28 February 2009

Exclusive: Inside the shadowy cabal that runs football!


Sport Is a TV Show's crack team of snoopers has managed to swipe this excerpt from the minutes of today's annual meeting of IFAB, the body which decides on the rules of football. Good work, chaps!

(With humblest apologies to the late Alan Coren. Buy the book and see the work of one of the people I steal my ideas from.)

***

The Scottish delegate rose and proposed an amendment to Law 1, concerning the field of play. He moved that it be made compulsory for all fields to be surrounded by digital advertising boards, whose height would be no less than seven feet (2.14m) and would not exceed fifteen feet (4.57m).

The chair enquired of the Scottish delegate as to the purpose that would be served by such an amendment.

The Scottish delegate replied it would be an aid to the efficacious officiating of the game, as studies have shown that the assistant referee's flag is 2% more visible against a moving digital backdrop than against a group of polyester-clad spectators.

The Ecuadorian delegate asked where and when this research was carried out.

The Scottish delegate replied that it was carried out in his living room in front of the television screen last evening. He said that he had raised a flag in front of said screen and asked his nine-year-old son how visible said flag was on a scale from one to one hundred. The delegate had proceeded to repeat this experiment except this time raising the flag in front of his six-year-old daughter, who was wearing a Scotland replica jersey. The delegate was keen for it to be known that the television had a 44" (112cm) screen.

The Ecuadorian delegate said of course, what a sensible idea, what could anyone possibly have against it?

The English delegate asked what brand of television was employed in the study.

The Scottish delegate replied that it was a Sony, a plasma screen, his brother actually works at an electronics shop and was able to get him a pretty tasty deal.

The English delegate expressed his approval at the choice of apparatus and seconded the motion.

The chair called for a vote. The motion was carried unanimously.

The special FIFA delegate rose and proposed an amendment to Law 4, concerning the players' equipment. He moved that a special category be created within Law 4 concerning the women's game. Specifically, he moved that the shorts worn by all participants in official women's games should adhere as closely as possible to the skin and that the leg of said shorts should not exceed 1/8in (3mm) in length. Furthermore, the lowermost part of the jersey should be at least 6ins (15cm) above the navel.

The Northern Irish delegate expressed his concern that such an amendment may contribute to the objectification of female footballers.

The FIFA delegate expressed his sympathy with the Northern Irish delegate, but said that his concerns were misplaced. He said that extensive research undertaken in the laboratory in the basement of FIFA House, overseen by President-of-All-Football-for-Life, Joseph S. (Sepp) Blatter, had determined that such amendments to the apparel of female players would increase the aerodynamic properties of the players, thus leading to a faster and more enjoyable spectacle. Any inference of sexism from such an amendment would be unfounded.

Mr. President-of-All-Football-for-Life Blatter rose and drew the attention of the special FIFA delegate to the final part of the amendment.

The FIFA delegate said that oh yes, he'd nearly forgotten, the new rule requiring the jersey to be no less than 6ins (15cm) above the navel would necessitate the prohibition of fatties from the women's game.

The chair enquired as to how this would be achieved.

The FIFA delegate replied that all female players would be required to present themselves twice-yearly at FIFA House for inspection by the Player Equipment Committee.

Mr. President-of-All-Football-for-Life Blatter enquired as to who would chair this committee.

The FIFA delegate replied that the committee would be chaired by President-of-All-Football-for-Life, Joseph S. (Sepp) Blatter.

Mr. President-of-All-Football-for-Life Blatter enquired as to the possibility that the players should be compelled to wear suspenders.

The FIFA delegate said that it could be trialled at, say, the Women's Under-17 World Cup.

Mr. President-of-All-Football-for-Life Blatter moved that further discussion on the amendment be postponed, as he had urgent need of the bathroom. The motion was carried unanimously.


The FIFA delegate rose and proposed an amendment to Law 7, concerning the duration of the match. He moved that the half-time interval be extended from fifteen minutes to twenty minutes.

The Welsh delegate enquired as to why such an amendment would be necessary.

The FIFA delegate replied that the location of the dressing rooms in certain stadiums around the world is such that the walk from and back to the field of play can take players and match officials much of the current 15-minute half-time interval, for example, at the FIFA delegate's son's school, the players must get changed in the school gymnasium's changing rooms, but the field is a good ten-minute walk away.

The Welsh delegate said that ah, when you put it like that it makes perfect sense, that's a good amendment, is that.

The Korean delegate said that, of course, it would have the added bonus of allowing television companies to broadcast more advertisements during the half-time interval, thus increasing revenue and allowing governing bodies, such as FIFA, to charge more money for the rights to broadcast their competitions.

The chair said oh, the Korean delegate must be the new boy, look here, sonny, ever since it was founded in the 19th century, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has played a vital role in international football, it acts as the guardian of the Laws of the Game and is responsible for studying, modifying and overseeing any changes to it, how dare the Korean delegate suggest that the Board would sully Its proceedings with consideration of such base matters, and anyway it's just a co-incidence.

The chair called for a vote. The motion was carried with one dissenter.

The Korean delegate rose and proposed an amendment to Law 5, concerning the referee. He moved that the use of certain technologies be permitted to determine whether the ball had crossed--

The chair said no, next.

The Ghanaian delegate said that this was ludicrous, what kind of way was this for the Laws of the Game to be determined, how ridiculous was it that the four UK associations had half of the votes on the Board--

The chair enquired, quite loudly, as to how the Ghanaian delegate dare bring this august body into disrepute?, knows he not of the Wisdom of the Ancients? The chair gestured in the direction of the Northern Irish delegate.

The Northern Irish delegate stared into space as he pondered the issue and finally suggested that perhaps they could make the goal line out of icing sugar, and if the referee is unsure as to whether the ball crossed the line, he could lick the football and if he detected any sweetness, he would not give the goal.

The motion was seconded by the Welsh delegate. The chair called for a vote. The motion failed to gain the necessary three-quarters majority.

The chair moved that the meeting take its mid-session adjournment for the first five courses of the annual Board dinner. The motion was carried unanimously.

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