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Use Football To Change The World!


footballDuring the week, I watched all the matches of the Champions League in Europe. I mean, if you look around at the mess you have made of the world in virtually all fields, you must give yourselves a pat on the back for succeeding in football.

Permit me a little introduction since you can already observe I am writing in a rather unusual manner.

Actually, I am not human like you, yet you and I are one. I am that inner voice inside you that speaks to you all the time, even now. So, I watch everything you watch, even though understanding this would take a little deep thinking and belief. But, it does not matter. Just read this and take it for whatever it is worth, even a pinch of salt.

First know that I am with you all the time. Second, also know that I do not interfere or intervene in anything you do since you inherited the greatest gift of ‘free will’ at Creation, that is, the ability to choose whatever you want for yourself, and so shall it be! You received that power. The only caveat is that there is a consequence for whatever you choose which shall follow a universal order of things, an unchanging equilibrium that guarantees that the universe will react in accordance to your choice. In other words, you reap according to what you sow!

You are neither punished nor rewarded for choosing. Your deeds attract their reward and punishment. The universe that is connected to everything within it merely reacts to your choices, and in your limited understanding you consider the results ‘reward’ or ‘punishment’ from somewhere above.

Sorry, the rules of life are set, you play the ‘game’ and the universe hands back to you the product of the seed you have sown, period! That is the perfect unchanging order of things since the beginning of time. You are the master of your fortune.

Your pain, your joy, all your experiences have been the product of your choices and creative acts! Unfortunately, you do not take responsibility and continue to credit the products of handiwork to other sources.

Most of you even fast, pray and make sacrifices, endlessly asking for divine intervention, ‘bribing’ nature to become ‘partisan’ and excuse your failures, grant selfish requests when all you ask for is within your ‘power’ to create for yourself by simply making the right and appropriate choices. Once again, let me remind you that you are the master of your own fortune. Everything is in your hands and in your power. As it was in the beginning, so it is now, and so shall it be, world without end!

Forgive me for digressing. I started by telling you about the Barcelona match this past week. It was great entertainment, a masterful display of the mastery of a sport by some of the talented and gifted amongst you.

You surely have done well in a few areas in the course of your civilisation but two stand out shining with the brilliance of a million stars. They are a simple round object that you kick around, and a game organised amongst yourselves that captures the interest and imagination of your entire world.

The match this week epitomised it all. Its beauty contrasted sharply with other events in your world where wars, conflicts and crisis are pouring down in torrents.

These have become so pervasive that even football is no longer immune. It’s future is now being threatened by scandals unheard of in the history of the sport as revealed by the ongoing investigations into corruption in FIFA, the organisation created by you to oversee your beautiful sport.

The moment money crept into the equation of football it became a potential victim of money’s ugly side – the root of all evil.

This is a game that had transcended all manner of human frailties and failures – politics, power, religion, race, ethnicity, class, colour, and creed that is now being threatened by the world’s lust and materialistic propensities. This is the sport that evokes passion, that creates bridges across lines, promotes national unity and patriotism, yet cement friendship across nations, submits every one to common rules and laws, and ensures healthy competition amongst the different peoples of the world like no other activity in history.
Unfortunately, you do not appreciate it for what it really is, yet I tell you, the ball and the game of football are two of your greatest creations. Both unite the world in ways that confound even the wisest amongst you.

My message for you this day is this: protect football, cherish it, nurse it, don’t allow it to slide into the cesspool of the ugliness around most of your other activities.

Football is a great game that if you think properly and use it well, will serve you bountifully.

You love it. You follow it with uncommon passion. It brings you joy, you celebrate and reward the talented ones amongst you, it provides a livelihood directly for millions amongst you and indirectly to all of you (remember that what affects one affects all), and every four years it brings all of you together in a festival that spreads love and friendship, and generates huge resources that can drive massive causes in your world.

The evil side of money has infected not just FIFA but football leadership across the globe, in national federations and continental confederations, promoting systems and structures that fuel corruption, monopoly of power, financial brigandage and wanton greed!

The investigations into FIFA reveal rot so pervasive that all of humanity must rise up now and choose a different way. FIFA is reaping what it sowed. People must stop looking on helplessly and hopelessly, stop passing the buck and take responsibility by making the right choice of leadership next time around and by introducing checks and balances that will prevent a repetition of the failures of the past.

Football is a perfect tool to join with other progressive human forces and guide humanity away from the edge of the social, political and economic precipice where it now perches dangerously.

Nelson Mandela saw it and said it before the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. President Bill Clinton saw it and said it in 2004 at the University of Rhode Island when he delivered a lecture about the globalisation of humanity. Tony Blair saw it and wrote about it in a column he wrote entitled, ‘Beyond Sports’ in Time magazine some years ago. ‘Football has the power to change the world’.

Football’s power lies in its followership, in its simplicity, in the people’s passion and love for it, in its ability to create wealth, to promote causes, to bring even conflicting communities together to compete freely, fairly and in friendship, to obey common laws and rules, and to promote moral values that are the essential tools to globalize the humanity in all people.

There is a looming opportunity to choose another way and another kind of leadership that can change the world of football.

When the time comes to choose the next president of FIFA in February 2016, let those to do so be wise and think of the greater good of all, and look carefully not at the rich and powerful, but at the simple and the humble, with the character, conduct, records and message that resonate with the spirit of change, of love, compassion, humanity, humility, decency, transparency, and integrity.

I have delivered my message. Back to my football match this past week where Messi, Neymar, Pique, Suarez, Alves and the rest of the Barca squad gave me a master class on the best of football. I am salivating for more of the kind!

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