Posted: 10/30/2013


       Three books off the press in the last week or so from Harry Rednapp, David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson.

       I am not about to comment on my true feelings about Sir's tome, not wanting to receive a Glasgow handshake on a dark and moonless night waiting for the last bus home. As for 'Arry...well he claims that he has never written a letter in his life and can't spell. How many trees have been felled for these hastily written books? David's book is about..David, soon to own the new MLS franchise THE MIAMI BLING. Our forests should be protected.

       A much more interesting book is the paperback I AM ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC. Now out with the English translation. Very good... so far. Only read the first two chapters...but will be back at Waterstone's at the weekend for more!!

       A few evenings ago The FA held a 150th anniversary banquet at The Connaught Rooms in London in celebration, with FIFA President Sepp Blatter, UEFA President Michel Platini, Prince William the FA President and others that never miss a free lunch.. or dinne,r were there for the feast.

       They all had a lot more on their plates than roast beef and English trifle. Sepp compared him and FIFA to Robin Hood and not The Sheriff of Nottingham. He and Michel Platini, at 57 and twenty years younger is considering a run for THE BIG PRIZE when the FIFA elections are next held in 2015. He defends his financial fair play that he claims has reduced debts of the major clubs from Euro 1.7 billion to Euro1 billion in a few short years.

       His latest vote getter is to expand the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and beyond from 32 to 40 nations, with eight groups of five teams, which he claims would only lengthen the tournament by three days. Blatter, who wants to run for a fifth term, wants it to stay the same, but to take 3 places away from UEFA nations, now numbering 54, and giving extra places to Africans, Asians and CONCACAF.

       There are now 209 FIFA nations, ten more than The United Nations. Joao Havelange extended the tournament from 16 to 24 in 1982 and later 8 places were added.  Of course, with their lavish jet setting expense accounts the FIFA Mob would just earn more money, while the poor old fans would be paying more and more for less class.

       One thing that I would like to see would be a re-alignment of FIFA. Combine CONMEBOL in South America with CONCACAF to start with. The latter has a great idea in seeding the qualifications. This means that the small islands and countries such as St. Kitts & Nevis, Anguila, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Monserrat etc., have to play off to make the next step and finally the Big Guns such as USA, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica are brought in.

      UEFA could do the same thing with San Marino, Andorra and newly brought in Gibraltar and others having a tournament with the best of those teams finally getting the chance to play against England, Germany, Spain, Italy, France etc. One arguement is that the present system is a way of selling TV rights to visiting large nations, but many matches are a waste of time. Some sort of revenue sharing could help. At the moment all FIFA nations tiny and huge get an annual massive pay out from FIFA anyway.

      I would like to see Asia combine with Oceania and CAF, the African Confederation, split up and limited to Sub-Saharan Africa. Then I would take the North African federations and combine them with some of the middle Eastern ones in central Asia for an Arab based new Confederation. Give them ONE World Cup Place--if they behave themselves. 

      Also from 2022 let ALL countries have to qualify even if they are hosts. NO WAY should QATAR be able to BUY A PLACE AT THE WORLD CUP FINALS !!!. Of course, I hope that it will be moved sooner rather than later.