Elections, barking dogs and seat of the pants boxing


Tunde Coker says Sepp Blatter, Jose Mourinho's Chelsea and Floyd Mayweather all have something in common. Winning in the least exciting way possible.

FIFA president Blatter has been able to follow what is now a well trodden path, even though this time he's been jostling on a crowded ballot with three other candidates.

Apparently early this week Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick is set to meet with Blatter in Zurich.

According to the NFF president is in line with NFF administration’s vision of constantly bonding with the world body, and also to seek more Fifa projects for Nigeria.

“However, the present NFF administration is of the view that the outstanding projects, for which approval has been secured, should commence immediately, and that Nigeria deserves more Fifa projects at this stage,” Pinnick told the NFF website.

Poppycock.

Anyone out there remember David Yallop's excellent book 'How they stole the game'? This meeting is straight out of the election manual initiated first by Joao Havelange and then continued in 1998 by Blatter and exposed in this book. There is every chance that this meeting is less to do with the race for the FIFA presidency. Nigeria's vote is one that can be chalked up to Blatter.

Apart from at the UEFA congress, only Blatter has been allowed to address the other continental congresses. The election of a FIFA president has long been the run along the standards of a sham that wouldn't shame the dictators that Blatter so loves to rub shoulders with.

It all makes it nigh impossible to unseat a sitting FIFA president and with the age restriction lifted the only hope to avoid the long tenures of the likes of Blatter and the Sun King Havelange before him are to limit the terms of a president to two.

Everyone over the last week, it seems, has been talking about Chelsea and the type of football they play. Apparently it's just not attractive enough.

'It's important for the Premier League and the fans to play attractive football,' intoned Manchester City's coach Walter Pellegrini.

His Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho, whose side have led the title race from start to finish, losing just twice is having none of it: 'We did everything the team needs to do. That's why we're champions. That's why we deserve it.

'Everybody knows that. The people who have a big face to say we don't deserve it are the ones who, in my country, say the dogs bark and the caravan goes by.

'It's easy to be a pundit. As a pundit, you win every game. You don't lose matches.

Translated, the adage simply means: pay no attention to what people say about you.

Anyway, Chelsea are hardly the first winning team to attract criticism. A short rewind to the Spain team which conquered three successive international tournaments brings a useful reminder to how peculiar and divisive these issues can be.

Having already won the 2008 European Championship and 2010 World Cup, Vicente Del Bosque's team were sneered at as they passed their way to the Euro 2012 final. Even former tennis champion Boris Becker said they were boring.

Spain's players were repeatedly asked to explain themselves. Starting all their knockout games with Cesc Fabregas playing as a false nine, a perceived lack of attacking brio became a cause celebre.

We can't all play the same way. Sport would be boring if we did.

It's styles that make football interesting, just as they make boxing interesting.

What about that little fight over the weekend. The richest fight in boxing history.

Fighters who give that blood and guts fighting the fans want as seeming value for money don't get to 48-0. Mayweather's technical, conservative approach doesn't mean he doesn't have a warrior's heart but points to someone doing what he has to to win. Boxing is as much about not getting hit as hitting the other man.

Six-weight world champion Oscar De La Hoya had hoped for a little more action: "Call me old-school but I like the fans getting their money's worth by watching an action-packed fight.

"I'm just not into the boxing, running style. I like jumping out of my seat because a fight was existing."

Former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan was not surprised by the manner of Mayweather's victory. "Mayweather was much too smart and quick for Manny. Just as I predicted - boringly one-sided," he tweeted.

So there you have it. Three events. Three processions where the opponents never had a chance.

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