Matthew Monk is a school teacher
from the UK who has the World Cup as one of his greatest passions. He will share his views about the past, present and future of
Read earlier columns
Giant Lizards, International Bankers, The New World
Order and Big Joâo: An Exposé
It was an innocuous site for such an important
meeting. Buried deep in the heart of the peaceful
Swiss countryside lies a huge, ornate chateau. It is
an exclusive place, twenty kilometres from the nearest
town. Standing at the centre of 700 hectares of Swiss
meadow, encompassed by thousands of birch trees and
kilometres of three metre thick walls, it is the
perfect place to do things in private. And privacy is
what these men - and their lizard masters - wanted.
Soon after Seven, on a warm spring morning the Hyundai
cars started to roll down the impressively maintained
main drive well out of the reach of any media
presence. Such caution was hardly needed - this
meeting was so secret that barely five people knew
what was really going on. Was it an exclusive golf
holiday, as it had said on the invitations, or was
something else going on? Surely those guys in yellow
uniforms couldn't be the caddies could they? Why were
they carrying machine guns and what did that big J on
their backs mean?
After thirty minutes all the guests had arrived. Each
car had carried one person only, all of whom had only
received their invitations twenty-four hours before.
They had all flown in aboard a fleet of Arabian
registered jets, crewed by this same mysterious
J-Force. Strangely all these armed men appeared to
look the same - could they be clones? They were all
tall and blonde, with the physiques of water polo
players. They all spoke perfect Portuguese, Spanish,
French, English and - strangely - Korean in the
clipped tones of a Belgian-Brazilian. What was going
One by one the guests were ushered individually into
anterooms. No one was allowed to mix before the
meeting started, and to ensure no one was tempted to
investigate too closely, a member of J-Force and a
small shifty looking Swiss man in an expensive suit
(again all identical) were placed by every door.
Silence reigned over the chateau until a whistle blew
at exactly 8 am. It was a shrill blast, blown by a
master whistler. Who could have done that so expertly
wondered the assembled guests? They were quickly to
One by one the guests filed in to a large conference
room. At the head of the table stood the Big Man. By
his side stood a familiar bald figure, dressed in a
yellow referee's costume, a whistle in his hand.
Seated a little further to the left sat The Protégé, a
colouring book and some nice crayons on the table in
front of him. The Big Man looked on happily - but
sternly - as the industrialists, bankers, TV moguls
and power brokers made their way into the room.
It was a veritable who's who of the Western capitalist
system and military-industrial complex. For the first
time the guests saw each other. The German TV magnate
was sat next to the American diplomat. Across from
them sat an Australian newspaper tycoon. Several
merchant bankers sat dotted around the impressive oak
table, representing all the major Wall Street
financial houses. Mr T took his customary place
opposite the Big Man at the far end of the table.
Even Elvis had turned up.
They all sat, and toyed with their adidas referee's
pencils and black notebooks. The Protégé rose and
asked if he could go to the toilet - the Big Man
scowled, and started to speak.
"Gentlemen," he started in a low booming tone. "I
have brought you all here for one reason, and one
reason only - we are going to finalise our plans for
Operation Korea!" A huge cheer broke out - led as
always by the elegant Frenchman who was practising
free kicks in the corner. "On behalf of my nation"
announced a certain Dr C, "I thank you - we will be
happy World Champions."
The Big Man looked on happily. His plan was now
afoot. Korea, his first, true and only love would
finally be rewarded. He stood to take the adulation
of his people. Another cheer rose from around the
polished table. Then the door opened again. In
staggered a man even older than the Big Man. As he
stumbled and fell towards the table the assembled
Executives gasped. He stopped, and aided by Mr T,
started to speak in his tough Glaswegian-New Zealand
accent. "Ere, Joâo," he shouted, "when are all them
lizards going to finish sewing together them
footballs?" The Protégé looked on at peace with
himself - it had been a hard task, and it had taken
him the best years of his life to accomplish it, but
finally, he had finished colouring in his house.
Unfortunately for everyone in Poland, Portugal, Italy
and Spain, this meting did not really take place. Now
maybe FIFA does have a private army of Joâo clones
dressed in Brasil shirts hidden away somewhere, but
even I don't believe that they have set out to
deliberately let Korea win the World Cup. FIFA is
riddled with corruption, and the sleaze reaches out to
infect all corners of the organisation, but the
conspiracy theories being thought up all across the
globe are far fetched even by the standards of the
crazies thinking them up.
I simply cannot believe that FIFA have sat down and
deliberately encouraged countless match officials to
cheat on behalf of Korea, regardless of whether they
are co-hosting the tournament or not. Now I am not
saying that people within FIFA would never think of
doing this - they allowed 1978 to be bought after all
- but before too many of you start believing what is
being said, think a little bit about the accusations.
First we are asked to believe that FIFA has chosen
Korea to win the World Cup. Now that simply does not
make any sense. Korea may be hosting this tournament,
but it is hardly a country that sets the global
agenda. If these results were happening in favour of
the USA or China, then we could be getting somewhere,
Not only is Korea too small in global terms to fit
this profile of FIFA favourite, they have been
anything but helpful to FIFA over the years. FIFA -
and Big Joâo in particular - wanted Japan to host this
tournament single-handedly. Japan provides a number
of FIFA sponsors - JVC, Canon, Xerox, Fuji Film,
Dentsu - and also has one of the biggest TV markets in
the world. It's national team wear adidas (another
main FIFA sponsor) while Korea wear Nike. Of the two
co-hosts FIFA would want Japan to win first, and Korea
a distant second.
On top of this we have to believe that FIFA have
specially selected a group of totally corrupt match
officials to take charge of Korean games only. And
when these officials are not at Korea games they
revert back to normal life. How are FIFA going to
keep that secret? Unless you believe that they have
cloned five sets of referees and assistants to replace
the ones they have gotten rid of - obviously in some
hideous way - then you have to accept that on match
day the atmosphere has been too much for them, as has
the pressure of officiating at the World Cup in front
of billions of viewers. And they got things wrong.
They have not set out to cheat, have no hidden agenda
against teams that border the Mediterranean (unless of
course Sepp got stung by a jellyfish while sunning
himself in Benidorm, you never know?) and there is no
conspiracy. Portugal peaked two years early,
collapsed under the weight of expectation and were in
big trouble long before the Korea game. Even admirers
of Portugal like me have to admit that Finland
demolished them in the spring, and unless that was a
big conspiracy as well, the signs were all there to be
What about Italy and Spain, you say? They had
perfectly legitimate goals disallowed against Korea.
I concur, but they also missed chance after chance
that would have killed Korea off. If there is a
conspiracy then Vieri, Totti, Del Piero, Joaquin,
Morientes and Hierro are in on it, how else can you
explain their misses? I agree that Spain were the
better team today, and that Korea were lucky to avoid
a two or three goal defeat, and of course the goals
should have stood, and the final penalty should have
been taken again, but was all this decided before the
match? Was the assistant told to disallow any goal
scored by Spain in extra time? Was the referee told
to let the Korean keeper advance off his line? Or
were they mistakes?
I feel sorry for any European team that goes out - yes
even Italy - but Korea have just thrived on the
atmosphere their fans have generated, and Guus Hiddink
has turned them into a great team in next to no time.
Individually Korea has no player to match Helguera,
Raul, Vieri or Maldini, but as a team they can match
almost any side in this tournament, at least for
seventy minutes. Had Vieri or Morientes taken their
chances no one would be talking about conspiracies
now, and Korea would be out like Japan.
Instead they have gone through to the semi finals,
just like Chile and Sweden have done before them when
hosting the tournament. Sweden even made the final -
was that a conspiracy as well? FIFA do not help
themselves, because they have allowed at least one
World Cup to be bought already, but that was 1978 in a
military dictatorship where opponents and
whistle-blowers were assassinated. If there was a
conspiracy in 2002 then surely some evidence would
have slipped out to prove it. And no, the ropey
decisions are not such proof. Conspiracies need
organising, meetings have to be held, documents
created. Without a paper trail there is no
conspiracy. Nixon was caught out by it in 1973, and
proof of Argentina's bribery has come to light since
1978. But unless someone comes up with something to
show Korea has been aided illegally, we should all get
on with the football.
Unless of course, FIFA has got to me...
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