Fifa must fix tournament dates fairly


  • Letters
  • Friday, 24 Jun 2016

WITH both the Copa America and UEFA European Championship (Euro 2016) soccer tournaments being held at the same time, football fans are hard put to select their choices. Both are world class competitions and feature some of the best soccer stars on the planet.

Two of the world’s most famous soccer stars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (pix), are playing in two different tournaments at the same time in two different continents! One is really surprised as to why Fifa, the international governing body of football, continues with this practice of holding overlapping football tournaments and ignoring the pleas of millions of fans worldwide who want to see the action.

Physically, it will be draining football fans in some parts of the world to watch matches in both tournaments and do their work or other chores. There will no doubt be a sharp drop in economic productivity as the fans are mostly young and employed.

Why can’t Fifa be more reasonable and sensible by scheduling one tournament after the other has ended instead of overlapping them and making life difficult for the fans who loyally support football and its entire set-up worldwide?

If not for their support, Fifa would not be a prominent or prestigious sports federation amassing billions of dollars in ticket sales, sponsorships and other benefits.

With security and other concerns raised in countries hosting sports events, Fifa should not overburden the international monitoring authorities such as Interpol, FBI and the CIA who have to keep track of terrorist and other potential threats and disruptions to the competitions.

The media too are hard pressed to cover both events fairly.

It is time Fifa takes seriously the issue of scheduling international tournaments to avoid taxing or imposing hardship on the supporters. Football associations too need to speak up and not let the Fifa bigwigs in Switzerland do as they like, ignoring common sense and logic.

Fifa has just been heavily tainted by bribery scandals involving its senior officials and it needs to cast a new image and also win back the support of millions of fans around the globe who steadfastly support the beautiful game. The new Fifa leadership needs to bring fresh changes and not be complacent with the established practices and ideas.

Copa America is as good as the European Championship as it features top soccer nations such as Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Mexico, the United States, Uruguay and others. But the limelight and greater publicity is being given to the European championship at the expense of the Americas whose soccer associations need to stand up to stop this discrimination.

If Copa America is going to continue playing second fiddle, this American tournament will never be able to match the European Championship or the World Cup. American football associations and continental federations can be assured of getting the wholehearted support of fans worldwide who are against this colossal waste of stellar soccer entertainment.

V .THOMAS

Sungai Buloh

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