An Open Letter To Sepp Blatter

Riddle me this, Sepp. - Bryn Lennon

Waking The Red's westerner writes an open letter to Sepp Blatter, asking him why Christine Sinclair's comments against the officiating is so offensive to FIFA award voters.

Dear Sepp,

Hope you're enjoying the sun in Brazil -- it's minus 14 degrees outside here in Calgary as I'm writing this to you -- and I sure hope you had a great time snubbing Christine Sinclair and John Herdman.

Who are they, you ask? Why, the star and coach of the Canadian national women's soccer team, of course. Surely you remember them, Sepp? The ones who called out your referee, that Christina Pederson your organization sent to referee that Olympic semi-final in Manchester? The ones that then went on to win the bronze medal? Yes, that Christine Sinclair and John Herdman.

Now I can understand why you might not like Sincy (that's what we call Sinclair here in Canada) pooh-poohing Christina, but is that really a reason why you might try to dissuade voters from giving her a berth in the final 3 for the Women's Ballon d'Or? Is there also a reason why Marta was nominated instead? I mean, she's great -- no questions about that here -- but what did she REALLY do IN 2012?

Let's stack up the pieces here:

  • Marta played in Sweden with Tyreso in the Damallsvenskan, while Sincy struggled with finding a league after the WPS collapsed;
  • Marta won the domestic league title in Sweden, Sincy was taking a well deserved break...after winning an Olympic bronze medal;
  • Marta's Brazil didn't play in either the Algarve Cup or the Cyprus Cup, while Sincy and Canada were runners up in Cyprus;
  • Marta scored a paltry TWO international goals in 2012; Sincy won the golden boot at the Olympics.

I think I can go on for hours, but I know you're a busy guy -- so how on Earth do you explain how Marta's paltry 2012 "achievements" warrant being a finalist for an award honouring the BEST female player in the world? Surely you're not going back to past achievements -- oh wait, your writers actually did that. Nary a mention of anything in 2012 except for the Damallsvenskan title with Tyreso, not even the fact that Brazil massively underachieved at the London Games AND were beaten by the Canadians for Pan American Games Gold the year before (but that's another story...)

Now I'm not saying that Sincy is the queen of the World should win the title hands down, but for her to not be one of the top three, while holding onto some Olympic bling, confuses me. So what do you have to do to qualify for that elite club? Be a quiet little pawn to the game, never speak out against that darling organization even if it makes a grievous error, sort of like how Marta has been? Surely your organization is not as thin skinned as the mandarin oranges we get at Christmas time, to take offense at criticism?

And then we come to the case of John Herdman, who took over a program devastated just a year before and turned them into medal winners. I'm sure you weren't happy that Diana Matheson scored that late winner to snatch bronze and deny France a medal -- but again, what has Bruno Bini done lately that makes him one of the top 3 women's coaches of 2012? Win the Cyprus Cup? Okay...it's a pretty big deal, but more important than the Olympics? Surely not!

Is he a young(ish) man, tasked with an almost impossible task of rebuilding a defeated squad into medal contenders? Has he turned around a program that was in dire need of help? Has he inspired a new confidence in his charges? Maybe in your eyes, but a lack of a bronze medal shows me Bini's task is much less than what Herdman had to do.

I know, you're probably protesting that it wasn't you who voted on the award -- but as the folks who run the award, you must have some clout on the voters. Women's soccer surely isn't the most popular game in town, so I'm sure you (and your organization) had a hand in giving the voters information. Maybe in video format, or whatever. But it still doesn't explain away a discrepancy that still exists in my mind.

Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach had excellent seasons, and have Olympic gold to boot -- they were nominated, most likely on that fact. But then it falls to Marta? Surely even Homare Sawa or Aya Miyama, Olympic silver medalists and still defending World Cup holders, would come next (which I'm not saying they should...the Nadeshiko Japan were rather shambolic in London)? And then there's Bini. No medals vs. a bronze...something doesn't add up there, either. Now I know Gerry is saying that this is all about tit-for-tat playground-esque revenge, and I'm really hoping it's not -- but I think I can see where he's coming from.

It might be too late now, but once again your organization has shown itself to be increasingly irrelevant with today's nominations. At this rate, UEFA might reform its Champions League faster than you can get your house in order...oh wait, they're already doing that.

I don't know what you can really do, Sepp, but your thin-skinned organization could have done so much better.

Yours in football,

John

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