Posted: 1/10/2017


           FIFA HQ is up the hill on the No 6 tram from Hauptbahnhof and you alight at Zurich Zoo. Behind the electronic gates at FIFA rhere is a short football match being played on a heated pitch surrounded by ice and snow. It's below zero in Switzerland's largest city and yet a bunch of millionaires, without their expensive Swiss watches, are playing The People's Game.

         On the TV news I noticed 54 year old Maradona trotting up and down and close ups showing him looking 74. We have President Gianni Infantino who looks like a tall Mr, Bean when he smiles, which is often, and some executives and former stars. He didn't wear leggings. Alex Scott, Sunil Gulati, Carlos Puyal, Dwight Yorke, Lucas Raderbe, Pablo Aimar, Zvonomir Boban, Aleksander Ceferin.(UEFA President), Gabriel Batistuta, Geremi, Michel Saldago, David Trezeguet.... There were no pitch side defibrillators on hand in case of a heart attack amomg these old and unfit guys..or in case the Swiss Federal police showed up with snarling dogs and arrest warrents !!. FIFA HQ is not the Vatican or an Embassy, and there would be no where to hide.

        In the evening they had the lavish 'THE BEST' Zurich's TPC Studios.  Cristiano Ronaldo won the award for top male player and Carli Lloyd of USA once again got the female best award. Claudio Ranieri was the Best FIFA men's coach and Silvia Neid of Germany won for the third time,. Fair Play Award to Colombian club Atletico Nacional . A new FIFA Fan Award went to Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund who sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" together at Anfield at a UEFA match the day before the 27th Anniversary of The Hillsborough Disaster. Malaysian Mohid Faiz Subri won The Puskas Award  for his swerving free kick .

        The next day in no time at all the FIFA Council ( replacing the FIFA Executive) voted to expand the FIFA World Cup from 32 to 48 teams commencing in 2026 with USA the overwhelming favourite to host, either alone or with Canada or Mexico as co host. The very first World Cup that I watched on TV as a child was from Switzerland in 1954 when teams only played two of their three group stage opponents. I remember watching England v Belgium 4-4 after extra time at St. Jacob Stadium Basel and England 2 v Switzerland 0 at the Wankdorf Stadium Bern.

       In order to keep the 2026 World Cup the same length as the currevt 32 team competition the same two game format in each of the 16 group stages is proposed. A total of 80 matches. Each match must have a comclusion, with extra time and penatly kicks if necessary.  More matches and maybe $1 billion more in income. The two finalists will still play no more than 7 matches.

       A little crazy or foolish?  The FIFA President claims that it is a tournament for the 21st Century, and than football is not just for Europe and Latin America. Obviously the minnows are for it but it will also probably mean there will be 16 European teams-one for each group. After the group stage one team will go home after 2 matches and the other 2 advance.  The recent EUROS in France was quite boring overall, despite the success of small countries and their fantastic supporters from Wales, Northern Ireland and Iceland.

      While many fans will refuse to travel to Russia in 2018 and Qatar..if it goes 2022, USA would be a success without any foreign visitors with so many immigrants from everywhere already in residence.  The next meeting of the FIFA Council is scheduled to be held in Manama, Bahrain, not what you would call a democracy. on My 9th 2017, ahead of te 67th FIFA Congress.