Monday, March 5, 2012

Strife Around the World in National Football Leagues

Here is a round-up of various controversies, debate and strife occurring in various football leagues and associations around the world.

Switzerland, from the WSJ Europe:
Switzerland evokes images of stability, tranquillity and, well, boredom. It's rife with banks, watches and chocolates. It's where the von Trapps sought refuge, at least in the musical version, and where supposedly nothing much happens.

Nothing much, that is, unless you're a soccer fan.

As outwardly staid as the Swiss stereotype might be, the Swiss Super League has been a cauldron of controversy, bankruptcy and lawsuits. A season that began with 10 teams may well finish with just eight. Another club, Sion, which would otherwise find itself in third place, is dead last with a slightly surreal total of -1 points after it was slapped with a 36-point penalty.
Australia (oh, where to begin, how about here),
It has been the most tumultuous fortnight in Australian soccer since the game was effectively shut down after the 2004 NSL grand final as the federal government probed its future, finally releasing the Crawford Report that led to the creation of the A-League in 2005-06. Clive Palmer, the forthright billionaire owner of Gold Coast United, has emerged as a figurehead for those opposed to Football Federation Australia, while Frank Lowy and Ben Buckley are defending the FFA's legitimacy as the game's governing body.
Nigeria, Oluwashina Okeleji reports for the BBC:
The Nigeria Football Federation will not comment on remarks made within the Senate which labelled it the country's 'most corrupt government agency'.

On Wednesday, the President of the Senate, David Mark, said the corruption within the NFF was responsible for the Super Eagles' dwindling fortunes.

"The NFF is the centre of corruption in the country - there is no running away from the fact," said Mark.

The NFF told BBC Sport it does not comment on matters debated by Senate.

"We have failed woefully," said Mark, who presides over the Senate, which is the Upper House of the Nigerian Parliament.

"Corruption is not just financial corruption alone - even the way the players were brought in is another form of corruption."

"There is confusion and the government must put its foot down to get it right."

In a statement which may further worry supporters, Mark suggested that there may be a need for the government to pull Nigeria out of international football to allow for reconstruction.
Turkey, seeking to recover from a major match-fixing scandal:
The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) elected Besiktas' Yildirim Demiroren as its new chairman on Monday, setting him the task of quickly resolving a match-fixing crisis which has engulfed Turkey's domestic league this season.
Scotland, where Rangers, one of the two largest clubs faces a slew of controversies over finance, the latest from the Daily Mail:
The Scottish Football Association are set to investigate claims by former director Hugh Adam that secretive payments to Rangers players were excluded from contracts lodged with the governing body.

Sportsmail reported Adam’s claims that directors of the club were aware of the widespread use of the Employee Benefits Trust scheme.

The issue raises awkward and embarrassing questions over the role of respected SFA president Campbell Ogilvie — despite sources close to the former Rangers secretary insisting the EBTs were handled in entirety by the Murray Group at their Edinburgh HQ and that some directors were unaware of the details.
Indonesia, where its football federation is under investigation following the remarkable 10-0 scoreline in a loss to Bahrain in last week's World Cup qualifier:
Indonesian football authorities on Friday denied any foul play in the national team's 10-0 thrashing by Bahrain, after world governing body FIFA announced an inquiry and fans expressed outrage.

The Gulf side needed to win Wednesday's match in Manama by nine goals to have any hope of making the last round of Asian zone qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, while Indonesia had already been eliminated from the tournament.

Indonesia's football association (PSSI) has long been mired in graft scandals, but the head of its disciplinary committee Bernhard Limbong told AFP there was "no way" corruption was involved in the remarkable scoreline.

"I know because I was involved in organising the match. If anyone did that, they would be a traitor to Indonesia.

"I would like to apologise to the whole nation for the defeat and for making Indonesia look like a total loser."
And what would a  round-up of global football governance be without a stop in Brazil, where Ricardo Teixeira remains as the head of the CBF, despite allegations of corruption. In other news FIFA and Brazil continue their spat over national sovereignty:
The Brazilian government is severing relations with FIFA’s top administrator after he criticized the country’s preparations for the 2014 soccer World Cup.

The organizers of sports most-watched event needed a “kick up the ass,” General Secretary Jerome Valcke said yesterday at a meeting in England. Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo today labeled the comments as “unacceptable” and said the government will cease to recognize Valcke.
Never a dull moment in the governance of football around the world!


  1. I can comment on the Rangers payments to players via an Employee Benefit Trust (EBT).

    EBT's were common a few years ago, standard tax avoidance scheme used by many, the basic idea was that payments were made into a trust, the beneficiaries of which were the employees and their families/children. They would then take out loans from the trust, and only withdraw the capital and repay the loans when they were no longer employees. hence no remuneration occurred.

    yeah, right, as the Inland Revenue like to say. They won a House of Lords test case a few years ago, and the whole lot went down (ie paid up the tax as if it were remuneration).

    I assume that's what it was, but it might have been something more football related.

  2. Roger, you forgot Peru's league, which is also sad. I never thought much of the Peruvian league, but if you can mention Australia and Switzerland (though Basel is a phenomenon now) Peru is game. The teams are in a crisis, players are striking, teams are firing all their players. The President, Congress and Fifa are all involved. Very sad:

    On Brazil and Teixeira, to say that "Teixiera has "allegations of corruption" is almost an insult. Everyone in Brazil knows the guy lies through he's teeth and corruption is his middle name. Just a history of the CBF shows this implicitly. One likely easy way to spot recent corruption is to look at Romario and Ronaldo bank accounts linked to Teixeira, he has recently got them to stand up for Brazil publicly in negotiations over world cup.