Archive for the 'FIFA' Category

Dec 08 2014

Profile Image of Joshua Nadel

Marimachos*: On Women’s Football in Latin America

Filed under FIFA,Women's Soccer

Note: this post first appeared on The Football Scholars Forum. The Forum is hosting a discussion on women’s soccer on Thursday, Dec. 11 at 2 pm. For more information on how to participate via Skype, contact Alex Galaraza at

By Brenda Elsey and Joshua Nadel

Dr. Brenda Elsey is an associate professor of history at Hofstra University and the author of Citizens and Sportsmen: Fútbol and Politics in Twentieth Century Chile. Follow her on twitter @politicultura. Dr. Joshua Nadel is assistant professor of Latin American and Caribbean history and associate director of the Global Studies Program at North Carolina Central University. His book Fútbol! Why Soccer Matters in Latin America was published in 2014. Follow him on twitter @jhnadel

Not to complain, but it’s not easy to be a feminist and a scholar of sports. On the one hand, many researchers are hostile to feminist scholarship. On the other hand, many feminist scholars express disgust at the mere mention of studying sport, seeing it as an overdetermined site of sexism. Even scholars who have embraced the study of masculinity and recognize the importance of gender often neglect to discuss how it shapes women’s lives. In practice, this has meant that men remain the protagonists of history.

In Latin America, there is a further criticism from our peers. Some argue that feminism is an imperialist imposition, an import that has distracted from the need to analyze economic and political inequalities, despite the fact that gender is a prime determinant of one’s position in both of those hierarchies. It is surprising how otherwise critical and brilliant minds react to this work. Several of the reactions can be grouped and, when taken seriously, reveal important assumptions that need to be overturned. In her excellent post, Jean Williams mentions similar misconceptions. We think it’s worth reflecting on them at length.

The first cluster of responses can be categorized as a “defensive reaction.” Instead of recognizing that the history of women’s sport sheds light on broader histories of the body and gender, a common reaction is to defend the neglect of women in previous studies. This line of argumentation features phrases such as, “it’s a different game altogether,” “women’s football doesn’t have a long history,” or the related, “not that many women play.” These unsubstantiated declarations require the feminist sport scholar to re-hash examples of women’s presence in football since the late nineteenth century. In Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador, women’s teams formed in port cities shortly after the first men’s teams. Scholars too frequently adopt the rhetoric of sportswriters to come to such conclusions.

Another problematic reaction is a discussion of the supposedly inherent inferiority of women athletes. It is problematic, firstly, because it is not a research question posed by historians. In other words, it is a tangential point. Furthermore, the assumption is that because women are less skilled than men, “no one” watches women’s team sports. This response falls flat on at least three counts. Firstly, academics do not study cultural practices only if they are popular. If we did, there would be much less scholarship out there. The inferiority argument assumes that preference is objective and rational, rather than relational. Long ago, Pierre Bourdieu demonstrated that taste is not created in a vacuum. Unfamiliarity and preconceptions shape the way we view women’s sports.

The more writers naturalize difference and taste, the more they support a ridiculous intellectual fallacy. It is easy to think of sports teams that are beloved, though not successful (the Detroit Lions and Chicago Cubs stand as two examples of this), or where truly inferior play is tolerated and televised (low-ranking Premier League teams). The rhetoric that no one cares about women’s sports because they are inferior should be recognized for what it is, a sexist exercise, in which the writer enjoys hero worship of male athletes, while dismissing women’s accomplishments.

Finally, the argument is ahistorical. Not only have women been playing soccer since the 19th century, people (gasp!, men too) have been watching women’s soccer for a long time: roughly 8,000 people showed up to watch two Costa Rican teams play in 1949, while average attendance at the 1971 Women’s World Championship in Mexico hovered around 25,000 per match.The finals saw the Estadio Azteca packed to capacity–over 100,000 people. This in spite of the fact that the Mexican Football Federation threatened professional teams with sanctions if they let the tournament play in their stadiums.

The narrative of inferiority fits conveniently into the narrative of women being uninterested in the sport, which is the story that FIFA and national federations like to tell. In this version of history, women began playing only in the 1980s, and when they did they found a supportive FIFA. This is a particularly cynical version of history, as it ignores successive attempts by soccer institutions across the world to impede the development of women’s soccer. In soccer terms, the English FA was the first to ban women’s soccer, in 1921. There are other well known prohibitions of women’s soccer, including Brazil. In the case of Latin America, where professionalism officially began later than Europe, women’s teams were part of the broader expansion of amateur clubs (see Brenda’s Citizens and Sportsmen). In addition, women took the lead in organizing official fan clubs. Football club statutes always stipulated categories for women, either as participants, or as “madrinas,” or godmothers.

Beyond the official exclusion of women, men have marginalized them, seeking an escape from domestic obligations within football. In the stands, fans insult the masculinity of opposing teams, characterizing them as feminine and questioning their heterosexuality. They have hinged weakness onto femininity, so women players invert one of the basic building blocks of the sport. Thus, female players are viewed as threatening, not only on the pitch and in the clubhouse, but in society more broadly. While Costa Rican women’s clubs gained respect throughout the region by the 1950s, they also prompted congressional hearings about the sports’ threats to public health. Brazil’s ban rested on the same “science”(see Josh’s Futbol!).

National football associations, which liberally use public funds, have neglected women athletes in Latin America. For example, the Argentine Football Association has not provided the thirteen professional women’s clubs with technical support, decent facilities, or publicity. To make matters worse, female coaches are terrified of being accused of improper sexual behavior towards others, and report that their community is on “high alert.” The result is that there is a reluctance to support female leaders. Mexico has had the same coach for the women’s national team since 1998, and he has retained his position after a year in which El Tri lost three times to its main rival, the United States, by a combined score of 15-0. No men’s team coach would survive.

On the eve of the draw of the Women’s World Cup of 2015, there has been even less media interest than four years ago. No television station picked up the Women’s Copa America, the qualifier for the Women’s World Cup, until after the tournament started, even though rights were free. When Argentina failed to qualify for the tournament, none of the major newspapers covered it. Last Tuesday, Ecuador played Trinidad and Tobago for the final spot in the World Cup 2015, but to find any mention of the Ecuadorian women, one has to dig below the headlines: English Premier League rankings or Barcelona players’ debt. On a regional level, despite the failure of the Boca Juniors’ women’s team to reach the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores, the South American club tournament, sportswriters had no comment. Instead, the following day El Gráfico picked up a story that ranked the “hottest” girlfriends and wives of male players.

If we place the blame on ourselves and journalists, it’s because fans are conditioned to care about people they know and to watch the sports they read about. For every writer like Grant Wahl, who has done a great service to women’s soccer by telling the stories of the USWNT and focusing attention on the sport, there are many more who think it’s unimportant. Worse still, many media outlets continue to belittle women athletes by commenting less on athletic prowess than on physical beauty and questioning women athletes about their desire for family life (which are never asked of men). Some, in fact, only discuss women in the context of botineras–wives and girlfriends–and always accompanied by sexualized imagery. And even coaches discuss the potential “benefit” of using “sex“ to market the game. This last link, just to be clear, is to a 2008 article originally published in Soccer Journal, the official publication of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Radical ways of thinking about women and football are frequently dismissed as impractical, but are worth considering. Title IX, for all of its value, has consecrated segregation in sport. But If sport is indeed an idealized version of the world, why wouldn’t we want that place to be integrated? So we could argue in favor of integrated teams–like mixed doubles in tennis–at least at the Olympic level or as a stand alone event. Also, as Jean Williams and Jennifer Doyle have argued in the British and U.S. context, Latin American women may do better, so long as segregation is the rule, to form independent associations. Finally, we think that masculinity, as traditionally defined in the Americas, needs to be critiqued from the perspective of its harm to women. Allowing stadium violence, forgiving fans for misogynist chants, and ignoring the domestic violence abuses perpetrated by players, encourages homophobia and sexism. Despite its claims to care about women, FIFA showed no qualms about awarding a World Cup to Russia and Qatar, neither of which can claim to adhere to human rights protocols in regard to women or LGBT communities.

The study of sport from a feminist perspective, regardless of the challenges it faces, requires optimism: the study of oppression opens opportunities to explore how it can be overturned. Those who reject studying women’s football ignore strong evidence that athletic activity in young women’s lives improves their health, expands educational opportunities, and lessens their susceptibility to drug addiction and eating disorders. When we care about women’s football, we care first about women. That’s why the constant diminishing of its importance continues a long tradition of sexism.

* marimacho is a term that can be translated as tomboy or butch lesbian, depending on the context. For many years, it was an epithet thrown at women and girls who played soccer in Latin America. While less common than it once was, women’s soccer players still contend with embedded attitudes about sexuality and soccer.

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Dec 07 2013

Profile Image of Elena Kim

La Corée du Sud & cette prochaine Coupe du Monde

Le moment est enfin arrivé – Juste hier, le finale tirage au sort de la Coupe du Monde 2014 très attendu était annoncé. Bien sûr, comme chaque Coupe du Monde, il y avait beaucoup de conversation en regardant la probabilité de chaque pays d’avancer dans leur groupe…

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 10.56.22 PM

C’est le 8ème consecutive finale de la Coupe du Monde pour la République de Corée, mais il n’y était pas un parcours facile d’avancer au finale tirage ce temps. L’équipe Coréen a finit deuxième après Iran et le directeur précédent, Choi Kang-Hee, était viré par conséquent. Mais sur une note plus positive, le 15 novembre, la Corée a réussi par 2-1 contre la Suisse, qui est classée huitième. Alors la Corée est dans le Groupe H avec la Belgique, l’Algérie, et la Russie. Comment vont-elles correspondre contre ces équipes ?

Park Chu-Young

Park Chu-Young

D’abord, on doit examiner les joueurs spécifiques qui peuvent guidera l’équipe vers la victoire. Donc, qui est quelques vedettes de l’équipe à surveiller ? L’un des joueurs les plus populaires de la Corée qui joue pour Arsenal est Park Chu-Young. Dans la Coupe du Monde 2010, Park a dirigé l’équipe avec son coup franc contre le Nigeria, ce qui porte la pour les huitièmes de finale. En plus, aux Jeux Olympiques de Londres, il a marqué le premier but de la victoire 2-0 contre le Japon.[1] Et jusqu’à présent, il a marqué six buts dans les éliminatoires de la Coupe du Monde pour l’équipe Coréen. Une autre vedette de l’équipe potentielle est Son Heung-Min. Il a juste 21 ans, et il a tous les ingrédients de devenir icône de football prochaine en Corée. Comme Park Chu-Young, il joue à l’étranger pour l’équipe allemande, Bundesliga.

Son Heung-Min

Son Heung-Min

Et l’entraîneur ? Hong Myung-bo est le joueur le plus capé de la Corée et a joué sous Guus Hiddink dans la 2002 Coupe du Monde quand la Corée a avancé aux demi-finales— l’une des moments les plus fiers de la Corée dans l’histoire. Hong était aussi l’entraîneur de l’équipe Olympique de la Corée l’été dernier à Londres, où son équipe a gagné la médaille de bronze.  Avec la victoire récente contre la Suisse, Hong donne de l’espoir aux Coréens.[2]


Entraîneur Hong Myung-Bo

Je crois que l’équipe Coréen ont une très bonne chance de faire passé le tour du groupe, mais elles ne peuvent pas sous-estimer la concurrence. Selon agence de presse, Yonhap, l’entraîneur Hong Myung-bo a déclaré :

Les fans sud-coréens peut-être ne sont pas très familier avec la Belgique, mais je pense qu’ils seront une équipe encore meilleure l’année prochaine… La Russie est une équipe de joueurs physiques et qualifiés et l’Algérie est aussi une équipe solide. Il n’y a jamais un groupe facile à la Coupe du Monde, et nous ne pouvons pas se permettre de penser que nous avons retrouvés dans un. [3]

La Corée jouera d’abord contre la Russie le 17 juin, alors l’Algérie le 22 juin, et la Belgique le 26 juin. Voici quelques informations statistiques sur chaque équipe de Groupe H [4]:

La Belgique
FIFA Classement Mondial: 11
Dernière Coupe du Monde: 2002
Meilleur résultat: Quatrième place (1986)
Comment qualifié: UEFA Groupe A gagnant

FIFA Classement Mondial: 26
Dernière Coupe du Monde: 2010
Meilleur résultat: Tour de groupe
Comment qualifié: Battu Burkina Faso dans le CAF play-off

La Russie
FIFA Classement Mondial: 22
Dernière Coupe du Monde: 2002
Meilleur résultat: Quatrième place (1966)
Comment qualifié: UEFA Group F gagnant

Corée du Sud
FIFA Classement Mondial: 54
Dernière Coupe du Monde: 2010
Meilleur résultat: Quatrième place (2002)
Comment qualifié: AFC Group A second


[1] Itel, Dan. “World Cup 2014: Korea Republic national soccer team.”

[3] “World Cup Hell Draw for Aussies, Easier for Japan, Korea, Iran.” Yahoo Sports Singapore.–sow.html.

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Dec 05 2013

Profile Image of June Zhang

Le ballon officiel de la Coup du Monde

Filed under Brazil,FIFA,World Cup

Pour élaborer sur le post précèdent de Gilda, je voudrais partager l’annonce commerciale pour le ballon officiel de la Coup du Monde, qui a été présenté mardi dernier par Adidas. (Although my post will be in French, the video is definitely still worth watching!)

Je crois que la vidéo décrire l’ubiquité du football. Il y a les jeunes qui jouent avec la Brazuca sur la plage et dans la rue du quartier. Un moment, on voit le ballon avec les jeunes ordinaires et soudainement, c’est sur le terrain de la Coup du Monde. J’aime beaucoup la juxtaposition entre les deux partout dans la vidéo. C’est un message fort que le foot est un sport pour tous – on juste devoir deux pieds et un ballon. Même s’on n’est pas un footballeur célèbre, on pouvoir jouer avec le même ballon, le Brazuca. On n’a pas besoin d’un grand stade avec milliers de fans pour jouer un match extraordinaire. Le Brazuca est accessible, comme le sport exactement.

L’annonce commerciale est aussi un acte de publicité intelligente pour Adidas. Tant que Adidas a le contrôle sur la conception de la ballon officiel de la Coupe du Monde, il a pouvoir dans l’industrie du sport. Adidas fabriquait le ballon du Coupe du Monde depuis 1970 et récemment, il a prolonge son contrat de parrainage avec FIFA jusqu’en 2030. . Je crois que Nike a un monopole sur la publicité de sport maintenant, comme les vêtements de sport. Mais, sans la pouvoir sur le Coupe du Monde, Nike n’aura jamais le plein contrôle sur l’industrie du sport.


Le Brazuca sera un icône mondiale pour la compétition. Avec 32 équipes et centaines de footballeurs, il est le seul ballon utilise sur le terrain. Il a été crée par des footballeurs célèbres comme Lionel Messi et Iker Casillas. Les créateurs a dit que le Brazuca est le ballon le plus testé de Adidas.

J’espère que le Brazuca sera une grande amélioration esthétiquement et aussi en jeu que les autres ballons de Adidas. Qu’est que vous pensez ?





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Dec 02 2013

Profile Image of Becca Fisher

L’éternelle question: Est-ce les stades de la Coupe du monde au Brésil seront prêt à temps?

Workers stand near a crane that collapsed on the site of the Arena Sao Paulo stadium, known as "Itaquerao", which will host the opening soccer match of the 2014 World Cup, in Sao Paulo

Une grue s’est effondrée le mercredi 27 Novembre quand il hissait un morceau de toiture de 500 tonnes. L’accident a tué deux travailleurs et a renouvelé questions sur l’état de préparation du Brésil de tenir le tournoi de football. La cause de l’accident n’est pas encore connue, mais les enquêteurs ont déclaré qu’ils considéraient une erreur humaine, un problème avec la grue, et la possibilité que terrain détrempé de pluie avait changé sous le poids. Entreprise de construction Odebrecht a suspendu les travaux sur le site jusqu’à aujourd’hui. Travailleurs de la construction retournés aujourd’hui, cinq jours après l’accident, au stade qui aura le match d’ouverture de la Coupe du Monde. Les travailleurs sont entrés lentement dans le stade de Itaquerao à Sao Paulo avec détermination pour terminer le travail avant la première du Coupe du monde le 12 Juin. « Nous sommes tous Brésiliens et les Brésiliens n’abandonnons jamais. Nous allons faire notre travail et le premier match de la Coupe du Monde aura lieu ici. » 1,350 travailleurs du site ont été autorisés à reprendre le travail sur la plupart du stade à l’exclusion de la zone où l’accident est arrivé. Toutefois, le ministère du Travail a gelé l’utilisation des neuf autres grues du site jusqu’à le moment où les mesures de sécurité adéquates sont en place par Odebrecht.

Brazil WCup 2014 Stadium Problems

La préparation du Brésil pour la Coupe du Monde et les Jeux Olympiques de 2016 ont été troublés par des retards, des dépassements de coûts et une pression constante pour aller plus vite. Les fonctionnaires de FIFA ont publiquement réprimandé fonctionnaires brésiliens sur les problèmes, et une série d’arguments ont parfois éclaté entre les deux parties. Six des douze stades de la Coupe du Monde ont été rendus pour la Coupe des Confédérations plus tôt cette année, et FIFA insiste pour que les six autres à être rendus avant la fin de Décembre. Bien que l’accident de mercredi a fait un minimum de dommages à la Itaquerao, que les fonctionnaires avaient dit était 94% terminé avant l’accident, il est généralement admis que le stade ne sera pas prêt à temps.

Royt Hodgson

Avec le tirage au sort de la Coupe du Monde 2014 approchant et la récente catastrophe dans le stade à Sao Paolo, l’Angleterre est plus concernés par les lieux que l’opposition. Le gestionnaire de l’Angleterre Roy Hodgson insiste que l’endroit plutôt que l’opposition est la plus grande préoccupation pour lui comme il attend le tirage de 2014 Coupe du monde de vendredi à Salvador, Brésil. Son équipe n’est pas ensemencée, donc qu’ils sont garantis à jouer contre l’une des équipes dans le pot haut, soit le Brésil, l’Espagne, l’Allemagne, l’Argentine, la Colombie, la Belgique, la Suisse ou l’Uruguay. Mais il pense dans un pays aussi grand come le Brésil qu’où les jeux ont lieu sera tout aussi important qu’ils vont jouer contre. Il dit, « C’est un jeu agréable à jouer, mais je dois dire que je n’ai pas participé moi-même trop en ce que – nous obtiendrons ce que nous obtenons vraiment, la chose la plus importante est d’être là. Ensuite, on espère toujours que le tirage au sort va être bon pour nous en termes de où nous allons être invité à jouer. Il y a des lieux au Brésil qui sera plus difficile à jouer dans que d’autres. » Hodgson a dit que l’Angleterre va certainement être préparé et il est utile que la Football Association est incroyablement bien préparé. Il y a beaucoup d’expériences entre les joueurs, il y a des choses qu’ils pensaient bien travailler et les choses qui n’ont pas dans les tournois passés. Hodgson avait déjà connu un tournoi du foot international comme entraîneur-chef de la Suisse, il a pris la nation à la Coupe du Monde 1994 aux Etats-Unis. Quand on compare les États-Unis au Brésil, il pense que la participation du Brésil a un rôle supplémentaire parce que le Brésil est le pays que nous associons avec football, aussi bien avec l’Angleterre. « Nous espérons notre mieux, mais c’est comme Forrest Gump et sa boîte de chocolats. Nous allons l’ouvrir et voir ce que nous obtenons. »


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Dec 01 2013

Profile Image of Matthew Schorr

La Fin de l’épreuve de Belounis

Filed under FIFA,Qatar,World Cup

La semaine dernière, Zahir Belounis était autorisé de revenir en France, le chapitre ultime d’une saga incroyable. Belounis, footballeur franco-algérien, est déménagé au Qatar en 2010 pour jouer pour l’équipe el Jaish. Quand el Jaish l’a loué à une autre équipe, le premier club a cessé ses paiements de salaire. En réponse, Belounis a intenté un procès à el Jaish, mais il n’a pas réussi à obtenir son salaire. Au contraire, el Jaish a refusé de le payer ; en plus, le club ne lui a pas permis de sortir le Qatar avant que Belounis renonce le procès. Belounis ne pouvait pas sortir le pays sans accord formel du club grâce aux lois kafala, un groupe de lois qataries qui subordonne des travailleurs—même des footballeurs—aux employeurs. Pendant cette épreuve, Belounis ne vivait pas que de la générosité de sa famille en France, la communauté expatriée au Qatar, et des citoyens qataris.

Mahdi Belounis, le frère de Zahir, tweet un photo de la foule qui attend Zahir à Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle.

Mahdi Belounis, le frère de Zahir, tweet un photo de la foule qui attend Zahir à Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle.

Ce qui me frappe le plus de l’histoire de Belounis n’est pas la violation des droits de travailleur, même si la violation est flagrante. L’aspect que je trouve le plus intéressant est le fait que, malgré l’abus, Belounis aime le Qatar, et il admet que le Qatar peut organiser une grande réussite en 2022. Initialement je n’ai pas compris comment une victime de l’oppression peut apprécier le pays où il est opprimé. Cependant, après avoir lu un article de l’affaire Belounis dans le New York Times, j’ai compris qu’il faut faire la distinction entre l’Etat et une poignée de cadres à el Jaish d’un part, et la majorité de citoyens qataris, qui sont innocents d’autre part. Beaucoup de Qataris ont sentaient de compassion, et certains d’entre eux sont allés au-delà de ce qui aurait été attendu, donnant de l’argent à la famille de Belounis pour qu’elle pût survivre. En plus, il ne serait pas logique pour Belounis de n’avoir que de critique de Qatar, car c’est le lieu de naissance de ses filles.

Malheureusement, l’histoire de Belounis n’est pas le seul exemple d’une tragédie résultant du système de travail au Qatar. Tout le monde a commencé de examiner le système de travail au Qatar parce que la FIFA a choisi ce pays comme pays organisateur de la Coupe du monde en 2022. Le journal The Guardian a découvert en septembre que des dizaines de travailleurs népalais eussent mort pendant qu’ils étaient en train de construire une nouvelle ville pour la Coupe du monde. Selon l’auteur de l’article révélateur, le système de travail au Qatar ressemble à celui de l’esclavage. Les exemples de Belounis et des travailleurs népalais sont un grand embarras pour la FIFA et, par conséquent, son choix de la Qatar comme pays organisateur est souvent critiqué dans les médias.

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Nov 21 2013

Profile Image of Ale Barel Di Sant'Albano

2013 Surely has been CR7’s year?

Unlucky Ribery, it looks like a champions league, Bundesliga title and a Pokal Cup will not be enough to help you win the historic Ballon D’Or.  After months of trying to figure out should Ribery win the prestigious award as his team won a historic Treble, or was Messi’s end to the 2012/2013 season enough for him to seal it, Cristiano Ronaldo shows up in the clutch scoring two goals in 38 seconds to send his nation to Brazil in 2014.

In addition the news that Fifa has extended the ballot voting period until the end of the month will allow those who want to change there previous decision, which ultimately, cannot be good news for Ribéry either. Ronaldo’s display was one that the football Gods can only dream of, one matched to Messi’s at the Santiago Bernabau in 2012, or Paolo Rossi in the 1982 World Cup final and even Diego Maradona’s touch of class against England. He was simply flawless.

He was taunted and booed by the Swedes the entire night. Every time he touched the ball, dribbled, lost possession or took a ridiculous shot on goal. His performance in Stockholm was one that represents the new Ronaldo, no longer a young arrogant player who when suffering with his feet, takes it out on his teammates, stops passing the ball, and simply beating himself up in the corner of the pitch.  He controlled the game on Tuesday, when Portugal was down and required a quick momentum change CR7 was there to make the difference. When Portugal rocked, he refused to allow them to tumble. He continued his impeccable club form on international duty. As Andy Brassell wrote “The scorecard may have read Zlatan 2 Cristiano 3 but the difference was much more appreciable. Ibrahimovic gives hope where there is none. Ronaldo makes the impossible possible.” Moreover, his hat-trick capped tying the all-time scoring charts for Portugal with 47 goals at the young age of 28.

Although I would still agree that so far in his career Messi has been the better of the two, as much as it pains me to say this, 2013 has been Cristiano’s year.


If you wish to watch a great documentary presented on ITV4 (U.K television) last month click here



66 Ronaldo has scored an incredible 66 goals for club and country in 2013. That includes 56 goals in 46 games for Real Madrid and 10 in nine for Portugal.

8 The 28-year-old is the top scorer in the Champions League this season with eight goals, one ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and two ahead of Lionel Messi.

1.20 Goals per game ratio for Ronaldo in 2013. And it gets better if you only look at this season. He has 31 goals in 21 appearances in 2013-14. That’s 1.48 goals per game.

16 The Portuguese is also the top scorer in La Liga this season with 16 goals in 13 matches. He already has twice as many as Messi.

47 Ronaldo equalled Pauleta’s national record of 47 goals for Portugal. The forward is closing in on Bobby Charlton and Thierry Henry’s records, but has a way to go before he catches Gerd Muller (68) and Pele (77).

5 Ronaldo has outscored the Premier League’s five biggest clubs in 2013. Liverpool (61), Man City (56), Arsenal (55), Man United (54) and Chelsea (54) have all scored fewer league goals this year than Ronaldo has scored in
all competitions.

225 Since joining Real Madrid, Ronaldo has scored 225 goals in 216 games for the club. In just five years he has already become Madrid’s fifth highest scorer and is closing in on Ferenc Puskas (242, right) in fourth. [1]



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Nov 07 2013

Profile Image of Kavin Tamizhmani

Diving in Soccer

Filed under Europe,FIFA,Uncategorized

post image


This is one of many posters denouncing that terrible act that is too often encountered in football, diving. Here, Ashley Young, a player for Manchester United is shown in a parody of Bruce Willis’s Die Hard in Dive Hard 2. Iain Mcintosh of ESPN Soccernet addressed the prevalence of diving in soccer today with this great piece. After the Real Sociedad versus Manchester United Match, Young’s recent antics brought diving right back to the forefront of discussion. Even after Sir Alex Ferguson and current United manager David Moyes have urged Young to not rely on these dirty tactics, he continues to be in the news for the wrong reasons since his transfer to United from Aston Villa.

In the English Premier League, Young is not the only prominent player to be accused of diving. The great Luis Suarez, an absolute magician who can conjure goals out of nothing for Liverpool, has been under fire for his dives. Compared to Young though, he is an absolutely brilliant actor. In fact, if there was an oscar awarded in football for diving, Suarez would be up there with the likes of Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for performances like these.

suarez dive

While these acts happen, people point to better refereeing to remedy the situation, but it is not as simple of a fix as one would assume possible. Unfortunately, in these situations, the referee is put into a tight bind. Since player safety is always the utmost priority on their part, how can referees eliminate instances of obvious cheating? Macintosh suggests that to remove diving from the game we can completely eliminate it by playing the advantage in these situations as the most extreme solution. Interestingly, he also proposes the use of a panel to determine how to dole out retrospective punishment for these major offenses that can easily dictate the outcome of crucial matches from the Champions League to the World Cup stage. This panel would be well suited to asses the complaints made by teams to ensure that these incidents do not happen. By ignoring the situation, we only exacerbate the problem by permitting these acts to continue to occur. Players must realize that there are repercussions for their actions that often go unobserved because they occur in small instances over the course of matches. By having an committee in place overseeing these issues, soccer can once again be played like it was supposed to be as the beautiful game.

What do you all think about the best ways to tackle the complex issue of diving? I would love to hear your thoughts. 


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Oct 28 2013

Profile Image of Jordan Cirocco

UEFA President Calls for World Cup Expansion to Forty-Team Format

Responding to Fifa President Sepp Bladder’s recent call to expand the number of African and Asian berths to the World Cup at the expense of European and South American nations, UEFA President Michel Platini believes that the tournament should be expanded to a forty team format. This expansion to forty teams would allow for the number of African and Asian representatives in the tournament to increase without reducing the number of European and South American representatives.

Blatter believes that European and South American nations hold an unfair advantage in dominating the make-up of the tournament, despite the having fewer members associations of FIFA than other territories. Pushing towards globalization of the sport, Blatter would like to see the numbers of berths of a territory be more reflective of the number of  FIFA member associations [1]. With only 63 member associations of FIFA, European and South American teams will account for 18 or 19 berths at the 2014 World Cup. Africa and Asia, on the other hand, will only be represented by 9 or 10 teams in total, despite accounting for 100 members associations of FIFA. Blatter believes that, “This flawed state of affairs must be rectified. At the end of the day an equal chance for all is the paramount imperative of elite sport.”

UEFA President Michel Platini, who many believe will be the successor to Bladder as FIFA President, feels that expansion of African and Asian berths should not come at the expense of European and South American nations. Instead, the tournament should be expanded to a forty-team format, with eight groups, each consisting of five teams [2]. He calculates that the length of the tournament would be expanded by only three days with this format. While this would add more berths for under-represented territories, this idea could significantly lower the quality of competition by adding berths to territories whose nations do not have teams of similar quality to that of Europe and South America.

As explained by the Nick Ackerman of Bleacher Report, “Although one of FIFA’s more commendable ideas, both Blatter and Platini have to consider the competitiveness of adding eight teams to the current setup.” With the last World Cup taking place in South Africa, only one of the six African teams in the competition was able to advance past the group stages [4]. This success rate is much lower than for the European (6 of 13) and South American (5 of 5) representatives. Additionally, with European and South American nations dominating the top 12 spots in the current FIFA rankings, it can be argued that these territories deserve the most representatives based on merit [5].

While I believe that Africa and Asia deserve more representatives in the World Cup, I do not agree that it should come at the expense of European and South American nations. I feel that this change could significantly lower the quality of competition in the tournament. I would be much more in favor of expansion, even if this resulted in the inclusion of lower quality teams in the tournament. I believe this format could result in qualification by nations who have fallen short of qualification due to the current format. With a more realistic opportunity for qualification, I believe that these nations will strive to produce a higher quality team that is able to compete on the World Stage. However, until the quality of teams in territories such as Africa and Asia matches those of Europe and South America, it is hard to argue for the number of berths per territory to better represent the proportion of member associations within FIFA.






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Oct 27 2013

Profile Image of Bryan Silverman

Taking Technology to New Limits

We have been hearing all about goal line technology and how we may see other new technologies emerge, often showcased at the premier level that is the World Cup in 2014. However, in one of my most recent neuroscience classes, we discussed a Duke researcher, Miguel Nicolelis, who works in Brazil and seeks to have a different effect on the technology of the World Cup of 2014. Nicolelis is spearheading research in brain-machine interfaces, where machines will interpret action within the brain to produce that same function. Where we often see this applied is at the intersection of helping those who are paralyzed regain function and where many people see scientists building robots.

However, come 2014, Nicolelis hopes to have the first kick of the global tournament be from the foot of a paralyzed child, who will be using this robotic exoskeleton to essentially regain function in his legs and take the first kick. More about Nicolelis and this endeavor can be read here. Who knows, this could just be the first step on the way to a robotic team of players competing against a human team by 2050.


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Oct 20 2013

Profile Image of Avery Rape

Changing the Game

If you could change the game of soccer, how would you do it? With Brazil being the first instance where goal line technology is being implemented, I got thinking as to how soccer could change for the better. Small changes to the game could make it more popular in the US. We are a country of instant gratification, and the more goals the better is what pleases us. I came up with a theory as to how the game of football could change for the better.

Here’s my article describing my theory on

Check it out and let me know what you think!


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