" So foul and fair a day I have not seen", and so John McBeth, the outgoing President of the Scottish F.A. was dropped as the Home Countries FIFA Vice-President after he had allready arrived in Zurich for his inauguration this weekend at the annual FIFA Congress.
William Shakespeare never knew FIFA President Sepp Blatter or CONCACAF President Jack Warner, or he would have written a play about them, though Jack reminds me more of 'The Artful Dodger' in Charles Dickens 'Oliver Twist' . McBeth was determined to stamp out corruption in World Football, and 2 days before the Congress made some remarkably statements. Blatter was 'a tricky customer' and he thought that most of the African countries were corrupt, and when he shook hands with their delegates he 'counted the fingers on his hand afterwards'. He also thought the same about CONCACAF. Well, you would, wouldn't you.!! His biggest 'crime' was to say it before he had been installed after which time he could have tried to 'look at the books', and possibly make some needed reforms. Jack and his CONCACAF cohorts led the charge to dump McBeth and to take the privileged Home Countries vice-presidency(England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales) away.
Fortunately it didn't happen and the President of The F.A. Geoff Thompson, was quickly given the British Vice-Presidency and with it $100,000 a year fee, plus almost unlimited first class expenses, a private account at FIFA H.Q and liberal $500 a day plus first class air, hotel, limos and meals and $300.00 a day plus the same perks for partners, family and friends. With a split vote of 2-2 with Jim Boyce of The Irish F.A, the Englishman will serve for 4 years, followed by the Northern Irishman for the next four. New UEFA President Michel Platini is so close to Blatter and probably wants to succeed him that he is nicknamed Platter.
Meanwhile in London The Burns Report was overwhelmingly adopted to moderise the running of The Football Association. Both the Professional Game and the National Game(the amateurs) will have 5 votes each plus an independent Chairman and a Chief Executive, and revenues evenly split. The new F.A. Council will also have representatives from Women, The Fans, and other groups. Current Chairman Geoff Thompson voted himself out of office, but now finds he has the lucrative FIFA 'salary' to keep him in fine wine and cigars.
Graham Poll, England's best but most controversial Premiership referee has taken early retirement at 43 with another 6 or more years of eligibility remaining, to start a lucrative media career. He blasted off at the F.A. for not supporting referees in their battles with players and managers but was not without much controversy himself with his narcissis complex. He always wanted to be the centre of attention, and at the recent World Cup gave the same player 3 yellow cards and was sent home early.
Manchester United who are rumoured to be up for sale again by their American owners, have just landed Canadian born Owen Hargreaves from Bayern Munchen for $37 million and are about to splash out $60 million on a couple of young Portuguese players. $27 million on 20 year old Sporting Lisbon winger NANI, followed by $35 million with FC Porto for 19 year old attacking midfielder ANDERSON.
Last but not least, it's sad to know that this Saturday will be Ryan Gigg's last international appearance for Wales, vs The Czech Republic at Millenium Stadium in Cardiff. His swan song will be his 64th cap and with Wales having no chance of reaching the finals of EURO 2008 next summer coach John Toshack can start team rebuilding. Giggs hopes that like Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Alan Shearer before him, early interational retirement can extend his club career at the age of 33.