Today sees the first of two crucial FIFA meetings ahead of Friday’s much anticipated World Cup draw. Yes, it’s the extraordinary meeting convened by the enemy of cheats and charlatans, the scourge of shirt pullers and divers, the nemesis of handball players and anyone else not currently doing very well in the eyes of the watching public and the Irish, Sepp Blatter.
Just Sepp’s luck then that at what might be his moment of triumph, the decisive victory over the spivs and hucksters who are ruining the modern game, up steps Liam Brady to land the killer punch. “He's [Blatter] an embarrassment to FIFA,” chortled Ireland’s assistant coach, conveniently forgetting the events of the past two weeks since his team lost to France in controversial circumstances which are still shrouded in mystery, or at least would be if the entire sporting world hadn’t wittered on about the Henry handball goal ever since.
Still, it seems FIFA and everyone else except the Irish has now moved on. There is absolutely no chance that the Irish will be awarded a special 33rd place at the tournament. The idea was always a non-starter, something Brady himself admitted in his explanation of why the FAI had even bothered. “"We asked because we wanted to have them respond in a measured way, and see what they had to say.”
So that’s why we’ve all had to listen to your whining for weeks. Hang on, Brady’s not finished yet. He even finds time to moan about how Blatter treated the request to join the South African party in 33rd place. “I'm afraid Mr Blatter is a law unto himself. I thought it was very disrespectful how he presented this fact.” I think it was the journalists who started the guffawing, Liam. Yes, even they are treating the story with derision now.
One final thing from the Liam Brady School of Interminable Moaning. “He's [Blatter] currently ignored most of the controversial things that went on that evening.” Such as when the French were denied a penalty or Robbie Keane danced around the French defence and somehow failed to score. Is that what you had in mind, Liam?
Anyway, back to the real world. There will be a full report on today’s FIFA meeting here at World Cup Bafana Bafana 2010 tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile, England could still be denied a seeding place in Friday’s draw, according to today’s Daily Mail.
Don’t worry, says the Telegraph, which expects England to be seeded and is hoping for a Group of Mirth: England, Slovenia, Algeria and North Korea.
Ahead of the draw “England manager Fabio Capello must feel like he is sitting in a little cart at the start of a giant rollercoaster ride. He expects an adrenaline rush, but he does not know how thrilling the ride might be.” It’s gloriously over the top prose from BBC Sport’s Jonathan Pearce.
And as Blatter and Co prepare to consider the use of video evidence during games The Times produces an array of big hitters to back the idea. Well, I say big hitters but I really mean Gerard Houllier, David Dein and Brian Barwick.
What do you think about the new three – column layout?