09/30/2009 10:26 AM
FIFA's decision to seed the European section of World Cup qualifying playoffs will have a major impact on Ireland's chances of making the World Cup finals in South Africa next year.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter was quoted in The Guardian newspaper as saying that they two-leg playoff would be seeded.
"We have decided on seeding the teams into two groups of four, taking the FIFA world rankings into account, with the top four in one pot and the others in another pot," he said. "There will be a separate draw to decide home and away."
If Ireland qualify for the playoffs it means that they could face the likes of Germany France or Portugal, depending on how the final qualifying games pan out.
A decision to have an open draw had been originally taken by FIFA, and that would have given the Irish (should they end up in second place, of course) the possibility of an easier path to South Africa.
However, the decision to seed the draw means the Republic will likely be in the group of second seeds.
The Daily Mail caught up with Chief Executive of the FAI, John Delaney, who came up with this gem about the seeding issue.
'I'm not too sure where that [seeded draw] will place us but we've got concentrate first on what we've got to do.
'We've got to try and beat Italy and take it to the last game. And if we end up in the play-offs, we'd have been delighted to have got to the play-offs at the start of the group and we'll take
what we get.'
That last phrase sounds like waving white flag: "we'll take what we get."
Why can't he sound a bit pissed off? I know I am. An open draw would have been the most transparent way to hold the playoffs.
Seeding the draw at such a late stage smacks of desperation that gives the faltering giants of world football as easy a ride as possible.
It's the football euiqvalent of a government bailout to the big boys of football who couldn't win their group.
And frankly, it stinks.
In this tough economic climate, Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trappatoni did well to secure a new contract before delivering the goods as he will now have to navigate some very choppy waters ahead if he is to steer the Irish ship down to the Cape of Good Hope.
Though we play absolutely crap football, I cannot argue with Trap's results and all in all I think like he has brought a lot of good things to the job.
However, I cannot think of any walk of life where an employee receives a contract extension before the deal has been sealed, so to speak.
Imagine going to a restaurant and paying for two steak dinners upfront. Now you know the chef has a great reputation and all, but you also kind of know the beef he works with is dodgy.
So you could be paying for a meal that will give you the runs, and it is no consolation when you are sitting on the toilet bowl to know that your filet mignon was crafted by the hands of a maestro.
Oh, and you have already paid a steep price for the same dinner again, and you have no choice but to go and eat it.
Nothing makes sense anymore.