Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My FIFA Manifesto #honestal

I've given it some serious thought, and I've decided to put my name forward for FIFA President, just in time for the election. I would welcome your support.

My reason for standing

If you're reading this, you already know the reason.

My strategy

To persuade 156 member nations of FIFA to call for an election postponement, to allow for a period of reflection (and for me to campaign, obviously)

My Qualifications and Experience

I'm already President of a Global Body (The Global Speakers Federation) with 6,000 members worldwide.

I travel extensively, and understand global issues.

I'm an author of several books on media and PR, and know how to deal with the press in a diplomatic and helpful way.

I've been watching football for over 50 years, and since I'm a Fulham fan, know how to deal with failure and moderate success.

My Manifesto

Here is my seven-point plan to restore the credibility of FIFA

1) Immediate postponement of presidential elections for three months

2) All member nations to have one vote in future presidential elections

3) The entire FIFA board to resign, pending elections in three month's time

4) An interim committee to run FIFA to be appointed, consisting of Franz Beckenbauer, David Beckham and Pele.

5) Awards of 2018 and 2022 World cups to be rescinded and voted for in six months time on the basis of one nation, one vote.

6) All FIFA Board meetings to be held in public, and live-streamed online

7) An independent body to be set up to oversee ethical issues and deal with complaints


How you can help


Thanks for reading.

Simply tweet or re-tweet a link to this blog, using the tag #honestal

Thanks again,

Alan Stevens

FIFA - the castle crumbles

The goings-on at FIFA, the headquarters of world football, are beyond parody. As I write this, Sepp Blatter is due to be elected unopposed for another four years, with his only rival, Mohamed Bin Hammam, suspended pending an investigation of bribery allegations. Jack Warner, the longest-serving member of the executive, has also been suspended, and is now threatening to make allegations against Blatter himself.

Asked about the FIFA crisis at yesterday's press conference, Blatter said “What is a crisis? Football is not in a crisis. When you see the final of the Champions League then you must applaud. So we are not in a crisis, we are only in some difficulties.” Clearly he'd either been listening to Supertramp's fourth album, or the (alleged) remarks of Labour PM Jim Callaghan in 1979 (though Callaghan never uttered those precise words). Whatever the "inspiration" for his words, Blatter's stonewalling and denial of reality is breathtaking. An Australian politician, Nick Xenophon, has compared him to Monty Python's Black Knight, laying on the ground, all limbs hacked off, saying "It's just a flesh wound"

Jack Warner has revealed an email to him from FIFA Secretary-General, Jerome Valcke, Here's an extract "For MBH, I never understood why he was running. If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express much he does not like anymore JSB. Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC." (MBH is Mohamed Bin Hammam, and WC is the World Cup).

But now we could be seeing the end game. Fifa’s major sponsors Coca-Cola and Adidas have become nervous, and are calling the position at FIFA “damaging and distressing”. Perhaps Sepp Blatter should give Tiger Woods a call to find out how to react to sponsors closing their wallets and looking for the exit door.

The castle is crumbling, but the king has his fingers in his ears and is singing "ni-ni-ni"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Bread, Wine and Wifi

I travel a great deal, as do many of us these days. On my recent trips, I've been thinking what makes me happy when I arrive. I'm a man of simple tastes, so I've narrowed it down to just a few things. Obviously, I need somewhere to stay (ideally with a shower that my six foot three frame can stand under). I like a nice comfortable bed too, and a room that's in the quiet part of the hotel.

But there are three things that really make travel a good experience for me:

1) Bread

Just bread? Well ideally a bit of cheese or ham too, or maybe even a salad. It's not what the food is, it's whether it's available. Airline food, despite all the marketing to the contrary, and the involvement of celebrity chefs, is still pretty grim. When I arrive in a hotel at 1am local time, my body clock may still say 4pm. I'm hungry. One of the worst things to hear is "The restaurant is closed right now, and room service is finished too. There are some snacks in the minibar." A packet of peanuts is not what I'm looking for. Many hotels do have 24-hour room service, but I've often dropped off to sleep in the 40 minutes between order and arrival. If some hotel chain offered an instant 24-hour cheese sandwich service, it would be top of my list.

2) Wine

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a great drinker. It's not even that I'm looking for a glass of wine. A cold beer, coffee or even a fruit juice would do. It's more about what goes with it. I'm looking for a quiet place where I can sit and relax and have an enjoyable drink in peace. Travel, although often a solitary activity for me, is also done in groups, whether waiting for a train or sitting on plane. There's something very restorative about being able to find a peaceful place to just sit and think, read a book, or do nothing at all.

3) WiFi

Being able to communicate with the rest of the world is invaluable for me. I'm not an email junkie, or someone who must be available at all times. It's useful, but not essential 24/7. But I'm also a husband and father, and the ability to chat on Skype in video with my family is a real tonic. It would be wonderful if hotels didn't try to pay off their nation's national debt with internet access charges too.

So that's it. I'm not asking for much. A little food when I arrive, a quiet place to relax and affordable contact with my loved ones. A few hotel chains do it, so could the rest please take note? Thanks.