WSOTP pod: a fifa summer spectacular

WSOTP Podcast - A FIFA Summer Spectacular

Well, the Season 2 finale didn’t last that long: two full weeks to be exact. But with a hectic summer soccer schedule — plus just a little bit of news about a supposedly corrupt world governing body — D.J. and Jeremy just couldn’t help but turn back on the mics. Though we did give you fair warning that would be happening several times throughout the summer. We just delivered earlier than anticipated. So in addition to the guys’ reactions to all things FIFA scandal, we also delve into the Champions League Final, the US men’s suprising shootout with Holland, and of course the ladies of summer and the Women’s World Cup.

Have anything you want us to cover over the course of the summer? Drop us a line at contact@wrongsideofthepond.com and we will likely happily oblige. And to make sure you don’t miss any of our summer audio offerings, automatically receive new episodes on your favorite mobile device or RSS feed by subscribing using the links below.

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fallout

nuclear-mushroom-cloud

It’s fun watching a car wreck, isn’t it? We’re given physical evidence of this every time there’s one on the highway, as a long line or rubberneckers slows as they approach the scene of the accident. Craning our necks even as we’ve passed in an attempt to take it all in, we take some morbid satisfaction having captured a glimpse of the carnage.

Well, so long as we don’t know anyone that’s involved.

Watching and commenting in the echo chamber that surrounded Wednesday morning’s FIFA corruption scandal and arrests, it felt an awful lot like the rubberneckers on the highway. But instead of a normal accident, it’s lbeen lies we’re passing a nuclear explosion a few miles off the express way.

Everyone’s slowed their roll, stopped to survey the damage, and offered up a hot take or twelve. Ooh look, Chuck Blazer did rat everyone out. And there were arrests in Switzerland at the FIFA Congress. The South African government has been implicated as well? Wait, Nike has been too? Jack Warner has been arrested, and then sent to the hospital, and now has a legion of children singing songs about him? Holy freaking crap! You get the feeling that the longer you look, the more you’ll be able to take in. I mean, it’s Friday and the highway is still backed up.

And we’ve all enjoyed it. Thoroughly.

The problem is, though we might be enjoying the carnage at the moment, it could end up engulfing US soccer, too. Well, some corners of it anyway. And the joy that many of my fellow citizens have felt at watching FIFA get smacked by the long arm of the American law, I fear that could quickly turn to ire when the fallout hits a little closer to home.

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ten words or less #110

Well, it’s fair to say a bombshell was dropped on world soccer yesterday. I’d hoped to get out a full-length piece on it last night or today, but the rapid developments with regards to the FIFA corruption scandal has made it difficult to stay on top of and write accurately. So I’m giving it another day or so to fester before unleashing the dragon. And while you wait, there have been hundreds of miles worth of online column space already written on the topic — so you won’t be wanting for reading material.

To hold you over, as usual, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite links from the past week or so. The first four of which are directly related to the ongoing firestorm. So enjoy reading the selections below while the world outside burns.

FIFA meets the long, bad ass arm of American law. – justice.gov

How to boycott FIFA without hurting soccer. – independent.co.uk

Sponsoring the World Cup is an endorsement of their practices. – theverge.com

The NASL is in some serious shit. – northernpitch.com

Adidas “smart ball” teaches you to bend it like Beckham. – androidpolice.com

The Minnesota MLS stadium situation is… tricky. – vice.com

Snow skiing plus soccer? Super impressed… if this is real. – youtube.com

An insurance plan to protect against missing the Champions League? – bloomberg.com

Beer and soccer. You don’t need to know more. – soccerbible.com
Thanks to my man @MPFaessler for pointing this out.

Wambach’s turf war paying dividends, just not how you’d expect. – soccerwire.com

ten words or less #104

The Crew's Justin Meram playing for Iraq

Yes, I’m well aware that things around here have slowed down a bit lately. Posts have dropped off. Our Twitter feed has been relatively quiet. And I’ve not written much elsewhere either. Sorry. But I promise there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes.

A considerable amount of my time recently has been poured into the launching of our new podcast network, Background Noise FC — not to mention the entire site and branding on the link for it below. I’ve also spent a hefty amount of effort recently working on a potential redesign for this website — though whether the new coat of paint sees the light of day remains a big if at this point. And we’ve also been hard at work on a number of other side projects.

Those are nothing but excuses though, right? Right. Well, I do have some things in the works for this space, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to get at least one of them up this weekend. But as I normally do when trying to keep you entertained while I get my ish together, here’s a new link round up to hold you over.

Check out our new podcast network, Background Noise FC. – backgroundnoisefc.com

Dear Pro/Rel proponents… – twitter.com/greekfooty

I’d watch this State of the Union Address every time. – washingtonpost.com

The Crew’s Justin Meram has enjoyed a crazy Asian Cup. – si.com

Umbro blind tests their new Velocita boot with the press. – soccerbible.com

I want this as a print to hang up in my hypothetical office. – inbedwithmaradona.com

Mino Raiola for… FIFA president? Ummm…  –  prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com

Kane has torn it up this season. Here’s why. – espnfc.com

A long awaited FIFA backlash… or a coincidence? – telegraph.co.uk

This is how you appropriately fade into the sunset. – goal.com

ten words or less #103

Arsenal starlet Gedion Zelalem

Thanks to the festive season, I’m currently enjoying being in the middle 14 straight days off from work for my “real world job”. And as usual, I went into the break with wild expectations of how productive I would be on the blog. But thanks in large part to family activities and obligations and catching up on sleep — not to mention a metric crap ton of Premier League fixtures —  I’ve predictably gotten very little done. A few things have been started, there’s some stuff going on behind the scenes and I’ve posted a few times, but otherwise I feel like I’ve been lazy. And I’m sorry.

So to keep you all content — and for me to keep my own sanity — below you’ll find the latest installment of Ten Words or Less link round up.

Please don’t over hype this. – washingtonpost.com

Potential host cities for the US-hosted 2016 Copa America? – globo.com

Want some bonus Ted Lasso footage? Of course you do. – youtube.com

IBWM’s 100 dropped, and there’s actually an American on it. – inbedwithmaradona.com

The USWNT are clearly struggling: is Wambach the problem? – soccerwire.com

This could light a fire under FIFA’s ass. – keirradnedge.com

The battle for MLS in Minnesota continues to be waged. – startribune.com

Liverpool’s kits next year will be made by… New Balance? – football-shirts.co.uk

I freaking love BBC commentator Nick Barnes’ match notes. – imgur.com

Arsenal transfer business to focus on midfield — not the defense? – theguardian.com

FIFA world cup corruption report* leaked

FIFALike most everyone else on the planet, Wrong Side of the Pond have been closely following the chaotic story line surrounding the allegedly corrupt bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.

The focus on the winning Qatar 2022 bid has been particularly dramatic, and has often time bordered on a soap opera. A pint-sized desert country, devoid of any of the appropriate infrastructure, featuring scorching temperatures unsafe for players and fans alike, with practically zero impact on the world soccer scene was able to land a tournament of such importance is head scratching in its own right. But given the mounting evidence of bribery and series of broken promises that were delivered during the bidding process — not to mention the country’s horrendous workers’ rights reputation — it’s caused many to seriously question FIFA’s ability to adequately administer the competition and the sport

Under increasing pressure to clear their name, FIFA caved to the calls for a probe into the bidding processes for both tournaments in 2012.

As a result, former US district attorney Michael Garcia was recruited to conduct an in-depth analysis of all the bids submitted for 2018 and 2022. And in September, he delivered a 350 page report to FIFA that is believed to have not only uncovered evidence of such bribery — which are more or less already known — but also suggest sanctions be dished out to those involved. But in typical fashion, FIFA desired they be kept under wraps and instead issued a reportedly altered summary to pacify the unrest.

Garcia resigned from his post over the matter after calling for the full report to be released publicly, further stoking the flames of an already angry public. As such, FIFA are now considering the release of the full document. But they only intend to do so once they’ve had a chance to review it and likely redact large portions to “protect” those implicated.

Well, through much finagling and quite a few lucky breaks, I’ve been able to exclusively secure several pages from the full Garcia Report*.

Scan of those pages can be found below. Feel free to draw your own conclusions from the documents.

However I will say this much  from my time looking over the pages made available to me: there’s some pretty damning stuff in there. And I can’t really blame FIFA for not wanting the report to ever see the light of day.

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ten words or less #102

Matchday - MLS Cup Final 2014

With a big match on the horizon this weekend in domestic football — you know, the MLS Cup Final — we thought it high time to gather the local readers/supporters together again with another watch party at our favorite local pub, Rhinehaus in Over-the-Rhine. So if you happen to be in Cincinnati this coming Sunday (12/7), be sure to swing by to have a pint with the #Pondcast team and watch as Landon does battle with Jones in the former’s last ever professional soccer match. In fact, if you are going to be in town, let us know you’re attending by RSVPing here.

In the mean time, entertain yourselves by following any of the ten links below that I dug up from around the wide world web over the last week.

TLDR; more trebles because rich teams are getting richer. – espnfc.com

If MLS sides’ shirt sponsors were local(ish) breweries. – backheel.com

Tottenham’s fall can all be blamed on John Terry. – cartilagefreecaptain.com

Interesting look at dollars spent per win/point in MLS. – dtfsoccer.wordpress.com

Classic Sepp: absolving FIFA while blaming others. – foxsports.com

Besides a few owners/league offices, everyone agrees with Robbie. – irishexaminer.com

This backheel assist from Chicharito is the stuff of legend. – gfycat.com

This most valuable clubs in the Americas list is… interesting. – forbes.com.mx

A nice gesture. But Dortmund do this every year. – independent.co.uk

Western Sydney Wanderers are Australia’s BVB. – a-league.com.au

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 14

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 14

Who cares if it’s an international break… there’s still plenty of football to warrant a new episode of the Pondcast. So what’s on deck this week? D.J. and Jeremy delve into the US men’s national team friendly against Colombia and the negative reactions to Klinsmann’s post-World Cup displays. Euro 2016 qualifying also gets some time in the spotlight, as did the ludicrous findings of FIFA’s corruption investigation. And while there’s no Fulham Watch to update you on this week, the guys still picked their Winners & Wankers for the week. Not only that, but we also welcomed in our first guest of Season 2: the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Justin Duke, who our local listeners might know better as @EnquirerFC on Twitter. Justin talked with us about how he came to love the beautiful game, how he started following Liverpool, and also took part in our naming of our Third of the Season Premier League Awards™.

As always, if you want us to answer a question or hear us dish on a topic of your choosing, we would obviously love to do so. Just drop us a line at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, or you send them to us on social media using the links at the bottom of the page.

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a peach of a goal… or ten

FIFA Puskas Award

Not that this is a groundbreaking thought or anything, but most individual awards in the world of sport are one hundred percent subjective.

Soccer is particularly guilty of this when awarding prizes like league MVP’s, goalkeepr of the year awards, or the yearly handing out of the FIFA Balon d’Or. It’s not always the case, but often times an argument can be made for multiple people to be deserving of the award — much to Cristiano Ronaldo’s delight/chagrin.

Anytime you try to decide who the “best” player is, or who did something the best — aside from awards like Golden Boots where it’s pretty darn easy to determine who did or didn’t score the most number of goals — there are way too many factors for any one human or group to consider to say definitively that “this one guy is the best”. Nevermind that everyone has their own opinions, too. I might think something is better than you do, and you might think something is better than I do.

But despite that tangled mess of opinion and fact, we still give out these awards year after year and season after season. Personally, it seems like they’re handed out simply so we all have something argue about. And so people like me have something write about. That the Balon d’Or was originally voted on by a group of journalists is not an irony that has just dawned on me.

Anyway, the FIFA Puskás Award is no different. Named after Hungarian great Ferenc Puskás — a guy you should know about if you don’t already — the prize is awarded by FIFA every year to the player who scored the “best” goal. Please also ignore the fact that FIFA isn’t exactly known for its ability to make non-biased decisions.

But regardless, making a selection from their list of ten nominees is still good fun. And for me, it was an excuse to watch a bunch of fabulous goals all over again. Though it also make me wonder how some goals were left off the list — which I’ll get into later.

So below you will find the ten nominees for the FIFA Puskás Award, in video format, and my thoughts on each. At the end of the article, I’ll also choose my winner, who you will likely disagree with… because this is all subjective anyway.

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ten words or less #99

WSOTP - Blog - Winter Is Coming Scarf.fwThe weekend is upon us, and the football will be coming thick and fast. Tomorrow morning we kick things off with a little Liverpool v Chelsea treat and the weekend is capped off off with some MLS Playoff action. And somehow, someway, I have to manage a way to watch as much of it as possible and NOT have my wife divorce me. I just keep reminding her we’re only a few weeks away from the end of the MLS season, and that seems to be working… for now, at least.

Also, a huge FYI. That official WSOTP scarf pictured above that still remains on pre-order? Yeah, we’re dropping the price. They’re now just $18. That’s two whole dollars we’ve lumped off the cost to encourage you to buy one. (If you ordered one earlier, worry not, you’ll be getting some money back.) We’ve also added an options for picking up the scarf from me personally so you don’t have to pay for shipping. And for those who have been concerned that WSOTP is getting rich off of your purchases, all profits go right back into the site — hosting, domain registration, and podcasting equipment isn’t free and has come directly out of my pocket for the last 5 years. So your moneys will be utilized to continue bringing you the wonderful content you’ve come to know and love. Plus it’s getting cold out again, and we want you to stay warm. So click here to buy one, please! 

Once your done with that, feel free to check out some of my favorite links from around the interwebz from the last week and a half.

You should stop laughing at the San Marino national team. – vice.com

Puma had to choose a specific zipper just for Wenger. – youtube.com

So how did we end up with LAFC? – si.com

How did I not know this academy existed? – businessweek.com

Want proof that FIFA and Russia are in cahoots? – reuters.com

So African players are just a commodity? Got it. – soccergods.com

DC’s new stadium most expensive in MLS history? – wjla.com

Gary Neville and I agree: defending is dead. – telegraph.co.uk

A magnificent piece of writing on Manaus’ World Cup. – deadspin.com/howler.com

Now contemplating auctioning my daughter’s support to the highest bidder. – whoateallthepies.tv