FIFA head Sepp Blatter has this ridiculously annoying habit of poking his long nose into everything. Well, for most of the time he means good, although his motives are much misinterpreted. But this time he appears to have been a little more outspoken than he should have.
The FIFA chief has expressed shock at the appointment of Fabio Capello and unwittingly contributed to the ‘is-a-foreign-coach-good-for-England’ debate. He tells the BBC that England have “broken a principle of international football” by embracing yet another foreigner as coach of the national side. His argument is based as much on the ethical issue as on the apparent drying up of talent in the nation.
This is what Blatter has to say:
”I have never seen Italy, Germany, Brazil or Argentina with a coach from another country. In fact, most of the best teams have a coach from their own country. When I started at FIFA in 1975 (former England manager) Walter Winterbottom was working for us and English coaches were respected all over the world. But look at the international scene now. Which foreign teams are coached by English coaches? And where are the English footballers playing abroad? It is clear something has changed in terms of the world’s appreciation of English football.”
Blatter’s words are not exactly unjustified. That the incapable Steve McClaren was the only option left to the English FA as a home-grown coach itself tells half of the ghastly story. There is considerable concern that English talent is withering in the wake of the massive commercialization of top-flight English football and the import of an increasing number of foreign players who are perceived to be better than their English counterparts.
Blatter has expressed concern about Capello’s English speaking skills, too. The president of world football’s governing body has hinted doubts at the Italian’s ability to motivate the players should he not learn the language. Capello, at 61, doesn’t speak the language and needed an interpreter at his first press conference as England coach.