7 Reasons to see The Program

Stephen Frears film The Program about Lance Armstrong’s doping to win the Tour de France has just opened to near unanimous negative reviews and public neglect. This is too bad. It is a superb film and should be watched by anyone with an interest in sports. Some points: 1. Ben Foster’s performance of Lance Armstrong is Oscar-worthy. His acting range is extraordinary. Foster is stunning in showing all the different aspects of Armstrong from a cocky young man to a victim...

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Insider’s Paradise: Corruption Looms Large Ahead of FIFA Presidential Election

The FIFA presidential election will take place on Friday in Zurich, giving the game's power brokers a golden chance to affect change. But there's a catch. The 207 eligible presidents of the national football federations wield the power to vote, yet these officials are, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, steeped in a world where brazen criminals have repeatedly milked the sport for their own personal profit. ** This is a feature article for Bleacher Report.  You can read below or at...

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The Battle for the Soul of FIFA & Boris Johnson’s EU Football Nightmare

In Zurich to witness the fight that one of the candidates describes as, “the most important in the history of FIFA”. If a candidate, like Sheikh Salman of Bahrain with the human rights allegations against him, wins, the credibility of FIFA will be over. Salman is firmly in the lead with delegates officially committed. The other four candidates are battling, but it is unclear how anyone can catch Salman at this point. Here is the basic math of the election. There are...

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Potemkin Villages, Scapegoats and Fake Qatari Fans: 4 Things We Learned From This Week in International Sports Corruption

On the eve of FIFA’s executive committee meeting that is expected to rubber-stamp the decision of their ‘ethics committee’ (sic) to ban Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini from the international football world, four points: 1)      Is the internal FIFA reform - a believable process? No. It is a Potemkin village of a battle against corruption.   From far away, it seems good.  Once you get close, the obvious conflicts of interests emerge. What is occurring now is a frantic effort by FIFA...

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The Walking Oxymoron Strikes Again & 2 Good News Stories

“Quick! Lets have a conference. Invite everyone. In case there is some poor bastard in the field who is  actually doing something useful." Chief-Superintendent (former) Leonard Powell, Metropolitan Police Ho hum. Another month. Another ridiculous conference put on by the walking oxymoron that is the Qatari group for ‘integrity in sport’ – the International Centre for Sports Security (ICSS). This one is being held in New York and is called ‘Securing Sport’. It is the usual mixture of superannuated policemen, sports bureaucrats,...

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7 Things to Know about the FIFA Scandal

Now that Sepp Blatter has been driven off into the sunset from FIFA, it is time to reflect on the long-sorry, scandal ridden years of his reign. Seven things then that we have learned: 1) The Watergate of Sports Stories: It was not ESPN, nor any of the other big sports channels or well-established sports journalists who broke the       FIFA story. The real heroes are a small collection of journalists who are largely outsiders. As the big sports media empires frantically...

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Requiem for a Fixer

  He was one of the best. Yet in the end, he was brought down in a futile attempt to fix a little team in a forgettable tournament. For those readers who do not follow the intricacies of the Singaporean legal system, you may have missed the story this week, that one was imprisoned for four years for match-fixing. The actual case involved Pal bribing the coach of the East Timor national team and some of his players with 15,000$ How Pal...

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Dead Catting, Image Laundering and Why You Should Have Nothing to Do with the ICSS

No independent, intelligent or credible person should have anything to do with the International Centre for Sports Security (ICSS) – the Qatari sponsored organization on sports governance and integrity. The ICSS is like the great Yiddish joke: what is the definition of chutzpah? The man who kills his mother and father and then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. To review: the Qataris are the people who ushered in yet another chapter of FIFA integrity...

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The ‘Sports’ Farce in Washington

To my American colleagues who went to the seminar on ‘sports integrity’ at the National Press Club on June 24th, You saw a presentation by a man with little credibility in sports integrity and two other men who have failed. You attended a presentation sponsored by the Qatari sports establishment.    This is a group that is suspected by sports fans around the world of corruption in securing the rights to the World Cup tournament of 2022. This is a group that...

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The Scramble for Cover of the Long Silent

1- So it begins.I write of the mad scramble for cover of the silent sports journalists, the creepy academics and the cringing consultants who said little against FIFA or CONCACAF over the last three decades.   My least favourite are that gang of academics who gathered around the Sorbonne/ICSS to “research match-fixing”. Almost incredibly they linked themselves with both FIFA (via Interpol) and the Qatari sports establishment. It is difficult to find organizations with less credibility in the public's eyes...

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