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International Football

Sepp, why don’t you just Blatter off?

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is at it again. He doesn’t seem to be able to open his mouth without whipping up a storm, and in the same week that Fifa ditched their experiments into using goal-line technology (which is another topic for another time), he’s done it again.

The British Olympic Team for a start.

The man who is in charge of world football (heaven help us) says the team should be made up of purely English players, a view supported by the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Football Associations, who all fear that their Fifa status could be compromised by playing under a unified “British” banner:

If you start to put together a combined team for the Olympic Games, the question will automatically come up that there are four different associations so how can they play in one team.

If this is the case then why the hell do they have four associations and four votes and their own vice-presidency?

This will put into question all the privileges that the British associations have been given by the Congress in 1946.

The irony is that Fifa had previously assured the home nations that their seat would not be impacted, but that hasn’t stopped Mr President. Blatter has a habit of agreeing with whichever opinion is popular with the country he is speaking from, and where was this talk held? You guessed it – Scotland.

Dangerous tackles were also high on his agenda. Blatter believes that players who are guilty of making such tackles should be banned for life and even face criminal prosecutions. He is quoted in the Times as saying:

Dangerous tackling is one of the most important issues in football at the moment. Therefore players who do this kind of thing intentionally should be banned from the game. Attacking somebody is criminal, whether it happens on a football pitch or elsewhere. It is a crime and should be treated as such.

Ok, I’ve got a question. How can you tell with any certainty that a player has done such a thing “intentionally”? 90% of the time it is going to be down to perception. Sometimes tackles are just a split-second late, and when watched again in slow motion look a thousand times worse than at normal speed. The Martin Taylor challenge on Eduardo is a perfect example of that.

And of course Blatter has had to put his oar in that one as well hasn’t he? He wants Fifa to investigate the FA’s handling of the case and potentially increase his automatic three match ban:

We have the right to ask national associations to give us the file – and if we feel the suspension is not enough we will come back on that.

Brilliant. So in other words, Fifa doesn’t feel the FA can handle it themselves, so they’re going to wade in. What an absolute joke. Will they be looking at other cases, or just the ones that hit the news? Would they be interested if the Taylor/Eduardo incident took place in a game between, say Norwich and Colchester? Course they flaming well wouldn’t.

More from Blatter:

Before, the problem was tackling from behind, but now players are doing it from the front and from the side.

So players cannot tackle from behind, but now they shouldn’t tackle from the front or the side either? What are they supposed to do, Sepp – parachute in? Maybe they should dig a sodding tunnel?

Get real and do your job – you can make sure South Africa are ready for the World Cup in 2010 for a start.



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