With little on the field to get excited about, my thoughts turn to football politics.
The Michael Garcia report on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup awarding decisions has finally been published, but sadly did not provide enough ammunition to charge Russia and Qatar or strip them of their World Cup hosting.
That Qatar paid $2 million to the ten year-old daughter of a FIFA official (the fantastically bent Brazilian Ricardo Texeira) would be hilarious if it were not so tragic. That a nation with no discernible football heritage, a hostile climate and apparently incompatible culture could trump the superior claims of Australia and the United States immediately shocked.
The subsequent humiliation of Qatari AFC President Mohammed Bin Hammam, aka Mr Bribe, and the tsunami of FIFA corruption cases has done nothing to change the impression that hosting the World Cup was a tainted victory for the tiny Gulf state, yet Garcia believed Bin Hammams’s payments to individuals to help his bid for the FIFA presidency had no connection to Qatar’s 2022 bid.
That said, other bidding nations came out just as embarrassed – Japan and South Korea for their largesse to potential supporters and Australia and England in their clumsy attempts to woo the kingmaker Jack Warner, the epitome of FIFA corruption and malfeasance, with money, friendlies and jobs for the boys.
England also tried to do a vote swap with the Situs Qiu Qiu Online Koreans on the eve of the vote, but that nation already had a deal in place with Spain, an inevitable consequence of scheduling two hosting votes together. It was all to no avail of course as none of those three nations emerged victorious.
Along with Michel Platini’s, Franz Beckenbauer’s football career is over as a result of the fall of the house of …