Dec
21
2007
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FIFA Football President Joseph Blater – Balancing Act

In football, depending on the coach’s credo (whether 4-3-3, 4-4-2 or 3-5-2), several roads lead to Rome, or rather, to goals and victory. There is one common denominator in all of these tactical permutations. Whether the focus is on defence or attack, in the final analysis, success can only be attained if the team finds a balance, using the chosen formation and drawing on the players available.
But balance must also be maintained in football as a whole. Applying one-track tactics depending on a side’s tendencies may well lead to short-lived success, but in the long run such tactics yield negative results.
As world football’s governing body, FIFA has pledged to safeguard and protect the interests of every aspect of football and is therefore compelled to establish a balance everywhere. Solidarity in the shape of development and financial aid, coupled with generous prizes for top performances, is a well-balanced formula. At World Cups, it is not just the giants who create sensations thanks to prizemoney from FIFA, but also the so-called minnows, who have been nurtured for years on the strength of FIFA’s financial assistance. Similarly, the allocation of the number of teams per continent in youth tournaments has, for the most part, not depended purely on strength but on a fairly even distribution of places, depending on category.
Furthermore, FIFA has been paying close attention to the relationship between clubs and national teams for many years. When subjected to closer analysis, claims that FIFA sets greater store on the interests of national team football to the detriment of club football do not hold water. Since the turn of the century, the international match calendar and the consistent provisions for the release of players have enabled everyone involved to plan ahead, confident that they are being more fairly treated than ever before in football terms.
As for the hotly debated 6+5 rule, the aim is to make for an even better balance in Europe. None of the other confederations experience the problem of so many foreign footballers at clubs, as is the case in Europe. This trend must be addressed, as clubs which have been training players who can play in the senior team do not need to spend huge amounts on transfers and can consequently reinforce their local identity. They may, however, still sign foreign players who can go the extra mile so it is quite possible to do one thing without ignoring the other.
But “better” and “good” do not necessarily go hand in hand. The international match calendar could, for instance, be improved. And FIFA has never closed its eyes to innovations that seek to benefit football and do not undermine its essential qualities as a game and a form of entertainment – warts and all. Goal-line technology will set referees on an equal footing with television viewers so to speak, who have been able to judge situations better thanks to immediate replays from a variety of angles. Unlike video evidence, this will only re-establish the balance that used to exist before. For the Game. For the World.