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Pre-publication ‘FIFA: from fairplay to dirty game’: “The Russians played a different game’

Friday 22 June the book ‘FIFA: from Fairplay to Dirty Game’ of author Ben Kensinger. Sportmagazine.be allowed to give you a pre-publication offer. Read a passage about the mood around the awarding of the world cup organization in 2018 and 2022. “The mood was losing for Putin utterly unthinkable.”

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Infinitely far removed from its modest nineteenth-century roots as a simple pastime for the working class in the grind of the industrial revolution is football in many countries, an institution that is socially and culturally just as powerful as the state or religious authority.

Inspired by the passion of hundreds of millions of fans around the world, football has grown into an economic engine that large sums of money-pumping that into the pockets disappearance of a small elite who sport organizes, competitions, broadcasts and logos opplakt around the fields and on the breast of skilled young athletes who are behind the ball to run.

Football is almost the whole year in almost every country in the world, played in endless series amateur and profwedstrijden, tournaments and championships.

But the world Championship is the premier event where international football around it is organized, the peak and also the bonzende heart of the voetbalkalender. This four-yearly tournament, ever, in more modest times, created by a more modest FIFA, is in the course of the years also become the epitome of the power and influence that sport can exert: a modern and global massaspektakel that lends itself perfectly to this television and where unbridled consumptiedrang, the interests of business, political ambitions and uncontrolled financial opportunism go hand in hand. This event of four weeks in which the best national soccer teams in an orgy of patriotic zeal against each other is the greatest sports events that man has ever devised.

On June 9, 2010, three days before the opening match of the world cup in South Africa, were Russian and English delegates outside a meeting room of the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, nervously waiting for their candidacy for the organization of the tournament from 2018 to defend. Their audience: elected representatives of the federation of football of North and Central America and the Caribbean, referred to as Concacaf.

Of the 207 national associations within FIFA, each responsible for football in their own country, are divided into six federations of federations that oversee the sport at the regional level. Concacaf, that of 35 national associations, is one of those federations, and reports in turn to the FIFA. The region stretches from Panama in the south to Canada in the north, and includes, in addition to the United States, the Caribbean and the sparsely populated South American countries of Suriname and Guyana.

With the exception of Mexico and perhaps the members of Concacaf are no major players in international football, but on the rock-hard field of the international voetbalpolitiek is Concacaf is a powerhouse.

That influence was for a large part due to the Trinidadse chairman, Jack Warner. The wiry Warner, with a pair of glasses on his strongly chiselled face, and showed herself to embrace that he is a black man who out of extreme poverty had risen. He was a born politician who at the annual conferences of the FIFA all its members to one reliable stemmencontingent was able to unite. That unparalleled discipline gave Concacaf a large influence in comparison with other, larger voetbalconfederaties who constantly struggled with internal strife and tribal wars, allowing the voices of lidbonden put could differ.

As a result of this discipline within the federation, the 67-year-old Warner also in 2010 one of the most feared and influential men in football. For thirty years, he has guile, perseverance, and relentless discipline used to the Caribbean – and therefore numerically the whole federation – in line. His position has never in the discussion been. In return for generous payments with money that through him from the highest echelons of the sport neerdwarrelde, he expected his members that they are voting advice faithfully followed.

The slim and combative Warner, who, indeed, in bitter poverty, was born on the Trinidadse countryside managed to climb to the number three of the FIFA and would be the longest serving member of the Executive Committee (UC). The UC is a 24-member body at the FIFA that takes all the important decisions, for example, who is a world cup to organise.

Warner also had a lot of power in other circles. Not even two weeks before his departure for the world cup in South Africa, he was beëigd as minister of Public Works and Transport of Trinidad and Tobago.

Warners power within FIFA was enhanced by his most loyal ally Chuck Blazer, a jewish New Yorker with morbid obesity, a lot of business talent and a rugged kerstmannenbaard. This compulsive gambler who was guided by a seemingly insatiable appetite and indestructible opportunism, was the mastermind behind Warners political fortunes, and to a large extent also behind the spectacular growth of football in North America. Since 1990, he was secretary-general of Concacaf and the second man, and is responsible for the day to day management. Since 1997, he along with Warner in the UC of the FIFA.

A third official of Concacaf, the Guatemalteek Rafael Salguero, also belonged to the 24 members of the highest governing body of the FIFA and would probably be just as votes as his two colleagues in the confederation. All countries that had gekandideerd knew that they should pluimstrijken at Warner and Blazer and that these two were willing to be a price to paste, also on the biggest trophy in football.

Candidacy

On 2 december would be the UC in Zurich to vote on the world cup eindrondes of 2018 and 2022, and with less than six months to go, was the meeting with Concacaf in Johannesburg for all the candidates the perfect time to sell themselves.

England had in 1966 for the last time the tournament was organised and the voetbalgekke population yearns forward as a host country to act. London will host the 2012 Olympics and the Uk government has calculated that the world’s economy a boost of some 4 billion euros will be delivered. In addition, the tournament will be of inestimable social and psychological value to the country, as supporters insist, the sport has been invented.

But, England was up against a few competitors. Belgium and the Netherlands had joined forces and put together a so-called bid book for 2018 submitted, and also Spain and Portugal had joined forces. Among other things, the United States, Australia and Qatar were in a mutual battle wound for the world cup of 2022.

The most formidable opponent of the British for the tournament of 2018 was irrefutable Russia. Russia had eighteen months before the organisation of the Olympic Winter games of 2014 won and had almost a decade of spectacular economic growth, thanks to record prices for oil and other raw materials.

The country, especially in the person of president Vladimir Putin, was keen to increase the opportunity to take to the long lost status of world power to restore. The organization winning a world cup with worldwide hundreds of millions of viewers was definitely the perfect way to who aspiration to carry out and to have a powerful and stable image display. More importantly perhaps was that the world cup the prestige of Putin among the Russian population would strengthen. The mood was losing for Putin utterly unthinkable.

*

To do that a fair procedure was concerned – and taking into account the short attention spans of most of the delegates – offered Concacaf, both delegations twelve minutes time to make their candidacy to promote.

The Russian delegation headed by Alexey Sorokin, secretary-general of the Russian federation, bite the spits. Very best, he brought it not. To start had the Russian national team could not qualify for the 2010 world cup after a humiliating defeat in november against the insignificant in Slovenia, a country with just 2 million inhabitants, slightly more than Novosibirsk.

To make it even worse, was Blazer, who, it is thought that he to England went to vote, not even present. The diabetic with a chronic lung problem and had decided not to Johannesburg to travel because the height which the city is located was not good for his health. A sluggish computer did the powerpoint presentation of Sorokin, up to three times to crash.

Despite everything, beamed the pretty handsome and elegant, the Rus have a lot of confidence with his excellent American English and big smile. The presentation itself, that dull and distant cities such as Yekaterinburg under the attention brought it missed, however, any glimmer of charm. The audience, mainly from Caribbean and Central American delegates existed, was not impressed and seemed even stierlijk to get bored.

The English, on the other hand showed a flashy presentation is loose on the room. The jovial and impeccably-dressed David Dein, former vice-chairman of Arsenal, looked and sounded with his noble traits and bekakte accent as the gentle, rich uncle that everyone would want to have. He warmed the audience with a joke – “The last time I made it in twelve minutes I was done and I was eighteen’ – that enormous acclaim garnered.1 Then he showed a video with superstar David Beckham.

That presentation seemed to want to emphasize that England already have enough state of the art stadiums, not to mention airports, hotels, and highways, to the world cup in a manner of speaking immediately to organize – build was not necessary. In a fit of unusual optimism praised the British press and the presentation and suggested that the English odds are good, crappy, and that the world cup would be won on the basis of technical know-how, existing infrastructure, and general competence on pure merits. The Russians, however, played a different game.

FIFA: from Fairplay to Dirt Game © Angèle

FIFA: from Fairplay to Dirt Game

Ben Kensinger, translated by Hans van Riemsdijk

320 p.

€22,50

ISBN 978 90 223 3456 0

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