Currently, a battle is going on between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, one that is affecting international football as well. There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia wants to take the World Cup away from Qatar in 2022. The “Foundation for Sports Integrity” was launched in a lavish setting in London in May with buzz words about “transparency” and “corruption” that made several participants ask about the source of the money. Two of them were Andreas Selliaas and Jan Jensen*, who have tried to track the secret backers of the new initiative. Jim Waterson of the Guardian also weighs in with additional facts. Interestingly, with regard to awarding the FIFA World Cup 2026, which was announced later in Moscow in July, Saudi Arabia backed the winning, so-called “United” bid of the United States, Canada and Mexico, while Qatar backed the Morocco bid.
Panel discussion at the FFSI conference | Andreas Selliaas
(London, Updated 28 June) – The Foundation for Sports Integrity (FFSI) was launched at the fashionable Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square in London on 31 May. The founder of the FFSI is Jaimie Fuller, the Chairman of SKINS, one of the persons behind the initiative New FIFA Now and a familiar face to those attending Play the Game conferences.
AP (Aug. 15) – Justifying an overhaul of its ethics code, FIFA asserted Tuesday that people who “tarnish the reputations of others” must be banned from soccer.
The Associated Press revealed Monday that a new offence of defamation had been added to the document governing the conduct of participants in soccer, with scope for a ban of up to five years from the game. Continue reading →
(July 11, revised July 19) – The world has been saved from an England-France Brexit final at the 2018 World Cup, renditions of “Three Lions” and “Rule Britannia” in the stadiums, and the tsunami of British chauvinism unashamedly embraced by the Canadian media.
What goes around, comes around. The dodgy English threw their final match in the opening round with Belgium back on June 28 with the pretext of resting players and avoiding injuries for the Round of 16. “Sometimes, you have to make decisions with the bigger picture, and that’s what I did tonight,” rationalized head coach Gareth Southgate at the time – as if the decision was his and his alone. That “bigger picture” seems to have included getting a better draw in the knockout stage, that is, to avoid Brazil and therein build the size of the betting pool, the TV market, the revenues of the English Football Association, and a “hearts and minds” diversion from the Brexit crisis at home – giving a new definition to match fixing and a level playing field. Such are the elastic ethics of England. Continue reading →
(June 28) – In today’s crucial group stage match between England and Belgium, the Brits narrowly managed to come out on top by coming out on bottom of a hard-fought 1-0 loss. With this phenomenal loss, England won entry to the much weaker side of the knockout round bracket, and now have a clear lane to the World Cup semifinal. Continue reading →
Soccer action meets the media’s alternative reality during Russia’s World Cup finals. Since the alleged poisoning of ex-MI6 agent Sergei Skripal in Britain, a Russophobic media has gone into overdrive. Nowhere is the desperation with which this has been seized more obvious than Britain, which lost the vote to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup to Russia eight years ago, and the London Guardian. DAVID EDWARDS* digs into the incoherent coverage by Britain’s “serious” newspapers of the 2018 World Cup in contrast with the London 2012 Olympics, hailed at the time as a “masterpiece.”
MediaLens (June 21) – Senior Guardian sports writer Barney Ronay indicated the basic tone of early corporate coverage of the Russia 2018 World Cup: Continue reading →