It seems FIFA’s head honcho Sepp Blatter has a case of foot in mouth syndrome. He has managed to upset and offend pretty much every demographic, race and gender under the sun.
Here’s a countdown of the dumbest words uttered by Football’s most obnoxious figure…
July 2008 - On comparing the transfer of modern footballers to slaves: “I think in football there’s too much modern slavery in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere.”
December 2009 - On the use of technology in Football: “Please do not insist on the technology, the day that the referee takes two captains aside to study monitors and see if something is inside the box or outside is the day the spectators will say no, we are not coming to the game.”
December 2010 - On the concerns of homosexuals travelling to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup: “I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities.”
February 2010 - On John Terry being sacked as captain for scoring Wayne Bridge’s ex: “If this happened in, say, Latin countries, I thnk he would’ve been applauded”
January 2010 - On suggested improvements for Women’s Football: “Tighter shorts, maybe”
Last, but not least, he saved this gem today:
“There is no racism [on the field], but maybe there is a word or gesture that’s not correct. The one affected by this should say this is a game and shake hands. During a match you may say something to someone who’s not looking exactly like you but at end of match it’s forgotten”
Here’s a common scenario - you’re watching your favourite show on the box and you post comments on either Twitter or Facebook about said show, with the proposed hashtags. Be it crap performances on The X Factor or crap performances of the England football team, we love to interact with other users on social networking sites, who are probably musing over the same things.
The makers of ZeeBox have created a new free app, which merges the two together. It’s a new interactive TV guide which combines watching TV with real-time news and tags, information about everything you’re watching and built-in social features. Designed from the guys who brought us BBC iPlayer, ZeeBox really is intuitive as it is unique. Gorgeous design, simple UI and stupidly ease of use, it really is a joy to use.
I have been using since it’s launch and I still have yet to find any faults with it. The iPad app is incredible to use and I’m particularly looking forward to the summer when Euro 2012 and the London Olympics kick-off. There’s nothing like watching a major sporting event, without discussing it with your friends or colleagues and ZeeBox have made the bridge of interacting via social media, as seamless as possible.
A must have app for anyone who loves TV. Even if you don’t, just try it.
In terms of GMail extensions, a current favourite of mine is Rapportive. For those who are not familiar with it, Rapportive creates a side profile of the individual you are emailing. Works seamlessly with e-mail marketing tools like MailChimp as well.
The first ever Great Britain football team for over 40 years, took centre stage last week as England U-21 coach Stuart Pearce was selected as Head coach by the English F.A, leaving everyone associated with the project, slightly perplexed.
The rather controversial and much talked about Team GB to be represented at the 2012 Olympic Games, has drawn strong opposition from leading figures within the game, with many of the opinion that a unified team will create major repercussions for the Home Nations involved.
Football Association’s from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have stated their position quite clearly that they have no intention to proceed with fielding a British team in the 2012 Olympics and have vetoed any proposed plans to go ahead with Team GB, fearing their independent status’ within FIFA could be jeopardised.
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have independent Football Association’s, even though they are not sovereign nations. Each country is recognised by FIFA as a separate entity, as it’s a prize and privelege enjoyed by the nation that created the beautiful game. A single unified UK Football Association has never existed and although there has been no official statement by FIFA on this issue, there is a fear among the other UK member executives that their independence and FIFA privileges will be revoked, should the English FA persist with the concept of Team GB.
There is a case to argue whether such privileges hold much weight within the upper echelons at FIFA. The 2018 World Cup bid highlighted how little influence England has at FIFA, and so losing a position on the eight-member International Football Association Board (IFAB), which is the game’s law-making body, is hardly going to make much difference to England Chairman David Bernstein – already seen as a pariah for speaking out against FIFA President Sepp Blatter. However, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland see things differently and are of the opinion that ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it?’ Independent status is seen as a privilege so why should they jeopardise those rights on England’s say so.
It puts the English F.A in a difficult position, as they have clearly been rail-roaded in to the idea by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the British Olympic Association (BOA), who themselves faced the wrath by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, when they hastely announced that an ‘historic agreement’ had been reached with all the Home Nations to field a Great Britain team at the Olympics. A statement, which was angrily denied. A collective statement issued by the dissenting associations said: ‘The Football Associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland reiterate our collective opposition to Team GB participation at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, contrary to the media release issued by the BOA.’
Ouch! Hardly a vote of confidence.
Is a UK football side really a bad idea?
Well, for a start, the timing could not have been worse.
With the European Championships also taking place just before the Olympics, the jam-packed football calendar in 2012 means it would be near impossible for the players selected, to play a full season, participate in the European Championships and also represent the GB flag at the Olympics, which comes less than four weeks before the first match. Despite the F.A making it clear that those selected for Euro 2012 will not be picked for Team GB, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has warned the dangers of playing too much football, stating that ‘something has to give’. An opinion shared by his old advisary, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who mocked the idea and found it inexplicable. ‘I don’t view football as an Olympic sport’, he said, ‘It’s only for track and field’. Many wouldn’t disagree with Wenger, as Olympics football has never really been that sought after as compared to the World Cup or European Championships.
It seems that the dismal performances of England’s national side in recent tournaments appear to be the driving force and motivation behind Team GB, as it might be their best chance of laying their hands on silverware in the near future. But surely the only way to improve performances in major tournaments, is allowing sufficient time for players to rest and recuperate, something which has been commonly argued by Ferguson and Wenger, many times.
The fundamental problem with Team GB is the idea of selecting players based on nationality and not merit, which is the definitive principle of any sport. We saw how sport rose against Apartheid South Africa and how talent prevailed over race, and although this may be less trivial and on a much smaller scale, the same principles still apply.
Team GB will consist of players under the age of 23 with 3 invitational spots. Of those selected, it is fair to say a bulk of the representatives will hail from England. Apart from Wales captain Aaron Ramsey and winger Gareth Bale, you will struggle to find any players from Scotland or Northern Ireland who would or could make the squad. The dilemma Stuart Pearce has is what approach to take when selecting his team. Do you make allowances to have a Scottish and Irish presence in the side, instead of more talented or deserving players? Should a quota system be introduced to make it an even playing field? Whatever approach he uses, the missing party will cry wolf, regardless.
There is also the ‘David Beckham factor’ to consider. A star attraction, who helped London get the 2012 Games. His proposed selection or omittance from the side will draw headline news from all quarters. Speaking of exposure lead us nicely to those who have every right to be annoyed and angry by their pinacle tournament being hijacked by football – the athletes.
One does feel for the track and field athletes – who would be classed as ‘real Olympians.’ Limited exposure and media coverage is something I’m sure they are used to by now but the Olympic games are different. It is their moment in the limelight, their time to shine and yet again, they will be overshadowed by the dominating presence of football.
As it stands, England are a lone force in initiating Team GB with no support from their UK counterparts. A concept which was designed to capture the imagination of the British public, has so far, failed to take off.
Apple’s latest software update for the iPad and iPhone went into overdrive yesterday, as millions began downloading and installing the new version IOS5 to their iToys. The release coincided with the three-day blackout of email and messaging activity on Blackberry handsets, with millions of users venting their fury and frustration on Twitter – Steve Jobs must have been laughing from his grave!
Apple themselves appeared to have caught the RIM bug for a little while, as ‘Error 3200’ swept iPhone users into a frenzy. Unprecedented demand meant Apple servers were unable to control the high volume of downloads, creating hysteria to its loyal followers.
IOS5 is a welcome (and much sought after) addition, to complement its already glistening body. Lagging behind in form and function to rivals Android – Apple needed to pull out all the stops to compete with the open-source platform, which is making serious waves in the phone world.
So what’s the verdict?
There really isn’t anything to complain or dislike about IOS5. It meets all the criteria one would look for in a modern day smart-phone. Fast, efficient and a new class of apps makes IOS5 a true winner. The stand out feature is undoubtedly iCloud and it’s a key feature which separates IOS from Android.
I did a post a few months ago, where I talked about the 5 best new features on IOS5, which you can check out here. Having spent time using IOS5, I have highlighted a few new features that I have come to love -
Rivalling Blackberry’s BBM Messenger is the new free real-time text messaging service - iMessage. Users can send and receive unlimited text, photo and video messages with other iOS 5 users, either on an iPad, IPhone or iPod Touch. You can track messages with delivery and read receipts. Send and receive group messages in a secure encryption environment, and it works over cellular network and Wi-Fi.
Newsstand: Organising, downloading and managing your magazines and newspaper subscriptions has never been easier. Choose from an array of reading material from every publishing house you can think of and keep them in the Newsstand App for light reading.
Safari: Tabbed browsing finally comes to Safari, however this only available for iPad, Safari reader similar to RSS reader, allows you to read web articles without looking at annoying ads or clutter, making the process of reading articles, an even more joyous experience. Add offline reading, private browsing and reading list to that, and we have the Safari we all know and love.
Multi-tasking Gestures (iPad Only): Mac users will know all about gestures and know you can use them on the iPad as well. Use four fingers to swipe up to bring up the multitasking bar, pinch to return to the Home screen, and swipe left or right to switch between apps – or even create your own!
Mail: New features in Mail will allow you to write in rich text, indent paragraphs, flag important messages, search the archive in the body of messages, search mail, conversations, drag and drop addresses, flag messages, mass mark messages as flagged, read or unread, and customize mail alert sounds.
Tired? So am I…
Arsenal were left in turmoil last week as club Captain and star Forward Robin Van Persie stated he was in no rush to sign a new contract, after delaying talks due to wanting assurances from the owners about the ambition of the club. “It’s not only about me, it’s about the team.” He said. “We are not talking now because we are so busy - we have games every three or four days. I still have almost two years left here, so for the moment that’s fine. But I don’t know, we will have to look.”
However, this is not to say he won’t renew his contract with The Gunners, but it is enough to give the Arsenal faithful and manager Arsene Wenger, sleepless nights.
Van Persie has two years left on his contract along with fellow front man Theo Walcott, midfielder Alex Song and stalwart defender Thomas Vermaelen, and rest assured, all three will be considering whether their future lies in North London, after seeing the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Sami Nasri leave this summer.
It has been a constant feature under Wenger’s reign, of players either wanting to leave or being hounded by other teams, who have the financial fire power to double or even triple their wages – something Arsenal have been unable to match.
1999 saw a young Nicolas Anelka, vying for a move to then Spanish champions Real Madrid, earning him the nickname ‘Le Sulk’. A year later saw Real’s arch rivals Barcelona nabbing both Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars, both who were a huge part of Arsenal’s successful double winning team. Petit had formed a formidable partnership with fellow countryman Patrick Vieira, who himself, was next in line. Despite being the captain of arguably Arsenal’s greatest ever side, Vieira was in constant demand from Real Madrid and Manchester United throughout his Arsenal career, in a saga that continued until his departure to Juventus in 2005. Despite declaring his unconditional affection for The Gunners, record goal scorer Thierry Henry also found himself moving to Catalan, after being hotly pursued by then Barcelona President Juan Laporta, who was keen to get his man. Mattheu Flamini left on a free to AC Milan, after an impressive season and Emmanual Adebayor made a high profile exit to Eastlands and Machester City.
Robin Van Persie – Arsenal’s most recognisable name and prime asset, will surely be on the hot list of many clubs in Europe, much to the annoyance and frustration at everyone associated with Arsenal Football Club. His admission to delay talks has a familiar ring to it, witnessed time and again, with an outcome that has always seen the player to eventually leave.
Van Persie, who saw his team mates and friends Cesc Fabregas and Sami Nasri departing and not be replaced by bigger names, will undoubtedly allow him to be more cautious before signing on the dotted line.
However difficult a period this maybe for Arsenal, any potential talk of selling Van Persie, might actually not be a bad thing for the North London club.
Van Persie is 28 years old, in his prime and still has another two years left in his contract. However, he will be 30 by the time his contact expires and will be in the last phase of his career. Worst case scenario would be for Arsenal to get an offer for him, rather than see him leave on a free.
Despite tallying 100 goals for the club last week, Van Persie has had a frustrating career at Arsenal. Brilliance has often been marred by constant injuries (only 162 appearances in eight seasons), which has left a question mark over his fitness and longevity. Whether any club would consider approaching to sign a player with a chequered injury record as his, is a cause for concern and enough to give potential buyers food for thought. Although the thought of Van Persie – another big name leaving – will look like a disaster to many, his departure wouldn’t hit Arsenal as much as the other star names, for the prime reason that he has hardly ever played a full season and has largely been watching from the sidelines, since his time at North London. Therefore, despite his undoubted talent, his departure wouldn’t be ahuge loss in the long term.
That being said, Arsenal will surely be looking to tie up the Dutchman on a long contract along with Theo Walcott, Alex Song and Thomas Vermaelen, in a situation that is looking more challenging by the minute.
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammed Amir escaped with a telling-off after breaking the terms of his worldwide ban by playing for a village cricket side in England.
The young Pakistan seamer, serving a five year suspension from all cricket for his part in last summer’s spot-fixing scandal, received a formal letter from the International Cricket Council this week.
“He was warned as to his future conduct and was reminded in the strongest terms of the conditions of his ban,” ICC spokesman Colin Gibson said, leaving many questioning the severity of the punishment.
Amir played for Addington 1743 in a Surrey Cricket League Division One game just five months into his ban, on June 9th. The ban, imposed by an independent tribunal in Doha in February, was made clear - running from September 2010, applying to all forms of cricket.
Claiming he was unaware the match he played in wasn’t a recognised England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) game, he said he had received assurances to that effect.
Amir’s ignorance at the enormity of his actions may or may not be valid, but it’s clear that any further indiscretions that might lead to him contravening his ban, will result in an extension of his punishment.
A collective sigh of relief could be sensed at the head-quarters of the Pakistan Cricket Board, with Chairman Ijaz Butt escaping to face the wrath.
But it leaves everyone associated with Pakistan Cricket in a precarious position, with the main question being asked – how was a situation like this allowed to happen and what does the future hold with the current administration?
Earlier this year, PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt boasted that ‘player-power’ had been eradicated from the National team, but what is evident that in him doing so; he has created a vacuum where conversation and interaction between management and players is now at an all time low – if any at all and the gulf between the two, within the confines of the establishment has never been greater.
The lack of a players’ union has left the players without a voice and any sort of support system, which ultimately resulted in Amir – a player desperate for any opportunity to play Cricket – going AWOL and finding himself caught up in another storm in England.
It appears nothing has been done by the ICC or PCB to further the development and re-education of Amir.
The aftermath from the spot-fixing scandal should have been an opportunity for the PCB to introduce protocols and having a programme in place, in order to aid the rehabilitation process, making sure a situation like would never arise again.
But he appears to have been left on his own devices, without anyone looking out for him. Was Amir given permission to leave for England? Were the PCB aware of his movements? These are questions that need to be asked.
Back in Pakistan, a dark cloud hangs above the lone figure of Ijaz Butt.
Whilst the personal duel with ex-skipper Shahid Afridi dominated the media, earlier this year - the more serious and damaging repercussions of an extended ban for Amir - still currently awaiting trial at a London Crown Court on cheating and corruption charges, along with Salman Butt and Mohammed Asif - could’ve been the last straw for an already frustrated Pakistani faithful.
The controversial figure heading Pakistan Cricket has been the centre of some very unpopular spats with players, staff, committee members and colleagues.
The latest being the resignation of coach Waqar Younis. Younis cited health reasons for his decision, but the finger is firmly being pointed at Butt.
Ex-captain, Wasim Akram, who formed a formidable pace attack with Younis, during the 90’s, also came to the opinion that his former team mate was pushed, rather than jumped.
“I know Waqar very well. He is a fighter. He does not give up easily. I am sure there is a big issue, otherwise he would not have thrown in the towel,” Akram said.
Wasim continued to express his displeasure at the current set-up and believes drastic action needs to be taken.
“Something is wrong within the Board,” he said.
“Nobody stays there for long. Either people are sacked or they move out of their own accord.”
Butt’s tenure, which began in 2008, has been a rollercoaster ride with many peaks and troughs.
Despite winning the T20 World Cup and reaching the semi-finals on the 50-over game, his reign has been marred by his erratic man-management skills and for adopting a ‘chop and change’ policy.
Numerous changes have been made to the selection committee with Abdul Qadir and Iqbal Qasim both resigning as chief selectors, only to be replaced by Mohsin Khan.
Coaches Geoff Lawson and Intikhab Alam, were also shown the door, taking the tally to three altogether.
There has also been a merry go round of captains with Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Salman Butt, Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul-Ha, all holding the captaincy reigns at different times in the last three years.
These changes have reflected in Pakistan’s inconsistent performances.
Stability is the key for any successful team and many have the opinion that that cannot be possible with Butt at the helm.
Up for re-election in October, close friend President Asif Zardari will surely have him ear-marked for another term in charge.
My pick of the iCloud, Lion OS X and iOS5 features you will actually use…
It’s almost a decade since the release of the iPod, and we’ve spent almost every one of those ten years talking about a new piece of Apple hardware that was seen as changing the way we consume or work. But – the expected iPhone 5 apart – this is the year Steve Jobs wants to make Apple’s software the company’s biggest selling point.
The company’s WWDC event showcased iCloud, Lion OSX and i0S5 – all of which are brimming with new features. Here are our five favourite things you can actually use.
Teasingly named ‘PC Free’, wireless syncing is long overdue, and allows you to set up your iPhone, IPod Touch or iPad without plugging it in to a Mac (or a PC of course). You will never need to you use your USB cable again – except to charge the battery, of course.
iTunes in the Cloud
Cloud services have been springing up fast in the past year, but given iTunes’ stranglehold over the digital music market, Apple’s service was always going to be the most watched. It’s not a streaming music service as some industry watchers predicted, but it will let you download any music you’ve purchased to up to 10 other Apple devices. Crucially, while you only get 5Gb of storage as standard, any music or books you’ve bought on iTunes won’t count towards your total – meaning your iTunes purchases are effectively stored for free.
For those of us who choose to exercise our right to buy music from vendors other than iTunes (or, shock horror, in a physical format), Apple also has a plan that doesn’t involve spending hours uploading your entire collection. iTunes Match scans your library and songs are matched to the versions Apple already has (a DRM-free 256kbps AAC file). No questions asked. If there’s no match, you’ll need to upload. Apple promises to give you all of the same benefits as music purchased from iTunes, and costs $24.99 a year for up to 25,000 songs. A worldwide price is yet to be announced.
No more annoying pop-ups whilst playing Angry Birds, because notifications have been revamped and are presented via a status update that rotates in-and-out of view at the top of the screen. The Notification Centre puts all of your previous notifications in one place so you don’t miss anything. Housekeeping, yes, but much needed.
Finally, Twitter has been full integrated into i0S5. A single sign-in allows apps like Camera and Photos to use your Twitter credentials, so you can tweet images directly from your galleries.