Stuff I'm Not Writing About and The End of Fox Soccer Channel

The pantheon of stories I have neither the time nor the interest in pursuing just keeps growing. Upon his arrival in Honduras, FMF President Justino Compean cheerily offered the locals the Fickle Finger of Fate.

Dirty Tackle has a video which I would link to if I was writing about the incident.

Compean, a candidate for the FIFA Executive Committee spot being vacated in May by American Chuck Blazer who, it should be noted, has never been photographed flipping off Central Americans, later said that his gesture was "misinterpreted" and that the reason he was waving it at a bunch of Honduran fans who were booing him was because he "had a hurt finger".

No, seriously. He really said that.

A somewhat related story I'll not be exploring concerns the universal awarding of "Man of the Match" accolades for the performance Omar Gonzalez turned in against El Tri on Tuesday.

I would beg to disagree; while he was indeed a revelation in the center of the defense, and clearly the best defender on the field I would nevertheless give the nod to Damarcus Beasley.

No, he wasn't perfect and yes, Gonzalez made a bigger contribution to the end result, but I have searched my memory and cannot recall a game where a single player wassubjected to as much constant and obviously premeditated physical abuse in the course of one single match.

Every time down the field he was kicked, hit, knocked down, shoved, punched, elbowed, grabbed, whacked, folded, spindled and mutilated. Apparently the Mexis - Aquino in particular - felt that Run DMB was some variety of Piñata that they were supposed to bust open so the kiddies could enjoy the sweet treats inside.

And time after time Beasley got up, shook it off and limped back up the field.

"Player" of the Match? Gonzalez for sure. "Man" of the match? DMB, all day long.

"The Dutch Edition of" (who knew) informs us that "Jermaine Jones zou zijn loopbaan het liefst voortzetten in de Verenigde Staten" and who can argue?

Certainly not me, which is why I won't be writing about it. Particularly since the quote above translates: "Jermaine Jones would prefer to continue his career in the United States".

If I was, however, I'd ask why it is that a team in Canada is pondering whether they should be picking up an American national team player who wants to play in the United States of America's Professional First Division.

I'm reminded of the absurdity of the Brian McBride deal. Here was an American soccer hero coming home to bask in the applause of his countrymen in the twilight of his career and the system dictated that he was the property of an outfit in another country, from which he had to be ransomed like a hostage captured by Barbary pirates.

Yet when someone like Patrice Bernier decides to come play over here, Montreal gets to pick him up for the asking. They didn't have to send Chivas a first rounder and some money to move up in the allocation rankings.

Did I miss it when we made Julian DeGuzman go through the allocation process so that the Fire could have a whack at him?

I mean, OK, if we have to let Canada into MLS out of pity over their pathetic third world status, fine. I can be generous to the less fortunate. Really.

But why on Earth, I would ask, do we have to let them pick over the guys from the US National side who want to come over here and cash in on their status? "Hi, I'm US National Team Star Jermaine Jones, and when I want to kick back after beating Mexico 2-0 there's nothing like glazed donuts and Labatts, eh?".

Can't we just stipulate that Canadian national teamers are the exclusive province of our Frozen Brothers to the North, and US team members should go to US cities?

And I really, really, really don't want to waste time pointing out yet again that the attendants at the Home don't have to take Paul Gardner's computer away; they could just disconnect it from the internet.

That way he could sit there happily pounding out utter rubbish day after day without polluting the soccersphere.

But before they do, maybe someone could point out to Grandpa that the average temperature in Commerce City Colorado on March 22 is 54 degrees and if in fact Sunil Gualti put the game there in anticipation of a blizzard then he's an incompetent boob who got incredibly lucky and instead of selling retro shirts and yearbooks to raise money for the Federation he should just grab a few $20 bills out of petty cash and go buy some lottery tickets.

Now in truth I might normally be tempted, as a followup to last week's not-to-be-missed installment of "As Jack Warner Turns", to offer up a link to the Reuter's story which confirms, based on "US law enforcement sources" that Daryan Warner is an officially designated "cooperating witness" in the criminal probe aimed at his father.

I would, that is, except that even aside from the fact that I fingered Daryan as a hide-saving stoolie in my previous article, the Reuters piece is a confused pile of rubbish in which the writer thinks that "offshore account" is a synonym for "criminal activity".

For example, he breathlessly reports that the CFU made payments to "an offshore account", apparently without noticing that in fact "CFU" stands for Caribbean Football Union which, by definition IS "offshore". All of it. Every single bit. They made payments to "offshore accounts" every day of the week, and still do.

The problem is that there are two hard-and-fast yet dead wrong "certainties" which every European article on the subject of FIFA corruption takes for granted:

One is that Mohammad bin Hammam was brought down by clever maneuvering at the hands of Sepp Blatter, in an effort to get himself re-elected. This theory - which every single football journalist in Europe treats as an article of faith - ignores the very basic fact that Blatter had nothing to do with Warner and bin Hammam conspiring to pass out envelopes of money in order to procure votes which, by definition, would have served to defeat Blatter himself.

Furthermore, it was Mo Binny's own decision to pull out of the race two days before the vote. No one declared him ineligible or demanded that he withdraw, he did it of his own volition and then, immediately after the vote, started claiming that Sepp had "forced him off the ballot".

The second thing they're all sure of is that Chuck Blazer is deeply involved in all of this, a fact which the evidence does not support. Aside from the fact that apparently Jack Warner paid him some money (in an entirely open and above board transaction with a broad paper trail and not, as is Warner's normal modus operendi, in a big sack filled with US currency) drawn on a CFU account and which was deposited into a bank in the Caribbean - which, since The Big Guy has both a home and a sports marketing business located there, makes perfect sense - we know of nothing whatsoever that he stands accused of.

As I've said many times previously, I'm not saying Blazer is as pure as the driven snow, only that repeating "offshore account" over and over like an agitated Macaw does not in and of itself prove a damned thing.

Unfortunately, like I said, every single solitary journalist in Europe is sure it does, which is why I won't bother with their stuff. Most of us live in CONCACAF countries and know a whole lot more about all of this than your garden-variety European football scribe hoping to toss a bunch of unrelated facts up in the air and hope no one notices that it's not particularly related.

I will however, spare a few words for the demise of Fox Soccer Channel which will become, starting September, something called FXX, an "entertainment channel".

File this one under "victim of their own success", for rather than being about the failure of soccer in North America, it's rather about how big it's becoming.

Time was that you had to call up and fight and moan and write letters demanding that "your local cable supplier" begin offering an obscure channel called Fox Sports World, which carried - glory of glories! - real, actual soccer.

I saw Max Bretos doing the anchor duties on ESPN Sportscenter the other day. He's come a long ways from the days when he sat in a small studio and did voiceovers for European football feeds. Good on him.

FSW, which also carried the wonderful Aussie Rules Football and other strange and exotic beasts which it could pick up on the cheap, was a marvel for those of us who were used to waiting weeks for the always-late SoccerAmerica to arrive with the scores of games which were played three weeks previous.

Gradually they picked up more soccer and less peculiar guys down under in disturbing clothes and Fox Soccer was born. The big guys, the networks with the power and the money couldn't have cared less.

But as we all know, with NBC now outbidding everyone for the English Premier League as well as MLS, and beIN/Al Jazeera picking up most everything else, all Fox was left with was some UEFA Champions League games and some other odds and ends.

Most Fox owned matches will migrate to the new Fox Sports One channel, coming soon to a cable outlet near you.

It's a sign of progress, and increasing popularity. Soccer in the US has simply outgrown a niche outlet for a painfully small group of addicted geeks, and it's cause for celebration.

Still, maybe we can all find time to raise a glass to what was.