The FA hierarchy in Russia are introducing themselves as representing the ‘English FA’ to help rid the country of its arrogant reputation around global football.
Numerous countries have been upset down the years with the Football Association calling themselves ‘The FA’ — which smacks of privilege, superiority and arrogance. FA chief executive Martin Glenn has called it the ‘ultimate expression of arrogance’.
So to present a more friendly face, FA chairman Greg Clarke, Glenn and manager Gareth Southgate always say now that they come from the English FA, which they see as being far more courteous.
The FA hierarchy in Russia are introducing themselves as representing the ‘English FA’
FA chairman Greg Clarke wants the organisation to lose its arrogant reputation around football
The tactic seems to be working, with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin impressed
The tactic seems to be working with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin announcing after the FIFA Congress: ‘Greg Clarke has changed that image very much. He’s travelling around and showing a different face. The English FA, as I call it, is doing well.’
Ceferin always introduces Clarke to people as the man who calls it the English FA. However, despite the big change of tone from the top brass, there are no current plans to alter the FA title itself, although Glenn said ‘it was possible it could be changed’ at a football conference in 2015.
Excluding Three Lions (iconic), Vindaloo (catchy tune), Ally’s Tartan Army (ridiculous), most football songs are either naff in the extreme or instantly forgettable.
However it’s worth going online to listen to Harry & Chris’ World Cup song. The cult West London music comedy pair of musician Chris Read and poet Harry Baker are at least realistic about England’s chances in Russia.
Your Sports Agenda columnist lost to Gary Cahill in the first Press v Players darts match
The England players’ bizarre unwillingness at Euro 2016, encouraged by goalkeeper Joe Hart, to reveal anything to the media about their in-house darts competition has since become a notable example of what went wrong on and off the field.
So fair play to a far more progressive FA media team in Russia for setting up a three-shot darts competition between the press and the players before every press conference at the England media centre in Repino.
Unfortunately your Sports Agenda columnist, who at least looks like a darts player, badly let the side down by narrowly losing to Gary Cahill in the first tie for what surely has to be called the Joe Hart Memorial Cup.
All of the best laid plans over the considerable security at the England training centre at Repino have been rather undone by the resident of a house adjoining the complex being able to watch all the proceedings in comfort from her second-floor balcony, as she was with her dog in her arms on England’s first day there.
Home nations are considering a joint World Cup bid for 2030 after the United 2026 bid won
Will all GB hosts qualify?
There was a brief conversation at the home nations meeting during the FIFA Congress about the potential of a combined British bid for the 2030 World Cup. It was agreed that the matter will be looked into in more detail between the four countries in Paris at next year’s Congress.
Were England to bid for the 2030 World Cup along with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and win the election, then FIFA would allow one host country to qualify automatically
It would be up to UEFA to decide whether the two or three co-hosts should also get places out of the European allocation — a discussion to be had before the bid is declared. Mexico, Canada and the USA are all expected not to have to qualify in 2026.
Black Type, relative newcomers in the crowded online betting market, have raised awareness for the World Cup with an expensive promotion — sending out tins of caviar along with their betting odds — which stand out as well with England captain Harry Kane quoted at 28-1 to be top goalscorer.
Chuck Blazer, who died in July 2017, may have been one of the biggest crooks in FIFA history, but his name still appeared in the on-screen Congress list of FIFA members who have passed away in the last year.
Crook Chuck Blazer appeared in list of FIFA members who have passed away in the last year