Are FIFA about to dump the French?

FIFA is to hold an extraordinary general meeting on December 2nd to discuss the recent play offs, crowd trouble involving Algeria and Egypt, and betting irregularities, according to the BBC.

The move follows the recent announcement about FIFA rankings which prompted continuing speculation about possible changes to World Cup finals group seeds on the Internet.

It seems Thierry Henry’s bid to become captain of the French Handball team at the 2012 Olympics may not have gone unnoticed at FIFA HQ after all. His rash move may in fact result in demotion to the second pot for Les Bleus.

The procedural shift recently announced by FIFA did not go unnoticed by the boffins at Football Rankings: “If the criteria to determine the seeded teams were to include, as in the past, the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, then it would be the October 2009 edition [not, as is traditional, November] of this ranking which would be considered, and this for sporting reasons.”

While it’s not clear whether the French come out of the November rankings better than they did last month, something is clearly afoot. FIFA may in fact be planning to sacrifice the French and replace them with The Netherlands, which would be great news for lots of reasons: nobody wants the French to go anyway and the sooner they lose the better. And besides, the Dutch are much better than France. Seeding them would mean England avoid Van Persie and Co in the group stage.

Oh, and using the October rankings would guarantee Argentina and England are seeded after both fell in the November rankings. “We’ll draw a discreet veil over that” (Copyright T Dench, 1989). For more go to http://www.football-rankings.info/

A-hem. Whatever happens, here’s what the players will be kicking around once the action gets underway. Real anoraks are of course welcome to visit SoccerBallWorld.com for lots of additional info about the history of World Cup balls. For instance, did you know the last tournament to feature a genuine leather ball was Spain 1982? Since you asked, it was the Tango Espana.

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