Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

NZ 47 Tonga 9

October 10th, 2015 at 9:57 am by David Farrar

Now that was a great game.

Before it began I said I wanted All Blacks to get four tries, and not concede any.

They scored seven.

And Tonga played really well – best performance I have seen from them. The first 50 minutes saw them very competitive and they came damn close to scoring.

This is just what we needed. A performance that showed our quarter final opponents how formidable we could be, and no injuries (well maybe one). A bit undisciplined at times, but overall a very good performance.

Now all eyes on France vs Ireland to see who we play in the quarter-final. I hope it is France as I’d rather face them earlier on.

Tags: , ,

Would the last honest man at FIFA turn the lights out?

October 9th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini, the man who had been favored to take over as FIFA leader, were both suspended for 90 days late on Thursday, plunging football’s governing body deeper into crisis.

So that’s the President, and the likely next President.

Another presidential hopeful, Chung Mong-joon, was suspended for six years in a separate case and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was banned for 90 days.

And the top administrator, and a further presidential candidate.

Issa Hayatou, the longtime head of the African football confederation who was reprimanded in 2011 by the International Olympic Committee in a FIFA kickbacks scandal, will take over as acting president.

The Acting President does not have a clean record.

The interim leader of UEFA will be Spanish federation head Angel Maria Villar, who remains at risk of being sanctioned from the FIFA ethics committee in its investigation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests.

And the acting European Head is under investigation!


Why Kiwis so celebrate England’s exit from the Rugby World Cup

October 5th, 2015 at 6:59 am by kiwi in america

You’d think after our own ignominious exits from various Rugby World Cups, that we’d spare a thought for the Poms; ejected unceremoniously from their very own RWC. Yeah nah. Not happening.

I was born in England and came to NZ as a young child. I have family there and a deep respect for English culture and history. Then there’s that famous aphorism seen on T shirts in NZ “I cheer for the All Blacks and any team playing Australia”. Whilst it was exciting to see England fight back in the second half and make a contest of it (if only for a portion of the game), I can’t hide the fact that I was rooting for Australia AND thrilled to see the Poms beaten. For most kiwis, this is a no brainer but when you have residual ties to England and I normally am quite pleased when anyone beats the arrogant Aussies, there is a special package of reasons why I personally was so pleased to see England out.

The English players, coaches, selectors and media went into a frenzy when England beat the All Blacks so comprehensively at the end of the Northern Hemisphere tour in December 2012. Steve Hansen gave the hysteria more legs when he opined that England were 2015 RWC title contenders. Since then, the inevitability of England hoisting the Webb Ellis trophy has been the arrogant assumption of English rugby at every level. By the time the tournament started, we were all sick of the smug arrogance of Lancaster and his players who talked about their chances at Fortress Twickenham and of their 2012 victory over New Zealand as if they’d beaten us 5 times in a row!

But it goes deeper than that. Australia rugby writers love the Wallabies and Aussie TV commentary is suitably and typically one eyed – but amongst those who commentate knowledgeably on rugby in Australia, there is a deep and abiding respect for the All Blacks. Not so with the Pommy media scribes. Not only is there far less respect but there is the persistent drum beat of vituperative attacks on key All Blacks the most obvious being the oft repeated claims by English rugby writers that Richie McCaw is a cheat.

As I analysed my glee at seeing what was effectively my own countrymen going down, I reflected on the boorish English crowds. I was at the fateful semi final game in Sydney for the 2003 RWC. I had an All Blacks shirt on so I was fair game for the mostly Australian spectators as I left. There was virtually no taunting or mocking – elation for sure that Australia was in the final, but belying this attitude was the respect Australian rugby fans have for the ABs. Not so English crowds. I’ve never been to Twickers but a good mate now resident in London goes there often to watch internationals and he says the crowds are awful to visiting teams and most especially to New Zealand.

Part of my ambivalence to English rugby is borne of the stultifying, sluggish forwards dominated style of rugby that prevails in England courtesy of their sodden muddy fields which has given us decades of ugly English rugby. But it goes further – it’s the whistle happy pedantic refereeing style that emanates from England and, via England’s historical dominance of the IRB, spills over to almost all the northern hemisphere referees. I’ve come up hard against that as a referee here in the US where English style whistle happy pedantry is the cultural norm among the US raised referees.

Finally, at a gut almost visceral level, we in New Zealand love to see our former colonial masters, the mother country who brought us our national game and who still arrogantly influence the governance of the game internationally, finally not just beaten but utterly humiliated. Roll on a great Australia New Zealand final!!

Tags: , ,

Likely quarter-finalists

October 5th, 2015 at 6:05 am by David Farrar

Pool A

Australia and Wales both on 13 points with a game to go. Have to favour Australia in their head to head.

Pool B

South Africa 11, Scotland 10 and Japan 8 all with a game to go.

South Africa should get bonus point vs USA and finish top.

Scotland should beat Samoa so likely 2nd.

Pool C

NZ 14 and Argentina 10 with a game to go each.

Pool D

France 14 and Ireland 10 but Ireland has two games to go. They are currently just ahead vs Italy though!

Assume France beats Ireland and Ireland beats Italy.

So the four QFs still look like:

  1. South Africa vs Wales
  2. NZ vs Ireland
  3. France vs Argentina
  4. Australia vs Scotland
Tags: ,

NZ 43 Georgia 10

October 3rd, 2015 at 2:50 pm by David Farrar

Well thank goodness we’re not in the pool of death, or we may be dead.

Three games down, and all pretty scratchy. One against a mid-level country, and two against minnows. And they all scored tries against us, and we never looked dominant.

Credit to Georgia for playing so well. I do love how the World Cup inspires the less ranked countries to put in their best performances.

Tonga could push us quite hard next weekend.

The pools are looking interesting.

Pool A – Australia probably to top and Wales may come second unless England beat them. The two bonus points for England should see them through if they do.

Pool B – South Africa should still top followed by Scotland

Pool C -All Blacks and probably Argentina

Pool D – France followed by Ireland

So quarter-finals may be:

  1. South Africa vs Wales
  2. NZ vs Ireland
  3. France vs Argentina
  4. Australia vs Scotland

Possible semis are:

  1. South Africa vs NZ
  2. France vs Australia

Not even going to predict the final!

Tags: ,

Wales at its finest

September 27th, 2015 at 11:42 am by David Farrar

Incredible. Wales beat England 28 to 25. This has been such an unpredictable World Cup.

If England lose to Australia the host nation may not even make the semi-final!

Tags: ,

58 to 14

September 25th, 2015 at 11:05 am by David Farrar

Not a great score or great display from the top ranked team against the bottom ranked team.

I can only hope they were being extra cautious and not wanting to get any injuries.

But still Namibia managed to score a try, which really should not have happened.

The first two All Black games have been average and the next two games against Georgia and Tonga won’t test the team much before the quarter final.

That will be against the runner up of Pool D. Probably Ireland. And again that may not test up too much. We have never lost to them in 110 years of matches

Then if we get past that a semi vs the winner of Pool B winner and Pool A runner up. The runner up of Pool A will be England or Australia, and I’d say our likely SF competition.  Up until then we will have played no top tier teams while England or Australia will have both played each other, and probably also South Africa.

Tags: ,

26 to 16

September 21st, 2015 at 6:03 am by David Farrar

That was a bit close!

Not good at half time down 12-13 with two All Blacks sin binned.  The score is really Argentina 14 Dan Carter 12. Second half starts badly as it goes 16 to 12 after a few minutes.

Only halfway through the 2nd half did we get the lead back with a converted try. But at 19 to 16 one penalty can tie the game and one try can lose it.

But yes a few minutes later a second converted try gets us 26 to 16 and beyond the danger zone.

Damn good playing from Argentina, and not great playing from the All Blacks. They’re lucky this was a pool game and against a middle power, not a top power.

Tags: , ,

Japan 34 South Africa 32

September 20th, 2015 at 7:06 am by David Farrar

What an incredible game. Japan, one of the minions minnows of the game, has topped mighty South Africa. They are calling it the biggest upset in world cup rugby. It might be the biggest upset in international rugby ever.

I can recall the early days of Japan playing the All Blacks, and the only tension was whether the All Blacks could score 100 points before the final whistle. They have improved a lot since then but up until this match South Africa has won 25 out of 29 World Cup matches, and Japan had won exactly once – against Zimbabwe in 1991.

But despite being around 40 to 1 underdogs in the betting odds, in the first ever test match between the two countries, Japan prevailed. I doubt (none South African) Kiwis watching the game cheered any less for Japan than they do for the All Blacks.

Again to put this in perspective the odds of South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup are 13/2 and Japan is 5000/1.

By coincidence I was on Radio NZ on Friday and asked about the Rugby World Cup. I said that relatively speaking I wasn’t so worried about South Africa and Australia, but England and France. I commented South Africa had not had a great run lately – however never would have picked them to lose to Japan.

Also of note is Georgia beating Tonga 17 to 10. It’s great to see the game becoming more even.

Tags: ,

Ko’s amazing record

September 15th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Lydia Ko’s dominance of world golf is well noted.

The youngest person ever to win a professional golf tour event. The youngest person ever to win an LPGA Tour event. The youngest player to be ranked number one. And now, the youngest woman to win a major championship, after – yes, another record – a record lowest final round in a women’s golf major.

Even if the All Blacks win the World Cup, I think Ko should be the Halberg Supreme Winner.

Being the best in the world in a globally competitive sport (tennis, golf, football, athletics, swimming) is a harder task than winning in a sport relatively few countries compete in.

Tags: ,

Hands up if you are surprised

September 7th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Former Oceania football boss Charlie Dempsey was paid nearly $400,000 to abstain from the vote for the 2006 World Cup hosting rights, a new book alleges.

The Scottish-born New Zealander, who died in 2008, was a central figure in the controversial vote in 2000 which awarded the tournament to Germany.

The book by investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, The Dirty Game: Uncovering the Scandal at FIFA, alleges Dempsey was paid US$250,000 (NZ$398,000) not to vote for South Africa, thereby awarding the tournament to Germany.

An extract from the book has been published in the Daily Mail, outlining how Germany got the hosting rights.

Dempsey declined to take part in the final round of the voting process. He had voted for England in the first two rounds but was under instruction to back the South African bid once England were eliminated from contention.

Instead, he abstained and left the vote at 12-11 in favour of Germany. Had the vote been tied, Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who had previously expressed his desire for football’s biggest tournament to be held on the African continent, would have held the deciding vote.

The book alleges a German man “fixed” Dempsey.

“Anticipating the possibility of a 12-12 draw, the arrangement was that Charlie would leave the vote, go back to the Dolder Grand hotel and collect a briefcase left for him in the cloakroom. It contained US$250,000. A cab would rush him to the airport for the flight home.”

This would surprise no-one. FIFA is to global sports what the mafia is to sanitation services.


Should tries be five or six points?

September 4th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The trial of six point tries in Welsh rugby has the backing of rugby greats Buck Shelford and Stu Wilson, but both former All Black captains say even bigger overhauls are needed to improve the game.

The Welsh Rugby Union has given the go ahead for trialling the new point system, which also includes reducing penalties and drop goals from three points to two.

Their aim is to make the game more open and attacking.

I can remember when tries were worth only four points!

I think an increase to six is a good idea. People watch rugby to see tries scored, not to see penalties kicked. You need penalties to be worth enough to discourage illegal play, but a ratio of 3:5 is too high. They are proposing 2:6.

You can of course award a penalty try for certain illegal behaviour, and they are also proposing a penalty try be worth eight points – an automatic conversion.

Shelford agreed World Rugby should give the trial the green light, but said more changes were needed to achieve the Wales Rugby Union’s goal of creating a more open and attacking game.

“We’ve got to have more incentive on the tries … and so the kicking in the game goes to drop kicks, so there’s no place kicking,” he said.

“I reckon we should actually have a five point try, a four point try and a three point try.”
Shelford said zones past the try line should be made where the further the ball was carried, the more the try would be worth.

That could be interesting.

He also said he would take Welsh proposal to lower the points for penalties and drop goals further, reducing them to one point each.

“We should have one point conversion and one point penalty and everything else is free kicks.

“There’s far too much kicking [and] too many penalties at goal. The only penalty should be for foul play,” he said.

“I’d rather use the bin a lot more or send somebody off.”

Got a point, but I think one point is not enough.


Could the NZ Third XV win the World Cup?

September 1st, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Kevin Norquay writes at Stuff:

Here’s a New Zealand team that could win the Rugby World Cup, all made up of leftovers from the All Blacks.

Do I hear you say “that’s mental?” You are so right, it is mental and that’s why this team could win the title.

For a start, they would not be scarred by the pressure of defending the cup – something that’s never been done.

This team would have a point to prove – left out of the All Blacks, they would be out to claim rugby scalps.

So who would be in the left overs team?

  • 15. Israel Dagg
  • 14. Cory Jane
  • 13. George Moala
  • 12. Ryan Crotty
  • 11. Charles Piutau
  • 10. Lima Sopoaga
  • 9. Andy Ellis
  • 8. Brad Shields
  • 7. Ardie Savea
  • 6. Matt Todd
  • 5. Jeremy Thrush
  • 4. James Broadhurst
  • 3. Nepo Laulala
  • 2. Hika Elliott
  • 1. Joe Moody

That would be a pretty damn good team.

I remember in Dunedin the club leagues often had a University A and University B team compete in them, and the final would often be between them. Wouldn’t it be fun if a second NZ team could compete in the World Cup,  and the final was the All Blacks vs New Zealand B :-)

Tags: ,

A strong team

August 31st, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

It meant players of the quality of Charles Piutau, Israel Dagg and Cory Jane all missed out, with Piutau the unluckiest of the lot after some compelling All Blacks form this year.

It says something about the strength of NZ Rugby when Cory Jane and Israel Dagg can’t make the top 30.


Hookers: Dane Coles (Hurricanes/Wellington), Keven Mealamu (Blues/Auckland), Codie Taylor (Crusaders/Canterbury).

Props: Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders/Canterbury), Charlie Faumuina (Blues/Auckland), Ben Franks (Hurricanes/Hawke’s Bay), Owen Franks (Crusaders/Canterbury), Tony Woodcock (Blues/North Harbour).

Locks: Brodie Retallick (Chiefs/Bay of Plenty), Luke Romano (Crusaders/Canterbury), Samuel Whitelock (Crusaders/Canterbury).

Loose forwards: Sam Cane (Chiefs/Bay of Plenty), Jerome Kaino (Blues/Auckland), Richie McCaw – captain (Crusaders/Canterbury), Liam Messam (Chiefs/Waikato), Kieran Read (Crusaders/Canterbury), Victor Vito (Hurricanes/Wellington).

Halfbacks: Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs/Waikato), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes/Wellington), Aaron Smith (Highlanders/Manawatu).

First five-eighths: Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes/Taranaki), Daniel Carter (Crusaders/Canterbury), Colin Slade (Crusaders/Canterbury).

Midfielders: Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders/Auckland), Ma’a Nonu (Hurricanes/Wellington), Conrad Smith (Hurricanes/Wellington), Sonny Bill Williams (Chiefs/Counties Manukau).

Outside backs: Nehe Milner-Skudder (Hurricanes/Manawatu), Julian Savea (Hurricanes/Wellington), Ben Smith (Highlanders/Otago), Waisake Naholo (Highlanders/Taranaki).

Just a few weeks to go!


Sign the petition to support the All Blacks

August 19th, 2015 at 9:59 am by David Farrar


We all want the All Blacks to win (again) the Rugby World Cup. They’re looking good, but victory is by no means assured.

Over the last few years the Labour Party has declared a number of issues to be a crisis – the manufacturing sector, power prices, domestic milk prices, Auckland house prices and the dairy industry, and demanded the Government take action.

Without fail, each time Labour has declared something to be in crisis and demanded Government intervention, that industry or issue has immediately and remarkably improved. Just this week global diary prices rebounded for the first time this year, just one week after Labour declared they were in crisis and demanded the Government act.

So this petition implores the Labour Party to declare New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks to be in crisis. Based on history, this should propel the All Blacks to victory in the Rugby World Cup.

So support the All Blacks by petitioning Labour to declare NZ Rugby in crisis.

Tags: , ,

A formidable All Black display

August 16th, 2015 at 7:14 am by David Farrar

It’s a good display from the All Blacks when they score five tries against any of the top tier teams. To do it against Australia was a formidable display of power, pressure and aggression. One of their best matches, which kept the Bledisloe in New Zealand for the 12th time in a row (and 13 consecutive wins)

It was also the last time Richie McCaw would play on Eden Park, and a great game to farewell him, but also celebrate his becoming the most capped player in the history of international rugby.

McCaw is to rugby today, what Colin Meads was to the generation before me.

Amazingly it has been 21 years since the All Blacks lost at Eden Park.

I can recall the late 1990s when Australia beat NZ in the Bledisloe for five years in a row. We started to wonder if we’d ever win it back.

The Herald has some comments on McCaw becoming the most capped player in history:

“Without a doubt he is the greatest All Black of all time. I am convinced that in my lifetime there will not be another player who will captain New Zealand for as many tests, or play as many tests for the All Blacks. He is a remarkable athlete, an outstanding leader and a truly great New Zealander.
John Key, Prime Minister

“I have seen for myself how part of his charm is the way he interacts with the fans and his connectivity with the community is immense. He is a legend. There is even a very small part of me that would like to see Richie and the All Blacks defend their World Cup in the final.”
Nick Farr-Jones, World Cup-winning former Wallaby captain

“As an All Black and Crusaders rugby fan, I feel like I’ve spent half my life cheering on Richie McCaw. He hasn’t quite been around that long, but there’s no denying his stature in the game. For my money he is the greatest All Black we’ve ever had, and therefore the greatest player the world’s ever had!”
Mike McRoberts, TV3 News presenter

“He is so courageous, yet so humble and is a man who is always looking to improve. He is first out the shed and last on the bus. He made others come up to his standards. This has been immensely important to the All Blacks.”
Ian Jones, former All Black

“To me he’s simply the greatest All Black. The toughest, fittest and hardest. 142 brutal and physical full test matches. He’s been to war for his country. At times fighting with one functioning foot.”
Duncan Garner, radio host

“I think all the kids up here just see Richie as theirs. He is Kurow’s most famous kid.”
Deidre Senior, Waitaki Valley School principal

“A leader that others want to follow. Richie is uncompromising and pushes the boundaries to the nth degree. Fair but tough. Winners want the ball and they want to charge forward when others are crippled by fear … In the heat of competition, when his teammates are looking for someone to grab the game by the scruff of the neck — up steps Richie.”
Jenny-May Coffin, broadcaster and former Silver Fern

Can’t wait for the Rugby World Cup to begin!

Tags: , ,

ACT wants world cup matches easy to view

August 1st, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

David Seymour has announced:

ACT Leader David Seymour intends to introduce a Bill to let people watch the 2015 Rugby World Cup in bars and function rooms.

“For such an important one-off event as a Rugby World Cup on the other side of the world, outside our time zone, I think sports enthusiasts should be able to celebrate the occasion in the same way they would if these matches were within normal New Zealand hours,” said Mr Seymour.

“I know many Kiwis overseas who watched the last World Cup from the UK, in pubs that were able to open and screen live matches. In England they changed their licensing laws to accommodate viewing the English matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil.

“Current licensing arrangements are too inflexible to allow for this special occasion. Bars seeking special licenses are having to jump through all sorts of ridiculous nanny-state hoops. Police have indicated to licensees that they will oppose applications unless the licensees agree to conditions like ticket-only sales, fancy dress, live music, quizzes, guest speakers or themed food.

Totally support this. requiring every bar in NZ to get a special liquor license just so they can screen Rugby World Cup games after their normal closing time is silly.

“On the first sitting day after recess (11th August) I intend to seek leave to table a short Bill allowing bars and function rooms to open for the broadcast of any Rugby World Cup matches.

“I will seek advice from the police on how best this should be monitored.

“I have asked the Clerk’s office to assist in drafting a short Bill which will accomplish this.

“If my motion to table a Bill is accepted by the House, I will ask the Prime Minister to advance this as a government Bill, so that the Bill doesn’t languish ineffectively at the bottom of the order paper until the World Cup is over.

Hopefully no MP will oppose such a sensible bill.

Tags: , ,

Contrasting two stories

July 23rd, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Interesting to contrast two stories on the parliamentary rugby team travelling to England to defend the parliamentary world cup title they hold.

The Herald story:

MPs will be jetting to the United Kingdom to take part in the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup after being granted special leave.

The team will take part in a tournament from September 10 to 23 – dates which overlap with the start of the real tournament.

Politicians going include Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga – who is currently under pressure over the issue of alleged violence in prisons – and New Zealand First MP Winston Peters, who turned 70 this year.

New Zealand are four times champions in the tournament, which happens prior to each Rugby World Cup.

It is understood the upcoming trip is funded through sponsorship. Players will also be dipping into their own pockets – when asked how the trip was funded, Mr O’Connor said: “my bank account”.

Pretty factual and not sensational. And I’m all in favour of MPs keeping fit by playing sport, and even better beating the Aussies and English. I don’t see this as any different to any other employer giving people time off for an international sporting fixture.

And the Stuff story:

Nine MPs – including two ministers – are taking leave from Parliament to travel to England for the Rugby World Cup.

Corrections minister Sam Lotu-Iiga, his Cabinet colleague Commerce minister Paul Goldsmith and NZ First leader Winston Peters are among those who will skip parliamentary sessions in lieu of the September junket.

So the first two paragraphs make it look like they are merely going to England to watch rugby rather than play rugby – a huge difference.

They’ll play in the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup which runs alongside the tournament.

Also on the team are Labour’s Damian O’Connor, Stuart Nash, Peeni Henare and Kelvin Davis, and National’s Alfred Ngaro and Mark Mitchell.

Parliament’s business committee gave leave for the absence from September 10 – 23, which means the MPs will be in England for the opening, but will miss the October 31st final.

Later on it mentions they are actually playing rugby. Also as one can see they are there for very little of the actual Rugby World Cup.  The first game is on 18 September so they are there for only eight out of 40 pool games and none of the eight knock out games.

Now you can have views on whether the MPs should get time off to defend the world title – that’s fine. But making it look like they are primarily going to watch the RWC is unfair, when in fact they are there for just a small fraction of the RWC.

Tags: ,

All Blacks vs Samoa

July 9th, 2015 at 11:11 am by David Farrar

The actual game of rugby wasn’t a flash one, but the reception the All Blacks got in Samoa showed that the test match was long long overdue. Big credit to John Campbell who helped lead the charge on this..

A fair number of our All Blacks have Samoan ancestry, and we have benefited greatly from them. It was nice to have the All Blacks give something back. It meant so much to those in Samoa, and especially the kids who aspire to one day play for Samoa, or the All Blacks.

The demands of the international calendar means that this can’t be an annual event, but I hope it isn’t a one off. At a minimum there should be a match every world cup cycle.


Hurricanes vs Highlanders

June 28th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

As a Wellingtonian who lived and studied in Dunedin, I always support Wellington and Otago sports teams. So a Hurricanes vs Highlanders Super 15 final is the ideal for me – I’l be happy with whomever wins. However my greater loyalty is to the Hurricanes, and I will be cheering for them. So thrilled they made the final, and it will be at home.

So who do we all think will win, and who do we want to win?


Blatter goes – finally

June 3rd, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Sepp Blatter has stunned the world of football,  resigning as Fifa president just four days after being re-elected to a fifth term.

The 79-year-old, who has held office since 1998, announced the decision in Zurich on Tuesday (NZT Wednesday), six days after Swiss police, acting on a request from United States authorities, raided a hotel in the Swiss city and arrested several Fifa officials in a corruption investigation. Blatter has not been charged.

“While I have a mandate from the membership of Fifa, I do not feel I have a mandate from the entire world of football – the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at Fifa,” Blatter said.

“This is why I will call an extraordinary congress to be held as soon as possible, for a new president to be elected to follow me.”

Domenico Scala, head of Fifa’s independent audit and compliance committee, said there would need to be four months’ notice for any new presidential election.

“The decision for the timing of the election of the next president will be up to the executive committee and will take place any time from December until March.”


This is good news for football, but why the change of heart? He was totally defiant just two days ago.

One possibility is that the corruption probe was getting close to him personally. The $10,000,000 payment to Jack Warner was apparently made by the FIFA Secretary-General. How credible is it Blatter would not have known?

But I think the bigger issue, is that the next World Cup was facing a boycott. Having chatted to a number of friends in Europe, there was strong support for UEFA to refuse to participate while Blatter remained in charge, and corruption so rampant. And a World Cup without Germany, Italy, Spain and France would be meaningless. Plus the commercial money would dry up without the Europeans.

Hopefully the next President will be someone of unimpeachable integrity – but also someone who will seek and get a mandate to fundamentally restructure FIFA so that future world cup venues will be decided by merit, not bribes.


FIFA votes yes for corruption

May 30th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Sepp Blatter was re-elected president of FIFA for a fifth term after his only challenger conceded defeat in an election overshadowed by allegations of rampant corruption in world soccer.

Blatter’s victory came despite demands that he quit in the face of a major bribery scandal being investigated by US, Swiss and other law enforcement agencies that plunged soccer’s governing body into the worst crisis in its 111-year history.

Neither Blatter nor Jordanian opponent Prince Ali bin Al Hussein got the necessary two thirds of the ballot in the first round, with Blatter securing 133 votes against 73 for Prince Ali. However, Prince Ali swiftly conceded.

Kudos to Football New Zealand for voting for Ali. It seems difficult to comprehend how so many national associations voted for the guy who has presided over a reign of corruption. I can only presume many of them are corrupt also.


No money for Team NZ

April 20th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The future of Team New Zealand is looking grim after the announcement today that there will be no America’s Cup pre-regatta for Auckland. …

“I think we’re at the end of the road really,” the Prime Minister said.

“Of course Steven Joyce will continue to have discussions with Grant Dalton, but the government’s position has been pretty clear.

“With the event being held 100 percent in Bermuda, that becomes a really challenging issue to go beyond the $5 million we’ve already put in.”

I’m glad there will be no further taxpayer money. I hope Team NZ get enough private sponsors to continue, but I don’t think there was a case for more Government funding.


Chess cheating

April 16th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental.

On Saturday (NZT Sunday), Nigalidze, the 25-year-old reigning Georgian champion, was competing in the 17th annual Dubai Open Chess Tournament when his opponent spotted something strange.

“Nigalidze would promptly reply to my moves and then literally run to the toilet,” Armenian grandmaster Tigran Petrosian said.

“I noticed that he would always visit the same toilet partition, which was strange, since two other partitions weren’t occupied.”

Petrosian complained to the officials. After Nigalidze left the bathroom once more, officials inspected the interior and say they found an iPhone wrapped in toilet paper and hidden behind the toilet.

“When confronted, Nigalidze denied he owned the device,” according to the tournament’s website.

“But officials opened the smart device and found it was logged into a social networking site under Nigalidze’s account. They also found his game being analysed in one of the chess applications.”

Sadly this is going to get harder to prevent and detect. Imagine Google Glass built into your normal glasses. Or someone in the audience having a smart phone and communicating through blinking or some sort of code.

Future tournaments may have to be in glass cubicles with one way glass, and sweeps for technology.

“The basic problem is that it’s incredibly easy to cheat with a phone,” says Nigel Short, an English chess grandmaster who once was ranked third in the world and is now 60th.

“You can have some application running on your phone, and it’s quite easy to conceal… my dog could win a major tournament using one of these devices. Or my grandmother. Anybody could do this.”

“A friend of mine recently joked that his mobile phone will beat Magnus Carlsen,” Short said, referring to the Norwegian chess prodigy who is currently the world’s No 1 player.

“I said, ‘What are you talking about? My microwave could beat Magnus Carlsen.'” …

Short said penalties have to be even harsher than those for Olympic athletes who abuse drugs because smart phones alter the playing field even more than steroids.

“The difference is, if I were to take drugs – some sort of steroids or whatever – I will still never be able to win the 100 metres or the Tour de France because I simply don’t have the physique for this,” he said, “but any club player could win an international tournament if he’s using this sort of device.”

Yep a smart phone doesn’t just help you in chess, it basically makes you unbeatable as computer power is now so great it can analyse hundreds of moves ahead.

The cheater should have a life ban.

Tags: ,

Hosting the FIFA World Cup

April 15th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

Six months ago, any suggestion this country could co-host the Football World Cup with Australia would have been dismissed as the stuff of idle dreams. The event would have been seen widely as too big for New Zealand, while Australians remained chastened by the dismal failure of their bid for the 2022 World Cup. Much has changed in that short period, however. Consequently, Martin Snedden deserves full marks for the timing of his effort to galvanise a joint bid for either the 2026 or 2030 World Cup.

The most obvious occurrence has been the two countries’ superb co-hosting of the Cricket World Cup. This proved they could work well together to deliver an event that exceeded expectation on every level. It also suggested they could make the step up to the biggest sporting event outside the Olympics. …

The agenda for a co-hosting bid proposed by Mr Snedden, the head of the 2011 Rugby World Cup organising committee and now chief executive of Duco Events, would build astutely on this new-found positivity. He envisages, first, getting New Zealand stakeholders on board with the idea before convincing Australia of the wisdom of a joint bid. The first part is vitally important. Fifa is keen to support football in particular regions, as shown by the World Cups in the US and South Africa. But it must be convinced both countries will totally embrace the event and use it to build the game.

I admire the ambition, and agree the timing is good. The Cricket World Cup co-hosting worked brilliantly.

But the FIFA World Cup is a different league. There are 853 64 matches (853 is for the qualifiers, 64 is for the final) to be hosted and the costs can be massive. Brazil spent almost US$15 billion on infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup.

It is estimated the US lost $9.6 billion on hosting the 1994 World Cup.

The history of recent World Cups is that FIFA walks away with a huge bank balance, and the host country a huge debt.


Tags: , ,