Saturday, April 16, 2016

We Have to Play Football

(This is another in a seemingly endless string of mini-posts by your local mini-blogger. Working on my stamina.)

FIFA, as you may have heard, is a giant cesspool of a clusterfuck. Or was, in the hopes of soccer fans the world over after the U.S. Department of Justice catalyzed a long overdue purging of the governing body's senior leadership. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch's probe into FIFA's corruption not only shook up the organization's calcified management, it ushered in a new era of governance and transparency*.

* for now

Whether or not that asterisk remains is largely dependent upon whether new FIFA boss Gianni Infantino is being honest about his intent and is capable of seeing through the significant changes he's already put into motion. In a terrific interview with Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl this week, the Swiss native held forth on his plans.

We are playing football!
"It’s not anymore the executive committee—or the FIFA Council, as it will be called—taking the shots on the commercial contracts and on the distribution of revenues for the contracts," said Infantino, with delightful syntax. "The administration for the distribution will be a specific committee that will be independent members in the development committee, in the finance committee. These are all things which in 111 years in the history of FIFA have never happened."

In response to Wahl's question about how he would restore FIFA's image in the eyes of the growing American fan base, Infantino said:
"By showing with facts rather than with words that I am a true football fan, to start with, that I’m genuinely interested in running this organization in a transparent way, a modern way, a professional way. That I’m genuinely interested in bringing people to speak about football when they speak about FIFA. This has to go through the whole reform process that we are implementing now in terms of transparency and good governance. But these are things which go without saying. We have to show with facts that we are doing it. And once we are doing it, and we have started now, we can again focus on speaking about football. When people start again associating FIFA with football, then we’ve won the trust of the people back. I expect people to judge me and my actions with the results of what I’m doing—and not with any other happenings that other people did maybe misusing FIFA’s name in the past."
The former second chair at UEFA also held forth on the growth of the women's game, his support of more use of replay technology in soccer, and the expansion of the World Cup. But what won my support were two things more prosaic and telling about the man's priorities. Wahl's introduction to the piece found Infantino at a bar in Manhattan, where he went by himself to watch the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. Then, in the interview, Infantino describes one of his first acts as FIFA President:
"The things I’m most happy about is I said I wanted to bring football back to FIFA and FIFA back to football. So the first thing that I organized on a Monday—and it was bloody cold!—was a football match. But it was great fun. And to have so many of these star players come, I wouldn’t have dreamed about it. I remember the Friday night after the election, I said I wanted to do this on my first day in office. So I was asking my colleagues: Bring your shoes on Monday, we have to play football. Then on Saturday I called a couple, and they called each other, and on Sunday about 20 top players, men and women, came and it was great."
Can you imagine Roger Goodell calling his colleagues and saying, "We have to play football"?

Viva Infantino.


T.J. said...

Mr. KQ, where you headed to for National Records Day?
I think I'll be hitting up the place in Westover by Lost Dog and the new Italian Store.
I also picked up 8 more records while in Arkansas, including a $1 Kenny Rogers gem and a great live Stones album for $4.

T.J. said...

Have started the day on vinyl going Pointer Sisters to Blood, Sweat & Tears to Manilow...all while digging out of two days worth of work emails.

Yaaaay Saturday.

TR said...

Who's Gianni, she said. And smiled in her special way.

The big record store the next town over makes a big fuss about record day (or whatever today is). I understand going out of one's way to support a cool, local merchant (and I do), but I'll do it when there's not a 45-min wait to get into the store. I don't need the social equity from being seen in a long line with a bunch of 40 and 50 something dudes.

On that note, you all MUST MUST MUST add Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak to your collection. It is beyond fantastic. The band (during this period) is right in the middle of a musical straight line between Springsteen and Maiden.

If you don't believe me, go to YouTube, find Angel From the Coast, and play it very loudly.

KQ said...

Teeeeeeej we're heading out to Mobius records in downtown Fairfax. Picked up several gems there last week, including what I'm listening to now, the Electric Horseman soundtrack.

zman said...

I prefer Jionni LaValle. There's a new Italian Store?! As in there are now two of them? If so, long overdue.

T.J. said...

Correct. There are now two Italian Stores.

TR said...

Zman - Esposito's Meats & Deli on Ridgedale Ave in East Hanover has the goods - fresh mozzarella, peppers, gobbagool, you name it.

zman said...

TR, the Italian Store is an oasis of legit northern food in the culinary desert of northern Virginia. You can get good slices, real deli meat, prepared chicken parm meatballs etc to go. There should be one in every town in Fairfax County.

Marls said...

NCAA women's bowling championship on ESPNU right now. Nebraska vs. Stephen F Austin. Coming to you live from North Brunswick, NJ. I'm looking for Dave in the crowd.

rob said...

bernie sanders introduced run the jewels at coachella. the world is an excellent place.

mr kq said...

Teej picked up a slew of vinyl today including CSNY 4 Way Street which is on now. Also Joe Jackson Jumping Jive which sounds killer on the system. A bunch more which I won't bore you with.

rob said...

rough week for the extended gheorghie family. my 93 year-old grandmother is slipping away - her heart stopped 6 times last night and she's still fighting. got to talk to her briefly a few minutes ago. as we say too often these days, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. peace, gheorghies.

Dave said...

yikes-- thanks for the reminder, i will visit my grandmother . . .