Monday, 17 October 2011

Nothing about FIFA says ‘fair play’ right now. Especially not the play-offs.

The draw for the Euro 2012 play-offs took place a few days ago.

Unsurprisingly, nothing about it screamed fair play.

It just showed what a crooked organisation FIFA really is right now.

Everything they do demonstrates them favouring the bigger nations.

Especially when it comes to play-offs for major tournaments.

All this came about two years ago when it became apparent there was a chance Germany might not get automatic qualification.

If they hadn’t qualified for the World Cup in South Africa it would have been a disaster.

Not just for FIFA, the financial department and South Africa - but for everyone involved.

And whilst we all wanted Germany to qualify, we all wanted them to earn it - albeit if they had to knock out another top nation in a play-off.

But they were now faced with a situation were they had to go to Russia and get a result.

Not an easy task.

Cue FIFA to the rescue.

How about we seed the play-off teams so that Germany get a weaker nation if they fail to qualify straight off, they thought?

And let’s make sure they play the second leg at home cause that’s another advantage.

Oh and we can decide all this 2 weeks before the end of a 14 month qualifying campaign.

Finally, let’s seed it on the coefficients as well - instead of seeding it on what has just taken place in the current qualifying campaign.

That way - ‘big’ nations like Germany can go through a bad patch in a qualifying campaign and still have an advantage because of what they did four years ago.

Afterall, most big nations will be able to produce a good team over a 4 year period.

Unlike a small country such as Estonia.

Or Ireland.

Or Slovakia.

They don’t have the resources of the superpowers, relying instead on golden generations to qualify.

Golden generations that lead to the game developing in the smaller nations.

But FIFA want the bigger nations there instead.

They’ll make more money off them so they’ll give them every advantage they can.

No matter the ‘cost’.

And yet FIFA continuously try to promote fair play.

So why not lead by example?

They already give the bigger nations an advantage by seeding them in the draw for the initial groups.

If a nation hasn’t done enough to qualify by winning this group then they don’t deserve the right to any more benefits.

Every team who finishes second should be seeded according to what they did - just in that group.

Whether it be Germany or Estonia.

Of course being an Irish supporter, I’m delighted we got Estonia.

But Ireland and Portugal did no more this time than Estonia or Montenegro.

Why should they have any right to avoid each other?

I much rather we got Estonia over Portugal - but in an open draw.

At least that would have been fair.

It would have been right.

And people would be saying ‘fair play’ to FIFA for a change.

But that’s something nobody’s said about them for a long time...

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