Palermo = Soccer Instability

One of the teams in Serie A – the top soccer league in Italy – is Palermo. Last year, it escaped the relegation zone on the final day of the season but it has been a “team of turmoil” for a while now. The owner of the team is Maurizio Zamparini; in terms of patience and tranquility, he is sort of like George Steinbrenner, James Dolan and Danny Boy Snyder wrapped in one. Zamparini bought the team in 2002; since 2003, the team has had 34 head coaches; since January 2016, the team has had 7 head coaches. Now, there are reports that Zamparini is looking to sell the team.

Fans of Palermo might look at that news in a positive – even an encouraging – light. After all, the odds that any new owner might be as “unusual” as Zamparini has been would have to be rather long, right? Well, according to reports, the potential buyer is a gentleman named Frank Cascio who was a former friend, manager and confidante of Michael Jackson. Yes, that Michael Jackson…

The 2016 season for Serie A has just begun. Palermo has played 3 games; they have lost 2 of them and played to a draw. That record has them in the relegation zone in 18th place in the 20-team league. It looks like another year of stormy seas for fans of the team. If Zamparini keeps the team, it could easily have 5 new head coaches by Valentine’s Day 2017; if he sells the team …

The turmoil in Palermo has been going on for so long that fans there are probably used to it by now. There is something else ongoing in the world of international soccer that fans are starting to become used to:

    Investigations of FIFA officials for “improprieties”.

The FIFA Ethics Committee [Aside: I admit that I chuckle to myself every time I type those words in that sequence.] has within it something called the investigative chamber. The deputy chairman of that chamber, Djimbaraye Bourngar, announced that the chamber has begun a formal inquiry into actions taken by:

    Sepp Blatter – former President/head honcho of FIFA
    Marcus Kattner – former Director of Finance and Corporate Services of FIFA
    Jerome Valcke – former Secretary General of FIFA

Before anyone asks, no, I do not understand the hierarchy of FIFA sufficiently to explain the different authorities of FIFA’s President and FIFA’s Secretary General. However, the titles indicate that these gentlemen were people of influence within the governing body of international soccer. The just announced investigation involves possible violations of the FIFA bylaws that relate to things such as:

    Acceptance of gifts and other benefits
    General rules of conduct.

I realize that one might be tempted to think that an organization such as FIFA would expect its senior officers to exhibit “general rules of conduct” wherein they would always be “accepting gifts and other benefits” in the form of “bribery”. I suspect, however, that the investigative chamber of the Ethics Committee will be interpreting the bylaws in a different manner. Do I expect any bombshell revelations to come from this investigation? Not really. But I do think that it will be difficult for the Ethics Committee to find that all has been well with regard to whatever the FIFA Bylaws are intended to mean.

By the way, do not expect breaking news here any time soon. The Committee said that in order to preserve the presumption of innocence for all parties and to maintain confidentiality until the conclusion of the investigation, there would be no further announcements or acknowledgement of this investigation. I take that to mean that we will hear the outcome of all this sometime in 2020.

Last week we had reports that Tiger Woods wants to/plans to play in three PGA tournaments between now and Christmas. The important events on the PGA calendar are finished for the year; the top players tend to ignore any tournaments between now and Christmas; often, this is referred to as “The Silly Season” in golf. As you may imagine, the tournaments at this time of the year do not do well on TV having to go up against college football, NFL football and MLB playoffs/World Series. The tournaments get ratings that are better than infomercials – – but not a whole lot better.

The fact that this might be the start of a “comeback” for Tiger Woods and a return to the PGA Tour as a regular competitor in tour events makes any of these “Silly Season Tournaments” interesting if indeed Woods enters them. One of these tournaments is sponsored by Safeway supermarkets; if Tiger Woods enters their tournament, they will get a humongous bargain for the promotional dollars they put out for those sponsorship rights. If he does not enter, you can go yet one more year neglecting to notice that Safeway sponsors a PGA Tour event.

With football season in full swing, there is an upswing in the time-on-the-air for sideline reporters. As you know, I do not like sideline reporting because most of it is pabulum at best. Here is my fantasy sideline interview:

    An athlete in an individual sport – – say the jockey on the winner of the Kentucky Derby as an example – – meets up with the trackside interviewer. Here is the exchange I want to hear:

      Talking hair-do: Tell us what was going through your mind at the moment that you knew you had just won the Kentucky Derby.

      Athlete: Honestly, I was hoping that you would have a much more intelligent question to ask me after this big achievement in my life.

I am not holding my breath until I do hear anything like that …

Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times that is tangentially related to the Tiger Woods reports above:

“And in fight memorabilia news, the boxing gloves worn by Muhammed Ali against Joe Frazier in the 1971 ‘Fight of the Century’ sold at auction for $606,375.

“Which makes one wonder what Elin Nordegren’s infamous nine-iron would have fetched.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

6 thoughts on “Palermo = Soccer Instability”

  1. Monday mornings during football season I expect to see worthless posts about football players having career changing performances, or six former players arguing about why some dumb coach did not go for two, or why in the world would an Oklahoma State quarterback think throwing the ball out of bounds after the game clock expired would actually end the game. But no, Mr. Curmudgeon stimulates me to thumb through my bookmarks for “Favorite Elin Nordegren Photos” to see who made her nine iron.

  2. Sir:

    Regarding sidliene interviews, Gregg Popovich is pretty well known for his somewhat surly responses to stupid questions. Also, a few years ago, Nascar driver Tony Stewart really blistered the AP reporter for asking what what he, if I’m telling it correctly, referred to as “the same stupid question you asked last week.” When another reporter asked a different question, before answering he goes back to the AP reporter and says “See? Now that’s a good question.” Really brutal.

    1. Steve:

      Those are the exceptions and not the rule. Too many coaches/athletes are too polite in some of those situations. Seriously, the answer by a coach to a question such as, “What do you have to do to win tonight?” ought to be “Score more points than they do…”

      1. From a WSJ column earlier this year.
        Here was a classic exchange with TNT reporter David Aldridge during Tuesday night’s Spurs-Heat game.

        Aldridge: Pop, your impressions of the first quarter?

        Popovich: We’re behind and they’re ahead.

        Aldridge: Why is that?

        Popovich: They scored more than we did and we were pretty crappy on defense. It’s been fun.

        As Popovich turned to walk away, Alridge asked him if he wanted the New Hampshire primary results. Popovich paused.

        “Sanders and Trump,” Aldridge said.

        And for a moment, Popovich stood wordlessly and shook his head, like he’d just been told the Supreme Court had banned beer and pizza.


        An aside: Funny how I’m unable to remember the things that seem to be important and might advance my career, but can seemingly remember this sort of stuff pretty well.

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