Thursday, December 17, 2009

Then Maybe Fifa Needs a New President

I felt the "disturbance in the force."

HRH Sepp Blatter is in the same town as I am ... and I should have realized what that tingling sensation was about.

(I attributed it to my foot falling asleep.)

Sepp is in-country, here in the UAE, because Abu Dhabi is playing host to the Fifa Club World Cup. (Barcelona and Estudiantes play for the championship on Saturday.)

And, while here, the president of Fifa made clear that he stands in the forefront of soccer progress, modernity and forward-thinking.

Or not.

Sepp today said here that soccer will never have instant replay as long as he is president ... and you know what the obvious response to that is.

Maybe it's time for a new president.

Not using some basic form of instant replay indicates that Blatter is a sports Luddite. Opposed to all that new-fangled machinery that might, just might, bring a modicum of justice to the sport's biggest matches.

Wouldn't want that. Not if it means more technology. The new Fifa s;ogan: "We'd rather be old-fashioned than right."

Sepp actually said soccer fans have to accept horrible errors -- such as the handball that preceded France's World Cup-clinching victory over Ireland -- because "there are always errors in life."

So deal with it, Ireland!

We know the game prizes its free-flowing style. No interruptions aside from the half. Etc.

But when a match is big enough, or in the 60-seconds-plus of dead time after a goal, why not at least allow the chance to review a goal?

I don't believe anyone is talking about reviewing every foul call. Not like in American football.


The reality is, if Sepp stays healthy he also will stay on as Fifa president about as long as he wants. He has lots of support in the Third World and in North America, and even if the Europeans pretty much despise him, so what? They don't have enough votes to oust him.

So we can look forward to more horrendous calls in the beautiful game not being reversed or even reviewed. Thanks Sepp.

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