Monday 24 October 2016

Why it's no longer such a funny old game

Published 06/06/2015 | 02:30

'Football is under a dark cloud thanks to the machinations of Fifa'
'Football is under a dark cloud thanks to the machinations of Fifa'

'Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"

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"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

"The dog did nothing in the night-time."

"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes. The circumstances surrounding the curious incident concerning the €5m paid by Fifa to compensate Ireland over the Thierry Henry's handball, and our untimely exit from the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, are equally perplexing. The whole affair would give the sagely sleuth of Baker Street good reason to suck long and hard on his pipe.

Curious? Even "extraordinary," according to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

By far the most peculiar aspect of the bizarre affair is precisely why nobody chose to bark in the FAI. Nor even whimpered, or if they did, their protests were entirely inaudible.

If such a sensational deal was got, and if the FAI had put one over on Sepp Blatter who so delighted in ridiculing the whole nation, would it not have been something to shout about? As it is, all we now know is that there is a corner of a field in Dublin 4 - otherwise known as the Aviva Stadium - that is forever Blatter. This is where we are given to understand the €5m now reposes. It may be only a game, but payments of millions of euro to right national wrongs, are generally regarded as a lot more serious than that. In short, they need to be fully accounted for. So far, the information has been less than satisfactory.

Football is under a dark cloud thanks to the machinations of Fifa, and the FBI inquiries are as yet in their infancy if we are to believe what we are being told.

The FAI has nothing to fear in laying all its cards on the table. The same cannot so easily be said for the sorely deluded Mr Blatter. For some reason, every time he appears on TV, the immortal words of Ron Atkinson seem to spring to mind: "He dribbles a lot and the opposition don't like it - you can see it all over their faces."

And the home side doen't like it either, Mr Blatter. No. Not one bit.

Inquiry into death of tragic garda welcome

The announcement by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald of a judicial inquiry into the tragic death of garda sergeant Michael Galvin is both timely and sensible.

It is, of course, in the interest of all those involved that a full and thorough independent inquiry be carried out.

All matters surrounding this deeply distressing death need to be reviewed without prejudice. His family and colleagues are entitled to no less.­­­­­

The office of the Garda Ombudsman carries a heavy burden and its efforts are not always recognised as they ought to be. The minister is confident that the inquiry can be completed "in a relatively short period" of time.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has voiced its concerns and they need to be addressed.

There was obviously growing pressure for an independent review of all the facts and it makes no sense to resist.

The inquiry will have the appropriate powers to enforce the attendance of witnesses and compel the production of records. This can only be helpful to all.

Irish Independent

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