Category Archives: Footie

FIFA World Cup: when the best event is also the most corrupt

As John Oliver suggests in the video below, FIFA has more in common with Borgia-era Catholic church than the Heifer International-style non-profit bringing the game to the poorest of the poor.

The protests in Brazil are (I hope) well known and better documented elsewhere, the 2018 and 2022 events are in Russia, who banned homosexuality and invaded a sovereign country in the last few months, and Qatar, who seem completely disinterested in ending slavery.  Any sane group of decision makers should immediately expel these countries from consideration, but alas they’ve bought their way in.

But then there’s the mundanity of day-to-day corruption and favoritism that really drives me nuts:

This isn’t sour grapes from Portugal’s tragic comeback goal against the US.  I, like Mr. Oliver, absolutely love the World Cup and all the good things it can represent about the world.  Even the brand sponsorships are George Lois-ian “poison gas” from time to time.  I also love how I’ve been alive for the launch and growth of american soccer to where it will be in 8 years.

I simply want the organizers to show some shreds of the respect for fairness and justice that you provide the backbone for the Laws and spirit of the Game around the world.

Against Modern Football — Amazing New York Times video op-ed

This is an amazing video from NYTimes’ Kris Hofmann, about the Modern Barclay’s Premier League, and how money impacts the game so clearly.

A Game of Numbers – New York Times Op-Doc from Kris Hofmann on Vimeo.

In the US, Major League Soccer has had those scary moments when clubs and supporters clash, but I think they’ve learned that the supporters are vital to the growth of the game. I’d say the American version of this story is the NFL, which finds ways to avoid taking responsibility for how their employees’ lives are destroyed and kill all the fun through rules.

Football in China, the ultimate talent gap?

Last week we saw some very big news coincide with interesting articles examining the state of Football (not pointyball) in China.  It’s such a great moment, I have to do a massive link dump and analysis of the Nicolas Anelka coverage and the Economists’ excellent article about Chinese Football, which dropped fortuitously only days after Anelka’s signing.  JUMP!

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Footie in America

It is odd to stand tall as an American during the World Cup, when in other contexts I am not particularly proud of my Passport.

The World Cup is inherently a nationalistic endeavor. For a country that has been bad at the sport in question for most of the sport’s existence, and has most of the world somewhere between casually disgusted to fully at war against it, I am fully aware of the dry irony and awkwardness of a pub full of Americans chanting U-S-A, during a football match until we’re hoarse.

Continue reading Footie in America