2010 WORLD CUP INTERVIEW with FIFA PRESIDENT JOSEPH BLATTER
WORLD CUP... ONE SIZE FITS ALL!
Just as the world convenes every four years to celebrate Olympic sport, the world comes together every four years to celebrate the world's most played sport--- football.
No, not the pigskin prolate spheroid that has Roger Goodell's name embossed on it, I am referring to futbol, the round colorful ball that is kicked, headed and bounced all over the world from Cameroon to Kazakhstan.
Football, or soccer as it's known in the United States, is the world's most famous game.
For Americans, the Super Bowl, or the World Series are considered the most celebrated games in sport, but outside the U.S., no other game or sport is so revered as the World Cup. So I sat down with FIFI President, Joseph Blatter to understand the importance of The World Cup.
Kay: "Joseph, the World Cup is about to begin this year in South Africa. Why Africa, when there is so much unrest in the region?"
Blatter: "Steve, please call me ???Sepp.'"
Kay: "O.K., what's Sepp, Pres?"
Blatter: Laughs "I get that every time I come to the U.S."
Kay: "A little World Cup humor."
Blatter: "O.K., now you're going to ask if I need to use the restroom?"
Blatter: "Bathroom humor."
Kay: "Blatter. Huh, that's funny! I get it."
Blatter: "Not all FIFA Presidents are stiff and stodgy."
Kay: "Americans are familiar with America's Cup, The Davis Cup and Stanley's Cup, but they may not be aware of the World Cup. What's special about the World Cup?"
Blatter: "America's Cup is about sailing, Davis Cup is about tennis and the World Cup is about football, or soccer as it is known in the U.S.
"Every four years the world convenes for the largest sporting event in the world!"
Kay: "I was watching the England v. USA match last weekend and I noticed the referee gives colored cards to certain players."
Blatter: "That's right Steve; when players violate the rules, cards are handed out. Yellow cards are cautionary and red cards are for dismissal."
Kay: "And green cards mean GO!"
Blatter: "No, there are no green cards!"
Kay: "From the looks of some of the players, their nationalities, I'd say many have, or should have green cards!"
Blatter: "These are not greeting cards! Cards are given out as penalties! A yellow card is a warning. A red card is an ejection. Two yellow cards equal a red card. And when you receive a red card, you are ejected from the game.
Kay: "What, no warning, time out, penalty box or yardage advantage?"
Blatter: "No. If a player is ejected, that's it! No replacement whatsoever. And the team must play the rest of the game short footed."
Kay: "You mean shorthanded?"
Blatter: "You cannot use your hands in futbol, so it's called: short footed."
Kay: "I noticed at the end of the match, the clock turned 90 minutes, but the game was still going, why?"
Blatter: "The clock doesn't stop, so when there is a stoppage in play, say for a foul, injury, or off-sides, the referee adds time to the match."
Kay: "How does he know how much time to add?"
Blatter: "It's at the referee's discretion. It's called extra time."
Kay: "Wow! That's crazy! The game doesn't end until the ref says so?"
Kay: "No wonder there is so much violence in soccer. If that happened in an NFL game, there would be riots. ...So the game isn't over until the referee says it's over?"
Kay: "Doesn't that put a lot of pressure on the referee?"
Blatter: "It can."
Kay: "Can? Are you serious? Have you ever heard of a stop watch, or a timekeeper?"
Blatter: "Sure, we have a timekeeper."
Kay: "Does he know what the on/off switch does?"
Blatter: "He just starts the clock."
Kay: "And he gets paid to do that?"
Kay "We often hear numerous reports of hooliganism and violence in soccer; and just this past week, someone was murdered for watching the game! That's insane!
Blatter: "Futbol fans are quite passionate."
Kay: "Fans? You call them fans? Fans don't assault and kill referees and players. Criminals may be the better word."
Blatter: "Violence does play a part in the sport."
Kay: "Uh, Pres, news flash! It's only a game!"
Blatter: "No, it's not just a game, in many countries, it's a religion!"
Kay: "I'll say!"
Kay: "NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell hands out fines and suspensions to players that violate the code of conduct policy; what do you and FIFI do when players step out of line?"
Blatter: "We sanction them."
Kay: "Sanction them? Maybe you should try a leash or a cage? I know when my poodle acts out; I reprimand him and put him in time-out, in his cage."
Blatter: "What does a poodle have to do with futbol?"
Kay: "Aren't you the President of the FIFI kennel club?"
Blatter: "You mean FIFA? I am the president of The Federation Internationale de Football Association; we have nothing to do with dogs!"
Kay: "So you don't like dogs?"
Blatter: "... Next question, please."
Kay: "Soccer, sorry football, is a summer sport?"
Kay: "Well, I was watching the United States v. Slovenia and I saw players, coaches and fans wearing winter coats, knit hats and gloves what gives?"
Blatter: "That's true; it's winter in S. Africa now."
Kay: "So of all the places on earth, and in Africa you chose the coldest place on the continent?"
Blatter: "Well, the World Series was played in November in New York!"
Kay: "But not by choice. It's played between the two division winners, and not chosen by a Kennel Club."
Blatter: "We're not a kennel club!"
Kay: "O.K., but of all the countries which would love to host the World Cup, you chose South Africa? Why schedule a tournament in a country when it's cold and wintery? Is it because those annoying Vuvuzela horns work well in cold temperatures?"
Blatter: "No, Nelson Mandela wanted to kick out the first ball."
Kay: "What's the prize for winning the tournament?"
Blatter: "Thirty million U.S. to the winners and the World Cup."
Kay: "Say the Ivory Coast, Slovenians, or Algerians win the Cup, will it be engraved in their native language?"
Blatter: "No, it's in English."
Kay: "That doesn't seem right! The winning team won't even be able to read their names on the Cup!"
Blatter: "There is only ONE World Cup!"
Kay: "So, what you are saying is: There is only one cup and one language?"
Blatter: "That's right! The World Cup: One size fits all!"
Copyright 2010 Steve Kay