Posted: 7/27/2006


  So, Italy won the Cup and 31 others didn't. There were no great teams and no great players , but the Italian defence was mean and lean. Germany was the winner. A near perfect host and superb organization, and THE FANS from around the world behaved themselves, mixed in the stadium(thanks to the ticketing fiasco) and mixed at the Fan Zones, in the host cities and all over Germany. The German National Tourist Office had offered and encouraged tourists to come to Germany even if they couldn't get tickets, and thy did in their hundreds of thousands. The trains were packed. There were plenty of special trains overnight after late matches, but not enough first class seats. The organizing committee had given all journalists a first class rail pass and that meant that the paying public often had to stand in corridors or bike sections. The 12 stadiums had good site lines and there was lots of food and drink available. Congratulations to all the World Cup volunteers and to the overworked DB helpers at train stations everwhere, offering train information for hundreds of thousands. You saw the pale blue FIFA helpers in the VIP sections. They were paid and there were far too many of them. The scandal is of the 500,000 corporate tickets-far too many for any world cup which demied the TRUE fans entry. A ticket tout from London told me that the majority of tickets he and his colleagues had obtained were from corporate sources and from FIFA officials. "They are totally corrupt". In fact true fans were limited to trying the internet or the 6% that US Soccer and other federations received per match. You saw thousands of Italians, Dutchmen, English and whatever, in the stadiums, having bought tickets on the black market. As I have said before, kids winning a prize in a McDonalds contest would probably enjoy Disneyland Paris instead. Off with their heads. First the Spanish head of the Referees Committee, for a lousy job and putting too much pressure on the referee teams.      UEFA had it right at recent European Championships. The referee teams stayed at home and were flown into the host country the day before a match and flew home afterwards. Paying referee teams who did, maybe 2 matches, $50,000 plus to hang around for a month or more only made them think of the matches too much. Obviously that's impractical for South Africa due to the distance. FOR 2010 I have some good ideas. There is a very special university-University of Wittwartersrand -WITTS to most people, in a suburb of Johannesburg. They bravely defied politics and allowed non whites to studay and live there long before the apartheid barrier came down. They have great soccer fields and lots of dorm rooms. THIS would be the perfect place to put the FIFA HQ. Leave the few 5 star hotels to fans. Its ridiculous to pay big money to house ERMOS (easily replaceable minor officials) secretaries from Zurich