This is an ultimatum for FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Do the world a favor. Don’t talk to the media anymore. You’re digging a grave for not only yourself but for FIFA. If you don’t want to do that then step down and run your mouth on your own time. Better yet, retire and disappear off the face of the earth. Pretty sure no one will miss you.
Just a quick Google News search of “Sepp Blatter” reveals the following stories:
CBSSports - Gay Rights Groups Slam Blattter
The Guardian - Blatter attacks "sore loser" and "arrogant" English
ESPN - Blatter Defends Russia/Qatar
Goal.com - Combining 2018-22 Bids Mistake
And these are just the news stories from the past month, not the numerous blogs, columns etc. around the world slamming the decision or reports from other countries of collusion and lies that occured through the bid process. But here's two of those for fun.
HeraldSun - FIFA Lies to Austrailia
CBSSports - FIFA Exec Upset at public WC Voting
All this after the catastrophe that was the World Cup selection process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, won by Russia and Qatar respectfully. For the record, I don't have a problem with Russia winning and I fully expect the 2014 Sochi Olympics to be excellent and the World Cup should be going to Europe as often as possible. But is there any logical reason for the World Cup to be going to Qatar?
The short answer, no there isn't.
Quite frankly I don't believe that Sepp Blatter thinks that the USA is a viable soccer market, despite ESPN shoving the 2010 WC, MLS and the EPL down our throats for the better part of two years now. And despite the fact that the 1994 World Cup hosted by the USA was financially the most successful tournament of all time. But Sepp Blatter wants MLS to move to a similar timetable as European leagues, something MLS said they would look into during the bidding process. Here's how that went.
I am now MLS Commish Don Garber. I run America's top soccer league. I have been expanding successfully to new markets in the USA and Canada. My league has been improving in the world stage despite most of the US international team playing overseas. And now FIFA wants me to play in the middle of winter, meaning a minimum 6-week break from Christmas to Valentie's Day and going up against the following sports: NFL, NCAA Football, NBA, NHL, NCAA Basketball instead of MLB and NASCAR. Mr. Garber's response should be along the lines of this, "Mr. Blatter, this recommendation is not in the best interest of the success of MLS and soccer in the USA."
Mr. Blatter doesn't realize this. Nor does he realize the oppurtunity that he wasted by not having the USA host the 2022 World Cup. You see, the current group of USA players like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempset and Tim Howard might be playing in their last World Cup in Brazil 2014. This means that the USA will likely have a completely new team by 2022 and little reason for today's athletes to play soccer over multi-million dollar contracts in the NFL, MLB or NBA. But perhaps a small dream of playing in a World Cup on home soil in 2022 could help spur a new generation of talented players to come through the college or academy systems of the USA national team.
Instead, Sepp Blatter will expect major American media outlets (ESPN) and major corporate sponsors to continue to invest into soccer and the World Cup. But with less than 1 million viewers for the 2010 MLS Cup Final between Colorado and Dallas FC, MLS is struggling on the TV market while the World Cup and EPL have seen dramatic improvement in their ratings.
Sepp Blatter doesn't realize that he needs MLS and its American and international stars more than they need him. MLS would be the perfect league to test out goal line technology that Blatter and FIFA are hesitent to install. MLS players are consistently tartget for loans and transfers and since MLS is a single-entity leauge, MLS technically owns rights to players and has revenue sharing, that means MLS has to sell its best players to make revenue and will rarely get the world's best players in their primes like the old NASL and settles for Thierry Henry well past his prime but still competitive in a lesser league.
Sepp Blatter had a chance to captivate the American audience for the next twelve years. He had a chance to captivate a whole new generation of soccer fans in an emerging market. Instead, he's probably killed any chance for soccer and MLS to gain a major foothold in the USA. The diehards will always be there, but the casual fan will only likely tune in every four years until the USA is knocked out. And that's a shame.
Because it only took one man to ruin the bueatiful game. Only one man's words and one organizations actions that single-handedly turned off soccer to those who actually followed the USA's Cup Bid after their team was eliminated in the knockout stages of South Africa. One man who's ideas to change a league were foiled by his own actions.
If he can't understand soccer in America, why should we trust him to run soccer internationally?