Football’s short term horizons
My father used to say that public memory is notoriously short. He was referring to politics not football but that holds very true for the round ball game as well. And herein lies a contradiction. There is nothing that arouses greater fury in football, both among the fans and the media, than the hire fire policy of chairmen and the board of struggling clubs. The moan is that the money men who always know the price of everything and the value of nothing want instant success and just do not understand that success in football takes times.
Yet this season has provided a classic example of how the fans and the media have made instant judgements about managers. In line with the dictum of modern football that the immediate is always the harbinger of the future at various times Brendan Rodgers, Louis van Gaal and, now Arsene Wenger, have been like rabbits in the headlights.
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Everyone agrees, even Sepp Blatter President of FIFA that sports should be clean and like Caesar’s wife above suspicion. Many of us may not believe that Blatter means what he says as the utter mess his organisation has made of the probes into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids show. Blatter’s supporters argue what can the poor man do? He appoints a US attorney, evidence is taken under conditions of secrecy and the full report cannot be published because FIFA may face legal actions from the persons named in the report.
That argument has some merit in the sense FIFA is a private organisation not a state body with none of the judicial power a state has. The state can compel those within its jurisdiction to give evidence, cases are heard in open court and when it comes to pronouncing judgement judges are like stage artistes savouring their moment in the sun.
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