Wednesday, February 15, 2006

FIFA > United Nations? Sepp Blatter > George W. Bush?

No suprise here that I can't sleep this evening. Just plowed through some "eggless" salad and drinking a Spaten. I have an early morning meeting, so I figured I would post something tonight.

Friends keep sending me great material. Yesterday afternoon I got this an email from an old valued friend talking about the "power of soccer, again..." in reference to this article..

The article states the an interesting precedent of UEFA banning Yugoslovia from the European Championships in 1992. Under pressure from Sweeden and other countries UEFA wound up banning Yugoslavia from the European Championships for not heeding UN security council resolutions. A precedent is set here that FIFA could follow, were they to choose to ban Iran from the World Cup. International Law is suspect at best, who really could Iran appeal to? The UN who would already be considering sanctions against them?

The columnist makes the argument... "Academic research indicates that sanctions have an important symbolic value, but that they play, at best, a contributory rather than a decisive role in producing political change.

An announcement by FIFA that it is ready to ban Iran from participating in the World Cup would have a much greater symbolic value than UN economic sanctions themselves because few people pay attention to UN affairs, but half of humanity is gearing up to follow the World Cup.

Nobody, moreover, could argue that this type of sanction will be responsible for the death of an unspecified number of Iranian children. Being deprived of the opportunity of cheering for one's team will only diminish the enjoyment of life of Iranian soccer fans between now and the end of June

Now, any American soccer fan that had the misfortune of watching the 1998 World Cup run knows that Iranians are crazy in their support of their team. We know this cause we lost to Iran. I remember that ABC had a reporter stationed in Iran to cover post game reaction, but they never went to her. Press reports told of rioting in the streets and American flags being burnt. The team simply making the World Cup was a great source of national pride. Beating the evil westerners? Even better. There is absolutely no chance they would not want to have that opportunity again.

Granted, FIFA alone can not convince Iran to stop with their plans for nuclear development. But given the past few years do you think that our current administration or the UN could do so alone either? The writer certainly brings up an interesting scenario.


Jim said...

I would gain a lot of respect for FIFA if they banned Iran. But I'm doubtful that Sepp has the balls to do it.

nico said...

If they allow Jack Warner to set foot in their offices, I severely doubt they'd ban Iran.

They're much more likely to ban an Eastern European team like Serbia in the future because nobody sticks up for Eastern Europeans except for other Eastern Europeans.

scot said...

I can't see them having the balls to ban Iran either. I mean if a cartoon is causing as much problems as it has, keeping a nation out of the biggest sporting event in the world would be even more problematic. And Nico makes a good point bout the Easter Europeans as well.

Still a decent article/idea, and from Canada of all places?

k said...

I think sepp should do it; the greater FIFA community could then create a website titled "imsorryiran." Canadian singles could offer to marry Iranians who want to travel to a FIFA-approved country.

scot said...

hehehe. nice idea on the website.