FIFA, the body that runs world football is a disgrace. Full of corrupt autodidacts leading with a grandiosity that is beyond the pale. Awarding Qatar the 2022 World Cup finals was more of a joke than a shock, and now emails are emerging that show the finals were bought.
But what can be done?
Individual football associations have already indicated that they feel powerless to go beyond the investigation process FIFA has already undertaken. And to suggest that a single FA, like England, would pull out of FIFA alone is absurd.
Yet, there does not seem to be enough momentum to see a large bloc of FIFA members withdraw their support for the organisation. Perhaps there are many football associations around the world that are quite happy with the shady goings-on in Switzerland.
But what does FIFA really provide to the world of football anyway? They are supposed to be the governing body of the sport and yet corruption is the only example they set. Their main cash-cow is the World Cup final – held next in Brazil in 2014.
So what can the punter on the street do to enforce the reform of FIFA? Well, if they wait for the national associations to join together then nothing will happen. Why not strike where it will hurt FIFA most, their pocket?
If Facebook can bring down the dictators of the Middle East then surely it can sweep a broom through the dodgy back-handers in Switzerland?
We need a central location online where all FIFA sponsors, and details of their sponsorship type and values are listed and publicised in an easy to share way. Then as many genuine fans around the world need to join together in boycotting those companies.
Adidas, Coca Cola, Hyundai, Kia, Emirates, Sony, Visa… these are the main partner firms, but many more come on board to sponsor each major tournament. I like some of these firms, but if the financial support for FIFA falls off the edge of a cliff – because they choose to no longer be associated – then perhaps we may finally see a genuine platform for reform?
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Adidas, blatter, boycott, Coca Cola, corruption, Emirates, fans, fifa, financial, Hyundai, Kia, qatar, Sony, switzerland, visa
I quite enjoyed the BBC Panorama documentary last night detailing corruption and fraud within football’s international governing body, FIFA. FIFA behaved consistently as if they do not need to respond to any of the fraud allegations, but we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars that should have been used for the development of the game, all ending up in the back pocket of FIFA board members. The BBC presented a number of new facts that proved illicit payments to at least three FIFA board members.
However, the argument in the UK media is that the BBC is unpatriotic to expose these people just a few days before the vote for which nation will host the 2018 World Cup. We are relying on these same people to vote for the England bid just as the BBC accuses them of fraud.
But the BBC is not the voice of the State. I would love to see England get the World Cup in 2018, but if the BBC affects the impression of England and a bunch of FIFA crooks don’t vote for our country because they don’t like to see their dirty laundry aired in public then doesn’t it demonstrate some much greater British values, not least about the freedom of the press?
Would anyone really want to see a situation where the BBC had evidence detailing how many bribes these FIFA officials have taken, but they kept quiet to ensure those same people voted for England?
Whether we win or lose this bid to host the 2018 World Cup, it’s time for the English FA to join forces with other national football associations and to demand that FIFA is entirely reformed… it should be an open, transparent, not-for-profit association developing football across the world, not a shady cabal of villains all earning millions by having their votes bought.
Congratulations to Spain for their world cup victory in South Africa last night. It was well deserved. The Netherlands team had clearly been instructed to shut down any Spanish possession as quickly as possible, but their bulldozer approach to tackles meant it ended up feeling like a really dirty game.
That’s a shame in a world cup final, but I’ve read a lot of people calling the game boring. I wouldn’t agree. It’s true that finals are often boring as both teams play defensively, fearing any mistake could cost them the world cup, but the game last night featured over 30 shots on goal and 14 yellow cards, plus a red card. There was plenty of drama, even without goals.
Were the critics actually watching the same game?
Have you been watching the FIFA World Cup? Perhaps you have given up now that England is out of the tournament. Or you might still be holding a torch for the South American giants such as Argentina or Brazil? Whatever your choice of team, it’s impossible to ignore the advertising at the stadiums. This time, the boards around every stadium are entirely electronic. They change about 2 or 3 times a minute, serving up huge exposure for the brands that sponsor these places. Companies such as Adidas, Brahma, and Coca Cola have had prominent advertising popping up. But what’s that Mahindra Satyam one?
Well, of course it’s the Indian technology firm Mahindra Satyam – the technology people that deliver the systems used at the world cup. No doubt they get the advertising as part of their arrangement to deliver technology services to FIFA. But is it actually worth anything to a company like Mahindra Satyam to even bother putting their brand on boards by a football match?
Mahindra Satyam is in the B2B business. They don’t sell a consumer product like Coca Cola. They only have a relatively small number of possible customers around the world – company chiefs needing help with IT or hi-tech services. I admit, some of those company bosses may be watching the football and may be impressed to see the company logo there. But is that measurable? And should a B2B even be focused on that kind of warm fluffy brand perception marketing?
Perhaps it’s a more oblique strategy to raise the profile of the firm, tainted by the Satyam scandal only just over a year ago – an accounting fraud often termed ‘India’s Enron’. The brand was damaged substantially and perhaps this blanket bombing of the world cup is to emphasise the strength of the Mahindra Satyam brand – as opposed to the bad-taste-in-the-mouth Satyam one.
So perhaps the perception building is more about trying to get good people working for them rather than trying to win new business. Coders sitting in bunkers in India must be puffed out with pride when they see their company logo all over the big world cup games – with TCS, Infosys, and Wipro nowhere in sight.
But even if FIFA is offering the ad space for free as a part of the IT contract, will it get Mahindra some new business? None of the technology or marketing executives I speak to think that this is the way to go… if someone from Mahindra Satyam wants to contact me, I’d be happy to talk to you about this strategy directly.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged BPO, enron, fifa, football, IT, ITO, mahindra, outsourcing, satyam, scandal, soccer, world cup
The Football Association in England don’t really prioritise the national team. The Premier League has the money and the clout and any spare time the players have is focused on their club. The 2010 World Cup squad was a team of players who only play in England – none of the English players in the present national side play outside England.
That can be viewed as a testament to the power of the Premier League, but it also serves to emphasise the relative unimportance of the national side. So when are we going to treat the major football competitions as just a bit of fun, rather than going in with the assumption we have a real chance of winning?
England were third favourite to win at the start of the competition. But that’s not a realistic reflection of the team, it’s how much money was bet on the various teams… the betting on England ends up creating a perception that they are a front-runner, yet they consistently underperform.
It’s time to treat the major tournaments as a carnival where progress is a bonus, rather than analysing every last second of games England usually lose.
It’s funny to see stories like this in the Observer today, claiming that England football fans are realising that the Germans are similar to them… There will be no fan segregation at the England v Germany game in South Africa today and the fans are enjoying the warm up together.
Why is it we are surprised that there are shared cultural references between England and Germany? The Saxons settled in England long before the Nazi party of the 20th century came to prominence. And this is possibly the main issue. Nazi Germany is one of the most commonly taught historic eras in English schools. It’s about war. It’s got some villains. The teachers have a lot of materials to draw on. But it also means that children get turfed out of school with an impression of Germany still shaped by their history classes.
So the jokes about German bombers continue – until some of the fans actually meet Germans and realise that their own English culture,religion, moral values, and love of beer is Anglo-Saxon.
The Germany world cup four years ago gave a reason for a lot of English people to visit Germany – a lot of people who might think nothing of visiting Spain, but would never have considered Germany as a nice enough place to visit. And I’m sure there were a lot of surprised people who enjoyed the hospitality of the locals.
I don’t know how the German tourist office can improve their image – I have seen ads featuring Michael Ballack – but I think if they really want to change this lingering nod to history by the English then they need to lobby for a change to the GCSE curriculum.
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Tagged anglo-saxon, curriculum, england, fifa, football, GCSE, germany, nazi, saxon, soccer, South Africa, war, world cup, WWII
Ghana has a population of 24m. The USA has 310m.
Life expectancy in Ghana is 60 years. In the USA it is 78 years.
Literacy in Ghana is around 57%. In the USA it is 99%.
The entire GDP of Ghana is estimated at around $36 billion. The USA GDP is estimated at $14.2 trillion.
But Ghana can still beat the USA 2-1 in a world cup football match!!
Are we going to see an African team going all the way?
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Tagged africa, america, economy, fifa, football, GDPe, ghana, soccer, South Africa, united states, USA, world cup
England went into this World Cup with the presumption that we were in an easy group. One of the tabloid papers even used the headline ‘easy’ when the draw was made by FIFA.
How wrong the pundits were.
And now we are through, we have a crunch match with Germany on Sunday. I’ll be at the Hyde Park Calling music festival on Sunday watching it on the big screen.
It’s no longer the case that the countries with the best leagues produce the best national team. Germany were struggling against Ghana last night. France are out. Italy are struggling as I write this blog. Any national team that has qualified for the world cup finals will be a challenge because of player mobility.
Look at the African sides as a great example. The best players end up playing in leagues all over Europe and the national football association in almost all the African nations has gone out and hired experienced foreign coaches. So if your players are getting experience of the Premier league or Serie A, and you have a team coach with national experience (like Sven at Ivory Coast), then how can the team be considered weak anymore?
Not having a well established league of your own is no longer a barrier to world cup success. Wouldn’t it be great to see a team like Ghana go all the way to the final?
Have a look at eBay right now and run a search on ‘vuvuzela’…
When I last looked, there were around 130 of them for sale in the UK. And some for stupid prices considering it’s just a plastic trumpet that costs pennies to mould in China. There is money to be made selling these things in pubs over the next few weeks!
Almost everyone here in the UK is complaining about these buzzing horns and even asking for them to be banned from the world cup, though as the FIFA President Sepp Blatter has given them a strong vote of support as a part of the South African football experience, there is not going to be any ban. You had better get used to the buzzing.
But, what I find really funny is that the English fans are complaining about these horns, yet I would bet money that come the start of the premier league season in about two months, the English will all be blowing on them – in their club colours… Who wants to take a bet on it?