The World Cup Ethical Dilemma

Calum Samuelson begins a fascinating article on The World Cup Dilemma, “in spite of the numerous benefits connected with this quadrennial global spectacle, its crookedness simply cannot be ignored or left unchallenged.”

He goes on to write:

Perhaps one of the reasons we’ve failed in our efforts at reform is because we’ve failed in our assessment of the central dilemma: FIFA has successfully monetized the most popular game on the planet. The litany of criticism aimed at FIFA is important and needed, but it all tends to evaporate in the heat of the tournament’s intense allure. Thus, many accusations fail to ‘stick’ because they are frequently quite anemic: the system is bad. But this misses a vital piece of the puzzle: the game is good. We cannot engage the former successfully if we have not understood the way it capitalizes on the momentum of the latter.

Football is not perfect (as the newly implemented VAR is helping reveal), but it is good. There can be no doubt that the World Cup allows people from all around the globe to experience in some meaningful way the vital human needs of camaraderie, competitiveness, and celebration. The slogan of FIFA appears to work towards such ends—“For  the Game. For the World.”—but time and time again, we’ve seen just how profit-hungry this ‘non-profit’ organization is.

In light of this, we need to change our thinking: The World Cup should not be pitched as an ‘economic windfall’ for low-income countries, but carefully managed as a celebration of humanity’s inerasable playfulness; it should be regarded more as a burden of responsibility for wealthy countries than a ‘prestigious opportunity’ for poor ones. This also necessitates a change in strategy: Rather than trying to impress critics with peripheral perks (such as ‘renewable energy’ and ‘knowledge transfer’), let’s focus on achieving the primary aim (enjoyment of a game) without harming civilians.

Go read the full article article to see his suggestions as to how this could be done.

Liverpool FC: Is Martin Skrtel on his way out of Anfield?

Martin Skrtel

Liverpool FC defender Martin Skrtel has spoken out his frustrations at being benched by Boss Brendan Rodgers in recent weeks.  He admits he does not know the real reason for his recent omission from the starting XI, raising doubts over his future at the Club.

Skrtel has been a regular first team player over the last few seasons also winning the player of the season award last year, but his recent inconsistent form has found himself back on the bench as Jamie Carragher has become first choice partner alongside Daniel Agger.

The 28 year old says his manager told him why he was leaving him out, but claims he doesn’t feel that’s the actual reason for his omission.

He gave me some explanation, but it’s hard to tell if it was the true reason he gave me.  I don’t think it was and think there is something else behind it.  It all happened after our match with Manchester United in the middle of January. We lost 2-1 but I think that particularly in the second half we played very well. Moreover, a lot of sources gave me a good rating. But he [Rodgers] told me we had lost the organization of play in the defensive line and that this would be the reason why I would not play in the following matches.

I don’t know which fixtures he spoke about because we had kept a clean sheet twice in a row and won both matches. Also, we did not disappoint in the game against United.  Anyway, I’m not the type of player who would be chasing the coach and be in his office all the time, asking for explanations why I’m not playing. If the coach wants to tell me something, he will summon me. I would not like to make any unnecessary conflicts.

Skrtel says he is not thinking of leaving “for the present”, but the 28-year-old admits he would have to do so if he was not “kept in the team”:

For three years at Liverpool I was playing in almost every match. I have had various thoughts but certainly I’m not going to make any hot-blooded decision.  I want to be fit as soon as possible and fight for the place in the starting line-up. If the coach should lose interest in keeping me in his team, then we would have to handle it with my agent.

Skrtel certainly is a good defender but his inconsistency has always been a problem in the back four. Liverpool desperately needs to sign some world class defenders to tighten up the defense next season.  Do you think selling the 28 year in the next window will be a good move from Rodgers?