Who will stop Fifa? Seeking global allies for England
18 November 2014 -
Which countries could join up with the FA to fend off the spectre of FIFA’s bizarre management decisions? We ponder a few possibilities…
Last week’s announcement from FIFA that the next two World Cups will go ahead as planned in Russia and Qatar came as little surprise to football fans across the globe.
However, David Bernstein (pictured below) – former chairman of the Football Association – has urged England and several European countries to boycott the next tournament. “At some stage, you have to walk the walk, stop talking and do something,” he told BBC Sport. England on its own would not be able to change anything, something Bernstein accepts – but it’s not hard to envision a situation whereby several major countries formed an alliance with the Three Lions.
Germany might be the reigning champions, but Dr Reinhard Rauball, president of the German Football League, sounded his own warning upon the release of FIFA’s report that UEFA’s 54 members could quit the governing body. Fellow European heavyweights Spain, Netherlands, Portugal and Belgium all have an axe to grind after losing out – along with England – in the bidding for the 2018 World Cup.
Allies can also be found further afield: the US was the big loser in the 2022 voting. While that territory is not a traditional footballing powerhouse, FIFA must be well aware of the significant marketing opportunities and financial clout that could be earned from North Americans. US viewing figures went through the roof during the Brazilian tournament, and it would be a huge loss if that nation too boycotted.
South Korea, Japan and Australia were other teams that lost out in applying to host the 2022 Cup.
As well as the World Cup being tarnished by allegations of corruption during the bidding process, there are further reasons why countries could work together to boycott the tournaments. The Qatar scheduling is a major headache for numerous domestic leagues, leading to disruption in several football calendars. Meanwhile, the country’s human rights record is firmly in the spotlight, with hundreds of construction workers dying every year.
Sepp Blatter may have a stronghold of backing from the world’s poorer nations – most notably in Africa – but he will be astutely aware that a World Cup without the likes of Germany, Spain and the US simply would not work.
Ultimately, it will come down to the management of any potential breakaway committee… and it will have to be a collective decision between those countries. Whatever the case, the credibility of the sport is on the line. Surely that’s a prime reason for leading footballing nations to take action?
Image of Sepp Blatter awarding a medal Sneijder of the Netherlands courtesy of AGIF / Shutterstock.
Image of David Bernstein courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons.
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