Blatter, don't flatter the armchair fans

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 January, 1998, 12:00am

SEPP Blatter, General Secretary of FIFA, has come out at the Football Expo in Singapore and said there's too much football on television and he wants to see air-time cut back.

To paraphrase the cognoscenti of the old terraces, 'You wot, you wot, you wot, you wot, you wot, Sepp?'.

That's like Bill Gates saying: 'There are too many computers in the workplace and I'm joining the New Luddites.' Or Ronald McDonald saying: 'Burgers are bad for you and I'm going vegetarian.' With a jaundiced eye in particular on England, Italy and Spain, Blatter thinks there may be some dilution of the game's potent hold on its audience if saturation coverage spreads.

But just cast your minds back to pre-Cable days in Hong Kong. Those days we were glad to see the FA Cup final and European Cup final once a year and the World Cup every four.

If we were good, we'd be rewarded with the occasional big English league game or int-ernational match.

Regardless of if it was TVB Jade or ATV Home, whether or not there was Nicam, we'd tune in gladly for the chance to see European, preferably English, football.

Now, it's gone from famine to feast with a diversity of live football available on cable, satellite and terrestrial channels.

Take this week, for example. We have live Premier League (Wharf) on Saturday with Manchester United v Spurs (aka 'Welcome to the Slaughterhouse') and Sunday with Derby v Blackburn.

There's also live Italian action (Wharf) on Sunday with Milan v Roma. And ESPN weigh in for good measure on Tuesday with something of a departure ? Argentine football live.

This is part of the Torneos de Verano, or Summer Tournaments. These are competitions between invited teams to plug the gap between Argentina's two league championships.

They're essentially friendlies held at resort towns Mar Del Plata and Mendoza. But bear in mind this is a World Cup year and the concept of 'friendly' may not be too prominent in the thoughts of players keen to impress national coach Daniel Passarella.

This match features Racing Club against fellow Buenos Aires side Independiente.

If live fare isn't enough there is always taped action from earlier in the week.

Wharf are the best contributors in this category. On Thursday they have Juventus v Vicenza from the Italian Serie A (which will have been played this weekend).

And then, from Spain, thre's the sure fire, guaranteed match of the week, Salamanca v Barcelona (Tuesday) from the Spanish Primera Liga. This was played on January 5 and is an absolute stormer.

Whatever you do, don't miss the last 10 minutes! And if Sepp Blatter thinks it's a game too many, he can just switch channels.