Author: Mark

Mark Sampson, The FA & A Tale of Two Media

On 19th September, I watched England’s women players descending en masse towards their then-manager Mark Sampson after their opening goal in a World Cup qualifying victory over Russia. “**** off,” I cried. Harsh. But I can explain. The neatly-worked goal was neither hugely special against a hapless defence, nor vital to England’s qualification hopes…five more followed before the night was through. So, the dugout invasion was less a goal celebration than a show of solidarity with the under-pressure Sampson. BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce revealed what was happening (seconds before it happened…which we’ll leave for now). And he proclaimed, correctly (though...

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FIFA Madness: Miguel Maduro & “The Female Position”

In May, FIFA sacked “did not renew the mandate of” its Ethics Committee co-chairs, Cornel Borbely and Hans Joachim-Eckert, so as to “better reflect the geographic and gender diversity that must be a part of an international organisation like Fifa.” These “non-renewals,” and Borbely and Eckert’s piqued reactions, were headline-grabbers, reducing Miguel Maduro’s non-renewal to mid-table paragraphs of the stories themselves (including mine). After Maduro’s fascinating 72-minute appearance at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport departmental select committee hearing last Wednesday, these roles were reversed. Maduro was non-renewed after ten months as Governance Committee chairman, at least partly for his committee...

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FIFA & Sierra Leone: Musa Liability’s Integrity Task

“Even Fifa has its limits. Doesn’t it?” So ended Nick Harris’s November 2015 profile of Fifa presidential hopeful Musa Bility, on Harris’s excellent Sporting Intelligence website, as Bility’s presidential candidature was rejected on countless (lack of) integrity grounds. “Maybe in time,” Harris mused, “it will become apparent why on earth he thought Fifa’s integrity check would be a gimme.” Harris may be right. Perhaps Fifa has no limits. After all, their just-announced a task force to address the countless integrity issues affecting Sierra Leone’s Football Association (SLFA) will be chaired by Liberian FA president and African Football Confederation (Caf)...

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Billericay Town: The Only Way Isn’t Necessarily Essex

Glenn Tamplin was background noise to my summer, merely the latest wealthy narcissist ejaculating wealth and narcissism over a non-league football club before the narcissism proves insufficient once the wealth runs out. Tamplin, the owner of Isthmian League Billericay Town, initially seemed little different to over-ambitious owners like Canvey Island’s Jeff King, Grays Athletic’s Micky Woodward and Hornchurch’s Karl Williams… even when he made himself Billericay’s manager (King did likewise at Canvey. But a closer look at Tamplin’s public persona (which strongly suggests there isn’t a private one) reveals plenty more “ejaculating.” The forty-five year-old frequently comes across like a...

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Scottish Football Goes Nuts

Football’s genuine status as “only a game” was perfectly demonstrated by comparing Scottish football’s descent into madness last week with the parallel fall and fall further into the arena of the psychologically unwell of US president Donald bloody Trump. Trump’s week of false equivalence, ignorance of history and resultant encouragement to American neo-Nazis and white supremacists has been well-documented, by far better documenters than me. Suffice to say that the clownish rhetoric, schoolboy politicking and rank-rotten refereeing which pock-marked Scottish club football’s week was many times… MANY TIMES less dangerous. For some observers, part of Scottish club football “tradition”...

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