Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fifa Gets a Red Card, and a Blue Summons

For quite some time questions have swarmed around the global football governing body and how they come to some of their decisions regarding the conferment of the World Cup and the sponsorship of other world events. Now it is coming into light that there was much more to the winning bids other than creative presentations. The US justice department said 14 individuals were under investigation worldwide for allegedly accepting bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150m over a 24-year period, and arrest have been made. Now the can of worms has been opened the big question is how deep does the rabbit hole go in regards to what they were up to, and how high up the food chain does it reach, perhaps all the way to Sepp Blatter? The allegations thus far have included a pretty serious array of offenses from bribery to money laundering, and who knows what will be uncovered in the upcoming days. Honestly, the way this is going Blatter would do himself a huge favor by stepping down amidst the scandal, go on a long vacation, and come out of the bunker after the s-storm has past. He might be able to salvage his reputation if possible. However in a situation like this Americans love to use the term “institutional control” and although he hasn’t been indicted of anything at this moment the census should be along the lines of “he is either in on the bribes or he was ignorant of the fact that it was right under his nose and so systemic that he would have to be blind to miss it” in either case the world of soccer fans needs to assess if this is someone you want running your favorite sport. The Fifa executives indicted include Rafael Esquivel, Nicolas Leoz, Jeffrey Webb, Jack Warner, Eduardo Li, Eugenio Figueredo and Jose Maria Marin The seven arrested at a five-star hotel in Zurich on Wednesday were: • Jeffrey Webb - head of Concacaf, and Fifa vice-president • Costa Rica's national football chief Eduardo Li • Uruguay's Eugenio Figueredo, president of South American football governing body Conmebol • Venezuelan Football Federation president Rafael Esquivel • Brazil's Jose Maria Marin, a member of Fifa's club committee • Fifa development officer Julio Rocha, from Nicaragua • Costas Takkas, of the UK, an attache to the Concacaf president Also indicted are former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Aaron Davidson, Alejandro Burzaco, Jose Margulies, and Hugo and Mariano Jinkis. Update*** World football’s governing body’s president made his first public appearance since Tuesday as he addressed attendees at the FIFA Congress opening ceremony in Switzerland on Thursday. Blatter spoke after seven senior FIFA figures were arrested yesterday morning on corruption charges at their Zurich hotels. While the 79-year-old conceded the organization has lost the trust of the football public after those dramatic events, he showed no signs of bowing to widespread calls for him to resign and the vote almost assured to re-elect him as president should go off without a hitch on Friday. I gotta’ tell ya, if the US Justice department thought going after Wall St. CEOs was tough, they’ve got nothin’ on this guy. Sepp Blatter more resembles Keyser Söze than a old man pushing 80, as he seems to be protected from on high by the Prince of Darkness and has more friends willing to take a bullet for him than Vito Corleone. Even Vladimir Putin has come out in his defense, of course there are some serious alterior motives afoot with him as Russia seems to be the previous benifactor of committee’s generosity, given for a price, so it make sense to make a case that the prosicutors had an axe to grind. Obviously the phrase “lack of institutional control” isn’t deemed a firable offense in most nations around the world when it comes to electing someone to oversee the most powerful and popular sports organization on the planet. Michel Platini says he tried and failed to persuade Sepp Blatter to quit before Friday's FIFA presidential election, but you don’t get to be the head of the most that powerful organization I just mentioned without being able to stare down an advisory going into a fight and he doesn’t seem to be intimidated.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fight of the Century, Perhaps Two Years Late?

Fight of the Century, Perhaps Two Years Late? It’s almost surreal that we are finally on the verge of the “Fight of the Century” as it seems like we’ve been here so many times before. However unless either Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather don’t make the weight, it’s going to happen after five-years of anticipation. The early results are already in as far as PPV sales, and tickets at the arena have well surpassed any in the history of boxing, even with the inflation index added, Ali-Frazier I doesn’t come close. Each fighter is going to get the payday of their lives and they are well aware of that fact. Now there is nothing to do but fight, and to the winner goes the titular title of “Best Pound-Per-Pound Fighter In The World”, and the best of this era. Ya know, I don’t even know exactly which belts or official titles are on the line for this fight and I don’t think it really matters, to me or anyone else for that matter. Now the only question left is can the fight live up to the hype? Two maybe three years ago no doubt this was greatest matchup in the history of the sport, because both fighters were at the peak of their careers, and razor sharp. Since then they both have fought a lot, and Manny has had a little of the shine worn off him as not only has he lost a fight but was knocked out, counted out, unconscious on the canvas. Even though he has come back since then and won two bouts, one has to wonder what kind of toll that took on him and if he gets hit like that again, and rest assured, he will in this fight, how his chin handles it. Floyd min you, has also fought, but hasn’t really been tested, and one might question what happens to him when faced with a world-class opponent that may possibly be, for the first time in Floyd’s career, as quick or quicker to the punch than he is. I guess part of why this event has taken on the goliath proportions that it has is because all of afore questions will finally be answered as someone will emerge as the winner (we hope, we will not be discussing any draw-rematch scenarios today). So what does each have to do have is hand raised at the end of 36 minutes? For Pac-Man, he needs to execute the fast in-and-out style that we have seen when he is at his best. He doesn’t have to worry about loading up for the big shot because he hits surprisingly hard and that might be enough to slow Money down just a step, and that could make all the difference because if Manny is equal in speed you will not out-point him and a decision is his best and perhaps only way to victory. Mayweather on the other hand, also needs to do what he has always done which is execute the best defense ever seen at any level in boxing, and then counter if Pac-Man misses or is out of position. One important factor that seems to be going unnoticed is Floyd’s reach advantage (5 inches) which is huge in a fight like this, where the jab could control the tempo. If Money can tap dance and land that jab to keep Manny at bay, then in the later rounds he may be reaching to try and get to Floyd and as we have seen in the past that’s when he gets tagged and perhaps put down. A decision is still Mayweather’s best path to victory but he is only one of the two that has a shot at a TKO in my opinion. That said, we’re going the way of the champion, between his political career and tasting the canvas for the first time where he doesn’t get up we think Pacquiao has lost a step and although it may not be that big of a difference when fighting a mere mortal, against arguably the best ever it could mean all the difference. We like Floyd in a unanimous decision.