In this week’s Offside Treble, Jen digs up the now age-old Fifa grumblings, looks at Liverpool’s decision to ship Daniel Sturridge off to the States, and mirrors the sentiments of most football fans regarding the news of Thierry Henry’s retirement from the beautiful game.
So remember that inquiry into claims of Fifa’s corruption in awarding World Cup hosting duties to Russia and Qatar? And how less than four hours after the report was published, Michael Garcia, the man who led aforementioned inquiry, came forward to say what a load of old tosh the summary of his report was (ok, he actually said it was “erroneous and incomplete”)?
In news that will surprise no one, Fifa has this week dismissed Garcia’s claims, as well as those by two whistle-blowers who complained their cover was blown by “Fifa-appointed independent judge”, Hans-Joachim Eckert’s bungled summary. In the wake of this, American Lawyer, Garcia, who is apparently not actually allowed to enter Russia (presumably much of that part of the investigation was covered via Skype?), has resigned.
It’s almost boring to keep writing about this ludicrous saga, but it’s more than just a source of irritation for a country that would have quite liked to host the next World Cup. Any institution of government must lead by example, and the example set by the tyranny of the Bond-villain like character Fifa has become, is bad for the sport. There’s this ongoing rhetoric about how money has damaged the game and our national side don’t respect their duties – and I have bleated on about it myself. But how can we expect our national side to respect competitions that the World’s governing body clearly has no respect for? How can we expect top-flight footballers not to be influenced by enormous sums of money when they perceive Fifa to be doing the same?
Ferry Cross the Mersey
Under-pressure Liverpool are taking drastic action in a bid to get last season’s mega-scorer Daniel Sturridge back on the road to recovery, by sending him to the Boston Red Sox for Christmas.
Sturridge, who scored a whopping 21 goals for Liverpool last season, has been suffering from various leg injuries since August, and it’s be fair to say that his team are missing him. Sturridge’s absence, alongside that of fellow-top scorer, Suarez, this season, have left something of a void in the team’s shooting potential, managing 19 goals in 16 games.
Liverpool, which is owned by Red Sox chief, John W Henry, believe that the specialists over in Boston may be able to deal with the persistency of his injury woes. I hope his American pals will see fit to chip him a couple of over-cooked sprouts on Christmas day.
Continuing this week’s American theme, a week after his announcement to leave New York Red Bulls, love of my life, Thierry Henry, has this week retired from the game altogether.
In a comment that only made me love him more, responding to questions about his rumoured return to Arsenal, Tezza explained his retirement thus “we all love the first Rocky, but I’m not too sure about the last one”. Damn straight – no one won an Oscar for Rocky V.
But he we might yet spot him knocking around North London. Though his immediate future will be on the couch of the Sky Sports studio as a pundit, Arsene Wenger believes he will return to the Emirates one day as a coach or maybe even manager.
228 goals for Arsenal, an undefeated season, a statue outside the Emirates and some ruddy gorgeous knitwear – Henry I salute you and not just because I like your face.
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