*** Qatari Prime Minister admits no knowledge of football. Qatari PM Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al Thani (“Tim” for short) explained in a press conference that he had no knowledge about the sport. Fortunately this is not expected to negatively impact the planning for the 2022 World Cup because it appears unlikely that any Middle Eastern governments will remain in power by month’s end. Hopefully the soon-to-be protesting Qatari mobs elect someone who knows a thing or two about the sport.
*** Journalist Grant Wahl to run for FIFA president. Although he says that he does not expect to win the post, he is doing it to start a conversation about dramatic changes needed in FIFA’s leadership. In related news, Mr. Wahl sustained severe injuries attempting to joust a windmill. We wish him a speedy recovery.
*** MLS announces new playoff structure; 10 of the 18 teams will advance to the playoffs. Under the new system, the top three teams from each of the two conference will make the playoffs along with the next four teams with the highest point totals regardless of conference. This structure was narrowly adopted over a competing proposal which called for Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle to qualify automatically with all remaining spots decided by a hip-hop style dance battle.
*** Las Vegas mayor announces interest in MLS franchise if the city fails to land NBA franchise. The lure of gambling, brothels, and general excess is expected to be a major selling point for future designate player acquisitions.
*** FIFA to investigate claims of match fixing for international friendlies. Last Wednesday, the Turkish resort town of Antalya hosted two matches: the first, between Bulgaria and Estonia, ended in a 2-2 draw, and the second saw Latvia defeat Bolivia, 2-1. All seven goals were made from the penalty spot. Suspicions of manipulation emerged not long after the match as irregular betting patterns were identified. An official FIFA spokesperson said, “We take these claims very seriously. It is a major offense to manipulate a match without secretly sharing the benefits with at least one member of the executive committee. We will not tolerate unapproved corruption.”
*** Ronaldo announces retirement. This past Monday, the Brazilian goalscoring legend announced that he would cut his final season at Corinthians short and enter retirement. During his illustrious career, Ronaldo won two world cups and was named FIFA player of the year three times. transsexual hookers and churasscaria owners throughout Brazil are all licking their lips.
*** MLS releases 2011 schedule. In his most recent super mega huge major announcement, Don Garber revealed the schedule for the 2011 campaign. The timing of the announcement caught many supporters off guard, in light of the previous string of delays many expected that the schedule wouldn’t be released until early 2012.
Denver, Colorado – The Colorado Rapids are out to set the record straight. It seems most long-time area residents refuse to believe that they are in fact the defending MLS champions.
It seems the confusion began this January when are residents who had previously bought single-game tickets received direct mailings offering season ticket pages for “your defending champion Colorado Rapids.” Within days of sending out the mailers, the Rapids front office was flooded with phone calls.
“In the customer service center, all you could hear was people saying things ,’ ’Really,’ ‘Really,’ and ‘they gave us a trophy, and everything,’” reported a source within the organization, “They weren’t even calling to buy anything – they thought they were doing us a big favor by pointing out the ‘misprint.’” Continue reading
*** Zinedine Zidane claims, in interview with sports daily L’Equip, that he backed Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid to help grow the sport in the Middle East. Zidane denied that his involvement was purely for the money. In fact, he claimed to have received no personal benefit at all, stating that the millions of Euros he received were distributed entirely to charities, such as the Zinedine Zidane Tahitian Beach House Foundation, and the Zinedine Zidane Center for the Furtherance of his Personal Automobile Collection. Zidane further added that his headbutting of Marco Materazzi in the final of the 2006 World Cup was intended to help facilitate world peace.
*** MLS dashes Atlanta’s hopes for franchise. In recent months, Arthur Blank, the founder of Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons, has been taking time out of his busy tanning schedule to lobby MLS for an expansion franchise. Don Garber, however, rejected the Bea Arthur lookalike’s overtures stating that there would be no franchise until they had a plan in place to build a new soccer specific stadium. I’m not terribly familiar with the geography of Atlanta, but if you live in a distant suburb full of parking lots, strip malls, and lightly-used industrial parks, you may someday be in store for a modest low-budget soccer stadium in your neighborhood.
*** UEFA withdraws threat against Ukraine. Previously, we reported that UEFA was rattling its saber, threatening to withdraw Ukraine’s right to host the 2012 Euro championship due to political influence over the soccer federation. After the Ukranian government and federation officials assured UEFA that no further interference would occur, UEFA said that Ukraine would remain co-host of the event. It is unclear yet how many cars these “assurances” can purchase.
*** According to the Zimbabwean, “The Zimbabwe Football Association will get a whooping $300 000 bonus from world soccer governing body FIFA” http://bit.ly/fZGPLE (emphasis added). It is unclear what makes this bonus, which stems from FIFA’s huge profits from the 2010 World Cup, so noisy but hopefully it will be spent before it causes undue disruption for the poor citizens of Harare. [Aw, yea - I went there - take that online editor of low-budget African newspaper!]
Chicago, IL – Last week, the Chicago Fire announced the signing of 25-year-old Uruguayan striker Gastón Puerari. With that announcement came a flood of searches on Wikipedia for information about Mr. Puerari. However, there was no entry for him on the Internet encyclopedia. That would not last long.
Within hours of his signing several anonymous editors collaborated to create a page about Puerari. Puerari was not impressed and immediately went about correcting it.
“First off, I saw that someone listed me at 5 foot 7, and I nearly came to tears,” Puerari said, “I am a solid 5′ 8″ and that isn’t even when I wear my European man-heels. So, naturally, that had to be corrected.”
“Also, whoever made my entry added little more than facts and figures about which teams I had played for, and so on. There was no flair. No representations about my greatness,” Puerari went on, “People make it out as if anyone can score 14 goals in 78 matches in a middling South American league, but it isn’t true. It takes a special talent and my Wikipedia page desperately needed to reflect that, so it was imperative that it mention that I ‘impressed’ several major clubs and that I was a ‘key player’ for the Montevideo Wanderers.”
Despite his edits, Puerari is still not fully satisfied about his entry. “I keep removing the word ‘diminutive’ but someone keeps putting it back up – I mean, how is that necessary? Or even accurate? I weigh a solid 103 pounds! Since when is that diminutive?” Puerari asked, before being knocked to the ground by a gentle breeze.
*** Sepp Blatter hints that 2022 World Cup will be played during the summer. During a BBC radio interview, Blatter explained that the question of whether the 2022 World Cup would be held during the summer was “settled” and that the matches would occur at their normal time. Supporters who die of heat stroke can thank him later.
*** Sepp Blatter comments upon accusations of World Cup voting fraud. Also during the BBC radio interview, Blatter confirmed that there was an alliance between the World Cup bids from Spain/Portugal and Qatar ahead of December’s vote. Blatter said: “I’ll be honest, there was a bundle of votes between Spain and Qatar, but it was a nonsense.” No one is quite sure how to interpret Blatter’s comments. On one hand he acknowledges a quid pro quo scheme that would appear to undermine the integrity of the voting process, while at the same time dismissing – without, of course, any shred of explanation – that this scheme was anything more than “a nonsense.” In the meantime, we will just have to take solace in FIFA’s unsupported assertions. If a secret FIFA investigation fails to find corruption, then there must not have been any corruption.
*** FIFA TV announces Broadcast innovations for Women’s World Cup. Niclas Ericson, director of FIFA TV, says coverage of this summer’s Women’s World Cup in Germany will be greatly enhanced. Matches will be shot by up to 18 cameras, and will include in-goal cameras, steadycams, spidercams, and a helicopter camera. In related news, there is a “Women’s World Cup” and it is apparently broadcast on TV. Amazing.
*** Canadian Soccer Association announces new governance structure. The CSA has adopted a new governance structure at a meeting in Ottawa that brought together members from all 12 provincial and territorial associations…. yawn. God. Everything in Canada is boring.
*** The FIFA Appeal Committee has confirmed the decisions taken by the Ethics Committee to ban former FIFA executive committee members Reynald Temarii and Amos Adamu. Both Temarii and Adamu had been found to have violated FIFA rules in connection with the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding. Fortunately, this corruption was identified well before the bidding occurred and therefore erased any suspicion whatsoever about the ultra-secretive process that resulted in those World Cups being awarded to dictator-led petrogiants with reputations for cracking down violently on media keen on investigating corruption. Temarii, whose punishment was a one year ban, explained “I am very sorry for my indiscretions,” and later asked “does anyone have an ice pack? My wrist is quite sore.”
*** FIFA to debate whether “snoods” – the loose-fitting neck scarves popularized by Carlos Tevez - should be outlawed as a safety risk. If snoods are prohibited, it would mark only the second time that an accessory would be banned pursuant to the rules against wearing anything “dangerous.” The last uniform accessory to be banned under this provision was the NASL Colorado Caribous’ infamous fringe jersey. That jersey did not result in any on-field injuries, but several supporters suffered severe rectal bruising after wearing replicas in “the wrong sort of bars.”
*** UEFA warns clubs on spending restrictions in wake of Torres and Carroll transfers. UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules require clubs to balance their books at the end of the year, but do not set in until the 2012-13 season. Nonetheless, these large transfers are expected to have financial impact well past the present season and so UEFA wasted no time in claiming that they would enforce the new rules rigorously even if it meant losing revenue by banning top clubs from European competition. After making this empty threat, UEFA and club officials alike probably had a right good chuckle.
*** Qatar fires national team coach Bruno Metsu after quarterfinal Asian Cup exit. Despite home field advantage, Qatar failed to make a splash at the Asian Cup and, as a result, slipped to 114 in the world rankings (behind such powerhouses as Kuwait, Oman, Azerbaijan and the Cape Verde Islands). Qatari official, Muhammed al-Dirka Dirka Jihad, explained that Metsu was 100% responsible for the side’s shortcomings and that the loss had nothing to do with Qatar being a tiny country with few talented players. Mr. Jihad further said that without the burdensome Metsu around he had full confidence that Qatar will acquit itself well at the 2022 World Cup. When reached for comment, Metsu bleated “Maaaaaaaaah…..maaaaaaaaaah!”