Thanksgiving is nearly here and I am thankful that The Guardian has made its 1,000,000 subscribers and truly hope they keep telling me over and over and over and over again. Subscription by a thousand cuts. Just give me the Barney Ronay content and be done with it.
Jokes aside, the backend of the American year is great. I have 2.5 days off work to be thankful, and it perfectly coincides with the thankfulness I have that the bastard international break is coming to an end.
If you wanted something serious to sink your teeth into, the excellent Inside World Football talks up the horror show going on over at FIFA. The story documents how Infantino is gutting FIFA to consolidate power and sell out the World Cup.
All would be funnelled through the specially created ‘FIFA Digital Corporation’ of which FIFA would hold a nominal 51%. Infantino would be installed as chairman of the company, arguably a more influential and powerful position in world football than president of FIFA, and certainly more lucrative personally than the annual $2 million plus bonus he has been receiving.
By removing all of FIFA’s commercial rights from its own sales and marketing teams it would be a further emaciation of a world governing body whose president in just two years has removed the head of every major department, shredded the budgets and operational capability of everything from development to medical, and has removed any form of independence in its governance and ethics process, turning them into a blunt tool for his own political requirements.
The power struggle in football is grim. It’s like watching two of your favourite dictators slugging it out. Kind of interesting because of the vulgarity of it all, but ultimately, once all is said and done, something grim will emerge. Either a more corrupt and unaccountable FIFA, which is quite hard to imagine. Or a Super League, that seems to read less realistic by the day as clubs come to terms with the fan backlash and the sight of pound notes swimming down the river to another sport less tarnished… like drunk curling.
Personally, I find FIFA increasingly less and less relevant. I think clubs should take back control and restart the whole damn thing. That’s an aggressive viewpoint that negates all the good the organisation does around the world. But then again, El Chapo was loved by the people, so was Pablo Escobar. For me, FIFA doesn’t share footballing values. It’s in the pocket of horrible regimes and corrupt old men. It’s overseeing the building of a World Cup under slave labour conditions. It encourages opaqueness and backhanders. A nasty inaccountable group of people that always seems to dodge justice.
How can club football continue to be complicit in its existence? That’s a big question right there, and I expect you to answer it in the comments section.
There are some snippets doing the rounds about another Arsenal restructure. Huss Fahmy is taking over the old role of Raul Sanhelli, so he’ll be the Head of Football Operations. I’m not quite sure how that one works out, I mean, wasn’t he the contracts man over at Sky? Isn’t the role he’s taking on quite specialist? I mean, I guess we have to trust that Raul knows what the fuck he’s doing.
I’d imagine he’s still going to be deeply involved in moving the club forward. Football Operations can mean many things and if you’re a proper outfit, you hire the specialists below you and make sure you’re advancing whatever your agenda is. It’s probably quite an undertaking to make the financial side of the club work. How do you structure kids contracts? How do we set bands for the first team? How do we make the club work for the best and those trying to become the best? How do we remunerate staff so they’re not pinched? How do we build credibility with agents and CEOs at other clubs? How do we gain a powerful voice with Super League? How do we strong-arm the referee unions to stop being biased against us?
There’s also a promotion for Sven M. He’s taking in the role of technical director. Again, I don’t know what this is. Maybe they’re all dividing up Ivan’s monster salary between them and using the titles as justification for doing so. Who knows, but I like that we’re building out the backroom team. I hope that they aren’t entrenching power. I hope there’s still someone holding everyone accountable for success. Last thing we need is a new regime that becomes fat and blunted because it’s living in a world of comfort.
Arsenal are apparently chasing Pepe for the January transfer window. It’s hard to know what’s real and fake with these stories because papers just want to make the hits happen in international break. I’d normally brush aside the story, but The Times is running the story, and you feel the club might be willing to gamble on the signing because Emery has started far better than anyone had imagined.
Tell me if you see it… but he has that beautiful tight control of Kanu, but at pace.
FOOTBALL IS COMING PEOPLE, clear your Sunday… x