Dec 5, 2006

The Genius of Sepp Blatter


It must be hard being Sepp Blatter. He must wake between silken sheets in the morning, after yet another boozy, foie gras-soaked evening banquet, look at his “to do” list and wince.

1- Pick up dry cleaning
2- Pay chef (gold bullion in safe)
3- Accept “donation” from dubious character.
4- Say something outrageous to assembled world sporting press.

Normally, he does it quite well, so that he comes out like a cross between a mental retard and a slightly eccentric uncle. But yesterday he scored a fabulous coup. “Change the European football season to February to November and play through the summer”, the fat-jowled loon wobbled to the press, all gratefully licking their pencils in choreographed stereotype.

Even by Blatter’s standards (tighter shorts for female footballers, has he ever watched female football?) this was guff of the highest order.

On the most obvious reason why this is a bad idea, I’ll just point out that the leagues deliberately run August/September to May to avoid the worst of the summer heat, because it is too hot to play.

First up, there is the small matter of the, erm, lickle old World Cup. Playing this in the winter are we? It would be one way for the suits of FIFA to make sure it never came back here I suppose, supporting all those claims of anti-England bias. It would be even worse for the European Championship, because at least the WC could be held in a southern hemisphere country.

The weather plays another crucial factor, one which makes you wonder if Blatter has ever played football. Charging around on a hot August afternoon is bad enough most of the time in Blighty, I can’t imagine how much fun it wouldn’t be to go on an away game to Sevilla or Malaga in the middle of summer, or AEK, or Palermo for that matter. Even Munich in the summer would not be pleasant.

You only have to look back at the recent European World Cups to see the effect of playing in summer heat. OK, France and Germany both produced some good games, but they were surely all the ones played at night.

Ok, ok, maybe then, all the games could be played later, so it is cooler. A great idea for some parts of the world. But though La Liga plays a lot of games at night for this very reason, will all the other leagues want to change to play all their games after dark?

Sky might be quite happy at this, but in the UK the police are sure to object on the grounds that people will have had more of a change to tank up on a large scale, especially on a Saturday afternoon. Going back to Spain, Italy, and others, it will still be pretty warm late at night, and if you ask players whether they would like to play on a muggy July night at 11pm or a balmy October/November, I hope most would make the obvious choice.

- Ewok

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