Just in

Defending the indefensible

Had Sepp Blatter  retired two terms ago , he would have been recognised as the great administrator but, as so often happens, he stayed too long and has become a disliked and disrespected figure.

His great contribution was  the globalisation of the game. It’s not really perceived here as our media is so parochial but the UK control  of sporting institutions was regarded elsewhere as colonial, autocratic and patronising.  In golf its not the British Open but the Open . In cricket we had the d’Oliveira farce when  a racist country was dictating who we can select.  The MCC lost its moral authority many years ago, as did  English control of FIFA by Sir Stanley Rous. The way he was toppled was by opening up the game to new countries and continents. The World Cup once had 16 finalists.

This tournament I have been impressed by the contribution and performance of the weaker nations such as Costa Rica, Australia and  Iran.  Also games have improved by more sensible refereeing not making a game one  sided by red carding early.

I am not even convinced video technology should be  more than it is to determining whether  the ball is over the line. Celebration after a goal is such a part of the theatre, can you imagine if there is constant referral prior to a goal being awarded? Continuity of action is also  part of football’s  attraction. I  watched the second test v All B lacks  last Saturday and there was the farce of the excellent Stuart Barnes confirming a a try when it had already been referred.

Blatter also created a superb financial structure with multi- sponsorships, innovative at the time but now the norm  at every major club.

He is past his sell by date now and should retire but his contribution to world football should not be underestimated.





Avatar photo
About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts