The Continuing Adventures of FIFA

It’s certainly been a busy few years for the governing body of world football, as it has become involved in criminal investigations and restructuring as a result of the behaviour of some of those involved with it, both past and present. We’ve been trying to keep an eye on the politics of it all, but it can be… difficult, at times.

Sheikh Salman: What The FFA?

The fall-out from the case of Bahraini international footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi continues. Questions need asking of Fifa because…well…Fifa. Likewise certain Australian politicians. Queensland senator Fraser Anning’s repugnant post-Christchurch...

Jerome Valcke: The End Of An Era… Sort Of

Say “Fifa corruption” and, if they don’t suddenly remember a prior engagement, people will almost certainly think: May 2015, the US Department of Justice indictment and arrested football officials wearing Zurich hotel bedsheets. For me, though, a larger...

Book Review: Red Card – A Fresh FIFA Perspective

Another year. Another Fifa corruption book. But ‘Red Card – Fifa and the Fall of the Most Powerful Men in Sports,’ by Buzzfeed News investigative journalist Ken Bensinger, is much more, offering a necessary, highly-readable perspective, from...

A World Cup With A Conscience

There is a lot of agonising going on at the moment amongst some football supporters about how we might be able to enjoy this summer's World Cup finals in Russia with a clean conscience. It's a difficult decision, of course. The World Cup feels...

VAR: For FIFA Finances, Not Football

The most important contribution to the recent mass debate over Video Referee Assistants (VARs) was not, mercifully, Alan Shearer’s. It wasn’t the academics at Belgium’s Catholic University (KU) of Leuven (cue howls from Rangers conspiracy...

The FIFA Trial: Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad?

“Happy but not satisfied.” When I read football comics as a 28-year-old kid, comic-strip stars such as “Cracker” Crane of Ditchfield United and “Bobby of the Blues” (from the porn-mag-sounding “Scorcher and Score”) never seemed to lose. And...

The FIFA Trial: Over By Christmas? 

Watching helplessly, as events overtake your just-submitted 1800-word article, is frustrating. Luckily, I was proof-reading my last “Fifa Trial” piece (NOT “Fifa-Gate” because that…MAKES…NO…SENSE…) when news emerged that defence attorneys in...

The FIFA Trial: Week Four – Kevin Jonas & Other Recording Stars 

The prosecution in the Fifa trial at New York’s Brooklyn Federal Court began week four expecting to rest by Wednesday. They ended week four expecting to rest by…erm…Wednesday. In-between, another week of testimony about grubby money-grabbing. Oh…and Kevin...

The FIFA Trial: Week Three 

Another day, another (multi-million) dollar (bribe story) at the “Fifa Trial” in New York’s Brooklyn Federal Courthouse, inevitably and dismally labelled “Fifa-Gate,” for the hard of thinking. The higher the bribes and laundered money, the more...

The FIFA Trial – Week Two

American journalists following the “Fifa Trial” in New York will surely have given thanks this thanksgiving week that proceedings finished on Tuesday because it IS thanksgiving week. The dizzying array of testified bribery has shown little sign of abating,...

Football & The Law: The “FIFA Trial” – Week One

Should 280-character tweets be a thing? Dunno. However, “Buzzfeed News Reporter” Ken Bensinger has used the new limit superbly to tell as much of the whole story of the “Fifa Trial” as possible via twitter from court. In English AND Spanish....

FIFA: The Repugnant Jack Warner – Justice At Last?

“Inside World Football” website editor Paul Nicholson recently wrote that repugnant former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner was “believed to be one of the kingpins at the centre of the corruption within Fifa and his own regional confederation.”...

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 & 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...

FIFA’s Garcia Report: Reaction & Ridicule

So, disgraced Fifa ex-president Sepp Blatter is NOT a woman trapped in a man’s body. Prince William did NOT try to sell his place in-line to the UK throne to Qatar. And the repugnant Jack Warner is NOT one of the most repulsive human beings on the planet...

FIFA’s Video Assistant Referees: How VAR Should They Go?

The Video Assistant Referees (VARs) experiment at the just-finished Under-20s World Cup in the Korean Republic was undoubtedly successful. As was the system itself, largely. Whether the people running it were as successful is a different matter…and possibly doesn’t...

Infantino Trumps FIFA

Among the millions of words from American political pundits and satirists about Donald bloody Trump, NBC’s Saturday Night Live broadcast the straightest-to-the-point, last… well… Saturday night. The previous Thursday, Trump told NBC journalist Lester Holt that he...

48 Crash: FIFA “Reinvents” The World Cup

The EU referendum campaign polarised opinion sufficiently to forget that two people of similar political faith could easily vote differently on the complex economic issues involved. One close friend, who became so partly due to politics, voted “Leave” and remains a...

FIFA: Infantino & The Blatter Playbook

Nothing’s changed. All current Fifa stories, emerging and on-going, could have been written almost anytime this century, simply by replacing “Infantino” with “Blatter.” If The Who’s Pete Townshend could charge for using the line “meet the new boss, same as the old...

FIFA: Infantino, Interviews & Infantility

With Fifa grabbing new headlines seemingly every time he goes to the toilet, Mark Murphy feared having to rewrite this article about 94 times. Then he discovered it’s all the same old story and concludes with proof that sometimes “the old ones are the only ones.” It...

FIFA: Blatter Bull – The Answers

Until Sepp Blatter was suspended from “football-related activity” last October, media access to him was a prime example of control-freakery. To outsiders, interviews with the has-been football administrator appeared designed for specific purposes, with clear...

FIFA: Blatter Blusters In Basel

I’m no theatre-lover. However, I will never forget attending a performance of Alan Bennett’s “Talking Heads” monologue Soldiering On. When the “dark secret” (there’s one in most “Talking Heads”) was revealed, the silence in the theatre somehow audibly intensified....

The FIFA Presidential Election: Meet The New Boss, etc.

It was inconsiderate of Fifa to announce their presidential election result at a minute to the hour. Sky Sports News, perhaps among many other media outlets worldwide, were caught completely unawares. Sky had to violently cut short an ad-break so that a flustered,...

The FIFA Elections – And The Winner Will Be..?

So, after all the shite and chicanery, who will win this heaven-forsaken Fifa presidential election? Football, of course, will determinedly not be the winner. The most credible candidate with all the successes of the week and momentum behind them is… Adele. However,...

FIFA – Blatter & Platini: Time Off For… Good Behaviour???

For fuck’s sake. Sorry about the language. I felt compelled to swear a bit in yesterday’s Fifa article (even a proper columnist, the Guardian’s Marina Hyde, chucked a swearie or two into her latest missive on the subject). But only because there was no more...

FIFA’s Presidential Elections… Nearly Done

Both the Republic of Ireland and Fifa go to the polls on Friday February 26th, and it is proving equally easy for observers of either or both elections to drown in cynicism. If possible, the most effective way to guarantee victory would be to change your name to...

FIFA & Dark Arts – An Insult To Our Sporting Intelligence

The world is currently witnessing an American presidential election where candidate Marco Rubio, who will “protect the sacred rights of America’s gun owners” (his emphasis) when 1,366 people (my emphasis) were shot dead in America in the first seven weeks of 2016, is...

FIFA: The Vindication of Andrew Jennings

Andrew Jennings’ latest book The Dirty Game: Uncovering the scandal at Fifa, was something of a greatest hits’ package. Terrific stuff for those brought to Fifa’s corruption tale since the ground-breaking events in May while breaking little new ground for more...

Blatter: Between The Angels Or Away With The Fairies?

The key to Fifa president-under-suspension Sepp Blatter’s sliding fortunes has been the changing attitude of the organisation’s Ethics Committee (EthCo). In June, journalist Andrew Jennings could, without fear of contradiction or legal repercussion, reference...

FIFA’s Week: The (In)Famous Five

In the week we discovered that his representatives can’t even be truthful about whether he was in hospital, Sepp Blatter will at least be happy with his list of potential successors. Fifa’s Ad-hoc Election Committee (AEC) decided that integrity was not an issue for...

FIFA’s Week: Integrity Checking

They like an oxymoron, do Fifa. Weeks of headlines about their “Ethics” Committee. Weeks of bluster by their in-house “Independent” Reform Committee. And last week their Ad-Hoc Election Committee embarked on a ten-day “integrity check” on the presidential hopefuls...

FIFA – The Interviews

The American political satirist and comedian Jon Stewart gave some sound advice to his many viewers during his last edition as host of Comedy Central’s fake news programme “The Daily Show.” At the end of a monologue cutely entitled “The war on bullshit” he asked them...

FIFA’s Week: Here Come The Candidates

Brought to you by the man who didn’t give a fcuk what ‘Back to the Future 2’ got right. As Fifa’s list of suspensions catches Lee Cattermole’s, there can be few surprises left. Maybe only Fifa’s Ethics Committee (EthCo) suspending Sir Bobby Charlton would raise...

FIFA Books: When Andrew Jennings Cried “Foul”

History has been very kind indeed to Foul, investigative journalist Andrew Jennings’ first literary foray into what the book’s sub-title calls The Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, vote-rigging and ticket scandals. Jennings is still on his worldwide “I told you so” tour,...

FIFA’s Week – Part One In A Series Of…

The first of what you’ll not be surprised to learn will be a weekly series commenting on dramatic plot developments at football’s world governing body, which are currently running at Australian soap opera levels of frequency and implausibility…I’m told by someone who...

FIFA – Time To Suspend Disbelief?

Right. Start again. There was I, comparing Fifa’s 2011 with its 2015 again, when suddenly… Press reports of a recommended 90-day suspension of Fifa president Joseph Blatter were expected by approximately no-one. Not only because Blatter has yet to appear before, or...

New FIFA This Time?

One day, someone interviewing Fifa president-for-life-at-this-rate Sepp Blatter will try this trick. And Blatter’s expression when he falls for it, which is borderline-inevitable, will provide screen-saver material for football fans everywhere. He/she will say: “Mr....

The Future of FIFA – A Blatter Perspective

Aaaaagh! There’s me undertaking some serious research for articles on (a) the NewFifaNow organisation; (b) the forthcoming Fifa presidential election; and (c) why I think (thought?) said election won’t happen because current incumbent Joseph “Sepp” Blatter just won’t...

The Future Of FIFA – A Fuller Perspective

Fifa events moved quickly and, in certain individual cases, refreshingly downhill last week. New arrests were promised by United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch; although the journalists at her September 14th press update on Swiss/US Fifa investigations...

FIFA Books – How They Stole The Game

First, a question. When did these events occur (a) 2008; (b) 2009; or (c) 2010?: Blatter left… for a secret visit to Qatar. There he met the ruler of the country, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifaal-Thani. Khalifaal-Thani has a reputation as a moderniser, a man anxious to open...

Blatter At The BBC – The Film Of The Book

After Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s interview with Dutch daily newspaper de Volksrant comes a 21-minute interview with BBC Sport’s Richard Conway, available on the Beeb’s website to gaze at in wonder. At the end an appropriately nauseating still of Blatter appears, a...

Blatter Blether In Double Dutch

If you thought Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore talked delusional shite in newspaper interviews… you’d be right. But even he can only watch and learn from the master, one Joseph S Blatter. Since the May 27th arrests of a number of his Fifa Executive...

The FIFA Scandals: An FBI Indictment On Us All

It’s an old joke, better heard than read, which I first heard from Irish comedian/actor Niall Toibin, who used it to showcase his mastery of Irish regional accents. The gist is that the Dublin Corporation put some public works out to tender. They got three bids. The...

The FIFA Scandals – Andrew Jennings Strikes Again

Sometimes, sleeping pills aren’t necessary. Just read these fifteen words: “The United States Senate Commerce Sub-Committee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security.” The current FIFA scandals may seem tenuously linked to the US Senate. But...

The World Is Still Watching, Herr Blatter

Perhaps it was a reflection upon the cynical age in which we live rather than anything else, but there was a current of disbelief that followed the announcement made by Sepp Blatter at the start of this month that he would not be seeking to continue as the President...

Gamed By The FAI? FIFA & The Irish Question

The 783rd sub-plot to the current FIFA drama is possibly one of the smallest in pure financial terms, a €5m loan to the Football Association of Ireland (FAI). However, the “official” reason exposes yet again (again) FIFA’s appalling lack of spending control and...

Our Business Is Our Business: The Murky World Of Jack Warner

So, while the football world focuses on the resignation of Joseph S Blatter as self-declared “president of everybody”, and (maybe) just before the words “immunity from prosecution” burst everybody’s bubble, here’s a reminder from MARK MURPHY of a week in the life of...