By Ikeddy Isiguzo
WOULD England be complaining if it won the bid for the 2018 World Cup? It is most unlikely the English would have said some of the things they are saying about FIFA, a body that they support to the hilt.
To the English, FIFA is always right. Complaints about corruption in FIFA are hardly an issue in the English media, which also believe that the workings of FIFA serve British interests. FIFA is good for the good of the game, the English would have echoed until they ran into this jam.
Too much has been made about England’s bid, including insinuations that it had the best technical details in its proposals. Are these enough to win the World Cup bid? When did England discover corruption in FIFA?
What did it do until it became a supposed victim? What will England do about its media, which are being blamed, for the loss? Will the English have preferred for their media to be silent and reveal the mess in FIFA after the bid votes had been cast?
The English are hurt and for good reason too. England has a pomposity that is uniquely English. After hosting the 1966, at a time that England’s football power enjoyed international respect, England’s victory in the competition remains the high point of its World Cup efforts. There has been one semi-final place ever since, 16 years ago. England is perennially at the verge of not qualifying for the World Cup, it manages to scale through.
Hosts are happy when England is absent as was the case in USA’94, where Americans were planning all types of security measures against English fans, when to their relief, England did not qualify. England has given a lot to world football, from promoting the game to planting football in the Olympics Games in 1908, but it has not done much lately, and is actually a fading football power.
Its highly celebrated Premiership League is a misrepresentation of the growth of English football, while football in England is dying, just sustained by imported skills, a major reason for the dwindling competitiveness of English players in national team competitions like the World Cup.
The world has caught up and overtaken England .When England gets high ratings going to the World Cup, the English media may be exciting their people to enhance the fortunes of the betting industry, or for reasons directly linked to the survival of their publications. The world thinks of England in terms of the Premiership, hence the disappointment when English teams turn out, expectedly without the Premiership stars, who are mostly foreign and they post performances that are not Premiership quality.
Now that the English know how FIFA works, how things other than what they would have thought affect decisions in FIFA, they will join in the task of cleansing one of the most important organisation in international sports. FIFA has hurt Nigerian sports more than many people are willing to accept. As the body gets more discredited, it tests its power by threatening countries like Nigeria that build a myth around the omnipotence of FIFA.
It was deliberate. Nigerian officials need this cloudy relationship to help themselves expropriate football properties that are meant to be national assets. England and the USA are sulking. What will they do? Nigerians have spent years complaining about FIFA’s malfeasance; how it turns a blind eye to the injustices in our football. Did anyone care? Maybe the world will pay more attention to FIFA and it may mark a departure from the shenanigans of an organisation that kills football under the pretence of organising it.
IOC Helps Young Refugees
THE International Olympic Committee, IOC, with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, has launched an ambitious three-year Sport and Education programme for young people in the Osire refugee settlement in Namibia .Most of the refugees in Osire are from Angola .
Others are from the Republic of Congo, Burundi , Rwanda and 19 other African countries. About 8,500 people live in the settlement, 40 per cent of them between the ages of 10 and 30.
The programme is designed to get the group more involved in organised sport to alleviate major problems affecting the young people, mainly teenage pregnancy, HIV, and substance abuse.
Olympic star and IOC member Frankie Fredericks from Namibia said at the opening ceremony on Tuesday, “Our work here is to provide hope to the young people of this settlement. If they are given more opportunities to dream, they will have more reasons to pursue them and make them a reality.
Sport may not always seem as significant as other forms of aid, but it can have a considerable positive impact on lives.” The community faces a range of socio-economic and psychological challenges. Limited employment and higher education opportunities cause frustration and despair.
The IOC is a long-time supporter and partner of works of the United Nations, UN, and last year the IOC became only the fifth international organisation to receive official observer status at the UN.
The mission of the Olympic Movement is to place sport at the service of humanity. When will Nigeria create sports and education programmes?