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One volcano one vote

Of all the stats and facts thrown around in the last couple of Blatter-dominated days, one caught my attention more forcefully than the rest.

The island of Montserrat is a British protectorate in the West Indies. It has a population of 5125, although 8000 people left in 1995 because of the volcanoes. 9% are urbanised; the remainder are rural. Its capital is called Plymouth, although that was abandoned in 1997, because of those pesky volcanoes. It doesn’t have an army, and it is listed by the CIA as a transhipment point for illicit South American narcotics bound for the US and Europe. Its main industries are tourism (when the airport and seaports aren’t closed by the volcanoes) and rum. It also grows cabbages.

Montserrat has a football team. More than that, it has a Football Association. Its national team has only played a handful of matches, 25, at last count, and most of those were away from home . . .you guessed,  because of the volcanoes. None of its international squad actually plays club football in Montserrat; the second top scorer in the current group, with one goal, half the total amassed by the top scorer, plays for Partick Thistle. Its most notable away performance came in a 2012 friendly against a Network Rail XI, staged at the ground of Charlton Athletic, when it held the fearsome railwaymen to a 4 — 4 draw.

Because of this stellar record, Montserrat is a member of FIFA, one of the 209. As such we must assume that it cast a vote in yesterday’s election . . . if we assume also that it could afford the flight and hotel for its delegate, although I’m pretty confident that if that was a problem someone speaking French or German with a Swiss accent would have picked up the tab.

Yes, a volcanic heap in the Leeward Islands has the same voting power as the football associations of China, india, Germany, England, Italy, Scotland etc.

When the FIFA revolution finally comes, and it will, the first priority must be reform of the voting system, so that it reflects the strength and status of each  member. For example, the top-ranking nation, averaged across a presidential term, might be allocated 209 votes for its preferred candidate, the second 208, the third 207, and so on, down to Montserrat and Bhutan, who would be fighting it out to see which had two votes to cast for Blatter.

Categories: Sport
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