It remains the most popular sport in the world and at the international level , there is no more popular quadrennial event than the World Cup . Last held in 2014 , this year’s event is being held in Russia , where President Vladmir Putin hopes to see the host country raise the Jules Rimet Trophy to signify themselves as world champions. In the opening game of the tournament Russia overpowered their opponent , Saudi Arabia , winning the game in a lopsided fashion , 5-0 . Good enough, to set the host country on their way within their group.
The top thirty-two teams in the world have gathered together for Soccer’s most prestigious event looking to succeed the current defending champions Germany , who will be looking to make a successful defense of their title. Quite rightly, they remain a firm favorite with an established and world-class team .Germany got off to a really rocky start in the defense of their title with a shocking loss , 1-0 against Mexico in their opening game of their group, Group F . This was one in a line of truly embarrassing results for a number of the favored teams as the opening schedule of games took place.
Lionel Messi and his teammates will take to the field on Thursday,21st June to face Croatia . Portugal’s next game in the opening round of group games will see them face Iran . Cristiano Ronaldo has continued to set records at the international level for his country and the player will further seek to establish himself perhaps the best European player in the history of the game.
Well we can’t talk about international soccer without mentioning the name of Brazil and their list of all-time great players. Currently the best player on their roster , is Neymar Jr , perhaps the closest thing they have to matching both Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo on the international soccer stage. Brazil has gotten to a dogged start to this World Cup with a very unimpressive debut game, resulting in a 1-1 tie against Switzerland . With Serbia leading Group E , a group many believed Brazil would have all to themselves , they now have to win their next outing , when they are due to face the group leaders in a game to be played on the 27th June . Failure to win the contest and there is a chance that the Brazilians would face a tough time qualifying from their group.
While the world continues to watch the World Cup unfold, here on the West side of the Atlantic , the biggest story likely to unfold over the next forty-eight hours will be how the NBA Draft unfolds as the top-ten picks of the first round go down. Luka Doncic was thought to be the consensus number one overall pick , but his stock has been dropping faster than the popularity ratings of both Kanye West and Roseanne Barr combined. The knock against the Slovenian player , has been his lack of physicality to his game. It’s something I believe once he’s in the weight room adding on the muscle , his game being what it is , the team who drafts him will get the benefits of what made him a European Player of the Year and a Finals Four MVP in the European Club Championships. Whether or not the front office of the Phoenix Suns will choose to make Doncic that overall number one pick remains to be seen.
Over the past five years , it would appear that Dwight Howard was never going to be able to fulfill the early promise shown at the start of his career . For the second time in the last two years the player finds himself on the move as the Charlotte Hornets traded the veteran center to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Timofey Mozgov and some future picks. Far be it for me to suggest , but the Hornets even with this trade are far from where they need to be. Team owner Michael Jordan and the front office have done little to raise the profile of this franchise , since Jordan took controlling interest , having bought the Hornets from BET founder Robert L Johnson .
The decision to move Dwight Howard might well have a great deal more to do with the fact his relationship with his teammates had soured due to his antics . It was also rumored that Michael Jordan sought to improve the cap space for the team as he sought to lure a marquee free agent to the Hornets.
With the opening round of the NBA Draft set to begin tonight , 21st June and plays out over the next two nights. . It will be interesting to see what transpires , as well as bearing in mind LeBron James has yet to make the world aware of his plans. James is looking to hold the NBA’s franchises hostage and in doing so, it affects how they are likely to proceed.
Kawhi Leonard has met with Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich and it’s not known what was discussed between Popovich and the player, but it is believed that as a senior front office executive for the franchise in his capacity in that role , he has pulled the plug on any demands that Leonard might have in wanting to be traded. The disruption to the franchise has not yet met a crescendo level , but there’s no doubt in my mind Kawhi Leonard is pushing to be traded. The Spurs for their part will be concentrating on the Draft, but I also believe if the right offer came along, they might well be willing to part ways with their disgruntled star.
Having become the first team in the Majors this season with fifty wins to their name the Houston Astros are showing why in many respects the AL might be considered a better quality league than that of their NL rivals . That being said , it should not be considered a major knock against those teams.
Highest paid player in the game, by way of his contract and now the naysayers are sitting up and taking note as to what Giancarlo Stanton means to the New York Yankees and the team in general . It’s at times like this , I just wish the idiots would just shut hell up and simply learn something about the game of baseball ! Stanton might not be the best player in the game but he’s certainly in the argument to be considered a top-ten player that’s for sure. Giancarlo Stanton is proving to be a leader both on and off the field and his productivity this season is proof of that fact. Is he ready to assume the mantle of the team captain ? Well that’s an honor not often bestowed upon a Yankees’ player , with the last such person to be given the honor , being Derek Jeter . It has been almost five years since Jeter was last seen in the Yankees’ pinstripes.
As this month winds down within the world of sports, what are you own expectations of the coming months ? Also, which story within the past few days has been the one which has captured your attention the most ?
Well now that the dust has settled it would appear with the sudden resignation of FIFA’s four-term President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter , and his seeking to salvage his now languid reputation. The future of soccer’s international governing body still appears to be limbo. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth as the institution will simply regroup, weather the storm and simply look to steer a new course . Nothing will actually change and there will not be any greater oversight than there was before.
With the World Cups of 2018 and 2022 still ahead and the various associations not calling for there to any changes in the staging of those events in Russia and Qatar , respectively. The apparent idiocy shown by journalists, the none too informative and unintelligent sports’ fans in North America who believe themselves attuned to the sport, has simply indicated to me what I have always known all along. Stupidity simply comes in all shapes and sizes, with the country leading the world by an ever widening margin . which is beyond belief.
Blatter’s stepping down will not leave a great vacuum within the FIFA hierarchy and the executive committee will now seek to either hold a quick vote in search of a new successor , while also seeking to address the issue of the ongoing investigation by the Swiss authorities who are now said to be working in conjunction with the US Justice Department .
The federal agency’s leadership headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch has gone on record,. stating , ” the actions of the executives behind a corruption scandal and their actions being so egregious . that it brought the game of soccer into disrepute”. I’m sorry, but soccer was already up to its neck in its own fecal matter , long before this latest scandal.
Far be it for me to suggest that the NFL , NBA and MLB have not had their own litany of skeletons within their vestibules over the past few years. If the likes of Frank McCourt can literally place a baseball franchise into bankruptcy , with acts , which under normal circumstances would be seen as criminal and still not be punished by baseball’s hierarchy . Then it begs the question, what the hell is the Justice Department meant to be doing in its role as the nation’s law enforcement arm ? It is not as if the agency has the greatest success in prosecuting white collar criminals , especially those who simply were behind the eruption of the US economy and specifically within the financial sector . Yet low and behold, rabid idiot fans without a clue are looking for the implosion of an international sports’ governing body? I don’t hear of any calls for the bringing down of the WBA , WBC , IBF or WBU , but somehow those four bodies who are the international governing arms for the sport of boxing, can go untouched, because there is the belief the sport of boxing remains above reproach ?
Former Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt having taken the franchise into bankruptcy proceedings as part of his divorce settlement , was still able to walk away with $1 billion cash , even after it was noted during the proceedings McCourt had leveraged the ball-club to finance private deals, contravening league rules as well as using funds derived from the club’s revenues for his own personal use , buying commercial and , residential real estate, a yacht and several sports’ cars. Somehow, neither MLB’s hierarchy or federal prosecutors saw fit to indict or prosecute Frank McCourt for any wrongdoing on his part. AP Photo / Barry Reed
Consider, the bribery and corruptible practices within the sport and somehow, the antics of such promoters as Bob Arum and Don King are still lauded in numerous circles. Give me a fucking break , with all of this asinine bull#hit as to what the Justice Department is now seeking to do , having unearthed evidence showing that a Miami based sports’ marketing firm was used to launder monies paid to several high-ranking FIFA executives.
The sole reason the federal agency entered the fray, came from the fact a US financial institution was also being used to launder the ill-gotten gains of these executives. I wonder if the US Justice Department would use such zeal, to go after a Wall Street executive much less a US Congressman, were they actually at the center of such a probe ? They failed miserably with an inept attempt to punish former Senator Ted Stevens and all of this was done at the taxpayers’ expense ? What the fuck !
Blatter walks away from an institution which he ran like his own personal fiefdom, where his serfs were equally as corrupt. At the end of the day however, just about everyone associated with the sport has to be apportioned a certain amount of blame. There may well be idiotic outcries from pious members of the press, but they too are not innocent in this spectacle either. I mean here in the US , the media willingly turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of the players in baseball during the steroid era under , which Bud Selig might as well have showed the mendacity to punish a guilty player of steroid use as Congress might seek to punish one of their own, for an unlawful act or bringing the institution into disrepute with their behavior. There has been as much competency shown by the members there, as might be found among some fans, being witnessed now with the utter stupidity , rhetoric , pragmatism and apathy.
Will they or won’t they ? It would appear with each passing day the front office of the Minnesota Vikings are unsure what their intent might be with their running back Adrian Peterson. The disgraced player having been reinstated by the NFL after his own self induced stupidity , has first claimed , he no longer wanted to be part of the franchise and he is now at the point, that his agent still cannot be consistent with regard to his client’s statements , with each passing day , the story seems to be changing. Personally, I don’t believe the Vikings have a good enough team to win NFC North or even make the playoffs within the NFC ! The team’s starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has yet to show the consistency sought and the alternatives on the roster do not appear to be any better than the freshman passer, which leads me to believe things are not ,likely to go at all well for Minnesota this upcoming season.
Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson having been reinstated by the NFL threatened the franchise with a trade request , for what he felt was the Vikings’ disrespect for him during his recent troubles. Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings have not yet fully come away from their impasse , even though all of the right things are now being said by certain forces within the front office . Peterson’s agent and the player are known to be dissatisfied with his current contract as he is said to be seeking a more lucrative deal with the maximum amount possible in guaranteed money. The running back is not due to become an unrestricted free agent until 2017. AP Photo/ Neal Hart
For Adrian Peterson , this might be the last season where the fans get to see him in a Vikings’ uniform. As good as he has been over the years for the franchise, age and time are no longer on his side , while the window of opportunity for the Minnesota Viking have not been truly kind. Their last appearance in the NFL postseason came in 2012 , where they lost in the NFC wild-card round coming unstuck in game played against the Green Bay Packers. Prior to that , another appearance in 2009 saw the Vikings come unglued to the New Orleans Saints in the conference championship game. Needless to say, Mike Zimmer and his coaching staff will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed this season.
Minnesota will be moving into a new multi-billion dollar stadium at the start of the 2016 NFL season , providing the league with its newest state of the art venue. I doubt that comparisons will be made to the Dallas Cowboys’ lavish Texas Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, with its jumbotron and still underachieving team . Yet , there you have it , another franchise under the impression , “ if we build it , they will come “ . Someone forgot to tell these idiot owners and front office executives , you also need to have a winning on-field product the fans can take pride in , while showing their vocal support.
Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf understands the Minnesota Vikings’ long starved fans yearn the winning of a Superbowl title and with it the bragging rights of saying they are the best team in the NFL. A great deal will be dependent of whether or not that success can be achieved based on Adrian Peterson remaining with the franchise , while producing the form that has made him one of the best running backs in the NFL over the past eight years. At the same time the Vikings will have to prove to their fans and the rest of the NFL that they are credible contenders for the Superbowl.
Adrian Peterson may well feel disgruntled as a player , having not had a great deal of success in the postseason with the Vikings , while at the same feeling he may well have dealt with harshly by the NFL hierarchy concerning his misconduct off the field of play. Yet like any other self-absorbed collegiate or professional athlete , it begs the question , are they actually capable of showing any real signs of maturity , while also taking responsibility for their actions ? Continued idiocy of fans making excuses for an athletes’ age, yet somehow they seem unconcerned by the fact we have young men and women barely out of high school who serve the country gallantly , while being placed in danger by the decision making of dumb @ss politicians. So I pose this question where should the concern really be, with a selfish athlete or with those serving the country with honor ?
Jameis Winston , left and Johnny Manziel are two players seeking to make a name for themselves in the NFL . Both quarterbacks faced their litany of troubles while in college and will now be placed under an even bigger microscope and the glare of the NFL . Manziel’s first season in the league was viewed as an unmitigated disaster. It remains to be seen what lies ahead for the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner and Buccaneers’ draftee Jameis Winston. For Manziel as he enters his sophomore season , it remains to be unseen whether or not he can unseat Brian Hoyer to become the Cleveland Browns’
regular starting quarterback . Getty Images / Brian Carson
Johnny Manziel is unlikely to be the starting quarterback for the Browns when they begin their preseason schedule and head coach Mike Pettine seems to be unsure what to now make of his now beleaguered quarterback , who now seems to be more known for his nightlife activities rather than for his accomplishments on the field . Excuses are still being made after his first season has entered an alcohol dependency program. WTF ! Manziel is no Rod Tidwell ____ ” show me the mother-fu#king money” ?
It will be interesting to see how much playing time will be devoted to Jameis Winston during the preseason, as Lovie Smith and the coaching staff begin to assess their rookie quarterback as well as the other draftees taken in their most recent draft. GM Jason Licht has already stated that last season’s NFL Draft was the most important in the franchise’s history . I get the feeling Licht doesn’t really know enough about Buccaneers to be making such a claim.
The Buccaneers will open up their preseason schedule with a game against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis , Minnesota , likely giving Jameis Winston his first taste of an NFL atmosphere playing in a professional game. If there is a to be a regular season contest at hand for the former FSU starter , with his dethroning Mike Glennon , then Smith may feel it prudent to have him play in the Buccaneers’ first regular season game of their schedule against the the Tennessee Titans at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida,.
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Do you believe that the US Justice Department will prove to be successful in their prosecution of the FIFA executives at the center of this latest scandal involving soccer’s international governing body ? Also , with Sepp Blatter stepping down as President of FIFA, do you believe he ought to be facing an indictment by either the US government or the Swiss authorities ? With the NFL season not yet in full swing, what impressions do you have with regard to the preseason stories now coming into focus ?
The ugly side to sports is no different from its image in general , still goddamn ugly
For the past few weeks I have been intently assisting a friend get his newly established and relocated business off the ground. He and his family moved across the county to reestablish his Caribbean styled family restaurant here in the small rural town of Dundee, Florida . Like everything else that involves the reshaping of a business , along with it comes a great deal of bureaucracy, in dealing with a new municipality as well as with a state governmental agency . Top-heavy , with way too much bureaucracy and with their being no intelligence in sight . The same could be said for the state of play in the world of professional and collegiate sports, where leadership is definitely lacking but the sheer ineptitude and apathy of the fans would have you believe that there is some integrity and leadership within the hierarchies of the NFL, NBA , NCAA , MLB , NHL and FIFA . With the latter being a prime example of how the world’s most popular sport while not lacking appeal is still mired in controversy , along with ongoing corruption at the highest levels.
My friend’s restaurant is off to a flying start but his issues remain, in dealing with the town and the state for varying reasons, as to the degree of difficulty. The sign that adorns the restaurant is not visible to the passing vehicular traffic, because of the trees that border the pedestrian sidewalk. The trees were planted by the town , with a grant provided by the state, but it remains the municipality’s duty to have those trees properly maintained. Yet, when having made a request to the town manager, we were informed because the shrubbery is along a state highway, the responsibility in seeking any changes would have to come with state approval. It would not be so asinine , were it not for the fact the town received the grant from the state for the beautification project, with the planting of the trees. Go figure, a municipality that defers to the state, because they cannot make pertinent decision that actually affects the town more than the state.
The NFL continues the hyping of its off-season, with the meaningless news of rookies who are told are now said to be setting their training camps alight with their understanding of the playbook and their acknowledgment of their more experienced peers. Far be it for me to suggest, but the preseason is nothing more than a parade , with the regular season being the true test of the rookies’ character and skills. Jadeveon Clowney of the Houston Texans will have a great deal to prove in his rookie season , along with the considerable hype that also followed Johnny Manziel , who was a first round pick of the Cleveland Browns . For the Browns this might be a season where the disasters of 2013 are likely to be revisited. Mike Pettine and his staff have a great deal to prove, as do the players under his tutelage.
Given the Browns’ on and off the field issues in recent seasons, I personally do not see the team making any inroads within their division or the AFC once the season gets underway . Cleveland will begin their season with an away game against divisional AFC North rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers in a contest to be played at Heinz Field , in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ,on the opening weekend of the 2014 week one regular season schedule . Pettine and his team are likely to have a season of ups and downs but nothing that would suggest they are likely to seen as a major contender within the AFC this season.
If the NFL cannot find a way to keep itself out of the spotlight, you can rest assured that it will be left to either Roger Goodell or one of the league’s team owners to make a complete ass of themselves. The NFL Commissioner continues to wax on lyrically as to the ever increasing profits of the NFL, but his continued failure to discuss the most acute issues that the NFL continues to face is another reason why the league continues to have ongoing problems. Goodell lacks leadership grit and the owners remain selfless self-serving bastards. It would be idiotic to try to suggest otherwise now.
Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins continue to be on the wrong side of an argument and debate that neither he or the franchise can win. No matter what type of magnanimous gesture is made by the Redskins’ owner , it will never be enough to appease the Native American Indians across the country. While I believe there to be a great deal of hypocrisy on both sides of the debate concerning, using the word ‘ Redskins’ as it relates to the franchise’s name. The fact that the United States Patent Office has seen fit not to renew the Redskins’ trademark of the name, smacks of government interference in a matter that should be either dealt with in the courts or through an amicable settlement between the parties concerned.
The US Trade & Patent Office stated that their why not renewing the Washington Redskins’ trademark agreement stemmed from the fact, they believed the term “ Redskins” was a derogatory use the word that denigrates the Native American Indians. Perhaps that governmental agency needs to take a look at what the Department of the Interior is presently doing as it relates to the tribes across the country to truly comprehend the meaning of the word ” denigrate ” and the meaning also of the word derogatory . Native American Indians may well be and their lands are deemed sovereign, but their treatment by the federal government remains reprehensible and often scandalous . Simply consider the lack of proper education in spite of the statistics continually spewed by the governmental agency in question , with their also being a prolific rise in drug use and crime but yet they feel the using of the word Redskins to be derogatory in this day age. If things were not so fucked up I would take less in delight in lambasting not only Department of the Interior , but also a Congress and Administration that remains clueless on so many fucking issues , that it should be viewed as criminal and extremely calculated .
So now for the second time in six years, the fans will be placed in the midst of this drama, as James serves notice, that he believes himself bigger than the game. It would not be so bad, if the first merry-go-round of this circus were not staged , with ESPN journalist Jim Gray , all but licking James’ sphincter and testes, while asking some of the most asinine questions posed to an athlete concerning their future. As to James and his posse of clown advisers, stating that the player’s fee, for that now infamous diatribe and garbage went to a needy cause , of the Boys & Girls Club of America. For a player who was one of the league’s highest paid players and with a reputed $40 million annually in off-court earnings. I believe the $250,000 paid out by ESPN would have been a small price to pay, had James simply donated that money to the charity himself, rather than Gray making the statement and interview had a measure of journalistic integrity to it all. That would be suggesting that the plot-line for a thirty minute porn flick, does have a measure of artistic integrity in terms of the portrayals on-screen. Everyone knows how to fuck and I guess faking an orgasm does come easy (pardon the pun) when you have practiced the art several times over. James and Gray were not very versed and the interview itself, was simply one more reason why ESPN can no longer be taken seriously as sports’ programming network .
LeBron James will be seen as a very poor version of what the NBA seeks in the second coming of Michael Jordan. The league hierarchy , still yearns for someone to carry that mantle, but unfortunately since Jordan’s retirement the players seeking to fill those shoes have repeatedly come up short. The Miami Heat player can now toy with the emotions of the Miami Heat and in particular with the fans and Pat Riley . However, should he seek to bolt from a franchise for a second time , his legacy will not only be further tarnished, but I do believe the fans around the league will not be so forgiving the second time around.
The Rays have proven to be pitiful and no amount of idiotic excuses can be made for the poor play from the team . Winning a series for this franchise, has become about as customary as witnessing a solar eclipse of Halley’s Comet crossing the sky at high-speed. Far be it for me to suggest , but now might be the time for fans in the Tampa Bay area to look elsewhere for their excitement this Fall ,as this franchise is unlikely to be playing any part in the Fall Classic.
Rays’ manager Joe Maddon known for serving up a great deal of rhetoric, has rarely called out his players even when they have performed poorly. Leadership is certainly lacking among the Rays and with seasoned veterans on the roster such as David Price, James Loney, Jose Molina , Evan Longoria and Erik Bedard , it is becoming extremely difficult by the second to suggest that there are any signs of a positive note to be witnessed from this team. Coming off three consecutive losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, the Rays will now hope for more luck on the road when they are due to face the Baltimore Orioles in a four-game series to be played at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland. That series will tell us a great deal about the temperament of the Tampa Bay Rays and the direction that they are said to be heading in. The first of the quartet of games will begin on Friday 27th June ,2014 with Alex Colome taking to the mound for the Rays against a yet to be named opposing pitcher.
The longer Mark Emmert remains as the NCAA President the less credibility he continues to have. His change of tone, concerning the issue of collegiate athletes being paid is another reason why the NCAA cannot be taken seriously when it comes to addressing this matter. Whether or not, if he is being pressured by major conference commissioners or by the university presidents, it is becoming abundantly clear that Emmert’s lack of leadership and communicative skills will ultimately lead to his own undoing. Collegiate Athletics’ governing body now finds itself as a major defendant in a class action lawsuit in which one of the leading plaintiffs is former UCLA (Bruins) basketball star Ed O’Bannon . The Bruins’ star and his joint plaintiffs claim that their likeness was being used without their permission and whereby the NCAA and the colleges have profited greatly from using their images, in selling a wide assortment of sports’ paraphernalia. With the billions of dollars reaped and the claims made by the NCAA and the collegiate establishments that these funds are used for the benefit of the student athlete .That case is becoming hard to prove, when neither the NCAA or many top-tiered sports’ programs are willing to open up their books for public scrutiny. In spite of the outcry from the public , the NCAA has been able to harness their lobbying power to make sure that Congressional leaders and members are quick to avert their eyes and ears, in seeking to make changes in the antitrust exemption status granted to collegiate athletics’ governing body as well as the four major professional sports’ governing bodies.
The world’s most popular sport of soccer and the sport’s international governing body staging the World Cup in Brazil, in this quadrennial tournament being seen as a grand stage to raise the profile of South America’s most powerful economy. Staged at a cost of over $12 billion , the country is also facing a great deal internal strife ,with their being a great deal of opposition in the staging of the World Cup while there is a growing chasm between the rich and the poor within the country. Needless to say , the government states that those issues will be fully addressed once the tournament is over but for the moment soccer is now being played on the grandest of stages with the host nation being viewed as a consensus favorite.
FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter , no stranger to controversy , having faced allegations of graft and corruption without his ever being indicted for any of the charges lodged against him. Others have somehow fallen on the sword, willing to take the blame for an executive who continues to point an accusing finger at the press for making the false accusations concerning his actions during his tenure as FIFA’s highest ranking executive.
This tournament has not been without controversy and the biggest of them all deals with the unsportsmanlike conduct of Uruguayan international Luis Suarez as he bit an Italian defender during a game between the two teams. With his team having qualified for the second round phase of the World Cup , fans now wait to see what punishment will be meted out against the player. This disgusting act was missed by the game’s officials but picked up by the cameras televising the game. Blatter and the FIFA Committee on Player Conduct will reexamine the incident, but it is s already becoming clear that the punishment levied against Luis Suarez is likely to be severe. The Uruguayan contingent have until Thursday midnight, to come up with an explanation as to the player’s behavior and the reasons behind his actions. Suarez has brushed aside this latest mea-culpa,but with his past behavior and having fined twice before for similar actions, FIFA can ill afford to have the player be let off the hook. Personally, I believe that Suarez should be suspended for the rest of the tournament, but I also find it rather bewildering that the Uruguayan delegation has not seen fit to offer a public apology for their player’s wanton misconduct.
Officiating at the World Cup has been very inconsistent with a number of on-field mistakes being made during the games , many of them proving to be costly for several of the teams on the wrong end of a decision. Reigning champions, Spain have fallen from grace and their exit in the first round stage has been a complete shock. Meanwhile, host country, Brazil , has found a consistent rhythm, after a somewhat indifferent start to the tournament. Their best player, Neymar Jr , is certainly justifying the raves reviews received, as he and the team go on their quest for a fifth World Cup title. Jose Felipe Scolari , as Brazil’s head coach is under a great deal of pressure to deliver a long-awaited title, but all roads will have to go through either Germany or the Netherlands , as both European teams have been among the most impressive of the participants playing in the tournament.
England’s failure comes as no great surprise with the team’s efforts having been ridiculed in the press back in the UK. Roy Hodgson’s tenure as the team’s head coach is likely to come to an abrupt end with his resignation being sought or being fired. Let’s just say the high expectations as one of the favorites is a thing of the past and will remain so for the foreseeable future as the country no longer produces the talent necessary to be seen as a legitimate World Cup contender.
For Jürgen Klinsmann and Team USA, the team’s pivotal final game in the first round on Thursday night is a make or break contest for both teams. Although a tie would benefit both teams , with each qualifying as the top two within their group standings. I believe it would be suicidal were both to rest on their laurels and simply play for the draw , as their opponent in the knockout stages is likely to be team that neither can afford to take lightly. As to this contest, it could very well be one where we get to see the best of this USA team , with Klinsmann missing one of the team’s best offensive players in Jozy Altidore. Whatever the outcome of the contest, it must be said that team has exceeded the expectations of their fans and I believe the majority of analysts in general covering the game for ESPN.
Picture gallery .
In light of the recent news’ stories what do you believe to be the most interesting thing that is now happening in the sports’ world ? With team USA’s upcoming match against Germany, are they likely to be triumphant? Last but not least, what are you views on LeBron James choosing to opt out of his contract and what part is it likely to make on the decisions to be made by the NBA’s general managers ?
(1) Seen here are the Orville Mongol restaurant owner and Dundee town Mayor Sam Pennant . The recently opened restaurant has become a downtown attraction and the center for numerous activities among the residents in the town.
(2) Jamaican Style Grill & Lounge DBA Golden Tropical Bar & Grill . The restaurant offering Jamaican styled cuisine is located in the downtown center of Dundee, located in Eastern Polk County , Florida . Seen here, pictured from left to right , Chef Donovan, Mayor Sam Pennant , Town Commissioner Bertram ‘Bert’ Goddard, Dorothy Mongol, Commissioner Steve Glenn (background) and restaurant owner Orville Mongol . The restaurant offers of a variety of Jamaican dishes featuring delicacies known among the West Indian community . Also served are vegetarian meals for those who prefer a health conscious diet , but in general patrons can find something on the menu that will be to their liking .
(3) Pictured are Jadeveon Clowney (above) and Johnny Manziel . Both players were part of the 2014 NFL Draft class of this year . Clowney and Manziel are hoping to productive contributors for their respective teams this upcoming season . AP Photo/Gerry Mason …
(4) Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III is seen here with team owner Dan Snyder on the sidelines during a game in 2013 played at FedEx Field in Landover Maryland . After an indifferent season last year the Redskins hope to bounce back with a new attitude and coaching staff led by Jay Gruden who succeeds fired former head coach Mike Shanahan . Dan Snyder faces mounting criticism from Native American Indians as well as the US Patent & Trademark Office , with the franchise’s refusal in changing the name of the team. The owner has routinely sought the input from Native Americans on the issue but a great deal of the negotiations between the two parties have become highly animated . Getty Images / Paul Ross …
(5) LeBron James is seen here with Miami Heat Team President and part owner , Pat Riley . With James opting out of his existing contract , it has led to a feeding frenzy among the NBA’s general managers as they seek to make available cap space , in quite possibly making a play to lure the Heat player. LeBron James , a four-time League MVP and two-time Finals MVP has yet to make a decision on his immediate future beyond the decision but most are of the opinion he will remain with the Miami Heat. Although were he to leave the franchise , there would be a great deal of disdain for a player, who now seems to make this type of a maneuver a routine occurrence when things are not to his satisfaction. AP Photo/ Mary-Ann Phillips ….
(7) Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon is seen here talking to the convened press to discuss his civil suit against the NCAA . O’Bannon whose brief career in the NBA was understated lodged his suit in US Federal Court seeking punitive and unspecified damages for what he says, was the unauthorized use of image to sell merchandize by the collegiate athletics’ governing body . The NCAA has reaped billions of dollars annually from merchandize sales but there seems to be no figures indicating how much is plowed back into the college programs nationally . NCAA President Mark Emmert who suggested that he believes that student athletes should be paid a monthly stipend has since shied away from that stance stating that the rules in place are satisfactory for the NCAA and the educational institutions.
(8) NATAL, BRAZIL – JUNE 23: Luis Suarez of Uruguay looks on during press conference at the Dunas Arena in Natal on June 23, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. It remains to be seen what form of punishment will be rendered against the player after an unsavory incident that took place between Uruguay and Italy during their group match . Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images …
(9) MANAUS, BRAZIL – JUNE 22: Clint Dempsey of the United States walks out to the pitch prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil in the Group G match between USA and Portugal at Arena Amazonia on June 22, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. Photo by Stuart Franklin – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images ……
The Greasy Wheel Is Being Oiled But Would You Would Be Surprised By Who’s Involved In It All ?
If there’s one thing I know it is that once a sport becomes so corrupt at the highest levels possible it is certain that the executives involved in any wrong doing are likely to want this all covered up. In what appears to be the most egregious of acts two senior executives within FIFA have been suspended by its President Sepp Blatter . The two individuals in question Jack A. W Warner an executive (President) with CONCACAF and Mohammed Bin Hamman another senior executive within FIFA. Blatter for his part has stated that FIFA will become more openly transparent in light of the scandal which involved Hamman and Warner having accepted bribes in order to secure their votes related to the hosting of specific FIFA tournaments . Most notably the World Cup in 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar). Brazil will stage the event in 2014 and though there is nothing to suggest that the host country in South America is said to have been involved any impropriety concerning these latest allegations. There now seems to be a feeling that there may well have some form of impropriety to have taken place by one if not a number of high ranking officials within FIFA .
Thomas Warner and Mohammed Bin Hamman are two of Sepp Blatter’s most trusted allies and it would appear that Blatter while not being immediately embroiled in this latest scandal may well have known about the duo’s activities . The FIFA President was recently re-elected for a fourth consecutive term having succeeded his predecessor Jaoa Havelange in 1998. Since Blatter’s ascendancy to the position there have been a litany of allegations that have come to light not only about senior members of the FIFA Executive Committee having accepted bribes but also misappropriations of funds . Soccer has become a complete laughing stock in light of the allegations but what might be even more idiotic are the claims now being made by US Soccer’s President Sunil Gulati that having endorsed the re-election of Blatter , he sees it as a chance for FIFA to reassert itself in the eyes of the public and become more openly transparent . Blatter has shown little sign of that given the repeated allegations and misdeeds that have taken place over the course of his tenure. Sepp Blatter has become autocratic and brow beats those who oppose him , while at the same time making sure those who are supportive of his ideas benefit financially. If nothing else , Blatter has eschewed the idea of real reform within FIFA but he may well now be forced to do so if as is being claimed Interpol will seek to get involved by conducting their very own investigation .
Now while there have been rumblings that several affiliate organizations would like to see a re-vote take place but that would be very unlikely as Blatter was the only candidate who sought the position as FIFA President . My question is how in hell is this meant to be a democratic vote when there simply is only one candidate ___ Sepp Blatter who sought to become FIFA President ? This body from top to bottom has become the laughing stock of the sports’ world given the fact that the only other body which shows this sort of ineptitude on such a scale might just be UCI which governs the sport of cycling internationally. That particular body headquartered in Aigle , Switzerland has been so complicit and culpable in not making a serious attempt in stemming the prolific abuse and use of steroids and other illicit drugs within the sport. Two of the sport’s most high profiled and visible riders , Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador both Tour de France champions have been embroiled in allegations of having the banned substance EPO (Erythropoietin) as well other illicit substances . In light of WADA now working in conjunction with UCI to have a strict and comprehensive drug testing policy in place I simply cannot see this sport ever making a serious attempt to clean up its image or the very sport .
Armstrong is now the subject of an ongoing investigation that is being conducted by the US Justice Department . The cyclist has proclaimed his innocense , states that the allegations against him are groundless and are without any foundation. But herein lies the caveat to this madness, George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton both former teammates of the seven time Tour de France champion have stated that they saw the cyclist use not only EPO but also several other substances banned by UCI . Hamilton in a recent interview granted to the CBS news magazine program 60 Minutes reiterated his claim that not only had he seen Armstrong inject himself but he also part-took in the subterfuge in the taking of various steroids. Radio Shack team manager Johan Bruyneel for which both Armstrong and Hamilton rode categorically denies the claims being made by Hamilton and he furthermore emphasizes that at no time was there any use of any banned substances being used by any member of the Radio Shack team over his tenure as its manager. While there’s no concrete evidence to suggest that Bruyneel’s claims are false , one has to ask the question are both Hamilton and Hincapie lying , given the fact that their subpoenad testimony to the Justice Department has to be taken with some credibility ? Only an idiot would think to lie to a federal law enforcement officer knowing the legal ramifications of such an act. Lance Armstrong for his part has brought together a powerhouse , in terms of a legal team. Such has been the rider’s staunch defense of his image and credibility that he knows that if indicted he would face a monumental task in trying to prove his innocence . Granted , the rider has never tested positive while in competition but the questions still remain as to the veracity of Armstrong’s innocence as see his image and accomplishments being tarnished in the public domain as well as in the print and television media.
I have long held the notion that once the claims of corruption or wrong doing by a governing body or athlete within a sport there is no denying that once the claims are out there it is indeed very hard to try and disprove them . Cycling much like soccer has become corrupt and it has manifested itself in not only the actions of the riders but also the sheer incompetency of UCI . Doubt my word then simply look at how that governing body has simply conducted their investigations and how little the sport has actually changed in terms of trying to abate the prolific use of illicit substances with cycling ?
FIFA President Sepp Blatter for all of his new found resolve and wish to see the body he governs become more transparent . Herein lies the idiocy of those claims , two of his most trusted allies were caught with their hands in the cookie jar . It begs the question as to how deep those went and what if anything Sepp Blatter is said to have known or suborned with his own actions ? Numerous times Blatter and FIFA have been embroiled multiple scandals while simply doing nothing but tarnish the game’s image .
Being an ardent and avid soccer fan I am now at my wit’s end to understand how damn naive and stupid the affiliate organizations are within the FIFA ! To not even have a challenger to Sepp Blatter in the voting for that body’s most senior executive position shows not only the lack of intelligence within the organization but also there isn’t any real democratic process in place . There was very little chance that there would have been abstention or a vote opposing Blatter’s re-election . This is now how perverse and corrupt FIFA has become and will remain . Sepp Blatter claims he seeks transparency but in reality nothing could be further from the truth.
In light of the allegations that have come to the fore concerning FIFA and Lance Armstrong what thoughts if any do you have with regard to those claims ? Simply chime with a comment as to your thoughts .
(1) Sepp Blatter President of Fifa speaks during the FIFA Ballon d’or Gala at the Zurich Kongresshaus on January 10, 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland. Getty Images Europe /Michael Steele ……
(2) Senior FIFA Executive Mohammed Bin Hamman who has since been suspended by the Executive Committee of FIFA for the improprieties concerning the accepting of a bribe and alleged vote rigging . Bin Hamman is a close and trusted ally of FIFA President Sepp Blatter . AFP/Reuters /Christoff Karlsson ……
(3) FIFA vice president Jack Warner, right, with Sepp Blatter, the president of the international soccer governing body. Warner also holds the position as being the President of CONCACAF which governs international soccer for the region covering North America , Central & South America and the Caribbean . Paul Chiasson/Associated Press ….
(5) ADELAIDE, Australia, Jan 23, 2010 (AFP) – Lance Armstrong’s simmering row with Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (left) is “healthy” for cycling and better than the usual doping controversies, the sport’s chief said on Saturday. Both riders are still embroiled with allegations of doping within the sport of cycling. Contador recently had a suspension lifted by the CAS but it now remains to be seen how he will be viewed by his fellow competitors and the fans of cycling alike . AFP ……..
(6) US Soccer President Sunil Gulati felt it prudent in voting for the reelection of Sepp Blatter rather than voting in opposition or abstaining . The reason given by Gulati is that he felt that Blatter is sincere in changing the environment within FIFA after all the major controversies that have come to light within that esteemed body . This is the sort of idiocy now being shown that clearly the problems that have befallen FIFA are in fact also due to the gullibility of the affiliated organizations around the globe . AFP/Reuters / Paul Castle …………
Perhaps I was under the mistaken impression that the game of soccer was being ran by FIFA to be a game about fairness ? But with the recent news that French international soccer star Thierry Henry won’t be punished in any way for his blatant hand ball in the World Cup qualifying game played against Ireland , smacks of complete idiocy and contempt of what the game purports itself to be all about. In not acting to act even suspend Henry at all , it merely suggests that they condone cheating in whatever form it now takes.
On 2 December 2009, the FIFA Executive Committee asked the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to analyse the handling offence committed by Thierry Henry during the France v. Republic of Ireland match on 18 November 2009, and to consider the possible disciplinary consequences.
At its meeting on 18 January 2010, the Disciplinary Committee reached the conclusion that there was no legal foundation for the committee to consider the case because handling the ball cannot be regarded as a serious infringement as stipulated in article 77a) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.
There is no other legal text that would allow the committee to impose sanctions for any incidents missed by match officials.
The French international clearly states in his postgame interview that he intentionally handled the ball that led to France scoring a goal, that in essence garnered the team a berth in the upcoming World Cup. Thereby denying Ireland a chance of a place in the upcoming tournament to held in South Africa. The game’s hierarchy itself have been somewhat suspect in dealing with a number of issues. It has been very proactive in dealing with the racial bigotry that has been going on at league games throughout the continent of Europe that has been directed at a number of players of various ethnic origins.
Though there seems to be a marked improvement in the behavior of the fans at the league and international games . It still hasn’t entirely stamped or dampened this vile behavior of the fans. And as acute as this situation appears to be . I believe this particular faux pas by FIFA clearly sends the wrong message to the fans of the game in general. If they can condone a clear act of cheating then what else are they prepared to condone ? I can understand the referees who officiated the game may well have missed the blatant act during the game. However , what I cannot understand and fathom is why FIFA would choose not to act and send a clear message to players that cheating will not be tolerated. What will it take for FIFA to be proactive when it comes to cheating and stamping it out of the game ?
What’s even more remarkable about this incident is the indifference shown by FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter and his continued obliviousness as to what took place. And even now I have to consider this decision merely another idiotic stance taken by the federation altogether. If they want the organization’s credibility to remain in tact, then clearly Blatter and the game’s hierarchy have to look at acts such as this and clearly make a point that this cannot be condoned in any shape or form. It gives the impression that ‘cheating ‘ will become an acceptable part of the game. And this is meant to be ‘the beautiful game’ and the world’s most popular sport ? . What are the young fans of the game to think of this , as of now ? And are players such as Thierry Henry still to be looked upon as role models after an incident such as this ? Especially given Henry’s statement to the press that his act was blatant and he felt he would get away with it because the officials didn’t see it . However, the cameras caught it all and it was there for the whole world to see.
FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatters shows how much a real ass he is as the game’s most powerful individual, as he apologizes for an ‘off the cuff’ remark made about the Irish Soccer Federation (FAI).
Not wanting to be a conspiracy theorist or anything of that nature pertaining to the ‘Thierry Henry Incident’ but I do believe that FIFA has made ‘an enormous blunder’ with regard to this lone decision. Because should ever another situation like this arise again, with them having taken a totally different response. Then what will that suggest to the fans of the game of soccer on a worldwide basis ? Make of it what you will but this is just merely my thoughts on the matter ! When a sport has been brought into disrepute by the lone and deliberate act of a player, then there ought to be a price to pay. And not something where game’s hierarchy simply doesn’t admonish or make a clear statement on the incident that took place to begin with.
You know how it is the broadcast networks are now so devoid of creativity that their idea of entertainment is gorge us on a glut of reality television or re-do’s of old television series. To prove my point, ABC gives us a revamped version of ‘V’ . And then there’s, ‘Melrose Place’ , ‘90210’ and said to be soon coming down the pike, are ‘Charlies’ Angels’ and god forbid, ‘The A Team’. Tell me that they won’t try and recast ‘Mr T’ (Laurence Tero) to reprise his role as B A Baracus ? Can we stop the insanity please ? Isn’t it bad enough that Jay Leno has to squirm his way through an hour of his show, just to hide his embarrassment ? Hey Jay,you should’ve retired as you said you would. Because now you’re beginning to look like a blithering idiot,in an earlier night slot on NBC. And you’re far better than that !
And it’d be remiss to not interject with the banal makeover shows , such as ‘The Biggest Loser’, ‘Extreme Makeover’ and the unrepentantly bad ‘Dance Your Ass Off’. The last of which, would suggest that’s literally what one has to do in order to keep or regain one’s self esteem. LOL,LOL, LOL !!!
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Megan Fox, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian: Some of the Celebs Who Could Star in the ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Reboot
By SHEILA MARIKAR
Nov. 19, 2009
It takes a certain crop of ladies to pull off a proper, “Hellooooo, Charlie!”
The question is, as a reincarnation of the iconic 1970s TV series “Charlie’s Angels” looms, who’s fit to fill the shoes of Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and the rest of the crew?
Whoever gets the call, ABC is close to ordering a pilot of the new “Charlie’s Angels,” sources confirm to ABCNews.com. Drew Barrymore, who starred in the film versions of the franchise, will develop the show along with Leonard Goldberg, who produced the original series with the late Aaron Spelling, according to Entertainment Weekly.
So it’s a stretch to say the project’s in the can. But that can’t kill the curiosity about which stars might be cast in the reboot.
What follows are three potential options for each of the eight classic “Charlie’s Angels” characters, based on the suggestions that you — ABCNews.com readers — sent to us.
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At present, one can’t help but wonder what went wrong this year with Michigan (Wolverines) (5-6, 1-6 conference) of the Big 10. Seemingly, the problems for coach, Rich Rodriguez, just seem to be manifesting themselves in so many guises. And there’ll be no divine intervention here, just in case you think that there’s some hope in the offing for the team and its football program. A lot was expected of the team this year and they’ve once again failed to live up to expectations. Much of the blame has to be apportioned upon the shoulders of Rodriguez and his coaching staff. It is not as if the Wolverines are bereft of talent on either side of the ball. But the mere fact that they’ve to apply themselves properly to the task at hand. And that is no doubt to play football.
The cloud of suspicion under which Rodriguez left West Virginia to take the position still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of Mountaineers’ alumni and that of their bitter fans. Rodriguez is thought of a pariah there , on the campus. And he’s now become persona-non-grata in the entire state. As tough as the situation now appears to be for Rodriguez. It is only going to become much tougher, as this weekend the Wolverines take on the 10th ranked Ohio State (Buckeyes),9-2.And with the rejuvenated Jim Tressel, Buckeyes’ team chomping at the bit and thoughts of a major BCS Bowl appearance. Let’s just say that for Rodriguez, he’s more likely to wish he were elsewhere. Rather than being engulfed in continuous controversy ,the underachievement of the team and the program as a whole. Rich Rodriguez’ position with the school is now coming under even more scrutiny than even he would care to admit.
Courtesy of Associated Press and The Washington Post
By LARRY LAGE
The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 18, 2009; 4:51 PM
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez says the process of filing forms that log hours players devote to football was corrected as soon as he learned it wasn’t happening.
Rodriguez declined further comment Wednesday because of an ongoing NCAA investigation.
An internal audit released Monday discovered the football program failed to file the school’s forms that track how much players workout and practice as a tool to comply with NCAA rules.
The office of university audits sent Rodriguez a memo on July 24, stating that forms from the 2008 regular season had not been submitted.
The Detroit Free Press, citing anonymous players, reported a month later that Michigan exceeded NCAA limits regarding practices and workouts.
Admittedly none of us like to grow old and we know in the end we have to call it a day. I’ve always been of the opinion that I would rather go out on top at the height of my professional career and personal life. Rather than being forced out because my faculties or productivity just wasn’t there. And as much admiration that I have for those who seek to work late into their professional and elderly life. I can’t but ask what they might be missing out on at that stage of their lives ?
Much has been made concerning the situation now fomenting in Tallahassee, as it relates to embattled football coach, Bobby Bowden. Granted, he took a non-descript Florida State football program and turned it into a powerhouse of consistency that is to be admired. But as of late , consistency and the fact that winning is no longer the norm for the Seminoles’ football program. That it is beginning to make it very hard to understand why it is, that the faculty would want to retain the services of the octogenerian, Bobby Bowden. To make matters worse , Bowden ,himself, has chosen his own hand picked successor, in, Jimbo Fisher. Pardon me for saying his, but shouldn’t that decision be left to the Athletics Director and not Bowden, himself ? I was under the impression that Bowden worked for the university and not the other way around ?
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Embattled Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has a high-profile alumnus on his side — Gov. Charlie Crist.
The Republican governor said Wednesday the Seminoles coach has been great for the school and the 80-year-old Bowden deserves respect. Some of Bowden’s critics have called on him to retire at the end of the season.
Florida State is currently 5-5 and needs to win at least one more game to qualify for a bowl.
Bowden’s 387 wins are second to Penn State’s Joe Paterno among major college coaches.
Crist and Bowden appeared together at a news conference promoting the National Child Identification Program created by the American Football Coaches Association.
This season for Florida State (5-5,3-4 conf),has been one filled with missed opportunities, uneven play, humiliating losses and abundance of excuses from Bowden and others within the organization. And needless to say, the optimism being shown by Bowden,while it is to be admired. It tells you, that there’s no real sense of urgency concerning the malaise that the program now finds itself in. Bowden for his part, acts if it’s all water under the bridge as to the predicament of the program. What he doesn’t seem to genuinely understand , is that while the program is in the predicament that it is in, it makes the recruiting process all the more difficult. Especially with regards to the luring of a can’t miss blue chip recruit. And when was the last time you heard of someone of that caliber entering the noles’ program ?
And while no one can deny what Bowden has brought to Tallahassee.
The question one must and needs to ask, is when will it be time for Bowden to bow out gracefully ? Rather than being forced out embarrassingly. It’s not as if we’ve seen a steady progression in the direction of the program over the last few years. Furthermore, a dark cloud looms over the athletics’ program with regards to the cheating scandal involving several players on the football program as well as others on the swim team, the track teams, the basketball teams of both the men’s and women’s team. Something that is hard to believe would be happening under a football program overseen by coach Bowden. It’s my belief that Bobby Bowden has in some ways become all too detached from the football program. Merely just trotting out to parade himself and bask in the acclaim, that in reality he no longer deserves !
With him having named his assistant , Jimbo Fisher , as his successor in waiting. It only exacerbates and creates a situation of uncertainty. Were Fisher to be lured away by another program guaranteeing far better prospects than he’s now being given at FSU. I wonder what the thought process there would be within the program but chiefly with University President T. K. Wetherall and that of Athletics Director, Randy Spetman. These two individual, as well as the boosters and alumni will have a difficult decision ahead o make. Accordingly, the actions now of Bowden and the interjection of Florida’s Governor, Charlie Grist ,into the midst of this all. Well, it hasn’t exactly made the situation all the more bearable ?
And while I understand that the Governor has every right to voice his opinion on the subject, given the fact that he’s a graduate of that esteemed university. I would’ve thought that his time would be better spent tackling the grave situations and crisis that the state now has. Rather than using a non-political function to voice an opinion that in all honesty not that many people are interested in ! Crist’s political career and ambitions much like the noles’ football program has been of late, is all,more about appearance, rather than substance !
For those of you who just happen to either have a passing or perhaps fading interest in the game of soccer. Then it may well have escaped your notice that the World Cup qualifying stages are present taking place. A number of teams were in a make or break ,do or die situation. Wherein, a victory would lead to a qualifying berth for the finals to be held next year in South Africa.
Courtesy of AP Sports in conjunction with Yahoo Sports
LONDON (AP)—Irish football officials accused Thierry Henry on Thursday of damaging the integrity of the game when he blatantly handled the ball to set up the goal that booked France’s place at next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa.
Letters were dispatched to Paris and FIFA headquarters in Zurich, while Ireland’s justice minister took to the airwaves and echoed its football association’s call for the contentious second-leg to be replayed.
But the response from FIFA and the French matched that of Swedish referee Martin Hansson at the Stade de France on Wednesday night when Irish protests against William Gallas’ winner, set up by Henry’s handball, fell on deaf ears.
FIFA simply directed journalists to its rulebook which states that results cannot be overturned after a match.
But the Irish did get the backing of the French sports teachers’ union, which said it set a poor example to children to qualify as a result of “indisputable cheating” and was “linked to a ‘very modern’ philosophy stipulating that in all areas, including sports, the end justifies the means.”
Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney demanded that the game be replayed.
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In Europe which has the largest number of berths guaranteed for the finals. There were a number of games that took place and perhaps none was more controversial than by way of the end result of the game between France and Ireland. A win for Ireland and they were in. A draw or win for France and they were in. So what transpired between the two teams and the admittance afterwards by French player, Thierry Henry, left a great deal to be desired. Unsportsmanlike conduct or not the player’s admittance that he handled the ball that led to the ensuing play and a goal for his team again shows what a thin line there is between cheating and fair play.
The game not decided until it went into overtime , resulted in a 1-1 tie between the two teams. But because the series was decided upon the aggregate scores after two legs, that were played. It resulted in France gaining a berth in next year’s World Cup. Amidst all of this , now the controversy begins. As there is complete outrage in the actions of Henry and his admittance of what he’d done.
Henry in his post-game interview admitted that he’d deliberately handled the ball that allowed the ensuing goal to be scored by his teammate, William Gallas in the 104th minute of play ,in overtime. And while no one is in absolute denial as to what took place. The question is to be asked is what action will be taken by FIFA, if any ? Do they punish the player for his admittance or do they reorder a replay of the game ? It would set a precedent but then again, FIFA has initiated a case of ordering a replay after violence took place between rival sets of fans during an international game. Far be it for me to say what course of action that ought to be taken. But if the international governing body of the sport fails to act proactively . It will send a clear message that it condones cheating at the highest echelons of the game.
What is now becoming abundantly clear to me is that, the perception of what we know to be right. And the actions that are to be taken don’t always truly manifest themselves as we deem fit. In the case the Wolverines’, Rich Rodriguez. Here’s an individual who came blowing into the state of Michigan, high on promises and even less by way acting appropriately. Over the course of his tenure of the program ,he has accordingly flouted and transgressed NCAA rules and acted as if he was unaware as to what he was doing. Only with his job on the line, he’s seeking empathy from those who oppose his continued presence coaching the football team and overseeing the program. For Rich there oughtn’t to be a do-over.
Coach Bowden , the continual optimist , not only has he seen the game pass him by. But I doubt he’s fully cognitive of how far he’s let the Seminoles’ program slide under his reign over the past decade. Unfortunately, the likes of T K Wetherall and Randy Spetman still pay him homage , rather than doing what’s right for the program. And that is to let Bobby Bowden go ! Again there can’t be a do-over for coach Bowden ! Not now, or at any time in the future!
In the case of the Irish national squad, their grievance while justified may well fall upon deaf ears. It’s as Henry stated if the officials at the time failed to act, knowing his actions were blatant. Then there’s not much that really can be done. And even though a formal complaint has been lodged by FAI to FIFA . One sincerely doubts that it will be dealt with any sympathy at all . Again no do-over for the Irish national soccer squad.