Making the Club World Cup interesting

You’re not watching the Club World Cup? You’re not engrossed in every game? No one is. And that’s a pity, because it’s a grand idea poorly executed. Want to make it more interesting? Spread it out like the Davis Cup. Make each game an interesting event. Africa vs. Asia. Oceania vs. North America. Have continents alternate as hosts for the early rounds. And so on until you have at least a few weeks to hype the neutral-site final. (Which will probably be South America vs. Europe. Or a really interesting underdog story.) This year’s tournament could’ve been: September TP Mazembe … Continue reading Making the Club World Cup interesting

Thursday FIFA media frenzy roundup

Here’s what everyone’s saying now that we’ve had more than 24 hours to digest the news of a whole bunch of FIFA bigwigs being indicted: Who’s who, and who’s facing what charge: Good breakdown here from The Washington Post. The 2010 World Cup: Did South Africa literally out-bribe Morocco? The Telegraph picks up that part of the indictment: It also said that the former Fifa vice-president Warner was offered $1 million (£652,000) by South Africa’s rival bidder Morocco but that Blazer learnt from his colleague that “high-ranking officials of Fifa, the South African government, and the South African bid committee, were prepared to arrange for the … Continue reading Thursday FIFA media frenzy roundup

Highlights of the FIFA indictment

In case you don’t have time to read all 1xx pages of the indictment against various FIFA-ish people, here are a few items of note: (All of the following are alleged in the indictment. All defendants are innocent until proven guilty.) – Former CONMEBOL president Eugenio Figueredo obtained U.S. citizenship in 2006. He claimed he was exempt from the English language and civics exams because of a mental disability, specifically severe dementia. Seven years later, he was CONMEBOL president and a member of FIFA’s executive committee. – CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb owns a residence in Loganville, Ga., along with other … Continue reading Highlights of the FIFA indictment

Solo’s Seattle socks and shorts

Started with a tweet yesterday: Does the @NWSL know that a GK MUST wear colors that clearly distinguish him from his own teams players?Stay tuned…#surelyfifarulesapply? — Hope Solo (@hopesolo) May 3, 2014 And a follow-up: Well it's official same color shorts and socks as my own teammates. I guess it's true, Fifa rules do not apply…I'm embarrassed. — Hope Solo (@hopesolo) May 3, 2014 Here’s what FIFA rules say: “Each goalkeeper must wear colours that distinguish him from the other players, the referee and the assistant referees.” That seems to allow some wiggle room — if you’re wearing black socks … Continue reading Solo’s Seattle socks and shorts

FIFA boldly … asks for clarification on Nigeria’s lesbian ban

The Nigerian women’s soccer team went into the 2011 World Cup with the momentum of having ousted lesbians from the team. The FIFA response at the time: “Huh? What? Oh. OK, we’ll talk to the coach.” Now, with reports that Nigeria has banned lesbians from all levels of football, FIFA … wants clarification. The issue has deep roots in Africa, where legal bans remain and men still use “corrective rape” to try to convince lesbians to change. So, once FIFA gets its “clarification,” the question will be whether FIFA wants to make a statement — one that may force some attitudes … Continue reading FIFA boldly … asks for clarification on Nigeria’s lesbian ban

Best reads on FIFA/CONCACAF crisis

Yes, I feel rather frustrated that we in the U.S. media just don’t seem to have the time or resources to do this story justice. A lot of questions are just begging to be answered, and a lot of powerful people need to be asked to tell the truth. But we have a few good works to share, starting with NYT columnist George Vecsey’s perfect metaphor: Watching the charges of deals and payoffs, Americans can feel like the naïve young cyclist in the classic movie Breaking Away who wants to participate in the world sport, only to have a more seasoned … Continue reading Best reads on FIFA/CONCACAF crisis

Explaining the World Cup vote using ‘NewsRadio’

Having failed in my effort to explain the World Cup vote using When Harry Met Sally, I’ll now explain it using a scene from NewsRadio in which Dave (Dave Foley) is England, the USA and Australia, while Bill (Phil Hartman) is every FIFA voter who claimed to be voting for said countries. In this episode, all employees secretly told Dave they were voting for him as news director. The results: Lisa (Maura Tierney) won a unanimous vote. Bill: Lisa and you were both strong candidates. There was really no way to choose between you two. Dave: Then why did every … Continue reading Explaining the World Cup vote using ‘NewsRadio’