07 September 2006

Gratuitous bashing of Sepp Blatter part XXXIV

Clash averted over FIFA's 18-club leagues plan

The perpetual internecine squabbling between FIFA and the national leagues would be amusing if it didn’t have such a damaging impact on the game. They bicker over the fixture list and the number of international dates, over injury compensation, over releasing players for national team duty. Over so many subjects it can only be described as laughable if the subjects weren't so important to European soccer.

Seems it has been ages since Sepp Blatter and his mob of suits first tried to get the EPL, Serie A, etc to slim down from 20 teams to 18. Primarily so we have more cracking games like England versus Andorra, but also because of FIFA’s overwhelming concern for the players’ welfare (wink wink, nudge nudge), as they play too many games you know. Of course it’s the leagues’ fault there’s such a cluttered calendar; it has nothing to do with the fact that teams like Germany are thumping San Marino 13-0 while qualifying for a tournament that’s two years away.

Slimming the leagues is an especially popular proposal with the clubs, as they’re in love with the notion that two of them will be playing a division lower, and all of them will be losing the revenue from two home games. This proposal would also necessitate a complete revamp of the lower leagues in the countries affected; all the lower divisions will have to be reorganized to compensate for the addition of two teams.

It comes down to the idea that FIFA believes they have the power to tell the national associations how to run their own leagues. I have an idea. FIFA can only make unilateral declarations on issues that solely impact the international game. How is that hard? Actually, I have two ideas; the other is firing Sepp Blatter. Please. Thankfully, this fight seems to be over for now, but the article clearly states that FIFA considers the discussion open and ongoing. I don’t believe for a second that Blatter’s FIFA will cede this argument so easily.

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