He’s not worth it. As a public-attention whore and someone whose main concern is to make FIFA look good in the eyes of press and the national associations as well as to help make FIFA more money, Blatter doesn’t represent the true opinions of a ‘guardian of football’ (as FIFA claims itself to be by virtue of being the supreme authority). He’s not worth the column inches printed about his comments today, so we’re not going to discuss that.
What I will point out is that club football and footballers in general are under attack by the likes of UEFA and FIFA – organisations created to protect international football, not promote club football or the rights of footballers. When Blatter – as FIFA spokesman – talks about slavery in football, in reality he’s attacking the power clubs have over the game and how that makes it harder for FIFA to arrange more international competitions and thus promote the game globally. When UEFA (pandering to the clubs by blaming player power instead) talks about spiraling wages, they’re afraid that players will refuse to bend to FIFA / UEFA regulations if their future is secure.
This has nothing to do with football or whether Ronaldo is being ‘held like a slave’ (interestingly, since Madrid haven’t made an offer or even an enquiry for Ronaldo and since the player himself hasn’t asked for a transfer, when has United ‘forced’ Ronaldo to stay?).
This is a turf war between international and club football, it’s been going on for ages and it will keep happening as long as the people in charge put their own belief systems and interests over that of the game.
Yes, wages are high. Yes, players leaving their clubs to play for bigger clubs (Barry to Liverpool) is a problem. Yes, fixture congestion in league football is a problem. There are solutions to all of this, but we’re not going to get there by pointing fingers and protecting our territorial advantage.
A perfect example of how FIFA could have made a marked difference in how football is governed and refused to is the goal line technology issue. FIFA vetoed the proposal despite the fact that the technology is sound, will instantly resolve at least half to 75% of all contentious goal-line decisions AND is inexpensive to install at the Premier League level. Why not give it a trial? There is no logical or justifiable rationale behind the veto, and every reason to go ahead with the technology.
The Premier League has the financial strength to defy FIFA and UEFA, and as clubs and leagues get increasingly richer it poses a problem for the authorities on how to ‘control’ them. The sooner they learn to work together as opposed to fighting them, the sooner we can get back to enjoying and improving the game instead of being tortured by this bitchfest engaged in by players, clubs and officials.
Sepp Blatter photo at Camp Nou courtesy of Oliver Fowler, Next Soccer Star.