Stories about FIFA

Catalonian independence equals Spanish football without Barcelona

Despite Scotland’s ‘No’ vote on independence, the Catalans are adamant to break away from Spain as they push ahead defiantly for their own ballot on self-rule. Just hours after the Scottish referendum results were announced, Catalonian parliament passed a law authorising them to hold a non-binding consultation on independence from Spain. However, Spain has refuted that it is unconstitutional for Catalonia to break away from them. Politics and sports are often intertwined; so the question is, what if it does break away? Furthermore, under the assumption that Catalonia breaks away from Spain, what impact will it have on the Spanish football, since ...

Read Full Post

#SavePalestine: Why can’t our sportsmen be political?

When Dwight Howard tweeted #SavePalestine, he drew, in equal amounts, plaudits and condemnation from social media. He soon deleted his tweet, called it accidental and issued a retraction. Soon enough, #Howardthecoward started trending on Twitter. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t! A prominent sportsperson had aired his views on a sensitive political subject, and by issuing a retraction, had later on failed to stand by it. Dwight Howard (R) Back in 2003, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga had worn black armbands during a World Cup, mourning the death of democracy in their native Zimbabwe. Not only were they not criticised, they were lauded for ...

Read Full Post

Four ways Pakistani cricket is like Argentinian football

I was barely six-years-old when Diego Maradona’s individual brilliance almost singlehandedly won the World Cup for Argentina in Mexico. For a boy watching the event with his sports crazy family, the event was electric, with the iconic images of Maradona dancing through the opposition, and eventually lifting the trophy, forever imprinted in my brain. Equally iconic were the images of Maradona crying four years later, after his side was cruelly penalised by the referee in the final against West Germany. Even later, when Maradona shed tears after struggling with substance abuse, I shared his pain, and supported my hero, ignoring the fact that he ...

Read Full Post

FIFA World Cup 2014: Pakistani footballs kicking it in Brazil

Although I like hockey and cricket a lot more than football, sometimes I wish I didn’t. Football fans have proven time and again how crazy, passionate and involved they are when it comes to their love for the game. I guess one of the major reasons why I, and many other Pakistanis like myself, are not so interested in football is because we do not have a national team that does well during world cups and brings back trophies. Pakistan ranks 159th in the FIFA’s World Ranking, which is a dismally low level, but with the recent success of the Pakistani team at the Street Child ...

Read Full Post

Is India’s BCCI planning a cricket coup with the ICC?

As old colleagues renew acquaintances at the current cricket board moot at the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in Dubai, they will share uneasy stares – the big elephant in the room is nothing short of a flashback to the colonial days, where might was right. The ‘Big Three’ – India, Australia and England – based on their financial muscle and certainly not on merit, will table a proposal to take over the reins of the cricket world. I should point out that the word ‘proposal’ is only a misnomer. This document, in substance, is an ultimatum and shall be treated as one. The gist of this document ...

Read Full Post

Out with Di Matteo, in with Benitez

It’s been a long standing quote that a week is a long time in football. In this case, in fact, it was five days ─ from last Saturday to this Wednesday. The Saturday brought the mouthwatering North London derby and its share of controversy. As the commentator said, “It had to be him,” Adebayor sent off when Spurs seemed to have a better hand in the clash. Traditionally, the clash of Arsenal with Tottenham Hotspurs is only second to the Liverpool derby and players being sent off is fairly common. Adebayor ─ once of Arsenal, and loved in the Islington area ...

Read Full Post

The Real Madrid Foundation: A real chance for Pakistan

There is a school of thought that hints of a place deep beneath the chasm of our cricket loving souls, where a current of passion for the beautiful game of football flows. From Bolivia to South Africa, China to Mexico the Real Madrid Foundation has sought to instill its values and traditions that have seen it become one of the most dominant forces in football, the world over. And now, thanks in no small part to the Aman Foundation, 250 children aged between eight to 13 years will now find themselves enrolled in the Real Madrid Foundation. The programme that is ...

Read Full Post

Pakistani Football: Where are you?

Pakistan has been blessed with prodigious sporting talent, with success ranging from the cricket field to the squash court. Despite this fact, one area has puzzled Pakistanis for generations – football. For a country that’s been involved in the sport since its inception, it’s extremely surprising that not even a single world-class individual has been churned out. Even as a team, Pakistan has performed deplorably on the international stage; with an international ranking of 176, it is virtually a non-entity in the sport. A combination of poor management, lacklustre infrastructure, uninspired coaching and minimal support has all led to ...

Read Full Post

Pep Guardiola: Respect to a living legend

Barcelona talisman and manager Pep Guardiola recently announced that he would not be continuing in his managerial role at Barcelona beyond the end of this season. I cannot even begin to describe the profound effect he had on Barcelona and the world of football itself. Josep Guardiola i Sala or ‘Pep’ as they call him, was born in Santpedor; a relatively small town in central Catalonia, Spain. Pep’s rise in football was quite a fairy-tale. He started out working as a ball-boy for FC Barcelona – little did anyone know that this ordinary ball-boy would one day end up as manager of ...

Read Full Post

Racism and football

The 2011-12 English Premier League (EPL) football season will forever be remembered for all the wrong reasons. While the football on display has hardly lit up the televisions this season, other incidents on and off the pitch have revived the long-standing controversy of racism among players and supporters. The embarrassing developments first occurred in a league match in October 2011 between rivals Manchester United and Liverpool, in which the latter’s Luis Suarez allegedly racially abused the former’s Patrice Evra, a coloured player. Suarez later admitted to calling him a “negro”. He was subsequently banned for eight matches by the Football ...

Read Full Post