These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

The top level of football has disappeared so far up it's own arse that it's hard to understand why it's still in the sports section of papers and not the business pages. It could even have it's own banana Republic news section.  
Now I know FIFA are an easy target but even they have excelled themselves with their choice of hosts for the 2022 World Cup. But as former Supporters Direct boss Dave Boyle ponders in an excellent article on FIFA's own goal “It feels awfully like the beginning of the end for the old order.”  
Qatar is getting the football authorities all hot under the collar, because presumably they didn't realise that this Feudal dictatorship smack bang in a desert, get's quite hot in the summer. Who'd have thought! So there has been discussions about moving it. Not to another country, in response to the deaths and slave labour conditions of migrant workers building the countries infrastructure. No, they mean moving it to the winter. But Premier League top boss Richard Scudamore says any FIFA decision to do this without consultation would be "morally reprehensible." Morally or financially? Don't they know disrupting the Champions League would be a crime against humanity? 

Journalist Marina Hyde nailed it when she said "I'm not totally sure about the rules of apocalypse bingo. But I'm pretty sure that the second that people care more about how a winter World Cup will affect the Champions League schedule than the fact it's being built by slaves in a non-democracy, we all move closer to a full house."

Next stop on the FIFA gravy train is Brazil, where some silly tournament in the summer was somewhat overshadowed by the plumes of tear gas. World Cup ticket prices out of the range of most people and massive spending on stadium infrastructure, while the countries public services fall apart along with mass corruption where the final straw. The biggest wave of protests in Brazilian history meant those in the stadiums could enjoy the aroma of tear gas canisters, while a latter day Gandhi in the guise of FIFA autocrat Sepp Blatter appealed for calm. With a third of a corrupt Brazilian Congress awaiting criminal trials, these are the sort of people he likes to do business with. As one of the millions of hand-written banners had it: ‘There’s So Much Wrong It Doesn’t Fit Into One Placard’.
Of course those demonstrations wont happen in Qatar or Russia. As FIFA's general secretary Jérôme Valcke pointed out "I will say something crazy, but less democracy is sometimes better for organising a World Cup. When you have a very strong head of state who can decide, as maybe Putin can do in 2018, that is easier for us organisers than a country such as Germany … where you have to negotiate at different levels."  
As Dave Boyle points out by giving Qatar the world cup, FIFA might have sown the seeds of their own destruction. As a football spectacle World Cups are becoming dull and predictable, but messing with the all powerful European Clubs main cash cow really is making some powerful enemies. If these clubs start telling them they ain't playing ball no more, this could be the nail in their sweatshop football.  
As drunk, homosexual English fans are hung, drawn and quartered by the Qatar Morality Police while players die of heat exhaustion, FIFA will tell us how they are bringing people together. Maybe through street protests isn't quite what they had in mind.

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