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Showing posts from February, 2016

So, what do we think about Gianni Infantino?

We watched the FIFA Extraordinary Congress on Friday night our time. We saw the speeches. We watched the votes being cast in those odd little tents. We watched the glad handing. We sensed the deals. As Australians we had our own small role, as our own David Gallop from the FFA acted as a scrutineer, shuffling bits of green ballot paper like playing cards.

We were surprised by the results (only 4 votes for Prince Ali bin Al Hussein?..None for Champagne?.....). But, did we like what we saw, what we heard? Simple answer: Yes and No. Not really so simple.

First, the positives. The fact that FIFA has been forced to look into itself and to accept the verdict of the people on the disastrous impact of the Havelange-Blatter era has to be good. The solid vote in favour of the reform process is a favourable result.

The very reason for the meeting is the resignation of Sepp Blatter after he was elected with the usual insult to democratic process. His step down is a victory for the game.

The palp…

Kicking Goals: Gogol Mebrahtu and Alusine Fofanah

Here at The Kick Project, we see it as part of our brief to inspire, to show how sport for peace and development can really make a positive difference. While we feel it's important to do our work and to get results, it's also of value to encourage others to do the same, and to help others understand the passion we feel for what we do.

As part of this process, we are keen to let our supporters know just how valuable a tool sport, especially football, can be in healing individuals, communities and whole nations.

These stories give us all real-life confirmation that sport for peace and development really does work.

And, acting as agents for change in this way is one of our motivations to maintain our commitment to what we do.

To fulfill this aim, we will be rolling out a series of short videos of noted athletes, from the world of football and from other sports, for whom sport has provided a means to them get through desperate times.

Thanks to the assistance of the Western Sydney…

Great Moments in Sports Diplomacy #1: Reaching Across the Net...

These days China-US relations are generally better - South China Sea disputes notwithstanding - than they were in the early 1970's. Then Mao's influence tended to negate friendships with the capitalist superpower, while Nixon's reign in the US was still cowering under the pressure from the omnipotent anti-Red lobby, led by Senator Joe McCarthy.

That relations are relatively benign between the world's two undisputed super-powers has various forces to thank, trade and geo-politics in particular.

But, what occurred in 1971 during a table tennis tournament in Japan was generally considered the first sign of a thaw between the two behemoths. And, it had little to do with political wrangling and more to do with two mutually respectful athletes knocking down the largely artificial barriers that had been placed between them.

It is generally considered that Glenn Cowan, a champion US table tennis player, had missed his team bus after a late training session during the World Ch…

Question Marks Over New FIFA Reforms

We just received an update from FIFA on how the football body proposes to regain credibility after what it says were "the difficult challenges of the past year."

As the linked video above shows, the body aims to delineate its reforms into four areas: Governance, Transparency, Accountability and Diversity. It also seeks to overhaul the structure at the heart of the organisation.

Part of this is the use of "fully independent" processes in areas like remuneration and eligibility for the new 36-member Council.

On first glance, it's a PR response to a cultural problem.

They are using all the right terms and buzzwords, but how these noble goals will be actualised seems to remain a grey area.

For us, two areas stand out.

Firstly, there is an avowed commitment to honour human rights in all areas, including programs and funding, sponsorship and commercial deals.

This appears promising. But this is unlikely to go beyond national laws in various jurisdictions and so, wil…