ten words or less #114

The words have again slowed to a trickle here at WSOTP recently, and as I usually do, I’m plugging the hole with another links round up. It’s not that there isn’t plenty to write about — I have a really long list of items that I’d like to get to — I just haven’t had the time  to do so lately. But trust that I have still been hard at work on a number of projects behind the scenes that will hopefully see the light of day in the near future. And new #Pondcasts are still dropping regularly on Tuesdays, so we’re not leaving you totally deprived of WSOTP’s perspective — check back tomorrow for our latest episode!

In the mean time, I hope you feel satisfied with these interesting links from around the world of soccer.

Why haven’t you signed up for our FIFA Tournament yet? – wrongsideofthepond.com

Sepp Blatter is clearly an old, delusional man. – tass.ru

While awesome in theory, can the players take it on? – bloomberg.com

Could MLS be over doing it on social media? – helltownbeer.com

And you thought your last match’s referee was a prick. – mirror.co.uk

Are Getafe about to get Wimbledon-ed? – as.com

The American lower leagues are experiencing some growing pains.
– theouterdrive.wordpress.com (FYI: audio Link)

You rarely hear about player’s fandom these days. – theguardian.com

Zlatan to Miami in 2017? The team start in 2018… – nbcsports.com

A deeper (historical) look at MLS’ new salary data. – philly.com

WSOTP pod: post-mexico meltdown mode

WSOTP Podcast - Post-Mexico Meltdown Mode

Though we considered abstaining from joining the cacophony of voices out there screaming about the need to burn down the US Men’s National Team’s house and condemn the players and coaches… the allure of joining the chorus was ultimately too strong to resist. As such, D.J. and Jeremy offer up their reactions to the CONCACAF Cup loss, as well as the media firestorm currently engulfing the USMNT and Klinsmann. But it’s not all US soccer talk this week: the guys also to look at another German named Jürgen officially taking the managerial reins at Liverpool, dished on the sliver of MLS action this week, and offered reaction to FC Cincinnati’s open house and sponsor unveiling… plus the usual weekly segments.

If you want to get involved in the conversation, be sure to get in touch with your questions or topics for next week’s episode by way of the social media links at the bottom of the page or an email sent to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com. And don’t forget to subscribe below to automatically receive the newest podcast every Tuesday.

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pic of the week 7/20-7/26


FIFA's Sepp Blatter Raining Dollars

Even though we’re literally just over 10 hours into the week, the soccer gods have been kind and already gifted us the latest “Pic of the Week”. I don’t need the rest of the week to make that call, as there is no possible way a picture will be produced that bests the one above. To be honest, it’s quite possible the entirety of the remainder of 2015 will be unable to best this one.

So what exactly is it that we’re seeing?

Though this might surprise you, it’s not actually a candid photo of FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s morning shower routine. Instead, it’s a picture of the “outgoing” FIFA supremo being showered in fake money thrown at him by British comedian Lee Nelson during a press conference this morning. Want to see a video of it? Sure you do. Nelson interrupted the presser after sneaking into the building, announcing himself as a member of North Korean World Cup delegation before making it rain on King Sepp. But as for Blatter’s look of disappointment? That can easily be explained by the fact that they were just $1 bills instead of $100’s.

Once things were cleaned up and Sepp returned to the stage, he did announce that he would not be standing for re-election in the February 27th Extraordinary Elective Congress. However, no word on whether he kept the bills or not — though I think it’s safe to assume he did.

ten words or less #111

So 2015 has been the summer of soccer to end all summers of soccer. There has been at least one — and often times two or three — “major” international tournament(s) going on each week, ranging from the less-prominent youth World Cups and Gold Cups to the more prestigious Women’s World Cup and Copa America. Those fell on top of all of the normal domestic action still on going and the ever-moving river of transfer news that consumes every summer. And to think we’ve not even reached the summer tune-up friendlies all of the European sides will be playing out around the globe in the weeks to come.

I’m not going to lie: it’s been exhausting to cover. As you’ve probably noticed, between watching all of the action, my commentating gig with the Cincinnati Saints, designing match posters and emceeing watch parties with thousands of people — finding time to write hasn’t exactly been easy. Not to mention job, home and family responsibilities. I’m making excuses here, but I honestly have missed writing.

So with that in mind, I’ve been hard at work on a number of stories both local, national and international. And hopefully you’ll end up seeing them in a timely fashion, too. But in the mean time, I’ll attempt to appease you with some of my favorite links from the last week or so.

Pathetic… but predictable. – espnfc.com

You can’t do anything by “lol” anymore. – bbc.com

So maybe MLS could be investing it’s money more wisely. – topdrawersoccer.com

The outcome here could seriously shake up US youth soccer. – vice.com

Adios, San Iker. Everyone will forgive you for the tears. – youtube.com

Tevez heading back to Boca is kind of awesome.tu – juventus.com

All of the Stoke jokes must have finally got to Shaqiri. – telegraph.co.uk

May as well get rid of it if Messi doesn’t want it. – mundodeportivo.com
(WARNING: Spanish)

Absolutely love. Probably want. – football-shirts.co.uk

Typical English “supporters” being “nice” to a former player.
– manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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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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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading