Fifa President Sepp Blatter maintains that his 6 + 5 plan with regards to foreign players will increase the quality of national teams. He uses England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008 as his leading argument. True, other countries that have qualified for the tournament such as Spain, Italy and Germany do have a higher percentage of home born players in their ranks. But, are there any guarantees that the plan will work? Of course not. Perhaps the biggest surprise surrounding this latest Blatter brainwave is that 6 + 5 does actually equal 11. Given some of his other mad cap schemes it wouldn’t have come as too much of a shock for him to have come up with a 6 + 6 + 1 + 1 scheme. That’s 6 men, 6 women, 1 ‘undecided’ to keep the PC brigade on side and 1 compulsory player from Trinidad & Tobago to appease Jack Warner.
No longer is it ‘the special one’. Now it’s ‘quello speciale’. Jose Mourinho has, as expected, been named as the new coach of Italian champions Inter Milan. He replaces Roberto Mancini who departed the club after leading them to the league title for the past three seasons. The club’s hierarchy, it’s said, was unconvinced that Mancini could replicate the club’s domestic form on the European stage. And, having not won the Champions League / European Cup since the mid 60’s it’s a fair concern. Despite the millions he spent at Chelsea, Mourinho never got the London club to the final. If he guides Inter to European football’s show piece club occasion then perhaps the title of ‘quello speciale’ will at last be truly warranted.
Fergie and the Beeb
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Manchester United boss explains his on going feud with the BBC is no nearer being settled because the corporation has refused to apologise for upsetting him many years ago. He also accuses presenter Gary Lineker of being childish. For a man who’s achieved so much in the game and in life, I can’t help thinking that he’d earn even more respect if he got over his anger and started to appear in front of the BBC microphone again. It works both ways you see. For example, every time Ferguson has been found guilty and fined for overly criticising a referee, has he issued a public apology? It’s what he’s demanding that the BBC do. Perhaps he ought to be reminded that to err is human, to forgive is divine. And at the end of the day, all he’s doing is denying United fans the opportunity to hear his views on an accredited channel. All a bit silly really.