When the storm breaks

June 4, 2015

The storm around FIFA reaches a new intensity as President Sepp Batter prepares to step down, and revelations of corruption by Supergrass Chuck Blazer are made public IMG_1409

3rd June 2015

Three days after his defiant acceptance of reappointment as President, Sepp Blatter stands down ‘in the interests of the organization’. What might have changed?

The news came in a rapidly-convened and unexpected press conference. Blatter The President suggested that his change of mind was a result of realizing his appointment was unacceptable to players, fans and to others in the great game of football.

He also indicated he would drive through the radical changes needed. This is if anything is as implausible now than when he made similar claims on his reappointment. His statement has presented a dilemma to an incoming leader and others in and outside FIFA. How will a new leader have freedom to introduce independent change if the outgoing leader is intent on initiating the process?
This suggests that Mr Blatter will not be able to cling to this proposed interim position.

The Tipping Point?

Consensus among commentators is that a critical incident has occurred maybe in the last few hours prior to the press conference. The emerging criminal investigations, particularly from the United States, are producing the butterfly wing flap that triggered the storm.

Another possible explanation is favored in an article in the Independent. This involved a bribery claim before the vote which appointed South Africa to hold the 2010 World Cup.

The Guardian suggested that Blatter had been urged by close aides to change his decision. A possible trigger point came from reports from America that Blatter was among those to be investigated for money laundering and tax evasion.

June 4th 2015

The storm breaks

LWD correspondent Paul Hinks noted:

As we keep saying, there will be more to come from this story. Suspect we’ll hear more from the accused, Blatter himself maybe dragged into the corruption allegations and questioned.

I keep thinking about President Bush’s reference to ‘Axis of evil’ … perhaps Blatter had an ‘Axis of evil’ or and ‘Axis of corruption’ that underpinned his power play.

I heard on Radio 4’s news this morning that Greg Dyke has suggested that FIFA bring in forensic accountants to go through FIFA’s books and trace the ‘lost’ funds? Good idea; FIFA desperately need to rebuild and regain trust; not easily achieved.

There’s also a nagging part of me that wants to recognise the good in Blatter’s (/FIFA’s) vision to encourage football development in countries like Africa … it’s just Blatter failed the ethics test in attempting to realise his goal.

Now [June 4th 2015] there’s the breaking news that Chuck Blazer [FIFA exec and US Supergrass] knew about the bribes: Fifa crisis: Ex-official Chuck Blazer details bribe-taking

June 8th 2015

FIFA official says that evidence of corrupt practices in the bidding process may be result in new votes for 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

June 11th 2015

Unconfirmed reports that Sepp Blatter is reconsidering stepping down.

European Parliament to intervene in FIFA constitutional crisis, and asks Mr Blatter to step down.

July 16th 2015

Various stories have developed in the last month concerning FIFA officials facing charges over financial dealings and corrupt practices. FIFA returns for first meeting since May to consider radical reforms.

July 20th 2015

BBC story that Michel Platini has been asked to stand as next president of FIFA, with adequate support from all FIFA regions.

To be continued


Andy Murray versus Jeremy Chardy, French Open 2015: Notes and Expectations

June 2, 2015

These Notes were prepared and reported in unedited form as part of a research study into momentum in sporting competitions

Pre-Match expectations

Lower seeded Chardy expected to lose unless Murray’s form slumps
Murray expected to continue his good clay court form to win
Chardy is also good on clay, and has beaten Murray
French crowd will be behind Chardy
Early start to match is disliked by Murray who, although on winning streak, is still not playing to potential. His serving reliability remains uncertain.

Scoring notation

Scoring notation always shows games to Murray first.

Set 1

Chardy plays a nervous game and drops of his serve 1-0
Murray also nervous serving, loses to near desperate winning shot by Chardy 1-1
Chardy sharpens play. Good serving and a big backhand down line wins game. 1-2
Murray also sharpens up. More first serves in. Murray has brilliant volley as Chardy seemed to be getting back. 2-2
Chardy serve still vulnerable. Seems he was troubled technically in last round.
Struggles back from 40-0, then eventually loses. 3-2 Murray
Murray wins more comfortably 4-2
Murray less urgent but seems to be conserving energy. Chardy holds serve 4-3
Comfortable new balls win, slower first serves, by Murray but they are in. 5-3
Chardy now visibly ‘yipping’ on ball toss but holds 5-4
Murray now comfortable, content to work Chardy around the court before serving out the set. 6-4

Summary of Set 1

Murray in pre-planned change attempts to increase first serves in, to deal with Chardy’s dominance over his second serve. Lost 5/6 second serves to dangerous if unreliable hitting.

Second set

Very lengthy first game. Chardy eventually holds 0-1
Murray holds serve easily. 1-1
Chardy holds from 15-40 but paints the lines a bit 1-2
No sometimes slumps after first set win. But even as I wrote that, Murray was losing serve. A slump? Chardy playing better but still painting lines 1-3
Chary holds . Agressive and more secure The commentators happier. “We’ve got a game on, now.” I don’t think Murray has slumped a lot. 1-4
Murray holds 2-4
Chardy holds 2-5
Murray holds 3-5
Chardy holds and wins 3-6

Summary Set 2

Murray appeared unconcerned . No self-chastising. Confident that he can break back. Now what? Can Chardy continue playing as well as he did? More breaks of serve seem likely.

Set 3

Murray Slightly cautious.Loses serve 0-1.
Chardy. Also bit cautious, loses serve back. Murray upped his play. 1-1
Murray holds. Needs scrambling. 2-1
Chardy holds. Murray seems to be still holding back, while looking for some change of plan? 2-2
Murray appears in control and wins 3-2
Chardy easy hold 3-3
Murray holds to 30. 4-3
Chardy after great scrambling rescue of a game point, Chardy dropsgame on a dbft serve. 5-4
Murray for set. Aggressive play again from Chardy. Murray db flts at set point. Eventually scrambles home. 6-4

Summary Set 3

Chardy’s aggression gained winners, but he was eventually punished for those errors. Some big shots ‘painted the line’, some went very wide
Chardy Holds comfortably. 0-1

Set 4

Murray starts somewhat sluggish. Is this like a second set slump? . Chardy gets break point. Murray forced to save with brilliant drop shot. And holds 1-1
Chardy dbl ft error and Murray breaks. 2-1
Murray. Still not in top gear, holds after another unforced error from Chardy. 3-1
Chardy Subdued. Murray feints and draws a chance of a great running Bhand winner. Then breaks and wins 4-1
Murray. No longer intensity of last game. Chardy wins easily with several brilliant points 4-2
Chardy still winning nice points. Two more line-painters plus great defensive play by Murray and Murray breaks and serves for the match. 5-2
Murray moves to 40-0 with weak resistance drifts to 40-30 before winning game, set, and match 6-2

Summary of set 4 and match

Murray wins dropping one set. 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6.2

Murray followed a strategy selected to address his weakness on second serve when playing a strong returner. Went for slower but higher % in of first serves.

Chardy had more of an emergent strategy? Played each point to the limit of his strength and ability. Tended to swing, sometimes hitting spectacular line-painters, but also making wild misses.