by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (November 15th 2014)
Itʼs certainly been an interesting week. A severely truncated version of US lawyer Michael Garciaʼs report on alleged corruption over the World Cup bidding processes for 2018 and 2022 has been released by FIFAʼs Ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. The full report remains hidden from public scrutiny. It has already been mired in controversy.
FIFA was cleared of any wrongdoing, but the FA which has been vociferous in its criticism was singled out for condemnation over its courting of the now disgraced former head of CONCACAF Jack Warner, which included a $55,000 payment for a gala event. The FA has rejected all criticism.
It has been bolstered by Garcia disowning Eckertʼs 42 page summary of his own 430 page report.
FIFA Presidential candidate Jérôme Champagne has called for more openness within the organisation and says the controversy supports his concerns. Meanwhile a week of important international football matches has all but been overshadowed by it.
Manchester Unitedʼs Wayne Rooney will captain England against former Yugoslav Republic Slovenia this evening. It will be his 100th international. Rooney is closing in on Sir Bobby Charltonʼs all time goal-scoring record for England. With 43 goals to his name Rooney is one shy of third placed Jimmy Greaves.
Although Roy Hodgson has rejuvenated his squad since the World Cup, the next highest scorers then were Frank Lampard and Steven Gerard, both of whom were midfielders and trail Rooney by more than ten goals. In the current squad Danny Welbeck on eleven is the next highest scorer. The Arsenal striker is 32 behind his former Manchester United team-mate, indicating the extent of Englandʼs reliance on Rooney.
England top Group E with Slovenia and Lithuania three points behind. Estonia did England a favour by bagging a win in Talinn in September before the Slovenians upset the expected threat to England Switzerland in October.