The President of the International Olympic Committee says that in future he would like to see THE BEST PLAYERS IN THE WORLD competing in the Olympic Soccer Tournament.
This will of course involve negotiating with Sepp Blatter and we know how that sort of thing always goes: Sepp will agree that it's a fabulous idea, then a month later he'll tell reporters that it is "an impossibility", then make a suggestion that they all compete wearing Speedos "to make it more entertaining for the fans"
Seriously, I think it's something everyone would like to see, but that would make it too similar to the World Cup, FIFA's big cash cow, for them to ever go along. They're not about to let the IOC cut in on their action. Either way, the players, who are getting closer and closer to simply not having any off-season at all, are not likely to be very thrilled about it.
Speaking of the World Cup South Africa has announced SOME EARLY TICKET PROGRAMS. I'm not about to spend the time to convert the Rand to the Euro and compare prices from 2006 but they claim that ducats for SA10 will be a better deal.
They also announced that they will distribute 120,000 tickets "to the poor" so that everyone in the country can enjoy the Cup. That's certainly a splendid notion, but unless they pass them out at the gate those tickets will end up with scalpers quicker than you can say "my family is hungry and we can't pay the rent".
A much better notion would be to give that 120,000 tickets directly to Jack Warner, let him peddle them for a percentage and pass the money around to people in need. A win-win deal if ever there was one.
In other Olympic news Blatter made it clear yesterday that the "single entity Great Britain soccer team" idea for the 2012 Olympics is DEAD IN THE WATER
As Scotland (and the others) feared, he allowed as to how if they let this happen just once it would undermine the argument that they need to be separate organizations within FIFA.
This is particularly relevant because, apparently, this is the exact argument that Jack Warner - amazing how often his name comes up, isn't it? - has been making in an effort to decrease British influence within the game. Somehow this seems sensible to him: Netherlands Antilles, Bermuda and St. Kitts each deserve a seat at the FIFA table, but Scotland does not.
If you've ever seen an interview with one of the more egomanical American "sports stars" like, say, Terrell Owens, it's always astonishing how many times they can fit the word "I" into single sentences.
Which is the first thing that hit me when I read THIS NOW_TYPICAL INTERVIEW WITH FREDDY ADU. Aside from his constant theme, ie: "MLS didn't appreciate me, I wasn't allowed to show my brilliance, blah, blah, blah" what strikes you is how repetitive his use of the personal pronoun is.
I know, I know, 14 year old kid, commercials with Pele, adoring crowds, the whole thing was too much too soon, etc. All true enough, but the kid needs some professional PR help sometime real soon. Those "aw shucks, I'm so humble" pro athletes didn't get that way by accident, and neither will our Freddy. He needs to learn to mouth baloney like everyone else.
If you're one of the many - like me - who are more or less housebound this morning with a couple feet of snow that needs shoveling, pour another cup of coffee and read THIS THOUGHTFUL PIECE BY PAUL WILSON.
He touches a bunch of bases but the overall theme is the price of soccer, which used to be "the working man's game" but - in England at least - is more and more reserved for the well-to-do. Enjoy.
Finally just because I can, HERE'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT, Prepare to be blown away.