FIFA Lets the Corruption Continue

FIFA officially banned Mohamed bin Hammam for life today after he was found guilty of bribing CONCACAF officials. It’s not that this outcome is bad. Bin Hammam deserved to be banned for life. However, the real crime is that Bin Hammam is just the fall guy in a sport full of corruption.

Corruption in soccer is the worst kept secret in sports. Bribery is commonplace and every major FIFA figure turns a blind eye to it. And it stayed this way until Bin Hammam recently decided to challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA Presidency. Bin Hammam had won Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup and had the greatest chance of beating Blatter.

Blatter has been president since 1998 and won reelection in 2002 and 2007 unopposed. While rumors of bribery existed in 2002, they were not pursued as no country or individual had any incentive to challenge Blatter, the most powerful man in the sport.

Bin Hammam entered the race this year and was determined to unseat Blatter, who has become more and more unpopular. And in order to win, bin Hammam needed to be the better candidate – aka offer more money. This is where the story gets interesting. Two corrupt candidates running against each other with incentives to rat each other out: Continue reading “FIFA Lets the Corruption Continue”

Copa America Has Been A Huge Disappointment

When a team can reach the finals of a tournament without winning a game, there’s a problem. And that’s exactly what Paraguay did last night with its shootout victory over Venezuela. There were a grand total of zero goals in the game but there was a huge brawl afterward that turned the game from bad to embarrassing. Really? It’s the semifinals of a major tournament, no one score and the game turns into a battle after the PKs.

This was Paraguay’s second tie against Venezuela in this Copa America with the first coming in the group stage but at least that one ended 3-3. They also tied Brazil twice, 2-2 in the group stage and 0-0 in the quarterfinals where they advanced on penalties.

All in all, there have been 13 games that haven’t ended in a draw or penalty kicks. That’s out of 24 games so far. Nearly have the games have ended up as a draw, including two quarterfinal matches and one of the semifinals (and they went to PKs). Paraguay could actually win this tournament by scoring five total goals and not winning a game!

The top two teams, Brazil and Argentina, failed to advance past the quarterfinals and won just two games combined. During the whole tournament, there have been just 46 goals (less than two a game). And if you take away July 13 when there were 12 goals in two matches, that leaves 34 goals in 22 games. Continue reading “Copa America Has Been A Huge Disappointment”

The MLS Situation

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While the rest of the sports world goes along at full steam, MLS in the midst of one of its most important offseason’s in the League’s history. That’s because the CBA between the owners nad the players expires on January 31. With 22 days before that date, there still isn’t a new agreement.

The players want three main things:

  1. The ability to sign with a team and not the league
  2. Guaranteed contracts
  3. Higher Salary Cap

Right now, the League is a single-entity which means that teams do not have the ability to sign players. The player must first sign with the league and the league then assigns a player to a team. The reasons that allocations exist in MLS is to create a system for assigning players that more than one team have interest in. The single-entity effectively limits a player’s ability to gain his market value since teams are not forced to bid against each other for the player’s services. Instead, the player receives one contract offer from the league and is then assigned to one of those interested teams based on allocation order.

The players want this system removed. As a fan, I’m on the players’ side here. The allocation process is confusing and mysterious to outsiders while the “assignment of players” makes the league seem rigged. Now, this isn’t true, but allowing teams to sign their own players will create a more open, fair system. Teams will have more control of their rosters since they control whether a player is actually signed. not the league. However, teams would be forced to bid against each other which would drive contracts up so owners would certainly angered by that. However, nearly every other sports league in the world allows teams to sign their own players. MLB, NHL, NBA, NFL, EPL, La Liga, Serie A, and etc. all have teams sign contracts. For MLS to become an upper echelon league, this single-entity system must go. Continue reading “The MLS Situation”