Fifa more like a turgid soap opera every day.
I know you don't watch
Game of Thrones
, Mark, but I can't help but draw a correlation with the latest episode when Tyrion, the smart and crafty dwarf, made an alliance with Daenerys, the peroxide-blonde Queen of the Dragons. He wants to help her rule from the Iron Throne. Sepp Blatter is the anti-Tyrion, a man who looked for alliances when his world desperately crumbled beneath his rule as his executive were indicted and arrested over the last 10 days. Instead, he was caught on the John Crapper and shot through the heart with the arrow made of sponsors' billions like Tyrion did to his father at the end of last season.
Eh!? I thought he just didn't keep his house in order and it came down like a bunch of playing cards carefully stacked together to loosely resemble a structure, sort of like a
House of Cards
. It's pretty simple, really, and I hardly feel it needs a complicated television analogy. Is Sepp a criminal? Well, who would know for sure right now? Are his executives a bunch of crooks? Can't legally say so just yet. Regardless, Fifa have been made to look a laughing stock over the last few days and the buck (get it?) must stop at the top. Why did he let the election go ahead, though? My God, he must be arrogant. Just a little told-you-so right at the end - "Told you everyone loved me and saw the great I've done for the game, but best be off now."
Andrew: People like similes and metaphors. Out of touch, ignorant and a little bit entitled best describes Blatter but the slow wheels of justice have started to move in the US and the best thing about that is they don't care about football but they love bringing down mobsters and, once the FBI had gutted the mafia in New York, they set their sights on Fifa.
Now to the NBA finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors and I know you can't wait for the 1pm tipoff for the first game. It's basically LeBron James playing pick-and-roll basketball against one of the greatest single-season teams ever in the Warriors. Their stats this season have been of the calibre of previous teams who have attained those lofty heights and won it all. If they can keep James out of the paint, then the "LeBronaliers" are in trouble.
Mark: Eh!? Staying out of the paint? I know you don't watch The Block but I can't help draw a correlation with last season when Jo and Damo had the big drawcard of the house with the sea view and thought it would be enough but Alex and Corban delivered excellence all season and ran away with the spoils. I don't think Jo and Damo choked like many think LeBron does, but could the Cavaliers be House Four, relying on its one superior attribute only to find it's not good enough to get the whole job done. Warriors in six.
And then there's the Black Caps. They're like site foreman Peter Wolfcamp. Bit of a non-event for a couple years. Yeah, he delivered some good lines here and there but frightened no one very much, just a bit-part player. But all of a sudden, come season three, he emerged as a main player, on the rampage and totally humiliating anyone who dared to take him on.
Who are these people? It's like you're talking about an alternate universe. It's like I'm Dr Who and stepped out of the Tardis and the last 12 to 18 months have presented me with a Black Caps side who have defied belief and captured not just our imagination but also that of the cricketing world. Lord's was the warm-up for Headingly. They recalibrated their minds and bodies after the IPL
Who Wants to be a Millionaire
? and it came together like an American drama. I can't wait for the momentum to carry over to the ODIs and then the next test series.
Mark: Yeah, but it came together a week too late. Imagine if they'd all had two warm-up games to get their recalibrated minds and bodies reorganised for test cricket. Instead, it took a whole wasted first test to condition them for the challenge of dragging the weight of pockets full of US dollars around the park for five days. Just imagine if we had a third and deciding test like a respected cricket nation would have. Series win, yo! Oh, by the way, us Highlanders are tanking this weekend's Hurricanes game by resting our big boys for maximum points against the Blues and our finals run.
The worst... people in charge of sports
Sepp Blatter (outgoing Fifa boss)
Once remarked that female players should wear "tighter shorts" because "female players are pretty" and if females were to join the Fifa executive then "say something, ladies! You are always speaking at home, say something now!" On match-fixing in Italy, he was surprised because he "could understand if it had happened in Africa, but not in Italy".
Uday Hussein (head of the Iraqi Olympic committee and Iraq Football Association)
Uday had a dual role where he would routinely torture athletes who failed to win. He was sent to Switzerland once to be the assistant of the Iraqi ambassador by his father, Saddam, but was sent home by the Swiss Government for drunken fighting.
Roger Goodell (NFL commissioner)
He's all about "protecting the shield" (on the NFL logo) but hasn't been able to do that while still earning at least $44 million. But that's okay because, when scandals hit like the recent Ray Rice domestic violence incident, player brain damage, "Spygate", "Deflategate" and "Bountygate" have all broken "the shield", Goodell has overseen a league that generated more than $12 billion last year so that keeps the owners happy and Goodell still in power.
Robert Mugabe (patron saint of Zimbabwe Cricket)
Well, saint is an embellishment but, yes, many Zimbabweans want him dead. That seems like the only way they are going to rid of the dictator who runs a "democracy". For a long time, death seemed to be the only way Sepp Blatter was going to move on from his presidency. That seems to be a common trait with tyrants. Mugabe didn't run cricket - he ran Zimbabwe and, in running Zimbabwe into the ground, did huge harm to the strength of the game in his country. On a lighter note, there was the day he stopped an ODI in mid-game to shake hands with the players. I don't remember Sepp doing that.