Two identical events in recent football matches in Scotland and Italy had entirely different outcomes. Visitors Hibernian led Motherwell 1-0 at half time in an SPL match in December. This was a surprise, as Motherwell are fighting for a European place while their opponents are embroiled in a relegation battle. After the teams failed to appear for the second half, supporters were asked to evacuate the stadium due to an electrical fire in one of the floodlights. The game was abandoned and rearranged for February, starting goalless, with a full 90 minutes to play. Motherwell won the "replay" 4-3.
Blackburn Olympic's FA Cup final win over the Old Etonians in 1883 is often seen as a watershed in the game's history. The Cup was never again won by the amateur ex-public school teams who had dominated the first decade of the competition. In 1885 the FA bowed to the inevitable and sanctioned professionalism. Three years later the formation of the Football League by professional clubs from the midlands and north confirmed the exclusion of amateur clubs from the highest level of the game.
In the context of Sepp Blatter's stated intention to push through reform of FIFA practices, various groups have been claiming to be the true voice of football, none more robustly than the European Club Association (ECA). This is the self-proclaimed "nuclear family of the football society", the successor to the elite G-14 group established in 2000, which was expanded to 18 in 2002 and disbanded six years later.
On October 21, FIFA president Sepp Blatter unveiled a series of plans to combat the seemingly endemic problem of corruption in international football. Blatter proposed to reopen an investigation into the collapse of former marketing partner ISL, raising the possibility that senior FIFA figures could be shown to have taken bribes. Last year, FIFA paid CHF 5.5 million (£3.9m) to settle the case, but Blatter has now said: "We will give this file to an independent organisation outside of FIFA so they can delve into this file and extract its conclusions and present them to us."
England has become the Millwall of world football. No one likes us and, judging by the coverage in the press and the posts on the internet, we really don’t care. To read the comments on the BBC website since the Sunday Times first “exposed” corruption in the FIFA executive committee last November is to enter a delusional fantasy land that only the English could have dreamt up.
Sepp Blatter has always marketed himself as a humble Swiss patriot who has transformed Zürich into “the capital of FIFA, the capital of football”. Yet his compatriots are growing increasingly disenchanted with the self-made man from the canton of Valais. In a survey conducted by the Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten in May, 86 per cent of its readers thought that Blatter was guilty of corruption. And, as his organisation lurches from crisis to crisis, pressure is mounting in Switzerland for regulationson football’s governing body to be tightened dramatically.
With the furore surrounding the FIFA presidential elections in the week WSC went to press, response to the news was interesting in Argentina: the scandal has hardly had any coverage at all. That is not, however, to say that allegations of corruption have no place in the context of current affairs in Argentine football. They’re just more localised.
"The highest parliament in English football... the mother of football parliaments," football writer and former Cambridge Blue Geoffrey Green called the FA in 1959. And despite the power on the field of South American national sides and the legendary Real Madrid team, Green could also laud the FA as "an authority in every land".
New rules announced by both UEFA and the Premier League are meant to curb football's financial excesses. but, as Mark Brophy points out, they might not have that much effect on the big clubs
UEFA’s impending Financial Fair Play regulations have met with seemingly universal approval. Starting in 2012, clubs who fail to comply with the rules laid down will be barred from European competition. Clubs spending more than the income they generate will fall foul of the rules, as will those which spend more than 70 per cent of turnover on wages, have unsustainable debt or fail to pay debts on time. At the same time Premier League rules limiting squad size to 25 with eight places reserved for homegrown players have come into effect for the new season, again to general acclaim.
Steve Menary examined how FIFA's strict rules on "political interference" were being enforced across world football, and found varying results
If a private club suspended five percent of its members in the same number of years, asking for an explanation would seem perfectly reasonable. FIFA’s reason for suspending a dozen of its 208 members – some more than once – since 2005 is “political interference”.