Friday, August 25, 2006

World Football is about to change forever

Juventus has decided to break even more rules as they will take their appeal over their match-fixing penalties to civil court. This goes against Articles 61-2 and 61-3 of FIFA's rules, which state that clubs must accept to abide by sports authorities' rules, forsaking their right to turn to civil courts which are outside the sports justice system.

Why will this change world football forever? As pointed out by the wonderful twohundredpercent, this is a test of FIFA's authority by one of the big clubs. If Juventus can go to civil court to decide a matter, why can't all the other clubs go to court to settle all the other issues, including when players can be called up for national team play?

As much as I worry about FIFA's absolute power, I don't think putting clubs in charge (especially the big clubs) will really make things better for anyone except the clubs.

But there is another ring to this circus as FIFA now has a tough decision to make. They had threatened Italy with major penalties if Juventus went forward with the civil case. These penalties would keep all Italian teams out of international competition including their national team. The question is, does Sepp Blatter have the yarbles to keep the reigning World Champions benched?

If FIFA backs down, any future threats will be worthless. However, if they move forward, it is denying fans the chance to see the best in the world play. In addition, it will start another round of bad press for the game.*

Unless Juventus back down, I hope FIFA does hit Italian soccer with an international death penalty. The team has shown no respect for the game and now they want special treatment. If the Italian FA won't clean their house, then FIFA should tear the it down.

Juventus says they are doing this to "protect its shareholders' rights." My question for them is where was this principle when you were fixing the matches? Maybe if you had not cheated, the shareholders would not be in a position where their 'rights' were threatened.

Nothing like trying to make yourself into a victim.

For me, regardless of what happens in this case, I will no longer watch Italian soccer. I'm sure one less American in the mix will devastate the league.

* You think explaining the US Open Cup to non-soccer fans is difficult, imagine explaining Italy being kicked out of competition because a club in the nation's league decided to take an issue to court. Talk about a foreign concept.


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