Friday, 13 July 2012

Despicable Financial Unaccountable Nepotism (although DFUN sounds nicer)

Rocking the media blackout this morning as I wait for last night’s Alpine stage to download, so there won’t be a lot of new news today. Instead I’m going to get back into some football bashing again due to the (inevitable) exposure of massive corruption at FIFA that has just been definitively proven. Honestly, the financial shenanagins that FIFA gets into makes it completely unsurprising that the game is becoming almost irredeemably corrupted at club level. This particular case also threatens to re-taint the Sponsorathonympics, though how you could possibly do more to discredit an event that requires surface-to-air missiles to be installed on a residential building is beyond my understanding. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll inevitably wind up watching as much action from London as I can, but following every event I promise to have one of those scalding hot showers where you scrub and scrub and sob and sob but remain dirty on the inside.
Before we get into all that, some Comments from readers, firstly Joe Hard Times Molloy on the recent spike in Russian Comments readers:

“I should have warned you about my Eastern European fans. Just the mention of the name Hardtimes can get you out of all sorts of mischief in Latvia.

In regards to UFC 148, I loved Silva's defensive jiu-jitsu in the first round. Sonnen couldn't do any damage from the top and as soon as he made a mistake in the second, the Spider struck and it was over.

UFC wise this week keep an eye out for Kiwi lad James Te Huna as he fights the man with the best nickname in sports, Joey 'The Mexicutioner' Beltran. That's on UFC on Fuel 4.

Bless you for continuing to watch all the other sports that don't involve punching.”

And here’s Dougal Hamilton in response to Wednesday’s piece:

“Well as a small Man U supporter I couldn't agree with you more. It is despicable the situation that the club finds itself. I can't imagine that the management meetings at the club are much fun. I hate to think what will happen when some of the players and The Boss leave. It took some Scholes magic this year to get the team back into the competition. The future is not looking very bright . . . just hoping that the other clubs/owners go bust first.”

Super stuff guys.


As an entrée to FIFA’s despicableness, here’s a little anecdote from here in Korea following on from some recent movement in the football transfer market.
Park Ji-Sung is a legend in these parts, and deservedly so. He scored a crucial, fantastic goal in the 2002 World Cup where he first rose to prominence, for a long time was the only Korean playing at the highest level in Europe, and was captain and chief on-field contributor to the national side for many years. And then, along came Fergie.
Sir Alex Ferguson is manager at Cayman U, where Park has played since 2005. He is notorious for a being a no guff-taking hairdryer thrower, intimidating players, referees, FA officials and journalists alike with his purple-nosed gaze of pure hatred. He has achieved massive success for his club through ruthless means, which include completely ignoring the long-term financial meltdown that Cayman U face in favour of (his) short-term glory, and not allowing his players to compete in international fixtures for their countries. But how can he do this you ask? Surely he has to abide by FIFA’s rules stating that players must be made available when required by their national side?
Well, there has been an ongoing bout of unfortunate coincidence at Cayman U for many years, whereby just days before the window for international fixtures opens up, key players in the squad suddenly pick up niggling injuries that rule them out of international contention. Then, miraculously, and often just the day before Cayman U’s next match, the player comes right, and runs around for 90 minutes in a manner that surprises nobody. As noone wants to endure the purple-nosed gaze of pure hatred, nor suffer the hot blast of wine-stenched foul-mouthed invective that issues from his maw, few complaints are made.
This reached an all time peak in the case of Park. Here in Korea, football is hugely massively popular, and due to Park’s association with the team, Cayman U is the club of choice. Endless repeats of Cayman U victories cluster-funk the sports channels in a kind of visual waterboarding for supporters of any other clubs. I thought this might all change last year though, when Park suddenly and very unexpectedly announced his retirement from international football at the very young age of 30. What does this have to do with Fergie? Well, in an amazing coincidence, this announcement from Park came right in the midst of the period when he was negotiating a new contract at Cayman U. He was already becoming something of a fringe player, and given Fergie’s aversion to allowing his players to turn out for their national sides, especially when it involves lengthy air-travel across multiple time zones, it doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to picture the ultimatum handed to Park: lucrative contract for club in exchange for giving up your country. Which is what he chose.
I have to admit that I was very surprised when there was no backlash against either club or player here when this all came about. Park is far and away the best player Korea has, and losing him is a huge blow to the national team’s aspirations. Why aren’t folks here more het-up? Am I the only one to make the connection, or am I the only one who sees such paranoid conspiracies? Anyway, now that Park has moved to QPR it will be interesting to see whether he makes a comeback at international level. I hope so, solely so I can remove my tinfoil headware, which is far too hot in summer and also an ill-advised choice during thunderstorm season.
Another thing that will be worth watching for here is whether the sycophantic over-exposure of Cayman U continues. In the past, no matter how important the other fixtures in the round might have been, Korean tv would screen the Cayman U game. And while I derive no joy in seeing them play, except for when they lose, (6-1 at home to City was truly magic), a cessation of this could be a mixed blessing. Already I have had to suffer greatly due to two Korean international stars playing at Scottish side Celtic. There is nothing worse than settling in for a Premier League game that is suddenly replaced by one from the Scottish league. Why? Imagine two teams of particularly foul-mouthed dirty-tackling eight years olds playing on a giant field for 90 minutes and you’ve got an accurate projection of any match in the Scottish Premier League. Terrible, truly terrible football. Watching QPR week in week out will be better than that, but not by much.

And speaking of Scottish ‘football’, the only thing really keeping it alive over the years has been the derby matches between the two Old Firm clubs of Glasgow; the aforementioned Celtic and their hated rivals Rangers. These two sides have totally dominated the Scottish Prem: since its inception in 1998 they are the only clubs to have won the title, and only once has another side finished in the top two. But that is about to change in the worst way possible, and in a manner that should sound further warnings to FIFA, the English FA, and clubs like Cayman U. Rangers have just suffered a massive total financial catastrophe, and are in the process of being booted out of the top league, leaving the ranks of Scottish club football barer than ever. And how did it happen? Rampant financial mismanagement due to virtually non-existent regulations governing the sale and purchase of clubs. As usual with these scandals it is heinously complex, but there is a wonderful piece about how it all came about and the implications for the future of Scottish football here. The article is written by a journalist by the name of David Conn, who specialises in untangling the webs of deceit and fraud that are an increasing part of the behind-the-scenes running of football clubs. It speaks to my total nerdery that he is one of my favourite sports writers.
It is also his work here that sheds light on the disgrace currently erupting at the rotten heart of football, FIFA. For so many years the sport’s governing body has run the world’s most popular game with so little regard to the actual health of football that it is little wonder that things have gotten so out of hand at club level worldwide. The combination of vast vast vast sums of money, unaccountable officials, and nepotistic relationships does not a healthy organisation make. The Wikipedia page for FIFA has nine separate sections: the Allegations of Corruption and Legislative Interference entry is the longest. The fact that the bribery scandal that is hitting headlines everywhere today has links to prominent International Olympic Committee (IOC) members comes as no surprise to anyone anywhere. Despicable Financial Unaccountable Nepotism, or DFUN, is both more catchy than IOC, and a more accurate portrayal of the way the Sponsorathonympics are run.

I think that’s enough bile for today. I love sport, I really do, which is why having a bunch of greedy d!chheads wielding so much influence riles me up so much. I promise to try and get back onto a more positive track next week. Unless I post on Monday. I really hate Mondays.
Not really much of note to look forward to this weekend, aside from more epic mountainous epicness in the Tour. The never-ending ravenous beast that is Super Rugby is still going, and while I don’t have an itinerary to hand, the Black Caps probably play the Windies again. Get in touch with any questions, comments, suggestions or criticisms, and check back next week for more.
Have an ace weekend.

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