Cardiff approved for UEFA Cup

The Football Association have approved Welsh Championship side Cardiff City to represent England in the UEFA Cup next season should they win the FA Cup (or lose it, assuming Portsmouth finish sixth or worse in the league).

Furthermore, the FA have announced that the Welsh national anthem, Land of My Fathers (Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau), will be played prior to the match.

What absolute tosh.

It’s the ENGLISH FA Cup final, not the WELSH. Play only the English anthem and let only English clubs in. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Cardiff KNEW this situation might arise when they chose to stay within the English league system with regards to European qualification, and should suck it up and accept it.

As for the anthem, even a supporters’ club has voiced its opinion that the Welsh antehm should not be played. It’s ridiculous to hear an anthem of a different country at a cup final for England. Next thing you know they’ll be saying play the anthems of the countries of all the players taking part in the final.

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Clinton wins PA

Yep, Senator Hillary Clinton’s still in the race, with a ten-point win over Sen Barack Obama in Pennsylvania. I guess all I can say is that this bodes very well for the man I’d like to see be the next top man in Washington, Sen John McCain. Still, the win for Sen Clinton quite clearly shows she still has some life left in her campaign yet…

PS — The delegate count aggregation I’m still compiling, and the first delegate counts post-PA primaries show that Sen Clinton cut Sen Obama’s lead by approximately 15 delegates on average…

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission launches recount

Here we go, then — Mugabe’s cronies helping him snatch this election. The ZEC has ordered and begun a recount in 23 constituencies — all of which went for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Also, South African President Thabo Mbeki is surely complicit in this. A Chinese ship carrying arms to Zimbabwe has left a South African port after workers refused to unload it, but the South African government said it would not interfere with the ship.

It’s time for the world to start pressuring Mr Mbeki. It’s obvious he has lost the confidence of one of the parties he’s supposed to be mediating, as MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has already asked him to step aside. It’s a pretty clear-cut case of favouritism for Robert Mugabe.

Mr Mbeki’s “quiet diplomacy” clearly has not been working as the recent developments — e.g. accusations of treason against Morgan Tsvangirai — have shown. If quiet diplomacy was working, that wouldn’t have happened. Thabo Mbeki is complicit in the Zimbabwe situation and will be complicit if any violence breaks out — which is surely why the arms are being shipped to the government in Harare? If Mugabe is to go, Mbeki has to go first, at least as ‘mediator’ in this conflict.

VT, 12 months on

Today marks the first anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre of April 16, 2007 when Seung-hui Cho killed 32 people and himself. The BBC World Service enlisted Fred D’Aguiar, a lecturer at VT, to present a documentary looking back at the incident through poetry.

Elegy for the Tech (BBC World Service documentary)

32 people lost their lives for no reason. This is how Mr D’Aguiar and his students have moved on since then, and remembering through poetry. A worthy listen.

Justice for the 96

Nineteen years.

Justice for the 96.

When you walk through a storm,
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm is a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Tho’ your dreams be
Tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart, and
You’ll Never Walk Alone
You’ll Never Walk Alone

Justice for the 96

Today, at 3:06 pm BST (10:06 pm SST), please pause for a moment’s silence to mark 19 years since the tragedy.

Quick note…

For anyone who actually regularly follows my blog (what? you mean you exist?!), I do apologise that I haven’t gotten any posts up recently. Been busy with stuff, and there are some issues, like Tibet and the Olympic protests, on which I’ve decided that it’s better to not comment on due to a possible conflict of interest, as I’m currently interning at a government ministry.

I’m still keeping the Democratic delegate count updated, if that’s any consolation. I’ll get a good post up as soon as anything major happens that I feel is safe enough for me to comment on.

Cheers.

FA Cup Final: Cardiff’s UEFA Cup hopes

With Cardiff City’s big 1-0 win on Sunday over Barnsley in the second FA Cup semi-final, the Football Association, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) find themselves stuck in a right old quandry.

As Cardiff City — an FAW member (and only an associate member of the English FA) face Portsmouth (a team who could easily qualify for the UEFA Cup through league participation) in the final, it means they stand a real chance of qualifying for the UEFA Cup, as the winner (or, if the winner’s already through by other means, the runner-up) of the FA Cup.

The catch? Well, they’re a Welsh club. Which means they can’t be entered into the UEFA Cup for winning the English domestic cup. Or, rather, they can’t be entered into the UEFA Cup by the English FA. And, of course, the FAW are unwilling to enter Cardiff City into the UEFA Cup as their entrant over the Welsh Cup victors.

While the FA has said it will review its rules, it maintains that Cardiff City play in England (along with Swansea in the league system and Merthyr Tydfil, among other teams, in the non-league system) as a “guest” team, and thus cannot qualify for Europe through its competitions. Manager Dave Jones has already said he will not take it lying down if Cardiff are barred from playing in the UEFA Cup should they make it.

A slight lifeline for Cardiff: UEFA are set to discuss giving Cardiff ‘wildcard’ status in next season’s UEFA Cup should they make it. I see a number of issues here, not least who Cardiff would replace? Would UEFA take a spot away from England? Or from Wales? Or from some poor low-coefficient country with only one UEFA Cup spot?

My personal view: Rules are rules and Cardiff know full well that if they want to have the privilege of playing in Europe they will have to do it through Wales. They could’ve chosen to go to the League of Wales, but they’ve stayed and are paying the price. The best way to settle it would be for Portsmouth to win, and still miss out via the league.

Bit harsh, but fair, imo.