Taxing Day For FIFA & Wembley Decisions

tftc

 

It’s all the fault of the fat cats, they always cause the trouble which brings the house of cards crashing down. In this instance, it was Chuck Blazer’s cats who getting fat at the expense of the IRS and whilst they lapped up the cream, Chuck forgot to pay the taxes. Al Capone thought he could get away with murder and he did; tax evasion proved one step too far and Blatter’s henchman is suffering a similar fate.

The arrests yesterday were cathartic for football in the sense that the wheels of justice were seen to be served. The separate intervention by the Swiss authorities appears to be a good back-up plan but I’m not holding my breath. I don’t recommend you do either because these guys have allegedly been skimming off the top for so long that they will afford the best legal representatives to fight their corner.

The corruption at the top of the game has been known about for years. There’s been no action before because the threat of suspension from FIFA-sanctioned tournaments was deemed to be too much of a price worth paying by national associations. It’s rubbish; FIFA would never take on one of the big FA’s – the Spanish, English, German, French or Italians for example – for their own fear of breakaway leagues forming. That concerned them more than any chastisement from a sponsor.

And certainly more than any government investigation until now. Their response was always to marshall the troops so that miscreants got punished in other ways, e.g. the abject failure of England’s 2018 World Cup bid. The problem anyone has in trying to reform FIFA is that the corruption is so deep-rooted in the culture that it will be a long time before it is eradicated, if it ever can be.

Getting rid of Blatter offers the symbolism of cutting the head off the snake but the body will continue to wriggle for years to come.

A final thought. More of a wish or a desire, I suppose. Can someone tell prosecutors, attorneys of all ilk and anyone vaguely connected to the case, that using the phrase “Issuing FIFA a red card” is a criminal offence in itself. That stops now.

The gnomes ducking for cover in the back garden distracted from Arsenal’s media day ahead of the FA Cup final. Arsène was polite about Villa, confirming that he didn’t rate Tim Sherwood as a player and that Danny Welbeck wasn’t going to make the trip to Wembley. He didn’t confirm anything to do with the team selection to the chagrin of everyone present and the only Vidal he admitted to liking was Sassoon since he has gone off Silvikrin because it was leaving a tide mark on his jacket.

Welbeck’s absence was trumpeted by all at the weekend when Arsène first floated the notion that the England striker wouldn’t be fit for club or country until next season. It’s no surprise and having been absent for several weeks, makes no difference to the starting XI.

Wenger did say that he would be leaving “some top internationals out of the squad” as a way of highlighting the choices he had to make. Immediately it was assumed the Walcott and Wilshere would fall to the bench with Giroud and Ramsey rewarded for their performances over the course of the second half of the season. That you could interpret Arsène’s words to fit the case for Ramsey and Giroud being on the bench. Indeed, Wenger was keen to point out that he will be looking at the bigger picture,

What is important is that we do not make too many individual cases before the cup final. It’s the whole team who can win it.

Before teasing us with,

I don’t know who will start yet and it’s not important because it’s just on the day in the FA Cup final. What is important is that you bring the trophy back. It’s always a concern for the whole squad.

I bet you do, Arsène. I bet in your mind’s eye, you know exactly who the XI will be, what scenarios you be making changes when 60 minutes pass (chasing a two-goal deficit) or the more usual minutes later in the game. It’s not a case of if but when.

Walcott needed that big performance because before that, he hadn’t made a case for being thought of as a central striker. There’s some revisionism going on about how well he was playing in that role before injury struck but it was only a game or two, it’s not like he had been given a significant run in the side as lead striker. His movement on Sunday was refreshing to see and in stark contrast to Olivier Giroud’s style. With the Frenchman’s goal drought, a hat-trick tends to cloud matters.

It depends on how much of a risk Wenger sees excluding Giroud is. I think his over-riding sense of loyalty to the player will win through and the ‘usual’ Arsenal line-up will prevail.

The manager wouldn’t be drawn on who the goalkeeper will be but the more you think about it, the harder the case of Szczesny’s return becomes. There’s no logic in selecting a player who has not performed for the first team since the semi-final, especially as your last line of defence. Last year was the template with Fabianski selected at Carrow Road ahead of the Hull final and Arsène has previously chosen a goalkeeper throughout the tournament only to select his first choice when the 2002 final came around.

That’s harsh on Szczesny but his saving grace may have come in Ospina’s nervous performance after the Albion goal. Perhaps there is a case for Pole, particularly as Villa possess an aerial threat in attack. The last two goals conceded have come from that route and the reason Ospina played is because Szczesny looked sharp in training.

You can give yourself headaches just thinking about it all.

’til Tomorrow.

120 thoughts on “Taxing Day For FIFA & Wembley Decisions

  1. Spy

    He’ll be leaving very soon. David Gill has said he won’t go to another FIFA meeting if Sepp’s in charge and that’s a threat he won’t be able to ignore.

    No, he won’t.

  2. JET was one of the most gifted players I’ve ever seen. And then I saw him play for Bristol City at Swindon. Jesus, he’d have driven me bloody nuts in Arsenal’s first team. The touch of angel; the effort of a sloth.

  3. Anyone going to the Emirates screening of the FA Cup Final? I’m taking the family and hope we all enjoy it and are celebrating in the streets afterwards.

  4. Phil, Istanbul is absolutely fantastic. I recommend it to anyone as an amazing place to visit. Seriously.

  5. @Bill

    I think Yogi is spot on, the lad is extremely talented but no desire, no work rate, no effort, and no seemingly dedication to be a top player. I heard, maybe Bruce Arena(could of been somebody else but I was at his first camp for DC United when I heard it) once say something like the difference between a top talent and top player is down to do you have the desire, will and effort to become the best not just on match day but during the rest if the days as well.

  6. I guess I was wrong, reports just came out that US is set to vote against Blatter but will risk retribution on future tournament bids.

  7. C

    Blatter will only be worried by South America turning on him. The Middle East you suspect will vote mostly for Prince Ali so that would leave just Africa voting en masse for Blatter. Could be a lot tighter than people think BUT he must think he’s going to win otherwise he would have withdrawn from the race; “It happened on my watch, I take the blame even though I’ve done nothing wrong” so he would, in his own eyes, be doing something ‘heroic’.

    If he’s returned today, UEFA’s meeting next week in Berlin is the one to watch. I think that’s where you’ll find out the true feelings of the sponsors because most of them are lead partners in the Champions League. So if they increase their spend there, it means they are pretty much pulling out of FIFA. What FIFA will also find is that any renewals now are going to be worth less than they were before.

  8. Yogi

    I doubt it’s going to be close at all. Whilst I agree that UEFA has quite some weight in world football, they will not bring down FIFA or the World Cup. Otherwise Platini would be FIFA President by now. Even he could see that he cannot take Blatter on. My two cents is that the World Cup still captures the imagination of many and I can’t think of a tournament UEFA could come up with to rival that. Surely that all that counts to sponsors, no?

    Besides, Yogi, Blatter isn’t the only sports administrator who uses underhand tactics to get things done. Personally, this is what makes me- an African- highly suspicious of these attempts to dethrone the man. From where I am sitting, it just sounds like sour grapes on the of the English because of the 2018 bid. And now we are supposed to think the US is a major mover and shaker in world football? Please!

  9. Uruguayan union is appealing Suarez’s ban on the basis that, whilst they cannot prove that there was any corrupt activities involved in the ban, there might have been. This is on the basis that one of the disciplinary panel has been indicted on corruption charges. Clearly Suarez bit Chellini, but they are questioning the length of the ban (he is still banned from international football). What a farce and clearly a sign that the floodgates are going to open. This is why Blatter must go, because every decision made whilst he has been President will now be questioned. 20+ years of FIFA decision making could be called into question if any of the indicted were even superficially involved.

  10. Highbury

    Depends on your viewpoint really. If you think handing over envelopes in hotel rooms that contain thousands of dollars is fine, then there’s nothing wrong with football. If you are a beneficiary of that, why change your view.

    There is a crucial difference between FIFA and UEFA. International football is FIFA’s lifeblood, its only source of income. UEFA earns more in one season that FIFA do in two World Cups. UEFA doesn’t need another tournament, they will be able to tap into more of the sponsors money if there isn’t a World Cup. And more importantly, whether you like it or not, the Champions League becomes world football’s most important trophy.

    If UEFA did cede from FIFA, there is no international football. The clubs would be under no obligation whatsoever to release players to national associations who aren’t members of UEFA. Federations might hold the power today but if UEFA cedes from FIFA, the clubs would rule the roost. And there would be no way back from that.

    An English conspiracy? No. This is revenge being served on a cold dish by a lot of nations who feel wronged by Blatter in the past.

  11. I think I know the answer to this, but I’ll throw it out anyway….

    If UEFA boycott the World Cup, can they go a step further and say they do t recognise the tournament?

    Thereby, as Qatar will be mid-season, give clubs within UEFA’s umbrella the power to not release players?

    Obviously, the greatest show on earth would be reduced to desert dust in doing so

  12. guys like Blatter have been skimming from the top for so long that they are likely to evade prison NOT because they can afford the best lawyers but rather because they can afford the best judges.They operate at levels where their power, prestige can sway influence in the judicial system. Judges are not incorruptible.

  13. Blatter will be re-elected. This could be the final pass at the trough for a lot of the delegates from poorer nations so they won’t pass it up. Blatter won’t step down as it would make him look culpable.

  14. “Visa on the cusp of leaving FIFA as a sponsor.”
    No, just damage control and public posturing. They are taking advantage of the crisis to get free publicity. In their public statement they said
    “t is important that FIFA makes changes now, so that the focus remain on these going forward. Should FIFA fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship ”
    OOOOH My – they will re-assess!! VISA bigwigs have been going to the same parties as the corrupt FIFA delegates – sharing the same caviar and whores.

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