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30 September 2014

When Saturday Comes:Blatter rotates his to infamy

 - Saturday, 03 March 2007, 00:00

by JAMES CALVERT

England’s dream of hosting the 2018 World Cup looks like it could be in tatters before they have even officially announced their intention to bid.

So far it has been nothing but positive vibes emanating from the various football authorities in England and even the government has said it would back the bid.

But FIFA president Sepp Blatter has poured water on the fires of the English FA’s ambition by saying this week he doubts 2018 will be held in Europe at all, let alone England.

FIFA’s executive committee meets in December to decide if they will continue with their rotation policy – in which case Europe has no chance – or throw open the 2018 bidding to any nation that fancies it.

Blatter, a man who never lets sense get in the way of his personal holiday plans, wants the idiotic rotation policy to continue. And that would mean the tournament going to an emerging football nation in Asia or, worse still, to the USA or Canada where it would pass by almost unnoticed while us Europeans would be watching games at silly o’clock.

However, there is still hope.

The executive committee is made up of 24 members, eight of which are from Europe. So they would only need to persuade five more to win a vote on throwing open the bidding process.

And, provided Steve McClaren is not put in charge of the operation, winning five votes should be pretty easy.

Beckham and LA Galaxy

There are, apparently, two main reasons for David Beckham’s move to LA Galaxy.

Firstly it is supposed to raise the profile of the sport across the pond where it plays second fiddle to just about everything from baseball to tiddlywinks.

Secondly it is supposed to encourage a new generation of players to take up the sport.

Only time will tell whether the first objective will be achieved. But as far as the second objective is concerned, the Beckham signing is already bearing fruit.

Thousands more youngsters than usual are “trying out” for US teams up and down the land. Sadly most of them are not very good but at least they have had the decency to show an interest.

There is, however, a third consequence of Beckhams’s move that was easily predictable – every over-the-hill, fading star from the European game is going to try and suck up a bit of the American cash.

Many players whose contracts are up for renewal are being linked to one club or another in the US. We have already seen this with Edgar Davids, Dwight Yorke, Ronaldo and, more recently, Robbie Fowler. And there will be plenty more to come.

All Beckham’s good work could be undone by this invasion of wrinklies who could end up giving America the impression that you can only play soccer if you are over 30.

Then again, isn’t David himself a thirty-something?

Wayne Bridge

I appreciate that Wayne Bridge may have got a little knock on the head during the Carling Cup scuffle last week, but is that any excuse for this post-match comment:

“It doesn’t matter what happened in the game – we got the three points.”

No, Wayne, it’s no excuse…

English football

It is starting to look like English football has come to its senses.

With a new television deal coming into effect next season meaning Premier League clubs will be millions of pounds better off than they already are, it was widely assumed they would just pocket the extra cash or, worse still, use it to pay players even sillier money.

But, instead, there is an increasing amount of teams in the top flight who are doing what they should be doing – giving the money back to the fans.

Blackburn, Sheffield United, Wigan, Bolton, Chelsea and Everton have all announced they will either be freezing or reducing season ticket prices for the next campaign.

Top marks to them. Hopefully the rest of the division will jump on this particularly ethical bandwagon.

Then, with a bit of luck, they will hand out more of this additional cash to the other sector that needs it just as much as the fans – the little clubs further down the football ladder…

Contact James on:

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