• FIFA - WTF

    A CATALYST FOR CHANGE: The FA Licensed Coaches Club 2014 Futsal Conference (22-23 Nov 2014).

    Every time we go on court we feel we are unbeatable', said Pete Sturgess (Head Coach England Futsal Team).

    Full report to follow after the election...

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    Hot May sun springs hope

    anew. Blatter elected

    again. The sun sets.

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    UPDATE - JUNE 2015 (Looking for the Light...)

    I had previously given up football in 1989 (witnessing the culmination of neglect and terrible decades for British football). During the 1990s, I’d flirted with the idea of the new Premier League 'product', but was versus this new ‘Soccernomics’. I still thought football’s primary function should be to serve it’s local community as a social enterprise (even transnational football clubs should serve their own local community first).

    Then, in 2010, I landed a job in the sports industry again. Here, the governance structure at sports coach UK served as a model to discern the dysfunctional relationship between the FA and the Premier League.  No matter: my love of football here and abroad grew again enormously and I eagerly awaited WC2010 In South Africa. Oh dear!

    There is something rotten in the state of football. At the end of last year I was despondent. I’d stopped playing in our Friday night football social for two reasons. First, I was increasingly embarrassed to be seen to be having anything to do with it because of football governance in general. Second, I had almost lost it on the football pitch when having an existential moment about all the bad things happening in football. I decided it wasn’t safe for me or others to participate in football any longer (sorry Tom).

    At that time, it seemed that nothing could be done to stop Blatter and FIFA corrupting us all with their seemingly omnipotent reach over all of football and our lack of any levers to stop them. And yet, today, I find myself slightly conflicted that our saviours are the very same sometimes-overbearing-monetising-‘special relationship/ friends’ from the USA. But we all have to say, ‘THANK YOU, THANK YOU’ to the FBI and the American government that they have had the foresight and robust processes in place to stop corrupt practices that touch any of their jurisdictions either in America or territories overseas where their businesses operate. Today, we have renewed hope that those who have corrupted football and us by association will now be brought to account.

    Right now, there is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reform football from the top down in to a model that we can all support. This game has to be played out to a satisfactory conclusion for all those who care about football and even those that don't. It was clear 20 years ago that the separate spheres of globalisation, technology and the world's favourite sport would converge in-play and have a resonance like no other. Consequently, football has a responsibility to society to be be fair and just. Equally, society has a responsibility to ensure there is good governance in football locally, nationally and internationally. In my view, supposedly non-commercial football should be based on an ‘open book’ model (i.e. Football Associations of all nations ,UEFA or their continental counterparts & FIFA) should not operate for profit, should not have an expansionist agenda which dilutes intra-league quality and they should provide full transparency, good governance and be fit for purpose now and in future.

    Like most football fans, many questions are pinging around my brain-pitch, but there is one overarching question that puzzles me most at this time. It is this: given that we now have some tangible proof that there has been ingrained, systemic corruption throughout FIFA for years (if not decades), then should Blatter be a free man today? Blatter has to be held to account for his dereliction of duty and be suspended immediately whilst the Garcia report and other evidence (i.e. the so-called FIFA files) get processed and legal action results, in my view. I can only think that the FBI are letting him stay there and oversee his succession for now so that he can further incriminate himself.

    So, after I attended the FA Licensed Futsal Conference in November 2014 I was confused. First, here was a man (Pete Sturgess - the England Futsal Manager) telling us ‘every time we go on court we feel we are unbeatable’ who, along with all his colleagues, ought to have been more focussed on the fact that FIFA had stolen Futsal as a game in order to monetize it and trouser the profits. To my mind, this form of football along with all others needed a mass boycott until there was a clear sign of transformational change. Second, it’s only tournament football that counts at your level, Pete (and Roy).

    The recent history of the FA might be rewritten given what we now know, but the FAs history as a whole is instructive. For example, during the conference (St George’s Park tour) I noticed all 6 verses of ‘God Save The Queen’ decorating a corridor wall. If we really want success rather than football heritage we need a different class of football people here and elsewhere, too. During the conference I wanted to stand up and have a full and frank exchange with the panel and raise these and other questions (i.e. how much money and effort was going in to the new regional football centres to ensure that Futsal becomes the bedrock of coaching and education at Key Stages 1 and 2?). Good football development in Britain pivots on us teaching kids in their early years how to manipulate the ball and how to make good decisions in football and life or we are never going to have any success in Futsal or the 11v11 game - ever!

    So, If ever you get chance to ask any football stakeholders anything related to this, please do - ok?

    Questions:

    1.

    How can Blatter resign and then think he can preside over the selection process for his successor?  I hope this is a bad joke and the FBI are withholding the punchline for a short while to create a bit more flavour to the big reveal.


    2.

    If Blatter deserves to go to jail to what extent is his age a mitigating factor in any sentence?


    3.

    Can any of the FIFA ExCo expect to remain in post whilst the systemic corruption seeps further into the fabric of football and societal corporate governance?   Get the Shake n' Vac® 


    4.

    Is Qatar WC2022 being moved to a Nov/ Dec tournament still credible?


    5.

    Should the Qatar 2022 decision itself now be declared null and void and the bid process re-opened?


    6.

    How can Russia be allowed to declare that they've lost their PCs (Eh?) to avoid answering any questions relating to the Garcia report (and where is that full report for full viewing, btw)?


    7.

    Should we now call for all the FIFA ExCo members and the Russia 2018 draw to be suspended pending an open book, drains up, forensic investigation of FIFA accounts all the way back to, say, 1974?


    8.

    How can we move FIFA governance to an 'open book' transparent model? Surely FIFA - a football body that should exist purely as a social enterprise to foster the Spirit of '45 and good international relations - can find a way to ensure that every single dollar, Euro, etc is fully accounted for and all salaries and expenses are available to see via public record?  This has to be the new model, doesn't it? Oh, and perhaps FIFA can have their tax exemption status revoked to actually help the host countries, too..?


    9.

    Recently, and perhaps for longer than we imagine, the English FA stakeholders have clearly done some great work to help bring this about, so we should recognise their contribution in this success and thank those involved.  But then, after the back-slapping has finished, can one of you ask Greg Dyke why he thought it was a good idea to leave a $24,000 watch in his office for half a season (i.e. colluding with bribery and corruption that would risk a fine and/ or jail in any normal corporate sphere)?


    10.

    While you're at it, please ask GD and David Sheepshanks for a project status report (their stated aim, or benefits realisation, being England winning the World Cup in the next 15 years).  Are they on track..?  How is progress to be measured...?

    11.

    Why can’t England find a decent No.11?

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