PARIS — As FIFA slid toward what has now become a full-blown collapse of its reputation and credibility, one of Sepp Blatter’s advisers suggested to the President of football’s governing body that he should lift the lid on one of his most tightly guarded secrets.Reveal how much FIFA pays you, Mark Pieth advised. The Swiss anti-corruption expert, recruited by FIFA for his expertise in corporate governance, says he argued that disclosing Blatter’s salary would demonstrate that the discredited organization is committed to change and transparency.Blatter wouldn’t have it. Pieth says the FIFA President explained that doing so risked embarrassing and upsetting his allies on the FIFA board whose pay is also secret.“He told me: ‘Well, you know, I couldn’t,’” the Basel University professor recalls. “‘It wouldn’t go down well with my friends.’”One million dollars? Five million? More than that? Two years after Blatter rejected Pieth’s advice, the exact extent of his salary and perks remain known only by him and a seeming tiny handful of perhaps no more than four others at FIFA headquarters.Here is a look at why the secrecy should be lifted:___SET AN EXAMPLE: Founded in 1904 with the simple aim of organizing football internationally, FIFA has grown into a multi-billion dollar global enterprise largely thanks to the World Cup’s financial success under Blatter’s reign since 1998.Like multi-national corporations, it publishes detailed annual financial accounts and is audited. Beset by allegations of vote-buying and corruption involving members of its ruling executive committee, FIFA also in 2011 launched reforms that tightened the way it does business but which haven’t gone far enough for its many critics.Failing to publish the pay of Blatter and other executives gives the impression that FIFA must still have something to hide, when it should set an example for football to follow.“The old idea is these guys just put their hand in the till and distribute money wildly because they have so much of it,” Pieth said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.___OTHERS DO BETTER: Some football organizations are far more open, making FIFA look secretive.Obliged to do so by U.S. law, the U.S. Soccer Federation that governs the sport in the United States files tax returns that give astounding detail about executive compensation when compared to FIFA. The filings are easy to find on the federation website.The most recent shows federation CEO Dan Flynn got a base salary of US$528,209, plus $102,250 in bonuses, for an average 40 hours of work per week in the 2013 tax year and even that the federation pays his health club bill of $180 per month.The accounts for England’s Football Association, also accessible via its website, aren’t as transparent but do show — as required by British law — that the highest paid director got 550,000 pounds ($850,000) in salary and benefits.Governed by Swiss law, FIFA’s public accounts lack such detail. They say $39.7 million was paid to “key management personnel” in 2014. That included Blatter and the 24 other members of his executive committee, plus 12 executives at FIFA headquarters.If evenly split between all 37 people, that would be $1 million each. FIFA says the total includes gross salary and social charges but won’t break down who got what or even answer questions about why it fails to do so.“We have no further comments on individual compensation,” it said by email to the AP.___COPY CONCACAF: The governing body for football in the North and Central Americas and the Caribbean has been hit hard by the latest corruption scandal.Its former general secretary, Chuck Blazer, pleaded guilty in the United States to racketeering, income tax evasion, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies and was banned from the game for life by FIFA’s ethics committee.To prevent the confederation from imploding, CONCACAF this week announced reforms that include exemplary policies on pay which will be more transparent than FIFA’s.As U.S. Soccer does, tax returns reporting executive salaries will be published on CONCACAF’s website. CONCACAF is also proposing that executives’ compensation be approved annually by its congress.These changes could pressure others, including FIFA, to follow suit.“We think if we can do it, they can do it,” CONCACAF legal adviser Sam Gandhi said in an AP phone interview. “Sports federations shouldn’t be worried about the truth. … If people are valuable, people recognize that they should be paid a valuable amount. But we shouldn’t have anything to hide when it comes to this stuff.”___COST VS. WORTH: FIFA executive committee members are treated like royalty, housed in the best hotels, ferried in limousines and, on top of reportedly generous per diems when conducting FIFA business, also paid $300,000 a year, one insider confirmed to AP.Without breaking down the expenses, FIFA’s accounts show it spends a prince’s ransom on meetings: $35.5 million in 2014, including travel and accommodation for its 209 member associations to a congress in Brazil.Jim Boyce, an executive committee member from 2011-2015, bristled at the suggestion that FIFA is overly lavish.“Bankers, for example, are getting millions of bloody bonuses and all the rest of it and their banks are going down the tube,” he said in an AP interview.“There are many people in many walks of life who are paid a salary for doing a job … That’s a personal thing between a company and the employee. It’s not dishonest if people pay their taxes.”But without detail on who gets what exactly, it’s impossible for outsiders to judge whether FIFA and the sport it is meant to serve is getting value for money.___OBSTACLES: When Blatter announced June 2 that he’ll be standing down, he also said he would use his remaining months to drive “far-reaching, fundamental reforms.”Domenico Scala, overseeing that effort, said one goal is to publish the pay of the President and Executive Committee members, because “FIFA recognizes that many have questioned the transparency by which FIFA operates.”But how that will be done and whose approval they need wasn’t explained, and FIFA wouldn’t elaborate when asked by AP. While some executives say they wouldn’t mind if their salaries are made public, others from countries where pay is seen as more of a private matter and not easily discussed may resist.And Blatter’s record doesn’t inspire confidence that he can pass this last big test of his presidency.“Whenever Blatter has a choice where to side whether with his friends or with the general public, with the critics and so on,” noted Pieth, “he chose to side with his friends.”(JOHN LEICESTER, AP Sports Columnist)TweetPinShare0 Shares
Harry Kane and England’s impressive show in the World Cup continued on Sunday. Riding on Kane’s hat-trick, England hammered Panama 6-1 in their second Group G fixture of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.John Stones scored a brace and Jesse Lingard got one too to complete England’s rout of Panama.This was the first time the Three Lions had scored five plus goals in a World Cup fixture ever. Previous top scoring matches were the 1966 final against Germany that England won 4-2 and against Belgium in 1954 when they match ended in a 4-4 tie.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEThis is only the fifth time in World Cup history that a team has scored five plus goals in the first half of a match. The last time it happened was in Brazil, when Germany hammered the hosts 7-1 in the 2014 semi-final at the Mineirao.The former champions had a 5-0 lead going into the first half. Kane scored two goals from the spot while Stones scored his brace from two headers. Lingard’s goal was one of the most sweetly struck goals in this World Cup so far. This was England’s biggest-ever victory in a World Cup match (Reuters Photo)With five goals down already, the second half started slowly as expected until Kane got a hat-trick in the most unusual way possible in the 62nd minute of the match before being replaced by Jamie Vardy. Ruben Loftus-Cheek unleashed a low shot from the edge of the box and the ball looped inside the goal over the goalkeeper to give the Tottenham striker his third goal of the match and the last goal overall.advertisementWith the 6-1 win, England are now on top of Group G with six points and a goal difference of seven. Gareth Southgate’s men will join Belgium from the group in the last 16 and the winner of their match will top the group.This was also England’s biggest-ever World Cup victory and the second most number of goals scored in a World Cup. The Three Lions had scored 11 goals in the 1966 World Cup.FIFA WORLD CUP: FIXTURES | POINTS TABLEHowever, more than England, Kane had some personal reasons to be happy about. After a brace in the last game against Tunisia, which included a last-minute winner, he has scored three in his second World Cup game and is on top of the list of most goals scored in this World Cup so far with five to his name. Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku have four each to his name.Leading goalscorers at the 2018 FIFA #WorldCup5 – @HKane4 – @Cristiano, @RomeluLukaku9 #ENGPAN pic.twitter.com/K6FVHiog8gFIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 24, 2018He is also now the third England player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup. Geoff Hurst was the first in the 1966 final and Gary Lineker was the second, when he put three past Poland in 1986.Also, Kane’s first spot kick was the first penalty converted by an England player at the World Cup since 2002. David Beckham scored the last time from the spot against Argentina. He is also the third player now behind Hunt (1966) and Lineker (1986) to score three or more goals in a group stages of a World Cup match.The 24-year-old, who now has five goals in World Cups now, is only behind Lineker (10) in terms of goals scored in a World Cup. He is level with Hurst, who also has five to his name. Bobby Charlton and Michael Owen have four each.
At a press conference held on Friday at the well known Hotel Foroyar in Torshavn and live streamed worldwide, actress and activist Pamela Anderson joined Sea Shepherd Global, Sea Shepherd USA and Sea Shepherd France to show her support for Sea Shepherd’s Operation GrindStop 2014 campaign and to shine a spotlight on the brutal and archaic mass slaughter of pilot whales and other cetaceans known as the ‘grindadrap’ or ‘grind’.Present with Anderson to represent Sea Shepherd were Lamya Essemlali, President, Sea Shepherd France and GrindStop2014 Offshore Campaign Leader; and Rosie Kunneke, Chapter Coordinator for South Africa, GrindStop 2014 Onshore Campaign Leader for Sea Shepherd USA.A long-time animal protection advocate, Anderson emphasized that though the Faroese people once needed to kill pilot whales for food, there is no longer any need in the modern world to kill cetaceans.“This is not for survival. There are very few things that happen like this, that are this brutal,” said Pamela Anderson. “We have to put this behind us and move on, and let the whales swim freely by. And I think it’s much more important for us in the future to save our oceans and the biodiversity of our oceans that the whales are very important to.”Anderson added that cruel traditions must die out, and that it will be the next generations who bring the grind to a halt. “Young people probably feel pressure to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors. I think this is the perfect time to not listen to your parents, to think for yourself. Maybe there’s going to be a movement like there have been movements for many other things in the world where you look inside yourself and say ‘Is this something I should be doing just because my parents did it and my grandparents did it?’ This is a new time and the world is at risk…I think this is the generation that has to stand up and say ‘That was then, this is now; this is what I’m going to do.’”Sea Shepherd has led the opposition to the grind slaughter in the Faroe Islands since the 1980s. Operation GrindStop 2014 is Sea Shepherd’s largest Faroese campaign to date, with approximately 500 volunteers set to patrol the land and waters of the Faroes over the course of the campaign. Sea Shepherd’s on- and offshore teams will be present in the Faroe Islands throughout the traditionally bloodiest months of the hunt season – from June until October 1st.In a statement, Pamela Anderson said: “I have traveled to the beautiful Faroe Islands today to publicly oppose the needless killing of intelligent, sentient pilot whales and other dolphins and to support Sea Shepherd¹s Operation GrindStop 2014 campaign.“It is important to understand we are NOT AGAINST the Faroese. WE ARE FOR the whales and dolphins. We are their voice. But the eyes of the world are upon the Faroese today and it is now time to end this archaic abomination called the Grind. I support Sea Shepherd¹s efforts to end this cruel and ruthless massacre of defenseless whales and dolphins who are highly intelligent and so much like us. They have families like we do, they love them and care for them like we do, they have their own language and individual names for one another like we do, and a very complex social structure like we do.“The killing is a stain on this pristine country which no longer needs the meat of these animals to survive. When we know better, we do better. And we now know that these are sentient creatures who suffer greatly not only during the slaughter but during the very stressful drive itself. They are very socially complex animals and their entire families are being killed in front of them in a manner that would never be permitted in any slaughterhouse in the world. In addition, the meat of these animals is tainted with toxic contaminants including mercury, which is particularly harmful to pregnant women and young children.“I am fortunate to have some of my family with me today. They are surfers. What a beautiful eco-tourism destination these islands would make if only you would bring the grind to a halt. But until then the waters remain tainted with blood, staining the reputation of the Faroese. The time has come to stop the grind.”The only grind to take place this year occurred on May 18, before Sea Shepherd arrived in the Faroe Islands in June, claiming 13 pilot whales. The year before, the same Faroese town, Fuglafjørður, killed a staggering 267 pilot whales in one grind.Should a hunt commence during the course of the campaign, Sea Shepherd will take direct action to intervene and stop the grind from taking place using land, sea and air tactics. This week, Sea Shepherd’s crew was able to spot a pod of pilot whales and guide them back out to sea, safely away from the Faroese killing bays. As no preparations for a grind had begun, Sea Shepherd acted within Faroese law by chasing the pod away from shore.For hundreds of years, the people of the Danish Faroe Islands have been herding migrating pilot whales and other small cetaceans into shallow water and slaughtering them. Entire family units are destroyed, wiping out several generations of animals at a time. The Faroese claim that without the meat from these cetaceans, the people would starve. Whether or not people would have starved in the past without eating pilot whale is irrelevant. There is certainly no one in the Danish Faroe Islands who would go hungry today, much less starve, if no more cetaceans were killed.Today, the ‘grindadrap’ (whale slaughter) or ‘grind’ is a barbaric and cruel relic of history that has no place in modern civilization. The wholesale slaughter of entire families and the unimaginable horror inflicted upon these sentient, intelligent beings is unconscionable. The continued pillage of the oceans is causing disastrous consequences. Even the meat of these creatures is dangerous to consume. The European Union does not allow such activity, but the Danish Faroe Islands manage to side-step EU restrictions with their overfishing and harm to marine mammals. Sea Shepherd has taken action against the grind in years past and will do so again for GrindStop 2014.
VOD technology specialist SeaChange has integrated its Infusion advanced advertising platform with Envivio 4Caster C4 encoders, enabling multi-screen operators to monetise video delivered to Apple devices. The Infusion platform enables targeted advertisements to be dynamically inserted into linear and on-demand video streams. It can scale to 150,000 insertable channels and millions of ad assets.Operators deploying Envivio encoders in the video headend or IT datacenter can deliver broadcast TV, HTTP adaptive streaming and 3GPP mobile video services. Envivio’s 4Caster software-based architecture supports various functions including encoding, transcoding, packaging, encryption, publishing and ad insertion.“Our open Infusion platform is providing the flexibility for operators to work quickly with the widest range of video formats and devices in their monetisation strategies,” said Aseem Bakshi, general manager, advertising, SeaChange. “SeaChange has been collaborating with Envivio to help operators establish advanced video services and we’re pleased to now extend integrated HLS encoding to our advertising customers.”