The 10 Who Could Force Change in 11

December 28, 2010 § 2 Comments

2011 could be a huge year for football. FIFA are teetering on the brink of public acceptance, their days as a diktat machine appear to be numbered. Our wish is for positive change, change which makes football the best it can possibly be. We believe there are 10 people and organisations who can influence the path of the game. Hopefully that is in a positive direction, but the reality may be very different…

10 ) Phillip Knight, Mark Parker, Nike

Nike are the dark horses in the future of football. Their wealth and reach into the game is such that if they chose to challenge the powerbase in Switzerland they could change the game overnight. Many of the greatest players owe large parts of their fortunes to Nike whilst their replica kit is worn in every corner of earth. We feel that change should not come from major companies or corporations alone, but the reality is that football is a multimillion pound business and the sharp business minds in Oregon will be only too pleased to see the current regime transformed into a modern, forward thinking organisation.

What are they most likely to do in 2011 for the future of football?

Stay low key. They won’t openly agitate for change, but will flex their muscles at the first sign of trouble.

9 ) Michel Platini, UEFA

Platini was arguably one of the greatest players who ever lived. He had it all, touch, grace, balance, vision and that extra star quality which has only touched a handful of players. As boss of UEFA many keen observers of the game believe that he is merely a puppet for Blatter. 2011 could be the year that he proves he is his own man and makes his move, whether that is in a positive direction will remain to be seen.

What is he most likely to do in 2011 for the future of football?

Replicate 2010 unless an opportunity arises to step up his plan to take the FIFA hotseat…

8 ) Michele Centenaro, ECA

The European Club Association are potentially the true powerbrokers in the game. Currently they are lying beneath the surface, observing what is happening whilst proclaiming a mutual respect for FIFA. Privately they must be sensitive to the current public mistrust of FIFA. Should they choose to bite then their power would be to much for FIFA to resist. As figurehead of the ECA Michele Centenaro is in a position of huge power. It is unlikely that he will want to make waves, but there will come a point when the major clubs will no longer tolerate more FIFA diktats. At this point he may well entre the fray…

What is he most likely to do in 2011 for the future of football?

Quietly seek the opinion of clubs.

7 ) Herbert Hainer, adidas

Adidas are a huge part of the story of FIFA. The boss, Herbert Hainer is perhaps one of the most influential men in sport. Negative connections are not good for his group and he must be peturbed by the inability of the ExCo to, at the minimum, avoid controversy. Pressure from him and adidas towards FIFA would be extremely difficult for Blatter to ignore. It is doubtful that he will openly confront FIFA, he is much more likely to make his feelings known behind closed doors. That, for us, is not ideal. We want to see football become truly open and the days of backroom deals ended, even if intentions are good.

What is he most likely to do in 2011 for the future of football?

Ask pertinent questions behind the scenes whilst staying loyal to the status quo.

6 ) Theo Van Seggelen, FIFPro

Without players there would be no football, the World Cup FIFA would be nothing if there were no superstars to earn vast sponsorship contracts. FIFPro, the federation of professional players worldwide, hold more power than perhaps even they realise themselves. 2011 is the year this organisation can step forwards into the public conscience and demand positive change. We don’t believe striking is a wise idea, but finding a collective players voice and making it heard loud and clear would more than help tip the balance into a new era for football.

What is he most likely to do in 2011 for the future of football?

Although hesitant at first he will canvas the opinions of players, ‘are they happy with the way FIFA run football?’

5 ) The Media

The scourge of FIFA is hated with a venomous passion behind the closed doors of the ExCo. Free speech is not allowed and must be driven into football dirt, unless it has been vetted for discomforting stories. The media can force change by refusing to be kept quiet and releasing stories which are in the best interests of the game. The media can also champion and publicise positive moves to reform FIFA. By reporting on efforts to force positive change they inform the public – that is priceless.

What are they most likely to do in 2011 for the future of football?

Continue to report on FIFA, yet with added vigour. They will push for positive change in the game.

4 ) Barack Obama, USA

When Obama came to power there was a huge surge of positivity around the world. The level of goodwill towards a US President was like never before. That popularity has waned over the past couple of years, but by demanding that the ‘people’s game’ is returned to them he could turn his global approval ratings back into the high numbers again. Soccer is probably the last thing on his mind right now, but we have made moves to seek his help. If he listens and gets involved and believes in positive change at the top of the game, it could well be game on.

What is he most likely to do in 2011 for the future of soccer?

Stay out of ‘soccer politics’ and offer polite concern.

3 ) Lionel Messi

One of the finest sights in the world is Lionel Messi darting inbetween defenders on a path towards goal. It is a truly breathtaking experience. We believe that he can use the FIFA player awards ceremony as a platform to demand change at FIFA. If the best player on earth demands change, how can FIFA deny him his wish?

What is he most likely to do in 2011 for the future of football?

Say ‘the right things’ and concentrate on playing his game.

2 ) David Bernstein, The FA

As the figurehead of the FA – the founders of the first football association, David Bernstein sits in a unique position. On behalf of Ebenezer Cobb Morley he has a duty to demand that the values he stood for are upheld. He has a battle on his hands, but he must take it on for the sake of football past, present and future.

What is he most likely to do in 2011 for the future of football?

Ease into his new job as Chairman of The FA, keep a keen eye on FIFA yet ultimately avoid trouble.

1 ) Joseph S. Blatter, FIFA

The only man in the world who could, right now if he wanted, change football for the better. Trust in his leadership is staggering around lower than it ever has before, which is saying something, but he could win large slabs of trust back by pledging to create a new and open FIFA starting with an open and blunt cull of the current culture.

What is he most likely to do in 2011 for the future of football?

Resist change and plough on with his plans.


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§ 2 Responses to The 10 Who Could Force Change in 11

  • Francisco Toro says:

    Sorry to say, but I think the ONLY force that’s going to change Fifa is not on your list: the fans!

    When this becomes a real movement, bottom-up, with banners on the stands of EVERY international decrying corruption and demanding reform, when Fifa CAN’T IGNORE US because we’re in their face at every international THEN we’re going to get Reform.

    Think Tunisia. Think Egypt. Football needs its own Tahrir Square!

  • Chris says:

    I believe that FIFA must change, and since Mr Blatter change FIFA on the inside, then this must be done by the Fans. The only way for mere fans to do this, is to boycott official FIFA sponsors, as they will be able to influence the FIFA committee. So set up an email campaign to Coke, Adidas, Sony, Visa, etc allowing the fans to put pressure on the sponsors.

    Another alternative is to challenge the award of the FIFA world cups to CAS, FIFA must abide by any decision by CAS. With the world cups in Russia and Qatar, they have not focussed on the fans (as stated by FIFA), nor did they have a clear and transparent process.


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