FIFA fly the flag … for intimidation

Good morning.

How was the opening day of the World Cup for you? I couldn’t convince myself that I had enough interest in Qatar v Ecuador to pay attention to it, so I went to an Italian restaurant and had a delicious risotto while the game was on. There was also good wine.

And from what I can gather, I didn’t miss much from a football perspective. Ecuador won 2-0, ex-West Ham man Enner Valencia scored twice and the hosts, according to reports I read, weren’t up to much. ‘Slight’ was the phrase used by Nick Ames in The Guardian, and with Senegal and the Netherlands to come, they will have to do much better to have any hope of breaking through in the group.

Today, Bukayo Saka is expected to start for England when they take on Iran, but ahead of the game plans to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community by Harry Kane with a rainbow armband are in doubt as there are fears that the England captain may receive an automatic yellow. card.

It was thought that the football associations of the 11 nations that had chosen to wear the armband would be fined, something they were willing to live with, but the idea of ​​a top player starting a game with a booking has changed things. Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk is quoted on this topic:

“I will wear the bracelet of a love. Nothing changed from our point of view. If I get a yellow card for using it, then we would have to discuss it because I don’t like playing with yellow.”

FIFA has yet to provide any response to the respective FAs who have approached them for clarification. I thought this line from this report was quite instructive:

It has been suggested to the FA that, because there is no precedent, FIFA could be given a free hand to select the punishment for breaking team rules.

There’s no doubt it came from someone at FIFA, because we’re left in no doubt that this is an organization that will do whatever it takes to quell any perceived dissent. The absurdity of a player like Kane or van Dijk or Manuel Neuer starting the game with a yellow card due to a bracelet is beyond words. I understand why some countries and some players may have doubts, it is quite natural to want to avoid yellow cards since two yellows = one suspension.

However, at the same time, I hope some will use it to highlight their support for its intended recipients and to highlight how foul-mouthed are FIFA’s statements about how “football is for everyone”. If they go ahead and issue a reservation, you will simply realize that their words are essentially meaningless. Personally I’d like to think that personal convictions will trump any threat from FIFA, that the potential impact on a team is something that can be discussed and dealt with, but this is clearly the kind of tactic big organizations use to stop dissent. . It’s bullying, there’s no two ways about it.

FIFA have suggested their own armbands and hashtags, here’s what they came up with:

Oooooh, #savetheplanet, what a great idea. No one has thought of that before. Every day I despise this organization and its leaders even more. Soccer deserves, and needs, something better than FIFA and the despot Infantino.

#Be active ? #BringTheMoves? give me strength

We’ll know what happens soon, and with England’s game being their first today, it could dictate what Van Dijk and Gareth Bale do later on. There is interest from Arsenal with England, of course. Saka is going to start, I hope Ben White will too. We have former striker Aaron Ramsey set to play for Wales as well, and Matt Turner is likely to start for the USA in that game.

There will certainly be plenty of football to talk about tomorrow, but as each day passes it becomes abundantly clear that this is a World Cup like no other, and there will almost always be a lot more to talk about than 22 men kicking a ball around. .

TO UPDATE

FIFA’s threats have worked.

Let no one have any doubt that when FIFA preaches about inclusion, about support, about football uniting the world and all that rubbish, they are just liars. Corporate counterfeiters spitting out clichés but without the slightest substance or conscience.

Fuck Fifa.

There’s a new Arsecast Extra for you below if you haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet. Enjoy!

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