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FIFA president Sepp Blatter (left), pictured with Russian president Vladimir Putin, was booed at the World Cup final because he continues to be the face of what is wrong with FIFA. EPA/Alexey Nikolsky

FIFA is back to its core business – but Platini should replace Blatter

Delays in stadium construction. Poor working conditions for World Cup workers. Massive budget blowouts. Nationwide protests. Ignoring the needs of millions of struggling Brazilian families. All of these…
Spain’s golden generation, featuring players such as Torres, Iniesta and Casillas, crashed out of the World Cup in Brazil, perhaps marking an end to their dominance of world football. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

Capitalism or golden generations? Explaining success in World Cups

As the World Cup reaches its climax, with Brazil, Germany, Argentina and the Netherlands to fight it out for a spot in the final, can we explain why some countries have been successful at the highest level…
The heat is on. And referees can get it wrong. Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

Forget the players, World Cup referees are feeling the heat

There has been much hand-wringing over the problems that World Cup players are facing due to the environmental extremes they are exposed to in Brazil. There has been little sympathy for the men in black…
Australia first qualified for the World Cup in 1974, when a group of part-timers under captain Peter Wilson (far right) went to West Germany. Anton Cernak

Qualifying is never easy: Australia’s World Cup history

Australia will soon begin its fourth football World Cup finals campaign – the third successive tournament it has qualified for – with group stage matches against Chile, the Netherlands and Spain. While…
The cases of Donald Sterling in the US and Dani Alves in Spain serve to emphasise that sport – and society – still has work to do to combat racism. EPA/Paul Buck

Sterling, Alves and why racism continues to dog sport worldwide

Two recent instances of sports-related racial abuse have seen athletes take strong, united stands against the scourge of racism. While the cases of Donald Sterling in the US and Dani Alves in Spain are…
Media commentary is not a reliable indicator of the severity of fan violence in Australian soccer – but policing approaches do need to improve. AAP/David Crosling

Australia has no ‘soccer hooligan’ problem – but we need a smarter policing approach

The A-League soccer game between Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers late last year attracted national media headlines for all the wrong reasons: brawls between opposing fans outside a city…
Football, with its passion, drama and larger-than-life characters, has all the elements for a good literary genre. Boris Roessler/EPA

From stadium to page: why football deserves more fiction

A great football novel is like a perfectly executed bicycle-kick goal, like players such as Argentine legends Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi; they come along once in a generation. Against the accumulated…
The man touted as the next Socceroos coach, Angle Postecoglou, meets Australian soccer’s greatest export Craig Johnston. Should we have local coaches for our national teams? AAP/Hamish Blair

The case for a home-grown coach in a global sports market

Another foreign coach of an Australian national sports team has been ushered to the overseas departure terminal. Having overseen the team’s qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Socceroos…
Shoot fast before the window closes. Bronski beat

Little known Joe Yoffe could close football transfer window

You probably haven’t heard of English footballer Joe Yoffe. Why would you? Until recently, he played for UMF Selfoss in the second tier of the Icelandic league. But Yoffe could be about to change the way…
QPR’s Joey Barton wore rainbow laces in a recent match. John Walton/PA

Solving homophobia in football? Don’t bet on it

Last week, world football was shocked by a match-fixing scandal that swallowed a minor league Australian club and cast it into a world of international betting intrigue. As allegations were levelled at…
Spurs fans: language reclaimers? Peter Byrne/PA

Tackle antisemitism, not the ‘Yid Army’ chants

Is it always wrong to use racial epithets, regardless of the context? It’s an old debate, recently revived and applied to football fans. The Football Association (FA), anti-racism campaigners and Jewish…
Victorian soccer club Southern Stars has been caught up in the biggest match-fixing scandal to hit Australian sport. What can be done to prevent further instances of corruption? ABC News

Falling Stars: Australian soccer scandal shines bright

Since taking over as chief executive of the Football Federation Australia (FFA), Australian soccer’s governing body, David Gallop would have “sold his arse” (to paraphrase Tony Abbott) to have the sport…

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