Is there football on today?
Incredibly, yes! Beginning at 12:45 PM EST, we’ve got Heerenveen against Twente in the Eredivisie, then at 2:45 PM Inter plays Fiorentina, followed by Montpellier taking on Rennes at 3:00 PM EST. After that, we’ve got Villarreal vs Espanyol at 4:00 PM. Take your pick. For all the matches today, look here.
What’s the big story this morning?
The Guardian’s investigation into worker abuses within Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup, continues to make major waves. The report, which you can (and should) read here, looks into reports of worker deaths “at a rate of almost one a day” from June 4th through to August 8th, mostly from cardiac arrest. There is also evidence of forced labour. At least one World Cup infrastructure project was involved.
The reaction of the Qatari government was swift, perhaps an indication of the seriousness of the story. From the BBC:
“There is no excuse for any worker in Qatar to be treated in this manner.”
“The health, safety, well-being and dignity of every worker that contributes to staging the 2022 Fifa World Cup is of the utmost importance to our committee and we are committed to ensuring that the event serves as a catalyst toward creating sustainable improvements to the lives of all workers in Qatar.”
“We firmly believe that all workers engaged on our projects, and those of the other infrastructure developers in Qatar, have a right to be treated in a manner that ensures at all times their wellbeing, safety, security, and dignity. This is our top priority as we begin to deliver on the promises made in our bid to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.”
What would be welcome at this stage is a statement from FIFA over the matter, and specific assurances from the Qatar ministry of labour in addition to foreign companies working on World Cup projects over exactly what they will do to address this issue, and under what time frame. Anything less in light of the Guardian report, and of previous Human Rights Watch and investigations, should put Qatar’s eligibility to host the event into question.
Woah. Any other news today?
Ian Ayre has given his candid opinion on Luis Suarez, his damage to the reputation of Liverpool FC, and his responsiveness to ‘work on his character.’ In fact, the word character was mentioned so many times in reference to Suarez I imagined the Uruguayan striker as Calvin and Ayre as Calvin’s dad. You can read all about it on the Daily Mail.
The 20 year old Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel, who was only ten minutes into his second start for Chelsea after signing for £ 8million from Vitesse Arnhem, sustained a cruciate ligament injury following a tackle from Swindon;s Alex Pritchard which will put him out for the next six to nine months. Luck be a lady…
And beating Liverpool FC apparently means David Moyes is a good manager now, because he was apparently a bad manager when United lost to Manchester City. I see how this works.
And here is the controversial penalty which saw Real Madrid defeat Elche 2-1 in the fourth minute of extra time. In keeping with its renowned international coverage, the Mail has all the pertinent info.
Any cool GIFs?
Shinji is free…to nutmeg Stevie G.
Anything I should read this morning?
Martin Samuel is always worth the time, if only to see how it feels to be made angry by mere words. Today is his self-aggrandizing mail bag, in which we learn why Paolo Di Canio sucked, essentially:
You mention maths as if there is science involved, yet your argument appears based on that greatest and most over-rated intangible: passion. If football was about passion, Sunderland would be top of the league, not bottom with a single point. If it was just about wanting to win then the most technically gifted teams would not be top of each league and touchline motivators like Neil Warnock would be sought after by Barcelona. Passion is a complete falsehood. It gets trotted out by people who don’t have a clue what is really going wrong. Kevin Keegan had buckets of passion. He quit the England job after admitting he knew something was up at home to Germany, but he didn’t have a clue how to fix it. Passion alone left him powerless. It was the same for Di Canio.
Sounds about right, actually.
And a provocative and interesting article on why shots and key passes are better than goals and assists. You read that right. Enjoy!