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Old June 2 2011, 11:36 PM   #3641
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Re: (UEFA) Football Thread - Football not Soccer

Interesting piece from David Bond at the BBC;

Bloemfontein, Zurich mark one and now Zurich mark two. After last year's World Cup and World Cup 2018 vote English football has been given a harsh lesson on Fifa's world stage.

As he made the agonisingly long walk to the congress lectern this morning FA chairman David Bernstein might not have expected the angry backlash he would face.

After making his lone appeal to postpone the re-election of Sepp Blatter, he could only watch as, one by one, delegates from the rest of the world took it in turn to attack the FA's last minute move.

Haiti, Benin, Congo and Cyprus all publicly criticised the FA for making what they - bizarrely - viewed as an undemocratic request. It was against the agenda, they said, and England weren't playing by the rules. They rounded on the British media for creating a crisis without any real evidence.
The most brutal attack came from the long standing Fifa vice president for Argentina, Julio Grondona. He used his address as head of Fifa's finance committee to plead with the English to leave the Fifa family alone and criticised Bernstein for his intervention.

He added: "We always have attacks - mostly with lies and with the support of journalism which is more busy lying than telling the truth."

Not one mentioned the fact that two executive committee members - including one who was supposed to be running for president - had been suspended just three days ago pending a bribery investigation set up by a third member of its executive.

But the vote told a slightly different story. 17 countries backed England's call and another 17 abstained meaning 34 countries - or around 16 per cent of the eligible nations (206) - were expressing some doubts about this election.

Whether they were supporting the FA or acting in their own interests is difficult to tell. Many of those 34 votes may have come from delegates angry at the treatment of former presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam, suspended last Sunday and ruled out of the election.

The 172 votes against the postponement revealed, again, Blatter's strong power base and the FA was never likely to win the argument today. But Bernstein will be pleased he wasn't completely humiliated in the vote.

Having said all this, if anyone at the FA wondered if English football was isolated inside Fifa, then there can be absolutely no doubts after today's backlash.

Much of this is historic. There is deep resentment at the way Britain gets an automatic vice presidency on the Fifa executive committee. With England's Geoff Thompson standing down after four years, this is due to be taken up by Northern Ireland's Jim Boyce later today. Some hospital pass that.

In his attack on England, Grondona raised the issue of the vice presidency and one outcome from all this might be a move to finally end this anachronistic privilege which has been woefully utilised by Thompson and the British FAs over the last few years.

There is also resentment at what many of the smaller countries - particularly in Africa and the Caribbean - see as English arrogance. This is reinforced by the financial might of the Premier League.

On top of that, the fall out from the England World Cup bid has left many asking whether all of the attacks on Fifa are being motivated by revenge. It is certainly true that while the Fifa story has been dominating the news bulletins and front pages in Britain, it is not making the same kind of headlines elsewhere - even in Europe.

So what now for England? With Blatter likely to be re-elected later (don't be surprised to see hundreds of delegates rise to applaud the president afterwards) any hopes of rebuilding bridges will have to be put off for the next four years.

The Bin Hammam and Jack Warner bribery inquiry could prove them right if there is another round of bloodletting causing the Fifa crisis to widen.

Their best hope might be to align themselves with Michel Platini, the favourite to succeed Blatter in 2015, although Brazil's Ricardo Teixeira is also likely to stand and he is unlikely to look favourably on England.

David Bernstein said that by making his stand today he was standing up for principles. Most people back home will applaud this and will be extremely angry at the way Fifa has circled the wagons today.

But the FA can only hope that Sepp Blatter means it when he says he will now make real reforms. They will be watching from the sidelines.
As much as I love watching England in the WC, and as much as I love watching English teams in Europe I'd quite happily back the FA in pulling us out of Fifa, and if necessary Uefa.

Having a purely domestic-game doesn't do American Football any harm. The Premier League and English football is a huge global brand. The only problem would be the ability to attract players without the lure of European football. I guess then though the better teams could pay whatever wages they like as they wouldn't need to worry about Uefa's financial fair play rules.

Even in the worst case scenario, where the Premier League struggles to attract foreign players, or certainly the numbers that it currently does, is that such a bad thing?

Plus we could fuck off all these crazy rules that Fifa/Uefa come up with, like getting yellow cards for celebrating goals!
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