Friday, September 26, 2008

Atlantis... site of FIFA Congress 2009

Today, I flew to Nassau, Bahamas, where I joined members of the Bahamas Football Association in meetings with four government ministries to prepare for the visit of FIFA staff next week where we will host the FIFA Congress next June.

Paradise Island sits just north of the capital Nassau, and is home of the famous Atlantis Resort comprised of multi-tower complex of hi-rise hotel buildings and spectacular beach front and water park amidst dozens of fine restaurants and extraordinary convention facilities.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Wheels got Rolling in Zurich...

Parked in front of FIFA House, our antique Mercedes finally gets out of the mechanic's shop and onto the road.

After the meetings at FIFA, we went to a small Italian restaurant on the shore of Lake Zurich and Mary Lynn got out of the back seat while I snapper her pix...

In time for dinner, I posed for a candid shot in front of our headlights and smiled as a restoration taking almost 2 years came to a happy ending.

A Lovely Dinner with Friends at Terrasse...

One of my favorite Zurich restaurants, Terrasse, where I am joined with Mary Lynn, Jim Brown and his wife Angie and Barbara Fascchetti of FIFA. Thanks to all for a really nice evening.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Misusing the tools of justice...

I am on my way to Zurich for a meeting on Tuesday of the Players Status Committee. I am the Deputy Chairman of that Committee and have been so through three Chairmen, Slim Aloulou of Tunisia, Gerhard Meyer-Vorfelder and the current holder of the chair, England's Geoff Thompson.

I must say that prior to the Olympics, I was totally shocked when I got a call from the Associated Press, asking me what I knew about a single judge making a decision in the matter of the release of players for the Olympics. I knew nothing about it. Furthermore, I knew that when we created the role of the Single Judge, as part of a pre-DRC (Dispute Resolution Chamber) Players Status Committee world, the stated intention of that post was to handle the overflow of routine cases which came before the PSC and were easily resolved based on fact.

Yes, before the DRC, all Player disputes came before the full committee. As time went on and the backlog grew, it was clear that most of these could be handled administratively, but should have the stamp of the Chairman of the Committee in a newly formed capacity of Single Judge.  All major matters were still to have been brought before the full Committee or Bureau for action.

Many years later, I find that when convenience suits the cause, our institutions can be misused for purposes of expediency or worse. In the matter of the release of Olympic players I choose not to declare which, only that it was wrong. Wrong to take the matter to the Single Judge; wrong to have taken the position that decisions which we spent considerable time on creating, such as the International Calendar, were no longer of any relevance since it didn't suit the interests of some people who preferred to claim that night was day.

The members of the PSC were duly proud of its record and the overwhelming confirmation that it received from CAS (Court of Arbitration in Sport) on decision after decision which found its way there on appeal. I had no doubt that the claim being filed by AC Milan and the German Clubs against FIFA would be upheld since there was no basis to believe otherwise. Indeed, I had in advance of any decision taken by FIFA advised the Administration that what was being sent to the Emergency Committee had not basis and the references to prior practice preceded the application and use of the International Calendar.

So, why then the use of Single Judge.  Logically, the PSC was the place to review the application of the International Calendar and the release of players.  The Single Judge was the wrong instrument. It is my intention on Tuesday to make this very point. The Single Judge must be restricted to function within the original intent of the Committee exclusively on simple and routine matters. Otherwise, the rest of us don't need to bother to make the trip.

Drew is two... let's party

Drew Goldfarb, the youngest of my grandchildren, hits the mark of 2 years of age today. Last night, to celebrate this event, we went to Elaine's for a nice family dinner. With the Yankee game behind us, I actually showed some signs of a sun burn, and the kids had a great time. Duck was on the menu, so it was special. Barry, the eatery's chef, doesn't make it that often. Mary Lynn took some great pix of the kids. Happy Birthday Drew.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The last ray of sunshine...

Robinson Cano records the last hit ever in a day game at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees, slotted to moved to their new home, just blocks north of the historic park where I saw my first baseball game at the age of 5, will finalize their farewell on Sunday night, September 21st, while I am on a Swiss International flight to Zurich. It was great to be in the sun in the ballpark and be part of this historic weekend.

The Yanks leave the field to the song New York, New York, sung by Frank Sinatra. As I covered the panoramic view, my camera ends with a smile from world famous photographer and friend Neil Leifer who just produced a brilliant short film called What About Sal? While it is set in Fenway Park, the home of the competition, it is a great flick to see. Don't miss it!!!

Bottom of the Ninth...

Derek Jeter recoils in pain after being hit in the left hand by a pitch from Orioles pitcher Jim Miller during the ninth inning.
With the pain clearly on Jeter's face, he drops the bat but is rewarded by taking First Base where he is replaced by a pinch-runner Brett Gardner who then steals Second Base.
Baltimore intentionally walks Abreu to load First and decides to pitch to A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez). Here he is pictured taking a call strike two before hitting into what was almost a double play but a bad throw left him on First with Garnder moving to Third.
A-Rod steals second and Giambi finally walks with Robinson Cano getting up to close the frame and the game with a hit up the middle and Gardner scoring to win it 1-0.
and more celebration!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Final Weekend: Yankee Stadium

While being on a flight to Zurich and meetings of FIFA Committees on Sunday night will keep me from being at the last home game to be played at Yankee Stadium, it won't keep me from doing the second best thing; going to the game on Saturday afternoon at 1pm to see the Yankees play the Baltimore Orioles in their next to last home appearance.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It isn't all travel...

Wednesday morning came soon enough and it was time to for an 8:00am visit to my favorite dentist. Yes, unlike those viewing the experience with fear and expectations of pain, I have come to realize that the advances of medical science no longer mean that the dentist needs to be feared. In my case, it is also a good opportunity for me to visit with my friend, Dr. Stanley Weinstock.

Before we got started, I showed him my latest entry on my blog from the trip to Chile and his Mac on the wall quickly brought to life the pictures with President Bachelet and Chile's Under 20 Women's National Team.

The visit was to cement in place two crowns, which sit atop the roots in teeth that had long since served their active duty. Here, the application of some miracle 4 minute wonder is squeezed into the inner lining and I quietly await the moment of insertion.

Finally, he inspects his work for a last time and then it disappears into my mouth, next only to be seen in a big smile

Faye scrapes off the excess cement and pronounces me ready for the world, limited only for 24 hours to not eat anything dangerous (that means a bagel, not a chile pepper)

Finally, I bring a smile to Stanley's face when I answered the question "how do they look?" After examining his handiwork in the mirror, my response, "they look like all the rest" was the right answer. The idea that you can't tell the difference from the real ones is what it is all about. Thanks Stanley. A job well done.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

From the Women's U-20 Draw in Chile...

Chuck holds the floor as President Michelle Bachelet, Chilean superstar Elias Figueroa and FIFA's Jim Brown look on

Blazer joins the Chilean President Michelle Bachelet with Elias Figueroa and their Women's Under 20 National Team

Blazer listens attentively to the question directed to him about the performance of the Chilean Federation and Government in the preparation of this FIFA World Cup

Chilean Sub-Secretary of Sport Jaime Pizarro and FIFA's Jim Brown's eyes seem to say, "Did Blazer actually say that?" at the post Draw Press Conference

Following the draw, we were all treated to some very original entertainment chronicling the desire of a young woman to become a soccer player

The creative troop put on wonderful show capturing the desire to get out from the house and join the girls on the field playing the game

The lead performer joins the actual team on the stage in a final tableau

Jim Brown and Elias Figueroa concluded the draw of the 16 teams following Speeches by Chilean Federation President Harold Mayne-Nichols, Organizing Committee Chairman Chuck Blazer and President Michelle Bachelet

Before the Women's U-20 Draw...

The office of the Chilean Football Federation was properly decorated awaiting the draw of the FIFA Women's U20 World Cup Chile 2008

The view from the Federation was inspiring. Warm comfortable weather on the ground and snow in the nearby mountains. Simply beautiful.

The afternoon visit was to close the 2 day session of the International Seminar of Media and Communications. The seminar was attended by 13 countries and very worthwhile.

Seen here, Chuck Blazer and Harold Mayne-Nichols address the media and thank them for their support and attention during the two day program

Following the session, a group photo is taken outside the front doors of the Chilean Football Federation.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stage set for draw ceremony...

As I arrived in Santiago, Chile for the Women's U20 Draw, the following story appeared on the FIFA Website.

The fate of the 16 qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Chile 2008 will be decided at 17.00 (local time) this Saturday when the Chilean capital hosts the draw for the group phase.

Vina Cousino Macul, a magnificent late-nineteenth century residence in the outskirts of Santiago, provides the fitting location for an event the host nation has been carefully planning for the last few months. And with just a day to go before the ceremony, the preparations are complete.

The destiny of the 16 qualifying nations (click on the link in the left-hand column for a detailed profile of each team) is in the hands of the four women who will be making the draw: Laura Albornoz, the Chilean Women's National Service Minister; Francisca Puertas, a 2006 roller hockey world championship winner; Marisol Villarroel, the South American figure skating champion; and Brazilian footballer Sissi, one of the greatest players in the history of the game and a FIFA Ambassador. Compering the event will be FIFA's Head of Competitions Jim Brown, with the well-known former Chilean international Elias Figueroa lending assistance.

The teams will be drawn into four groups, with matches being played at the four tournament venues of Temuco, Coquimbo, Chillan and La Florida (Santiago) between 19 November and 7 December.

As well as the draw, the ceremony will also feature live entertainment and various high-ranking dignitaries will be in attendance, including the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, who is also the Honorary President of the Chile 2008 Local Organising Committee, and Chuck Blazer, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee and the President of the Organising Committee for the FIFA U-20 and U-17 Women's World Cups. Joining them will be leading officials from the Chilean FA, various secretaries of state and legislators, the mayors of the four host cities and over 400 guests, including delegations from the qualifying countries.

"The Official Draw is our window to the world," commented the Executive Director of the Local Organising Committee, Eduardo Rojas, who is eager to extend his guests the warmest of welcomes. "Although this is a sporting occasion, we want the event to have a typically Chilean feel. We want this World Cup to be a huge celebration for the country and we are looking forward greatly to welcoming the participating teams."

So make sure you log on to this Saturday and find out what the draw has in store for the 16 hopefuls. And while you wait to discover who plays who, why not head to the tournament home page and catch up on all the latest Chile 2008 news?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blazer quoted on 2009 FIFA Interactive World Cup...

Geneva, Switzerland and London, UK, 11 September 2008 – FIFA, the world’s governing body of football, Electronic Arts Inc (NASDAQ: ERTS) and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) today announced the new season of the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC), the world’s only official FIFA global football gaming competition. The FIWC is a season-long tournament mirroring the real world of football in which competitors from all around the world can participate playing EA SPORTS™ FIFA 09 on the PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™).

This year marks the fifth FIWC season, which will kick off with the launch of FIFA 09 on 3 October. Players will be able to compete at one of 19 physical FIWC 09 Qualifier Events across the globe, kicking off in New Zealand on 25 October and covering countries all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Italy, South Africa and the US[BM1] . Players will also be able to compete for the 13 places available in the final for the best online players via the PLAYSTATION®Network. The 32 finalists will compete to be crowned FIFA Interactive World Player of the Year, rewarded with an invitation to the FIFA World Player Gala along with a USD 20,000 cash prize and an all new KIA ‘Soul’. For the first time in the tournament’s history, the runner up will receive USD 5,000, while the player coming third will be awarded USD 1,000.

Hopeful competitors can get a head start and practise their skills for the tournament from today by playing the official FIFA 09 PS3 demo available for download worldwide now via PLAYSTATION®Network. Registration for participating in the online leg of the FIWC 09 tournament will take place directly inside the retail version of FIFA 09 on the PS3 in early October.

“The FIFA Interactive World Cup has established itself as a premier gaming tournament, and the only one under the FIFA banner. Over the last years I have witnessed incredible virtual football action which promises thrilling games and excitement at the upcoming interactive season. I am really looking forward to the kick-off of the 5th edition where everyone has the unique chance to become a real FIFA World Cup champion,” said FIFA Executive Member Chuck Blazer, himself an avid gamer.

“Over the last four years, the FIFA Interactive World Cup has become the gaming competition for football fans and gamers. It’s the only tournament in which competitors can play as their football heroes and have their virtual skills recognised by FIFA, the real life world governing body of football,” said Matt Bilbey, Senior Director, Sports Marketing, EA. “With our partners at FIFA and PlayStation, we’re excited for this year’s season to kick off when FIFA 09 launches in early October. The development team has done an incredible job in making FIFA 09 even more authentic and fun to play, so make sure you get a taste of it now and start practicing with the demo on PLAYSTATION Network.”

”This year is PlayStation’s second season involved in the FIWC and we are very excited to see the tournament grow and evolve to establish itself as the biggest online football tournament in the world,” said Darren Carter, VP for Brand and Consumer Marketing, SCEE. “This season players will be able to truly understand the unique experience FIFA 09 on PLAYSTATION 3 and PLAYSTATION Network offers and we look forward to seeing players from around the world go onto the PLAYSTATION Network and get practising immediately.”

During last year’s tournament, players spanning the globe from New Zealand to South Africa, Brazil to Korea to the USA and Italy dribbled and scored their way through the tournament’s 20 live qualifiers, while over 25,000 players competed in the online leg. In the end, it was Alfonso Ramos from Spain who emerged victoriously from the Grand Final in Berlin. He will join his real life football heroes on the 12th of January 2009 at the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich to accept his trophy.

EA SPORTS™ FIFA 09 for the PlayStation®3 is now powered with dynamic real-world data and analytics, lifting the game to new heights of authenticity for football fans and gamers connected online. The adidas Live Season* service is based on how real players performed in the most recent real-world matches. Gameplay will change dynamically as the performance of players and football teams in the real world experience the highs and lows during their campaigns. Additionally over 250 gameplay additions and enhancements, Custom Team Tactics, 10v10* Online Team Play and the enhanced Be A Pro: Seasons will offer players a unique football experience that matches the complexity, finesse and beauty of the real-world game. To learn more about FIFA 09 visit

Details about the live qualifier events near you will be made available over the coming weeks at, so check in regularly to keep your fingers on the pulse of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009.