Can football regain respectability?

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If asked to name the most influential and important books of all time, most of us could name a few.

The New Testament and Quran are obvious answers, as are texts on social reform such as the Magna Carta of 1215 or the Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.

All of which, whilst intended to improve the lives of the ordinary man, have been misused by some as a vehicle for more sinister purposes.

I think the allegations surrounding Fifa have now become a global crisis for football

On October 26, 1863, a group of representatives from around the country met at the Freemason’s Tavern in Great Queen Street, London, and over the next three months collectively wrote a book that would change the world forever.

A book, like the aforementioned, that could both unify and divide families, cities and countries, provide hope and inspire dreams, break hearts and spark fierce debates and sometimes violent rivalry, greed and corruption.

Whilst its selling figures or readership may not rank alongside some of the above, the Football Association Rule Book should, in my opinion, be in the Top 10 books of all time.

Few of us would get into a foreign taxi or bar and discuss politics or religion. But, like it or loathe it, the ‘beautiful game’ transcends language, politics and religion – just as it did in No Man’s Land on Christmas Day in 1914 when German and English soldiers broke cover and military protocol for a friendly kick-about.

So as the dark clouds of suspicion and allegation come rolling in over the house of Fifa, dragging football through the mud again, will our game survive the latest storm?

Or is the baby in danger of being thrown away with the bathwater?

Originally an amateur game, the switch to a professional sport and formation of a Football League in 1888 was met with some resistance and the belief that money would compromise the integrity and ‘amateurism’ of the sport.

This was a prediction which, with the often-publicised monthly wage demands of top players, and given Pompey’s recent history, seems fairly accurate.

With huge global television audiences generating commercial income, Fifa’s economic power is like that of a small country.

After his recent shambolic re-election, Sepp Blatter made an about-turn and announced he was stepping down as Fifa president.

I think the allegations surrounding Fifa have now become a global crisis for football.

Charles Darwin, author of another of the world’s most revolutionary books, On The Origin of Species, identified the process of Natural Selection, or ‘survival of the fittest’, where genetic mutations ensure certain traits transcend successive generations.

With so much money in football, will the game ever become respectable again and free from greed and corruption, or will the vacuum be filled with more of the same?