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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Gudjohnsen away; FIFA bribes; lay off Rooney chants

Eidur Gudjohnsen is said to be 80% on his way to joining Barcelona, after the Catalans failed to obtain the services of Thierry Henry and Diego Forlan. In Gudjohnsen, Barcelona will have a player who not only has the skill and pace to score goals but the awareness, vision, and passing that makes the Icelander more of an excellent player. He played in midfield under Jose Mourinho and did so without a whimper or tantrum, and did so well. But with Henan Crespo, Didier Drogba and now Andriy Shevchenko, Gudjohnsen is too far down the order to reclaim his forward role at Stamford Bridge. I'm looking forward to La Liga and Gudjohnsen's first match, provided his move goes through.

Middlesbrough have latched onto Robert Huth, another due to leave Chelsea. While Gareth Southgate has, inexplicably, been given the managerial role without his Uefa Pro Licence, which is to be discussed with the League Managers' Association and the Premier League with Middlesbrough, Huth will come in to plug Southgate's absence.

BBC's Panorama exposed allegations of bribery money at FIFA's HQ, with FIFA officials said to have accepted bribes in order to grant lucrative contracts of marketing and television rights to a company called ISL. The company went broke and liquidators found, amongst office records, evidence of bribes, bribes which constituted as company funds. The liquidators chased the funds to FIFA and certain officials repayed the bribes but some refused, so the liquidators took the matter to court. The result was a secret deal for those who had not repayed, to repay...more. A Swiss investigative magistrate had to obtain authority from the court for seizure of documents at the HQ, the investigation is only centred on whether FIFA repayed the money. Sepp Blatter has made no comment about it but denies anything untoward at FIFA. I have always wondered why Mr Blatter has found time to drop comments particularly on our FA and our football set-up, possibly to steer away from a guilty conscious. Nonetheless, FIFA repaying the monies mean they accept certain officials there were corrupt AND those who did not pay are keeping those bribes.....unless those bribes were turned into FIFA funding.

Maybe I'm jumping the gun, but Mr Blatter ordered a ban on Panorama investigators at FIFA press conferences for asking questions. Panorama went to Trinidad & Tobago to interview FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, who clearly did not want to be interviewed, questioned or even approached by Panorama, all on camera,. His mannerism was rude, inaccurate and intimidating, and he had the gall to instruct lawyers to contact the BBC about the assaulting behaviour of Panorama's investigators, which was clearly a lie. Mr Warner has or had a company that dealt in arranging flights to football tournaments like the World Cup, therefore a clear conflict of interest. This is the governing body for world football, the very same that is overseeing the current World Cup tournament, now under investigation for corruption. With Mr Walker an influence in the running of the T&T squad, something that has been going on for two decades may just eventually emerge in full detail, to football's detriment.

In the tournament, referees are meant to be very stringent in cutting out or reducing the occurrences of diving, feigning of injury, rash and ill-timed challenges of a threatening nature, yet a distinction between firm and just tackling to diving that wouldn't go amiss at the Olympics is still not universally clear. Steven Gerrard went in twice with solid tackles that earned him a booking, while Ghana's Asamoah Gyan ended a superb run into the box with a dive that should have earned him a yellow but did not. So at the moment, all the big talk about keeping a clear line of acceptability was simply political gabble. The English are use to that.

Philip Lahm, Torsten Frings, Tomas Rosicky and Andrea Pirlo. All have taken advantage of the new ball and its supposed swervy talent. God knows what Roberto Carlos will make of it, but someone should in the England side. Wayne Rooney likes to shoot, Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, even David Beckham, whose freekicks can lead to John Terry headers. I've mentioned before that we should employ a shoot-on-sight policy and test the opposition keeper more often, for some opposition aren't afraid to test Paul Robinson.

Finally, I implore for less of Rooney's exlcusives all over. It's as if our World Cup hopes are on this young man taking part, and yet the very doctors who have been evaluating his recovery from injury are due to arrive in Baden-Baden on Friday, after the Trinidad & Tobago game, and he will not be considered playable until these doctors give the all-clear. So he will not be playing on Thursday, we have what we need to win on Thursday, those who cheer on England should realise this and stop chanting for Rooney. Man Utd have won, lost and drawn games with and without him, so he is influential but not the ideal answer.



Blogger BlindJak said...

I sad to see Guudy leave but understand why he has to. I think he’ll prosper in la liga as he won’t be closed down quite so quickly as in the prem and the extra half second will enable his passing a vision to flourish.

As for FIFA, who is surprised that it is as corrupt as it is? The only problem with the Panorama program was that it did not implicitly show evidence of wrong doing. Jack Warner is clearly bent as a five bob note and is siphoning off money at every available turn. This is wholly undesirable and should be stamped out but has he actually broken rules/laws?

As for the bribes I’m sure that the program was right about it all but again they didn’t have firm evidence. If there was any no doubt the Swiss investigators would have laid charges.

I think the scandal is enough to make Blatter step down but only if the member federations ask questions and force the issue. However they are all part of the gravy train and seem more interested in preserving their own slice of the pie rather than cleaning up the game.

6/14/2006 8:51 am

Blogger EL said...

Gudjohnsen is indeed a fine player but with a squad like chelski have an owen/real situation is likely in several positions. Good luck to the lad.

Now let's see....... are FIFA corrupt?..
....hmmmmm........tough one that....... I'd say........yes.

The new ball. Now THAT pisses me off s'cuse my french. It's another of those changes in football we didn't need. Like the bloody playoffs. I'd drop them tomorrow if it was up to me but sadly it never is. The new ball clearly moves in the air somewhat like a beach-ball due to its lightness, as germany's first goal perfectly displayed. This means that for the first time since football began, a highly influential degree of the ball's path to goal takes shape as a result of the random relationship between ball & air conditions rather that almost entirely because of the craftsmanship of the player's touch. Is this really progress? Of course this will mean a few more goals, a little more excitement, a tad more hype, maybe more lucrative tv contracts over time and who knows in time maybe they'll crack america. But how necessary was it? Don't get me wrong, I'm not against change per se. The 'no pass back' rule & no strict time limit on keepers handling in the box are fine changes with an obviously progressive bent (in my view anyway). The new ball takes an element of some goals out of the realm of player skill/control and into the realm of chance/non-linear dynamics. To me the beautiful game is about the mastery a player express over the ball and its movement. This new ball shifts that relationship ever so slightly apart and for me, that's regressive not progressive.

Wayne Rooney. Ahhh.... I'd like to hear more about him. Does he play for England? From the off I thought we had a chance of winning the cup not due to Rooney but because we have a great squad. If it was all about Rooney then our chances of winning WITH him wouldn't be all that because no team wins coz of one player
(argentina/maradona I'll consider but not concede). If we lost Terry or Robinson I'd be almost as concerned. Having said that, if Sven doesn't get out of the habit of constructing and England side which is lesser rather than greater than the sum of its parts, Rooney or no Rooney it'll be 'goodnight vienna'. (Yeah I know but Austria & Germany are practicaly the same country)

6/14/2006 9:47 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks BJ. It makes me wonder the allegations are risen and the media say not iota, other than the BBC via Panorama. Our world governing body potentially embroiled in corruption, it's as if nothing is sacred anymore, which says so much for integrity. The word seems to serve in merely residing in the dictionary and nothing more. Panorama discovered the bribes through the liquidators and they in turn went to court to pursue company funds, for a deal to be then made between FIFA and the liquidators, to keep things quiet and out of court. Wonder why. Sepp Blatter being the president has to know of this and will not pass comment, and at least no press interest in it?? Its bizarre.

As far as I'm aware, the investigating Swiss magistrate is not at the stage of conclusion to know about issuing charges but I await the outcome. As for Jack Warner, bewilders me how this man is FIFA vice-president, for it makes FIFA of such stature eqiuvalent to the Liberal Democrats. It sounds very deplorable.


6/14/2006 9:54 am

Blogger BlindJak said...

It’s not surprising that there’s corruption but it’s surprising that so many people seem to tolerate it. How can the CONCAF federation stand Warner creaming money off at will? The £25k per month being paid out for those spartan offices put London property prices to shame! Yet no one raises an eyebrow? Why does o other confederation raise the issue? I’m surprised UEFA doesn’t as they are usefully locked in a power struggle with FIFA. Could it be they have skeletons they don’t want brought to the light if FIFA investigates them? So why not the worlds press who cry fowl over just about any thing? God alone knows what drives them to report what news they do.

There’s enough whiff of scandal here to get a new board elected and Warner sacked but nobody seems to have the will.

6/14/2006 3:14 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks, el. I wonder if Gudjohnsen could actually hold down a place in the Barca side, someone like him behind Ronaldinho and Eto'o similar to Italy's Ghana set-up of Totti behind toni and Gilardino looks good. Or Barca may use Gudjohnsen in a midfield role, wait and see. The former Bolton man still has a lot to offer, its a pity he cannot get to do so on the international stage like the WC.

While I implore of rour players to use the advantage this new design ball is said to have provided, like the mentioned shooters have done, I agree that its another element added to the game that smacks more of a commercial requirement. The finishing of a shot from 20-25-30 yards should strictly be left to the ability of the player and not to have anything to do with the aerodynamics of the ball.

I also agree about England being greater than they have shown. Does this equate to a manager having a player of potential who will not deliver? We had a first half against Paraguay we should have bettered in the second. The heat played a part but we have to get down and bypass that.

It is said to still be hot tomorrow at 5pm but England should now be accustomed to it enough to not let it deter their progress. Otherwise we may have to incorporate SAS training, all terrain, all weather, no excuses. I understand the Ecuadorian coach is quite a fan of such tests!

BJ, I'll await the end result of the investigations. Nothing will happen, even in the interim, unless there is a strong element of guilt or admission. I'm strongly of the notion that a programme like Panorama would not blow trumpets for no good reason, so I have strong belief in their findings so far. Innocent until proven guilty, yes, but when something smells like this, it usually goes a long way.


6/14/2006 5:03 pm

Blogger T said...

For me Gudjohnsen was at his best when playing as a centre-forward alongside Hasselbaink. The midfield role that Mourinho gave him was not suited to Gudjohnsen- who really is a classy player. The Premiership's loss is La Liga's gain...

On the new ball... interesting points EL and Redsman... but I'm of the opinion that with this ball you still must have excellent shooting technique as shown by the likes of Rosicky, Kaka, Cahill, Pirlo and Frings to score from outside the box. Again, as I wrote previously, this ball is so much better for me than the Euro 2004 silver ball... which maybe this WC ball is a slight over-compensation for?!

6/14/2006 7:33 pm


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