sepp blatter

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Commentary on Lodha Commission recommendations to BCCI – I


Should the Supreme Court ratify the Lodha Committee’s proposals to the BCCI and should they be accepted in its entirety, then the panel would have achieved what the proposed National Sports Federation bill could not. The BCCI honchos may crib and cry as much as they want but they have only themselves to blame at being forced to turn over a new leaf given their lackadaisical responses to the scandals that plagued the IPL.

Shashank Manohar may have tried to clean up the Augean stables with his conflict of interest proposals but the Lodha commission have handed him an unambiguous mandate of dragging the national cricketing body into the 21st century with its dynamic suggestions.

The first reaction within the BCCI was to oppose all recommendations except the one of legalizing betting.

Surprisingly or perhaps not, betting is a state matter and thus does not actually come under the ambit of the BCCI.

In 2006, the BCCI had suggested to the central government to make sports betting legal in the country.

A former BCCI secretary said:

“The taboo that is attached to the whole thing prevents the government to nod in the affirmative. You can’t compare India with Europe or the US. The socio-economic structures are different. Interpretations of moral values are different. So it’s very difficult to convince the government that such a measure is absolutely necessary. And even if people are convinced, who will bell the cat?”

The Lodha report itself is divided into ten chapters each addressing different aspects on the running of the BCCI.

While the recommendations may seem harsh and shed light on the limitations of  the BCCI in its current avatar, the commission had this to add:

“We hasten to add a word of caution lest there be a negative impression created about the BCCI. During our interactions, one fact that emerged uniformly concerned the way the manpower of the BCCI organizes the actual game and its competitions across the country. The organisation has still managed to harvest talent and ensure that the national teams perform remarkably on the world stage. Talented players from virtually any corner of this vast nation are in a position to compete and reach the highest levels, even if they come from relatively modest backgrounds. Recent years have borne evidence with India winning the World Cup in T-20 and One Day Internationals, while also reaching the top of the Test rankings.

The BCCI staff members have ensured that hundreds of matches along with match officials are organized annually at all levels, and that updates are provided so that the BCCI remains fully informed. The management of the game is also self-sufficient without any governmental grants. We notice the BCCI also conducts charity matches for national causes and humanitarian assistance is also given to the former cricketers and their families.

The Committee has therefore consciously ensured that no measures are recommended that would interfere or limit the good work being done on behalf of the BCCI. “

The Commission also said that they applied two tests to every issue:

“Whether this will benefit the game of cricket?”

and

“What does the Indian cricket fan want?”

Chapter One:

This  pertains to the structure and constitution of the BCCI.

The problems listed were:

  1. Not all States are represented on the BCCI
  2. Some States are over-represented
  3. Some members do not represent territories
  1. Some members neither play matches nor represent territories
  2. Union Territories are unrepresented on the Board
  3. Ad-hoc creation of Membership categories
  4. Arbitrary addition and removal of associations

There was a concern earlier that the state associations of Gujarat and Maharashtra would suffer should the one-state, one-member rule come into effect. That is not the case.

There will be one state association and thus one full member and the other state associations would continue as associate members without voting rights but would continue to field separate teams in the national competition.

There will also be no further affiliate or future members.

Union territories, too, are to be made full members as per the discretion of the BCCI.

The Services, Railways and Universities will no longer be full members but associates.

Clubs such as the Cricket Club of India (CCI) and National Cricket Club (NCC) too are to be declassified and made associate members since they do field cricket teams.

Comment:

While at first appearances, this appears to be a clear and fair readjustment of the structure and constitution of the BCCI, this also allows the smaller states of the North-East and Union territories considerable leverage within the BCCI when it comes to electing officials to the Board. FIFA too operates under similar rules and the likes of Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter used this to their advantage by promising and delivering benefits to members from Asia and Africa that helped promote the game, yes, but also assured their uninterrupted reign in FIFA’s corridors of power. Isn’t it possible that a similar scenario may play out within the BCCI with the smaller states using their voting power to secure their share of the spoils in exchange for their votes?

 To be continued…

 

Sponsors hit back at FIFA and BCCI: Image is everything


Português: Joseph Blatter, da Fifa, fala à sold it..

Joseph Blatter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sponsors have hit back and with a vengeance.

First, it was their demand for probity in FIFA affairs with Coca Cola, McDonalds, Visa and Budweiser seeking Joseph Blatter’s ouster.

Blatter responded with his characteristic bluster failing to acknowledge the winds of change.

His own Ethics Committee reacted less than a week later suspending him and his lieutenant Michel Platini for 90 days.

In India, Pepsi India served notice to the BCCI over its inept handling of the spot-fixing and betting scandals threatening to pull out of the title sponsorship.

The newly elected BCCI working committee has its hands full when it meets on October 18 to discuss the issue.

Blatter’s troubles originate with the Ethics Committee’s investigation into allegations of under-the-table payments to its former marketing partner International Sports and Leisure (ISL) in 2013.

Português: Zurique (Suíça) - O presidente da F...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blatter’s mentor and godfather João Havelange resigned as honorary President. Blatter was given a clean chit.

Matters came to a head this year when the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) arrested seven FIFA officials and indicted 14 on charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.

Since FIFA employees are not government officials, the US government cannot charge them for bribery. Federal laws prevent them from doing so.

Blatter resigned four days after his re-election for an unprecedented fifth time.

Blatter was first elected president in 1998.

The arrests triggered separate inquiries in Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica and Switzerland.

Part of the Swiss investigation involved a ‘disloyal payment’ of two million Swiss francs to Michel Platini by Blatter for work performed between 1999 and 2002.

The Swiss head was also alleged to have signed off television rights for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups to a former FIFA official Jack Warner at below market rates.

Criminal proceedings began last week against the FIFA president.

The Ethics Committee moved swiftly suspending him and Platini  for 90 days. They further banned Ex-FIFA vice president Chung Mong-joon for six years.

While Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch InBev, McDonald’s and Visa were united in their opposition to Blatter’s continuance, Adidas refused to join  them.

The German sporting giant that has manufactured the World Cup match ball since 1970 and has been licensed to do till 2030 has the most to lose.

Soccer is the only sport in which it has a lead over its competitors. It is a Catch-22 situation.

It could either back the other advertisers and lose its most important market or suffer an erosion of its market share given the bad publicity surrounding FIFA and its running.

Blatter is believed to be an Adidas stooge.

Aidan Radnedge writes:

“Adidas supremo Horst Dassler plucked Blatter from the marketing department of luxury Swiss watchmaker Longines, trained him up for several months in Landersheim offices then installed him on the first – if lofty – rung of the Fifa ladder.

‘He taught me the finer points of sports politics – an excellent education for me,’ Blatter later said of Dassler, who also provided useful instruction in how to best enjoy a good cigar.”

It was Dassler and Havelange who  plotted the ouster of Sir Stanley Rous as Fifa president in 1974.

It was they who recognised the power vested in the federations of Asia and Africa. The poorer bodies felt alienated and under-represented. Havelange exploited their fears thus paving the way to become the most powerful man in soccer. He was ably assisted by his then right-hand man—Joseph Blatter.

ISL was founded in 1982 by Adidas heir Horst Dassler. For nearly two decades, it enjoyed a virtual monopoly of the commercial interests of both the world football federation and the Olympic movement.

ISL went bankrupt in 2001.

It is believed that without the pressure from Coca Cola and the others, the Ethics Committee would have proceeded more judiciously giving the accused a first hearing before issuing penalties.

FIFA expert professor Alan Tomlinson from the University of Brighton said:

“The sponsors have certainly ratcheted things up, and this is one of the main reasons why the ethics committee has, for once, acted quite swiftly. The normal procedure is for the accused to be initially heard and then, perhaps, issued with a provisional suspension, pending a full inquiry.

The sponsors have told FIFA that they have had enough and this has had a huge impact on recent events. This whole thing has come down to money because that is the one thing that people within FIFA understand.”

Português: Zurique (Suíça) - O presidente da F...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A quarter of FIFA’s revenues over a 4-year-World-Cup cycle comes via sponsorship deals.

In India, PepsiCo, the soft drinks giant, are considering exiting the title spot citing concerns about the image of the IPL given the spot-fixing and betting imbroglios and suspension of franchises Chennai SuperKings and Rajasthan Royals.

PepsiCo India signed a deal for Rs.396 crores in 2012 for a five-year period.

If Pepsi pull out, then not just BCCI but also the franchises that have sold it ‘pouring rights’ will be adversely affected.

The ‘pouring rights’ are worth Rs.2 crores per season.

A co-owner of a franchise said:

“If the news about them pulling out of the IPL sponsorship is true, it’s a big loss. In these times when the brand value of the IPL is down so much, it will be difficult to sell the ‘pouring rights’ for more than Rs 50 lakh.

The tobacco and liquor companies were the ones to spend big money in sponsorship deals in cricket, then the cola giants became the big sponsors. In between, there were a few to associate with cricket like DLF and Hero Honda, but they pulled out too. If the cola companies pull out, it’s not good for the sport.”

The teams’ revenues too will be hit. The central revenue pool which is shared at 60:40 between the teams and the BCCI is the other main source of income besides team sponsorships. Any reduction in title sponsorship will lessen this intake.

The BCCI sought to play down the crisis.

An anonymous source within the BCCI and IPL said:

“Firstly, it has nothing to do with the 2013 IPL spot fixing scandal. At the moment, they’re concerned about the future of the IPL – whether it’ll be a 6, 8, 10 or 12-team tournament. Secondly, they’re not satisfied with the publicity that they’re getting out of the event vis-a-vis the other sponsors. They’ve to pay us Rs 90-100 crores every year, which isn’t a small amount.

It’s a sham. They have sponsored two IPL editions since the scandal broke out. I think they’re facing financial difficulties of their own. When we met them in Delhi some time back, they never gave an indication about this. In fact, we had a healthy discussion with their chairman and CEO for India region, D Shivakumar, about our future plans.”

The stern action and harsh words employed by commercial interests in the sporting properties of FIFA and the BCCI are reminiscent of tactics employed by activist investors in corporate governance.

Activist shareholders secure equity stakes in corporations to put public pressure on their management.

Their goals may be financial or non-financial.

Despite having a relatively small stake–sometimes just 1% is enough—, these activist investors seek the support of financial institutions who hold larger stakes to further their goals.  Some of them even manage to secure seats on the board.

While sponsors cannot be said to own equity stakes in sporting federations, given the huge contribution they make to their revenues, their influence cannot be discounted.

The IPL, in the wake of Lalit Modi’s ouster, installed a Governing Council to overlook its operations. Would it be a far-fetched idea to have a sponsor representative on the council that could safeguard their interests?

Corporate governance for sports federations that include the interests of sponsors would be more than practical.

For once, interests of fans and sponsors are aligned. Will it always be so?

Q & A with Vladmir Putin (Humour)


Is FIFA President Sepp Blatter guilty of corruption?

No, Sepp is a good friend of mine and everyone knows I have never indulged in nepotism or cronyism.

Why do you wish to award Sepp a Nobel Prize?

Any man who can wield influence over 160+ nations and can get them to work together deserves a Nobel Prize. It doesn’t matter that he has to make promises of infrastructure and funds to some of them, but that’s beside the point. He’s a bloody genius. And look at the way he keeps getting elected over and over again. I wish I could say that of the Russian people; I have to jail my opponents instead.

Which Nobel prize would you gift the man?

The Nobel Peace Prize, of course.

Wouldn’t you prefer to receive the Nobel prize instead?

Are they handing out Nobels for hosting Winter Games and soccer World Cups? The Ukraine problem doesn’t look that good on my CV.

Who’s your preferred candidate as the next FIFA president?

Sepp, Sepp, Sepp!

Disclaimer: The personalities are real, but the quotes are made up. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

 

 

 

Soccer: FIFA’s Sepp Blatter and corruption in high places


Português: Joseph Blatter, da Fifa, fala à imp...

Português: Joseph Blatter, da Fifa, fala à imprensa após audiência com o presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, no Palácio do Planalto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sepp Blatter has resigned.

The FIFA boss quit—perhaps—in anticipation of charges being filed against him by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The man—apparently—knows when the going is good.

Is this a victory for sports enthusiasts everywhere? For sportspersons? For anti-graft activists? For the UEFA?

The European body considered boycotting the  2018 World Cup in Russia; they managed to rope in a few South American nations as well.

All said and done, whatever the reasons, the news comes a breath of fresh air in the pungent, acrid atmosphere of world sports administration.

India is no stranger to corruption in sporting high places.

Suresh Kalmadi and N Srinivasan are names that roll off the tip of one’s tongue.

Is it time that sports administration became bodies for sportspersons, of sportspersons, by sportspersons?

Most budding sportsstars are now trained from an early age how to handle the media and their intrusions and inane quibbles. Is it too much to expect the sports academies of now and the future to also train them in sports administration and its intricacies?

Is this an utopian concept?

There are no difficult answers. Just difficult questions.

English: FBI agents from the Washington Field ...

English: FBI agents from the Washington Field Office with one of the tactical vehicles they had standing by for the 2009 Presidential Inauguration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sepp Blatter: What he said, really meant and definitely did not


Sepp Blatter Goes On The Warpath

What he said (via SkySports.com):

“The World Cup was theirs by right. When they came here with Beckham, Prince William and Prime Minister Cameron, they were certain of winning.They got two votes. Since then, they have looked for every means to justify their defeat.”

Beleaguered FIFA boss, Joseph Blatter, launches a tirade at the English Football Association for their opposition to his continued presence at the helm of international soccer.

England lost out to Russia in its bid for the 2018 World Cup.

The 75-year-old is fighting corruption charges and was recently in the center of a racism row with his seemingly flippant remark that such on-field incidents could be settled with a handshake.

Transparency International dealt another blow to FIFA’s pretensions of corruption reform severing ties with the soccer body for ignoring two of its recommendations.

Mark Pieth,  a Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology at the University of Basel,asked to oversee reforms, disclosed that he would be accepting payment from FIFA. Additionally, he would not be investigating old hoary scandals.

In an interview to Matin Dimanche, a French Swiss daily, Blatter denounced the English body claiming that they are more interested in hosting the World Cup than the Olympics.

Blatter said (via Goal.com):

In the 60s and 70s, the great sporting federations were in the main British. It’s no longer the case.The English have lost power and, most recently, the 2018 World Cup.They were very keen, more than for the Olympics. They thought that football should have come home.

What he really meant:

“The English are sore losers—according to me.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Why don’t HRH The Duke Of Cambridge and I settle our differences with (what else) a handshake?”

Read Blatter’s original interview here.

Sepp Blatter: What he said, really meant and definitely did not


Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, President of FIFA

Sepp Blatter Intends to Shake The Apple Tree, Long and Hard

What he said:

"It takes time to shake the tree until all bad apples have fallen to the ground.”

FIFA chief, Sepp Blatter, promises to clean up soccer’s governing body in an open letter addressed to the readers of “Inside World Football”.

Blatter recently ordered the reopening of the ISL case where it is alleged that FIFA and Olympic officials accepted kickbacks on marketing contracts.

The FIFA boss was re-elected President unopposed when Bin Hammam was provisionally suspended by FIFA’s ethics committee in June this year.

This is Blatter’s fourth consecutive term at the helm of international football.

Blatter wrote:

It would be disingenuous of me not to acknowledge reality, and the fact that we have been fighting an uphill struggle to calm nerves, initiate urgently needed reforms and at the same time adhere to a sense of reason during the stormiest of times.
FIFA’s last 100 days were among the most difficult in it’s over 100-year history.

Blatter added:

“It takes time to shake the tree until all bad apples have fallen to the ground. Even if some of them refuse to fall at first.”

Blatter concluded, saying:

In brief: I have initiated relevant and powerful change without "ifs" and "whens".
FIFA remains committed to walking the walk and won’t get stuck in solely talking the talk. By December, this will become clear for all to see. Until then, I invite everybody to bear with us so that we can clean house and come back to the public with facts that allow FIFA to enter a new decade of doing business. And never again revert to doing "business as usual".

What he really meant:

“It seems some bad apples are coated with super-glue. We’ll have to shake very hard and long.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Am I not the apple of your eye? The largest and the tastiest.”

Sepp Blatter: What he said, really meant and definitely did not


Joseph Blatter, FIFA's presidend

What he said:

“Why I am the man here, because there was no other option. They had to elect a president and at the end I was the only candidate.”

Sepp Blatter reveals the secret behind his re-election as FIFA President while speaking to CNN’s Alex Thomas.

What he really meant:

“Both you and I know that Hobson’s choice is no choice at all.”

"It’s good to win even against no competition.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Monopoly? What’s that? A board game, isn’t it?”

Dominic Cork: What he said, really meant and definitely did not


Dominic Cork (left) lifts aloft the 2009 Frien...

What he said:

“I’m a bit like Sepp Blatter at the moment in Hampshire: crisis, what crisis?”

Dominic Cork compares himself and his county side, Hampshire, struggling at the bottom of Division One to embattled FIFA President, Sepp Blatter.

What he really meant:

“Of course, I’m not like Sepp. We’re miles apart but you wouldn’t quote me otherwise, would you?”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Corruption has spilled over onto the county scene.”

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Sepp Blatter: What he said, really meant and definitely did not


290 px

What he said:

“Crisis, what is a crisis?”

Sepp Blatter denies that FIFA is in trouble over corruption allegations in the voting  to stage the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

What he really meant:

“Do you like my impersonation of an ostrich burying its head in the sand?”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’m retiring to run an emu farm.”

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