The New Year Resolutions FIFA and UEFA should make to save football

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With 2014 fast approaching, Vincent Ralph considers a few changes UEFA and FIFA could make for the better.

The time is upon us once more, when we make promises we have neither the intention nor the ability to keep.

We think we do, in the midst of that Eureka moment and its afterglow, when we declare with great pride the thing we will either be giving up or taking up, depending on our whim. But January is a hard month in which to change for the better. It is long, turgid, the memories of Christmas and New Year swiftly swallowed by a month that feels so much longer than a mere 31 days.

But hey, we forget those things at Christmas. We are jolly – and a tad delusional – so we make fallible promises, but I am not here to talk about my New Year’s resolutions. I want to talk about the changes FIFA and UEFA should make in 2014. So here goes:

Don’t just kick racism out, stamp it out until it is gone forever

It is all well and good punishing clubs for the racist chanting of their fans, but football’s governing bodies must adopt a zero tolerance policy. The fallout from CSKA Moscow fans directing ignorant and disgusting chants at Manchester City’s Yaya Toure was a partial stadium closure (for one game) and a €50,000 fine.

Quite simply, that is not enough.

While some fans will argue that punishing a club for the behaviour of the tiniest minority is unfair, I disagree. Racist chants will soon stop if clubs are deducted points for every single incident. It will become self-policing, with the majority of fans turning on the imbeciles who continue to voice their ignorant beliefs. And while we are at it, add another zero to the fine. Clubs will soon think long and hard about who they allow in to their ground if their wallets truly begin to suffer.

We do not live in the Dark Ages, but our punishment for those who seemingly do remains prehistoric.

Performance-manage those fifth and sixth officials…or get rid of them entirely

I don’t blame the men who stand (and do little else) behind the goals in European competition. They have obviously been given a job to do and they do it very well. But they have clearly either been told not to meddle with the affairs of the ‘real officials’ or they do not want to draw attention to themselves only to be overruled by men with whistles and flags (that move).

If they are going to be there, it is time they did something. Their performance needs to be assessed just as those of referees and their assistants are. Perhaps we need a rogue fifth official who decides enough is enough and starts ruling on questionable decisions regardless of the outcome.

But quite simply, putting someone somewhere is not advancement. It is what they do, or otherwise, that determines how good an idea it is.

Make sensible and understandable decisions when it comes to the World Cup

Qatar won the 2022 World Cup. So let’s just get over it and enjoy the football. Well yes, we surely would were it not for the simple fact that the somewhat baffling decision has led to a whole host of problems that surely must have been considered when their bid was first submitted.

Re-jigging numerous footballing calendars to ensure players do not wilt in the harsh summer climate is ridiculous in the extreme; while the low attendance figures and transportation issues suffered when the country hosted the 2006 Asian Games and 2011 Asian Cup will have many other bidders wondering what they had to do to oust the Gulf nation.

Poor decisions are made in football every day, but few are as high profile as this one.

image: © isapisa

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