*** 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!]
*** 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!”
*** Hundreds of ticket holders were locked out of Qatar’s Khalifa Stadium for the AFC Asian Cup final between Japan and Australia on Saturday. The Qatari organizers acknowledged that the gates to the stadium had been shut well in advance of kick-off, causing many fans to be denied entry and miss the entire match. Organisers explained the gates were closed for security reasons due to the attendance of VIPs who included the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, and AFC boss Mohamed Bin Hammam. For those of you planning to attend the World Cup in 2022 make note to arrive several hours early to the stadium, do not be surprised about significant decisions affecting your experience without notice, and expect to be treated like a serf in comparison to royalty, like the Al Thanis and Sepp Blatters of the world.
*** In the wake of an embarassing defeat to Osasuna, Real Madrid winger Cristiano Ronaldo launched a tirade against violent fans and players alike. ”Constant kicks, more balls than what is normally allowed on the pitch… No, it’s unacceptable for a football match to become a naval battle … What happened during the match is not good for children or people who enjoy the beauty of football. I hate it!” he said. We agree with Mr. Ronaldo, there is no place for violence in football. Matches should be viewed exclusively as an opportunity to showcase flamboyant new hairstyles and to demonstrate the ability to dramatically fall with only the slightest touch.
*** Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Mr. Kwasi Nyantakyi has allegedly confessed to spending upwards of $100,000 on gifts for FIFA officials whose decisions affected Ghana’s football during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Beerandsoccer remains skeptical of this report because everyone knows FIFA likes much much larger bribes.
*** Qatar unveils plans for “sustainable” World Cup 2022 stadiums. Today Qatar and German design firm AS&P revealed plans for three stadiums for the 2022 World Cup that are intended to be environmentally friendly. Paying for those stadiums will be countless barrels of oil which will be drilled from deep within the Earth, which will then be sold, transported on a oil-burning tanker, processed in a pollution spewing refinery, transported on diesel-burning trucks, and then resold to end-users for them to burn in their SUVs. Environment, you can thank them later.
*** UK media outlets are reporting that upward of 13 firms are in the running for providing FIFA with goal-line technology. This technology, which will accurately register when a goal has been scored, is being widely opposed by lobbyists in the referee effigy industry.
*** UEFA threatens to strip Ukraine of the rights to hosting Euro 2012 amidst claims that its government is interfering with its football federation. UEFA secretary-general Gianni Infantino issued the confederation’s ultimatum to Ukrainian officials whilst coughing suggestively and rubbing his thumb and forefinger together in an exaggerated fashion. A few well placed bribes are expected to bring this situation to a prompt and happy conclusion.
Moscow, Russia – Upon waking early this past tuesday morning, journalist Oleg Pogrebizhskaya apparently thought to himself “It is awful dim in here. I really wish my body emitted a gentle greenish-yellow glow.”
Mr. Pogrebizhskaya might just get his wish. Yesterday, he published an article raising questions over Russia’s 2018 World Cup security in the wake of the recent Moscow Airport bombing and now, officials in Russia’s Information Ministry have hinted that it will only be a matter of time before Oleg’s pickled herring is seasoned with polonium 210.
Asked if he was concerned about his forthcoming radiation poisoning, Pogrebizhskaya explained that “it is no big deal. Like that old Yakov Smirnoff joke goes – in America you write articles for the newspaper, in mother Russia those who monitor the newspaper electrocute writers in the testicles.” Continue reading
St. Petersburg – 2018 World Cup Bid Chief Alexey Sorokin announced in a press conference that surging costs due to FIFA’s unexpected shift of the World Cup calendar to a winter schedule has immediately placed all host cities in on the brink of insolvency.
Mr. Sorokin, who is expected to die soon of mysterious causes, explained: “We weren’t planning on stadium retrofits and redesigns, or even buying a bunch of heaters for outdoor viewing parties. I didn’t know adding ceilings to our venues was going to be this expensive. Maf–, err, I mean government money has just run dry.”
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev added, “It’s terribly cold here in the winter, balls will freeze. Why would FIFA change to a Winter schedule? They need a history lesson. Do they know what happened to Napoleon? the Germans?” Continue reading
Beer and Soccer: Congratulations on being awarded the 2022 World Cup. You must be very proud.
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani: Oh yes, the vote established once and for all that Qatar is a greater nation than the United States of America. Yesterday was the happiest day in my life since I seized power from my own father in the coup. You should’ve seen the look on his face. [laughing]
B&S: Let’s cut to the chase. How much did you bribe the FIFA voters?
SHbKa-T: Forty-three mil- wait! We, uh, did no such thing. Of course. Now if you’d just excuse me for one second, please. [turns to his manservant] Omar, what is another word for bribery that sounds, you know, less bad but means exactly the same thing? [manservant shrugs] Nothing? Nothing? [turns back to B&S] I don’t know what you are talking about. Continue reading
Today, a Sesame Street skit featuring US Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati was pulled from the show after receiving complaints from parents that his attire was inappropriate. Mr. Gulati, who was on the show to promote the US bid to host the World Cup was unavailable for comment.
Do you agree that Mr. Gulati’s attire was inappropriate for a show aimed at preschoolers or are the parents’ complaints going overboard?
In a few short months, FIFA will determine the hosts for the 2018 and the 2022 World Cups. Among the dark horse contenders is the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar.
Qatar is home to 1.6 million people and has an incredibly diverse economy by Middle Eastern standards, which ranges all the way from oil to natural gas to petroleum byproducts.
While Qatar currently lacks the stadiums necessary to host the Cup, they have proposed building nine state-of-the-art stadiums that exude all of the understated good taste one would expect from a Middle Eastern sheikh hemorrhaging petrodollars.
The centerpiece of the planned venues (rendering pictured above) is a 90,000 seat arena built entirely out of the ash of burnt $1,000 bills situated atop an indoor mountain of artificial ice (which itself is completely submerged in the Persian Gulf) . Continue reading
From the Didn’t This Happen Four Years Ago File: According to a report from Dagbladet, a daily newspaper whose name sounds probably less like an awful urinary tract disease in its native Norway, has uncovered a receipt which shows that Jack Warner sold thousands of tickets to this year’s World Cup in South Africa to a black market ticket dealer.
Mr. Warner, who serves as the Vice President of FIFA and President of the CONCACAF (the North and Central American soccer federation which borrows its name and operational phil0sophy from a rare Costa Rican feces-eating monkey), has denied any wrongdoing in the matter. Continue reading