about possibility of signing Carlos Tevez.
The Brazilian side, along with Boca Juniors, have been strongly linked with Tevez since the Argentinian striker decided he was homesick and wanted to leave Manchester City.
“It is part of my job to know what is happening in different countries, looking for players who are free and who want to return home. I cannot deny that [Tevez] is one of those athletes,” Edu confirmed.
“He is a player who, disregarding his state of mind, has his own value. It is difficult to talk about a price to say if he is worth it or not.”
Ultimately, trying to place a value on Tevez is an inexact science involving several competing coefficients. To consider are: Tevez’s current value to Manchester City, his expected value to Corinthians and his incalculable value to his representative, Kia Joorabachian. Try sorting that one out Edu.
Boy from Brazil
Santos president Luis Alvaro Ribeiro insists that there is too much pressure on Neymar when he plays for Brazil. The person to blame for this is coach Mano Menezes
“I met Mano and he is a great person, but like any ‘gaucho’ he has a trait of stubbornness that prevents the people from seeing Neymar as a separate phenomenon for Brazil,” Ribeiro told TV show Kajuru Pergunta.
‘Gaucho’ in this context refers to someone form the state of Rio Grande do Sol, the southernmost region of Brazil.
“The pressure and pain he goes through [for Brazil] must be taken into account, and I do not see Mano using Neymar in the correct role for the Selecao.”
Back from the dead
Fernando Torres appears to have finally got over that miss against Manchester United. Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas believes the Spaniard has rediscovered his confidence after he scored twice in a 5-0 rout of Genk.
“It’s important for players to feel confident, and he’s feeling confident in his abilities,” Villas-Boas said.
“It was never a question of him (not being at his best form). He was always on form.”
He just chose to keep it to himself.
Universidad de Chile secured a 4-0 victory over Flamengo in the Copa Sudamerica, to record the biggest ever win by a Chilean side in Brazil.
Baring a miraculous turnaround by the Brazilian side, the Chileans have earned a place in the next round of the tournament.
The pick of the goals was the fourth which was a sweeping counter-attack from their own penalty area which included a glorious crossfield pass, a backheel, a dummy, culminating in an emphatic left-foot finish by Guztavo Lorenzetti.