In keeping with today’s theme of globalism, I’m steering the ship back towards sports. Yesterday, it emerged that CONCACAF president Jack Warner, no stranger to scandals, said he will support England’s 2018 World Cup bid over the United States, simply because England will be traveling to his home country of Trinidad & Tobago in June to play a friendly. U.S. Soccer, knowing a cash-grab when they see one, will also have England swing through the States on its way through, but it would be nice if they’d think about canceling that date in light of Mr. Warner’s political back-slapping.
I immediately knew something was awry with CONCACAF when we met Warner at the seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai when touring the city with the World Youth Championships in 2003. With a nightly stay at the man-made island hotel starting at $1,000 a night, CONCACAF’s money surely could have been going to better places. As a minor confederation of the horrifically stuffy FIFA, it’s unsurprising that CONCACAF is run about as poorly as it’s function is difficult to describe.
Meanwhile, FIFA muppet Sepp Blatter blackmailed the Premier League’s idea to play a 39th league game in various cities across the globe by not-so-coyly threatening to undermine England’s 2018 World Cup chances. The idea of a 39th game has its detractors, none of whom are at least willing to hear about it, like Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Wenger is “too innovative to shoot it down so quickly” and is a man who’s bread isn’t necessarily as buttered by global gains in the lucrative football marketplace as, say, the whores of Manchester United and Chelsea, so it’s unsurprising the Premier League’s (world’s?) best manager is open to the idea.
But no matter how certain clubs or managers may be against the idea, none of them has gone so far as the guy that’s in charge of world football. If FIFA’s job is to police the game and make sure it’s being regulated fairly - providing every confederation with an opportunity to host the World Cup on a rotating basis, cleaning out remiss agents and helping third-world players so they aren’t taken advantage of by them and setting the standard for referee and admin practices, to name a few - how is it okay for FIFA to publicly blackmail a country, simply because they do not agree? Hosting a World Cup is serious business, in more ways than one - something Mssr. Blatter hasn’t quite grapsed, considering his hard-on for giving 2010 to South Africa when it will, at best, stretch the country well past its resources. Furthermore, Blatter is widening the gap between club and country, which is the sporting equivalent to making both the church and state happy, by turning the English FA against the Premier League. No matter what threats are taken, having a gulf between these two parties will almost certainly trouble England’s bid throughout the entire ordeal.
Meanwhile, Warner continues to publicly embarrass CONCACAF to a world audience. Outside of UEFA boss Michel Platini, you shouldn’t know the name of a confederation president no matter who you are - Warner has repeatedly violated rules and been a general nuisance to the countries he’s supposed to represent. It’s no wonder why CONCACAF won’t ever be taken seriously with this edited for our younger audience in charge, especially if he publicly vows to turn on his own federation, all for the good of his own glorious ego.
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I was hoping to sum up my thoughts on this 'EPL Abroad' thing, but it's proving to be quite difficult. Basically, I think it's something England should do because it will only further the EPL's reputation as being the world's strongest league (esp from a marketing standpoint), since they will be the first and so far only ones to do it. As Diesel told me, it's fine to float an ejaculate balloon over Asia and America and see what sticks when it's popped, which would be at least a good chunk of new fans willing to throw their monies their way. However, there are many flaws in the idea, with #1 and #1A being what matchups each location will get - American fans are intelligent to know Wigan-Middlesboro isn't their idea of top-drawer soccer, and given Asia's hysterical responses to soccer, it will best be served over there. That means we'll be stuck with crap over here, most likely.