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Blatter vs. America -- Part 2: Why He Might Be a Little Bit Right but It's Still His Fault

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In the first part of this article, I wrote about FIFA Present Sepp Blatter's assertion that North America does not have what he called a strong league.

This week, I examine the second key part of his observations, that we have no league "recognized by American society".

Now, neither I nor Mr. Blatter are qualified to speak on behalf of American society.

Firstly, we're both old and European. Additionally what American society does or does not "recognize" is impossible to define, so I cannot prove him wrong. This means we are confronted with the possibility, however bizarre, that Herr Blatter may be right. At least a little.

In a land of myriad cable television channels, talk radio shows, websites and varying other sources of information, our society is as fragmented as any modern first world nation. Additionally, it lacks that centering influence of a state media channel, such as CBC in Canada or the BBC in London.

If Blatter meant that fewer people recognize Jordan Harvey than Kim Kardashian, then he is right. If he meant more people will watch the Superbowl than the MLS Cup Final, again he has a point.

But could the same not also be said of a top alpine skier in Norway, a cricketer in India, a leading member of the politburo in China or that bloke pretending to ride a horse whose video has been seen by a billion people in Korea?

MLS players' private lives do not make the front pages, nor their deeds on the field the back pages. Other sports push soccer to one side. That has always been the case and has not changed as Blatter lastly observed:

It is a question of time. I thought, when we had the World Cup in 1994. ... But we are now in 2012 -- it's been 18 years -- it should have been done now. But they are still struggling.

2013-01-18-JordanHarveybyJohnMay.jpgIt is here that he is tangentially right.

Soccer is growing but not as fast as may have been hoped back in 1994 when the World Cup was held here. The task turned out to be more difficult than the most optimistic had hoped.

There are two possible conclusions one could reasonably draw from his statement and an admission that it holds some water.

Planting a World Cup in a growing soccer nation does not have the medium term impact we first thought. However, if that is the correct conclusion, then Mr. Blatter's entire premise for awarding the games to Qatar is undermined.

It is undermined just as the premise that taking the Olympic Games to China would spread human rights to the Middle Kingdom proved to be farcically optimistic.

So Blatter may indeed be right under one particular set of circumstances, but those reflect poorly on FIFA's power to change the world and cast an even poorer shadow on what he sees as his likely legacy, the growth of the sport in new territories.

If America has failed, so has FIFA.

But I want to end with one new thought and the second possible conclusion as to the purpose behind his remarks.

What did the man charged with growing soccer globally think he would achieve by ramming it up the American soccer community?

It is hard for me to see any possible benefit from his words that would assist U.S. soccer to speed up its improvement curve. Blatter offered no encouragement, no solutions, no offers of further help. There was not even a rationale or an explanation offered for its failure.

All of this leaves me to conclude he was using his speech for another purpose entirely.

So watch now as I join Mr Blatter in his new hobby of making observations on minimal evidence.

Is it just possible he has some old scores to settle with U.S. Soccer connected to other matters; perhaps the way votes were cast for World Cup hosting or as a commenter on Part 1 observed for our refusal to switch to the UEFA calendar? Or the role played by U.S. Soccer's Chuck Blazer in uncovering FIFA corruption?

Just a thought, but I'm open to other wildly unsubstantiated ideas from you guys.

Whether or not they are widely recognized by American society.

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