UNITED PASSIONS: Forget Everything You’ve Heard… Sepp’s Movie is AMAZING

I was one of probably less than 75 people in America who saw United Passions, the movie FIFA commissioned about its history. I assumed that I would be the only person in the theater and therefore planned to livetweet it.  I was shocked that there were six others in the theater with me.

The reviews are horrible.. seriously, Rotten Tomatoes has nine critics reviews and it has thus far earned a zero, yep, zippo.. the  New York Times called it, “one of the most unwatchable films in recent memory, a dishonest bit of corporate-suite sanitizing that’s no good even for laughs.”  Clearly this dude, Daniel Gold, did not watch the movie..  His entire review is not actually comparable with the film I saw.  My guess is he got notes and freeballed it.  Bad Daniel Gold bad or not since I am one of so few people who saw it..

He says, “Yet there is barely a nod to the corruption scandals that have plagued FIFA for decades.”

Is he drunk?  The entire plot of the movie is this message from a Sepp led FIFA, SINCE THE BEGINNING WE HAVE HATED THE ENGLISH AND BEEN BRIBED TO HOST THE WORLD CUP..ALSO WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CORRUPT SO TAKE YOUR MORALITY, YOUR ETHICS, YOUR LAWS AND GTFO.” 

At no point do they try to hide or discount corruption, but instead embrace it as a traditional, and romantic part of the game.

Now, Sepp is positioned throughout as the noble servant of the organization and the game. Paying for FIFA salary from his own pocket because corrupt leaders have drained the coffers.  To be fair, it is not painted as altruistic to protect the staff from income loss but to protect the image of FIFA and the power of the game.

As for Gold’s assertion that it cannot even be played for laughs… again untrue.  Seven of us, unknown to each other but drawn by the love of the game… all laughed heartily at the same things.  They usually involved lines like, “you didn’t break any laws,” or, “we need more women in the game.”

Movie critics review movies for their critical appeal and artistic merit… this was not meant to be artistic or appeal to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters.  It is a dramatic defense of FIFA doing business in the FIFA way and not giving any fucks about if anyone else cares..  You have to understand the scandal and FIFA to understand what the film’s message is.

Gold makes another erroneous claim, “[i]ndeed, surprisingly little soccer is shown.”  Um, yeah that is not true at all.  They actually use a lot of original archival footage for many of the greatest WC and other games in history and they recreate others.  The film anchors with a modern multi-racial, multi-ethnic pick-up match between a bunch of boys and a single girl (she gets stuck in goal as per) watched by the local people of the town, where ever it is.

The montage of World Cup moments, both male and female, is honestly worth the $12 admission price.  It is also the nail in the coffin point FIFA wanted to make…

IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MUCH CORRUPTION THERE IS.. YOU STILL CARE ABOUT THE WINNING THE TROPHY. WE STILL MAKE THAT POSSIBLE, SO STFU AND STOP WHINING ABOUT IT

That said, this person gets it.. THE 19 MOST RIDICULOUS MOMENTS IN FIFA MOVIE UNITED PASSIONS First one is amazingly true and we all burst out laughing..

Too Much Life… Too Much Soccer news

My work life has been insane, not busy insane as much as plot of a law firm drama insane… Seriously, it has been nuts to amazing levels and I have been busy as hell..  I cannot share sadly but some day….

Because of this chaos, I have only been able to watch everything happening in the beautiful game.  I have not had time to blog during the day and by the time, I get home at night, I walk to dogs and crash for the night.

Now that said, the game has made me cry repeatedly, so sad tears and any happy ones.  Goddess Loretta Lynch handling shit like the Boss she is; Sepp winning re-election, defiantly, triumphantly promising to clean up FIFA, almost choking on the cracker I was eating when he said it.  Five days later, resigning… the stream of tears down my face left me puffy and blotchy the rest of the day.

I have yet to read the full indictment and blazer’s testimony, but I have them printed out and sitting next to me. I have read Blazer’s Order of Forfeiture which was damning. He is/was required to turn over $1,958,092.72, yes that is almost $2 million, “which represents a portion of the monies that defendant [Blazer] received from bribes, kickbacks and unauthorized World Cup Ticket Sales.”   He was also required to forfeit a second as yet undetermined amount.

Of all of it though I feel most bad for the Irish fans who discovered their own government bod betrayed them for FIFA cash. It might be legal but ethically, there is no justification.

Yesterday, I cried because Pirlo cried and no one ever wants to see that… My bb may be coming to MLS which scares me as ever.  People, even experts, have no idea what he actually does or how he does it so they judge him harshly and ignorantly.. You talk shit about his game.. you and I will be having a conversation and it will not go well for you.

All of that said and because of all of this madness, I have been able to avoid processing THE WORLD CUP IS HERE..  HOLY FLIPPING HELL…. THE WORLD CUP IS HERE..

LADIES BRING BACK OR TROPHY/TITLE.. IT HAS BEEN LONG ENOUGH, NOW GET IT DONE

Uncle Sunil Works Ex Co Magic… Hooks America Up… Gets Copa American on FIFA calender

Capture

 

Look I am not pleased with Sunil… this Hope Solo nonsense is seriously annoying me and his Roger Goodell modeled approach is not helping AT ALL..  I have been attempted to write something on that mess for a week now but I keep getting angrier and angrier, so I stop and go back later…The whole thing has tainted my excitement over the Women’s World Cup and the USWNT to a large extent.  It is a super messy disaster and that needs resolution fast.

 

So we will focus on the  good err,  FLIPPPING AWESOME NEWS that Copa America 2016 made it to FIFA’s calender meaning teams must release players and the US can field a full strength squad against the best possible teams in CONMEBOL and a CONCACAF brethren..”

Per the joint statement by CONMENOL AND CONCACAF and, “With the addition of the tournament to the FIFA Calendar, the historic Copa America Centenario in 2016 is now set to be the most important full national team tournament hosted in the Americas since this year’s FIFA World Cup,” said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb. “We want to thank Fifa, all Confederations and all others involved in the process for their unconditional support in this process making sure that this once in a lifetime celebration was treated with the respect that the players, football fans around the world and participating countries deserve.”
Copa America Centenario Participating Teams:

CONMEBOL
  1. Argentina
  2. Bolivia
  3. Brazil
  4. Chile
  5. Colombia
  6. Ecuador
  7. Paraguay
  8. Peru
  9. Uruguay
  10. Venezuela

CONCACAF

1. U.S.A. (Host)

2. Mexico (Seeded)

3. Costa Rica (2014 UNCAF Copa Centroamericana Champion)

4. TBD (2014 CFU Caribbean Cup Champion)

5. TBD (Winner of 2015 Gold Cup –if not one of the already qualified teams, or 2015 Gold Cup Playoff 1 winner)

6. TBD (2015 Gold Cup Playoff winner)

 

 

Soccherblog’s Soccer School – The Club Structure

Clubs work like professional sports team in any sports.   They are businesses who employ players to play against other teams like any traditional sports team.

It willl probably be easiest if I go from region to region by their confederations.

Everything in Elite level soccer is first organized by FIFA which is soccer/futbal/football’s global governing body. They put on the World Cup and the World Club Cup, etc.

Next level down are the Confederation, which are geographically based on continents.  There are 6 different recognized Confederations:  CONCACAF, UEFA, CONMEBOL, CAF (Africa), Asian Football Confederation and Oceania Federation.  They are each responsible for organizing World Cup Qualification and other regionally based intra-regional tournaments for their member nations and overseeing intra-regional club tournaments within their jurisdiction.

The Confederations are made of individual country members. The countries run tournaments based within each nation and oversee leagues within their country.

Leagues are where clubs play within a country.   That is a little explanation of confederations and their roles. I am only going to focus on the top leagues in a country. They also have lower leagues which replicate much of the same things.

IMPORTANT BIT OF INFO: Many Countries’ club leagues structured on a multi-layered vertical league concept.   Because of this there is a concept called promotion/relegation in effect.    This is where the bottom teams in an upper league at the end of the season lose their right to stay in that league and are dropped to the league directly below. The top winning teams in the lower league are promoted up to top league as reward.    This way it always stays at the same number of teams but allows fresh blood into the leagues.

 CONCACAF [North America, Central America & Caribbean]

The two main leagues are MLS and Liga Mx, which are based in US/Canada and Mexico respectively.

Major League S0ccer –  They are a league made up of 20 or so clubs (changing a lot because new clubs are being created/joining) with a regular season where clubs play each other and accumulate points based on the system above. The one with the most points at the end of the season wins the Supporters’ Shield.

It is broken up into east and west teams (“conferences”) and the top 5-6 teams based on points move to a play-off format. They play home and away so that each team has home field advantage during the round and it can go into extra time and penalties. The ultimate winner wins the MLS Cup which played at the home of the finalist with the highest regular season points total.
There is no promotion/relegation. The season runs early March to MLS Cup final in early December.

Liga MX is the top Mexican League. It has 18 teams who play each other. They do have promotion/relegation ad play-offs as well. I think they just changed some of their rules on them and I am not as up-to-date on the changed yet.

CONCACAF Champions League (CCL)

This is a CONCACAF wide (an organized) tournament in addition to league play where the winner of the leagues (and a few other things) play each other to determine Club supremacy in the Confederation.  The winner gets to play in the World Club Cup

 

UEFA [Union of European Footballing Associations]

UEFA cover the European countries as well as coordinate the two intra-European club tournaments: The Champions’ League and the Europa League.   The Champions’ League is almost universally considered the most prestigious and hardest to earn club level trophy in the World. It is an annual competition that Real Madrid won it last year. The Europa League is the inter-UEFA tournament for second best sort of teams.

Their leagues run from late August to Early May/June for the most part (with a few exceptions).  They all have promotion/relegation.

Top Five Leagues in Europe are La Liga (Spain), Barclay’s/English Premier League (England), Serie A (Italy), Bundesliga (Germany) and Ligue Un (France) in no order here but it is a topic that is hotly and continually debated.

LA LIGA Biggest Teams: Real Madrid and Barcalona. When they play, it is called “El Clasico.” They are considered widely the best league from a quality of play standpoint. They also have some serious issues with racism.

BPL/EPL Biggest Teams: Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United. This is European league that Americans, generally, are most familiar and have easiest access. Every league match is broadcast live in the States.

SERIE A Biggest Teams: Juventus and AC Milan. This is one of the leagues which is starting to grow in American viewership but access is still random. It has become my favorite to watch recently but they also have some serious issues with racism.

BUNDESLGA Biggest Teams: Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. This league was nearly impossible to watch in the US unless their teams were in the Champions League. That will change not this season about to start but the next season when the rights move from GolTV to Fox Sports.

LIGUE UN Biggest Team: Paris Saint-Germain. I do not know a lot about the league because access has been restricted in the US until last season really. It is very much up and coming back. I am just learning and will learn more soon.
CONMEBOL, CAF and Asian Football Confederation and Oceania Federation

I honestly don’t know enough to speak authoritatively about them individually.   There is every little broadcast coverage for the most part. You can catch games here or there but not as consistently as I would like. The reality is much of the leagues contained here are feeder leagues for UEFA club teams.

CONMBOL Copa Libertadores –  South American club champions league tournament. It is really spectacular to watch with a lot of young/will be future global stars. It is a place that European scouts mine for gold.

 

WORLD CLUB CUP is the FIFA international tournament that has the winner of the Asian AFC Champions League, African CAF Champions League, North American CONCACAF Champions League, South American Copa Libertadores, Oceanian OFC Champions League or European UEFA Champions League.   They play single elimination matches with overtime and penalties in December of each year

Soccherblog’s Soccer School – International Tournaments.

With the bandwagon growth of soccer over the last few weeks, I have been asked a ton of questions about who things are structured so this series is my attempt to do just that.  This started as an answer on a messageboard from a new fans and than others started asking questions.  I decide to achieve them here. Starting at the elite/professional (male) level there are two kinds of teams:

Club Teams – which is the one that plays week-in, week-out for a season. They are teams who employ the players and play in organized leagues

Country Team that is the players play in for international competitions. You can only play for a country that you are eligible to obtain a passport (you must actually get a passport for the Country you want play for).

The World Cup is an international competition organized by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) which is a global supreme controlling body of soccer.

The World Cup actually exists in 3 stages (this is also true for most international tournaments):            

          *   Qualifications – as it sounds it is the qualifying process to win a place at the World Cup.  It can take up to 3 years, and are played between teams in the same geographical/Continental region. The US is in what is called CONCACAF and made up of North & Central America and the Caribbean countries.                

          *  Group Play – Once the final 32 teams qualify for the World Cup there is a weighted draw to determine each group.  The group is the first three matches each team plays in the World Cup.  Each member of the group plays the others and accumulates points based on how they did. The top two teams advance to the knockout round.                

          *  Knockout Play – Once the 16 teams are determined by winning or coming in second in that group, they teams left single elimination matches to determine who moves on to the next round.

The first team in one group plays the second team in the next group and so on. It goes on like that until one team is left standing at the end of the final match. For Clubs’ regular league play, for international competition for qualification and the group stages of most tournments the points system is 3 points for a win; 1 point for a tie; 0 points for a loss. At the end of the match (there is no “overtime”) you collect your points and the end of the league/group stage you count up up the points you earned and total them. There are also different tiebreakers established like goal difference, head-to-head or goals scored in those events.

For the knockout rounds, someone has to win and someone has to lose so you play regulation and still tied, you go to overtime. World Cup and most elite Competitions use a full 30 minutes of OT and if still tied, it goes to the dreaded penalties. There are some different rules on waiting goals’ value in certain competitions but that is unnecessary right now.

The difference between overtime and extra time is this.. All stoppages in play must be made up so a full 90 minutes (or 30 of OT is played)so the ref keeps track of how much time is wasted and at the end of each half of all matches awards “extra time” that will make up for that half’s lost time. That is why there is such a wide variance in extra time decisions because it is dictated on the time lost in that half. Overtime is overtime as in any sport.