after the big draw in cape town, most of the footballing world already has it’s sights set firmly on next summer. but fret not, i haven’t completely cast my gaze upon big event, and have scrounged up some interesting and somewhat obscure happenings from around the footballing landscape.
grecians paved way despite kick in teeth – guardian.co.uk
england are probably not the primary favorites for next summer’s finals, despite what many english fans/commentators/street bums might say. and though a case could be made that spain are the frontrunners, many experts are (unsurprisingly) tipping the brazilians to lift the cup for a sixth time. but how is it that the samba boys came to dominate the sport created by the english?
this article outlines the beginnings of that story. a professional exeter city side toured through brazil in 1914, playing friendlies against largely unorganized amateur sides made of european ex-patriots and local brazilians. after the english side cruised to easy victories, the fierce rival cities of rio de janeiro and são paulo pulled together to create an all-star team to challenge the grecians… thus spawning the first brazilian national side. a rough 90 minutes later, and the brazilians stood surprisingly as winners. the win was seen as a moment of huge pride for the young nation, and the birth of a national passion was born.
FIFPro wants FIFA to take action against MLS – fifpro.org
the international players “union,” FIFPro, are a tad upset with the way that MLS manages it’s players, and they want FIFA to mandate they follow the organization’s rules. in case you didn’t know, unlike most pro soccer leagues around the globe, all of the player contracts in MLS are owned by MLS instead of being owned by the individual teams. FIFPro are mainly opposed to the ways the league runs its business: MLS owning all of the contracts (or as FIFPro are saying, “acting as a cartel“), the existence of non-guaranteed player contracts, persistent termination of player contracts by MLS, a lack of freedom of movement between clubs for the players, and players being transferred between clubs without their consent.
for their part, the MLS players union agrees and wants the league to conform to the international standards, and the timing is great as the league’s collective bargaining agreement is up as of 1/31/2010. of course, MLS commissioner don garber believes that the league is in line with FIFA rules and the union is wrong. however, garber would be wise to meet at least some of the player’s demands. a strike by the players would do the league a good deal of harm, especially after the tremendous growth it’s experienced in the last few years.
liverpool end of season party – lfc-endofseasonparty.com
it would be hard to argue that liverpool have lived up to expectations this season. very hard. and a couple of opposing fans have taken the liberty to remind the scousers that their season is effectively already over by arranging the club’s “end of season party” after they were knocked out of the champions league. i can’t do the site justice in this limited space, so just click the link and have a look yourself. one thing i will say though is thanks to this site, i will now only refer to rafa benitez as the “fat spanish waiter”… hilarious!
no extra officials for world cup – bbc.co.uk
there is no doubt that fifa are in over their heads going into this world cup. first off, they decided it would be okay to let zimbabwean dictator president robert mugabe hold the world cup trophy, despite the fact he’s responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands. then there was the entire france-ireland-handball fiasco, which they couldn’t have handled more unprofessionally. and though we all knew deep down that nothing would be done by fifa to help ireland out, i had at least hoped that they would take further steps to prevent a similar situation from arising again. wrong again.
fifa have certainly dropped the ball by announcing that there won’t be extra referees, one on each goal line, during next year’s finals. i’ve said before that using extra officials is the only logical way to cut down on cheating within the game, but fifa obviously think the system is just fine for now. however, everyone’s favorite incompetent president, fifa’s sepp blatter, has announced that they might be willing to look at using instant replay to aide the referee. i think he might just be an idiot.
charlie davies update: first interview since accident – globalpost.com
it had been a while since we’ve had any substantial updates on the progress of USMNT/souchaux forward charlie davies since his horrific car crash in october. but after the world cup draw, davies finally gave his first interview with ESPN’s jeremy schaap. and davies made a surprising claim during that interview: he’ll be ready to go by next summer’s finals. and while i’m not so sure i agree with him, i like his optimism and hope it comes to be true. below is a quick preview of the interview (although it’s showing a mirror image of the video for some odd reason), and here’s a link to the full audio interview from ESPN’s podcasts. good luck chuck, we could certainly use you!