Evening Ticker: FIFA votes down age and term limits; Manaus pitch remains a concern; and more

SeppBlatterBrazilWorldCupPressConference1 (AP)By TIM FONTENAULT

FIFA’s 209 member countries voted Wednesday to turn down proposals that would have introduced age and term limits for officials in the sport.

Limits on age and terms are deemed essential by FIFA’s anit-corruption advisers to cleansing the scandal-ridden organization. The proposals were separate from each other, with the term limit seeming more likely to win.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter plans to seek a fifth term next May, when he will be 79 years old.

Here are some more stories from the day in soccer:

MANAUS PITCH REMAINS A CONCERN AHEAD OF ENGLAND-ITALY MATCH

Before the World Cup stadium in Manaus becomes the world’s most expensive bird toilet, there are four matches that need to be played there.

The first one is Saturday, when Group D giants England and Italy clash in their opening match. Problem is, the pitch does not look ready for a World Cup match.

“Frankly, Manaus is in bad shape,” said Carlos Botella, the head groundsman for the Royal Verd company, which is responsible for the turf at Manaus and six other World Cup stadiums.

Bad shape is an understatement, considering the streaks of dead grass all over the field. The stadium currently looks more like one that was closed for 50 years or was cheaply thrown together than one that is brand new and cost about $270 million to build.

The company has installed an emergency plan to try and prepare it for Saturday, “but I don’t think it’ll be in good condition,” Botella said.

England manager Roy Hodgson spoke out against Manaus as a World Cup location last summer because of the humidity. Manaus in the heart of the rainforest along the Amazon River.

“The maintenance has been complicated in Manaus,” Botella said. “There’re no roads, all the machinery and materials had to be brought by ship,” he said. “There’s no fertilizer, no seeds. Everything has been complicated.”

BLATTER IN FAVOR OF CHALLENGES

The Interplanetary Cup was not the only new concept the leader of the football world discussed on Wednesday.

At a meeting of FIFA’s Congress on Wednesday, Blatter suggested that managers should be able to challenge decisions made by referees, as they do in the National Football League and now Major League Baseball.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be the first to use goal-line technology, which had a successful debut in the Barclays Premier League this season. However, goal decisions are not the only thing Blatter wants to see corrected. He suggests that managers should get two challenges per match.

Blatter has previously said that goal-line technology would be the only camera review of play that he would support, making this announcement all the more surprising.

“I am hearing that comment tonight for the first time. … It would be a complete departure from what we have said so far,” said Stewart Regan, the Scotland Football Association chief executive who is an IFAB member. “There is a bit of thinking that needs to be done.”

LUKAKU BACK IN TRAINING

Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku is back in training ahead of the team’s World Cup opener next Tuesday against Algeria.

The 21-year-old striker, who scored 16 goals in 33 matches for Everton this season, suffered a right ankle sprain in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Tunisia.

Lukaku jogged with his teammates before doing balance exercises that focused on his ankles. He would have had the chance to test his ankle in a closed-door friendly against the United States on Thursday, but Belgium coach Marc Wilmots called the scrimmage off, citing traffic-related concerns in Sao Paolo.

What your thoughts on all this news? Should FIFA officials have term limits? Will we be distracted by the pitch at Manaus on Saturday? Do you support challenges? Do you think Mars can hang with Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar for 90 minutes?

Share your thoughts below.

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25 Responses to Evening Ticker: FIFA votes down age and term limits; Manaus pitch remains a concern; and more

  1. Luke says:

    “Limits on age and terms are deemed essential by FIFA’s anit-corruption advisers to cleansing the scandal-ridden organization.” Why would the corrupt officials in power want to limit themselves? Even politicians have to answer to someone in the end. Who do these clowns have to answer to?

  2. Joe says:

    Everything Blatter has said recently, reeks of desperation.

  3. Scott says:

    Pitch? How British.

    • Manny says:

      Paging @cleggjon

    • Ian says:

      Is it? The term is used rather freely in the US these days.

      • Chicago Josh says:

        Every time someone from the United States says pitch, clean sheet, or kit, somewhere else a puppy dies.

        • MiamiAl says:

          +1

          We play soccer, not futbol. We have a coach, not a gaffer, and we play on a field not a pitch. Forgive these soccer newbies. They imitate the English because they do not know any better….

          • Tru Dat says:

            Funny, because the US slogan this year “One Nation. One Team” is routinely printed in TWO different languages.

            Seems that “One Nation” is a big enough tent for two different languages, perhaps a couple different expressions can be tolerated.

            Frankly, since you make no objection to TIFO, singing songs, hlding up scarfs, and players holding strange children’s hands, what you really are doing is placing yourself (-selves) as sole arbiter of what we can and cannot rip off from other countries.

            Take a pill. More fans are always welcome. Just becase your Chewbaka mask is more authentic from someone else’s, don’t kick him/her out of the theater.

        • Clyde Frog says:

          Pitch, field, who cares? Some of you are worse than the language freaks in France who are desperate to ensure no English words infiltrate their language and ruin the language’s “purity”.

        • PD says:

          Every time someone makes this an issue, I think of three more words: stereotypical American provincialism. EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD calls the sport football. Join the rest of the planet for Pete’s sake.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Because they are hipsters imitating the British.

    • Master of the Obvious says:

      How appropriately British. They invented the game, it’s rules and the language surrounding it. Americans happen to speak that very language. Maybe the terms are correct?

      How would you feel about a Londoner calling a touchdown an “ender” or the act of dribbling in basketball “bouncer-ing” or calling the court “the wood floor”?

      Use the terms or not, that’s your choice but to take people to task for using the terms seems a little disrespectful of those who invented the association football you care enough about to visit sites like this.

      Maybe we should decide this by having a match on pitch of your choice where I will be in kit and lucky boots. I’ll invite the lads and perhaps the old gaffer will come too. We’ll certainly be playing for a clean sheet.

      (100% American by the way…)

  4. pele says:

    I believe Blatter has been watching a few too many Samsung commercials

  5. Sepp Blatter says:

    Sadly there’s a great deal of discrimination and racism regarding the Manaus pitch, and this hurts me,

  6. Timeouts says:

    If referee decisions start getting reviewed, don’t kid yourself, it’s not to get the play right. It’s to get advertising inserted in the “breaks.”

    Even if there are initially limits, the limits will always be expanded to suit advertisers eventually.
    I don’t want to watch imperfect replays that don’t really show anything, after the fact. I don’t want to watch 10 minutes of ads for beers I don’t drink and cars I don’t drive.

    I want to watch the flow.

    • Increase says:

      Meh, I think the concept for flow in soccer is somewhat over played.

      If you think about how often somebody pretends to be hurt, there really isn’t much flow at all. That said, Timeouts in soccer would suck.

      I would let a coach use a challenge though, however if he is wrong he loses a substitute. That would be a wonderful bit of added strategy.

  7. beto says:

    Can this please be the last WC where they finish a stadium the same week as the game?!

    Would be so awful to use an existing stadium for the WC?

  8. Ronster says:

    UEFA, USA, Australia should secede from FIFA and form a new transparent International Federation!

    • PD says:

      UEFA? Are you suggesting that the cause of the corruption is due to all the brown skinned 3rd world associations currently in charge at FIFA? Last I checked Blatter and Platini, the two most powerful men in the association, came through FIFA.

  9. dan says:

    FIFA is a disgusting body, they should be purged completely and rebuilt.

    It’s laughable that something meant to get rid of corruption, aka the current FIFA delegates, was even up for vote. Why would corrupt clowns vote themselves out?

  10. Bradley's Missing Mop says:

    If there is a team that is used to playing in stupid hot weather, with crazy high humidity, and a sub standard pitch, I think they might have a chance to pull out a win….