FIFA Pressures Mandela to Present Trophy at World Cup Final

With the 2010 World Cup being held in South Africa, it’s an obvious no-brainer that FIFA president Sepp Blatter would salivate over the possibility of closing the first ever World Cup held on the African continent with former South African President and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela presenting the champion’s trophy to either Spain or the Netherlands on Sunday. And there is no harm in asking, of course, but reports emerging that Mandela, who will be 92 this week, is under “extreme pressure” from FIFA to present the trophy are a bit unsettling, particularly in light of the passing of Mandela’s great grandaughter, Zenani, following the World Cup opening concert. Mandela’s grandson, Mandala Mandela, has spoken out on the issue:

We’ve come under extreme pressure from FIFA requiring and wishing that my grandfather be at the final today. But I think that decision will solemnly lie with him, how he wakes up today, how he feels, what his medical team says, but as well his family.

My grandfather is 92 years old next week, this is an evening game. He’s expected to hand over the trophy after the game which could be anything from 10:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and it will be quite strenuous on his part.”

Mandela has generally steered clear of the international soccer celebration, and with good reason. The family is in mourning and the man is basically 92 years old. Let it go FIFA. Or here’s a suggestionInvictus star Morgan Freeman will be at the game — maybe FIFA should consider him to present the trophy.

Mandela faces pressure to attend final [AP/ESPN]

FIFA Concerned About Wrong Replays

Man, I thought American sports and their leaders/organizers had things backwards. In soccer, we have players cussing out their coaches, players calling out their fans, questionable refereeing, and multiple missed calls. When England got screwed over Sunday by a missed goal call, I figured the outcry that soccer needs to integrate instant replay to review goals would be so strong that FIFA wouldn’t be able to resist. I figured wrong.

Apparently FIFA is run by a man more resistant to progress and the use of technology than Bud Selig, and that’s hard to do. As if not wanting to use replay to get goal calls correctly on the biggest possible stage — the World freaking Cup — is not bad enough, FIFA is more concerned with ensuring that instant replay isn’t utilized on scoreboards within the actual stadiums so as not to incite the fans and players. Apparently in Communist FIFA they don’t want instant replay to exist. My goodness.

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