Them who we
shall not name
WE at Newsmakers & Noisemakers have been known to call a spade a spade. We do not pull punches and we know no sacred cows.
Imagine our surprise therefore, when a few wise men at the association in charge of the beloved game decided that the media must not report about the nature of a sponsorship deal which they had struck with a respected institution in the country. They went on to “ban” a journalist from a popular publication from dealing with them, after he broke the exclusive story. Apparently they are not happy that the new sponsor was announced before they were ready to make the news public.
Because they wish to gag the media, we shall not name the association but instead we will confirm here that their name rhymes with Loafer. In fact we shall call them Loafer hereafter. Now, it appears the people at Loafer need to learn one or two things from the global football body, Fifa. In 2006, four top Fifa executives were sacked following a damaging US court judgement which said they had “lied repeatedly” when conducting negotiations with sponsors MasterCard.
According to top football website eufootball.biz, Fifa president Sepp Blatter wasted no time in wielding the axe in an attempt to limit the damage of the court verdict. The important thing for Loafer association to note here is that, even for a body as large as Fifa, sponsorship wrangles do occur. It would have been futile for Fifa to try and ban all media organisations who reported this case, because that would have meant banning media from every country in the world. The thought is too ridiculous to comprehend. It’s like spanking a child for reporting that another child has soiled his pants.
Fifa recognised that the sponsorship process had been soured by its own actions and not the action of some journalist holding a pen somewhere in New York. Accordingly, it dealt with those who had messed up, not those who were talking about them. However, more important than the impracticality of a football association banning journalists, is the condescending attitude that such a move betrays.
For Loafer to assume that the media is here to kowtow to their whims, reporting only the “good stuff” is a futile exercise in self aggrandisement. Such an attempt by the association to increase its own power and influence over journalists is laughable to say the least.
Football is a game of national importance, and it is in the public interest to know exactly what is happening to their game. We will report the good stuff, the bad stuff and the ugly stuff as and when it happens. Besides, Loafer is receiving taxpayers’ money from the government every year. It is therefore incumbent upon the media to hold this association to public scrutiny. If Loafer was keen to tie
things up with its old sponsor first, then it should have done so before signing a deal with a new sponsor. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling an old business partner that you are now eyeing a venture with another partner.
Business is business, as the Americans love to say. Now we at Newsmakers & Noisemakers are not experts on football, but it seems if
Loafer continues with its unjust action, one of three things could happen.
Scenario A: Loafer will continue banning journalists and only those who report sunshine even on a storm-ridden day will remain. The journalists will have egg on their face one day, however, when history records them as those who did not wish to report the truth when it was right before their eyes.
Scenario B: A plucky journalist will take Loafer to court and demand that they release information that is in the public interest as and when required to do so. All officers who do not wish to comply would have the option to leave the running of the association to media-friendly individuals.
Scenario C: With the World Cup approaching, yet another plucky journalist may seek the arbitration of CAF, the continental body, or Fifa the global body. In this case the journalist may plead his case and, if he wins, the world will know that there are certain characters at Loafer who wish to bring dictatorship to football.
We are watching.