On The Fifa Scandal


Fifa has dominated the headlines since the end of last week when seven executives of soccer’s governing body were arrested together during a meeting on the upcoming elections for the organization’s President.

Of the 47 counts, not one involves Sepp Blatter, the organization’s newly re-elected President. The investigation by both the United States and Switzerland is ongoing, however. Blatter could still be indicted.

FIFA is well known internationally for its corrupt practices, and many in the soccer world are hoping that Blatter is eventually indicted. Critics of Fifa have pointed to their absolute monopoly and fault it for fostering corrupt practices and an inefficient market.

The charges were levied against a total of fourteen people connected to the corruption. Those charges include money laundering, racketeering, and conspiracy. The charges date back 24 years and include bribes to officials for marketing rights and World Cup bids.

Though Fifa’s corruption has been the worst kept secret among soccer fans and officials, the corruption within the organization was finally outed by the United States Department of Justice. Pretty much every soccer fan on social media pointed out the irony of The United States being the country to take them down since aren’t the best soccer fans. The investigation took place over a number of years and included a number of informants.

The Fifa World Cup is the biggest international sporting event in the world and is a huge money-maker for Fifa. The next two World Cups will be held in Russia and Qatar. Though the former is definitely suspect because of their own alleged corruption, the second is even more questionable.

Qatar is a small but rich country. It is on of the last dictatorships and survives on the sweat of the poor from nearby countries. In addition, during June and July when the tournament is held temperatures reach 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

More arrests are sure to come. Stay tuned!


2015 Rugby World Cup Tickets


Is it too late to get your ticket for the 2015 Rugby World Cup? It isn’t if you have all the time or money in the world.

I’ve introduced and tracked a bit of the event as it nears, and it seems the enthusiasm surrounding it is at an all time high; tickets, now unavailable through official purchase through rugbyworldcup.com, are selling online for about $3000 (£2,000) and reaching sky-high prices of $30,000 (or £20,000). Most late-game purchasers are from England, the host country itself, but fans all over the world (the tournament spans the six major continents) are scouring wildly for an opportunity at low-costing tickets.

While some are complaining about the overwhelming time sitting on waiting lists (some having to wait over seven hours to see available tickets), others are more sympathetic to the organization, understanding that it is swamped with the unexpected influx of feverish fans. While a large batch of tickets was first released, newly available tickets are being sold on a first-come-first-serve basis, and the very high demand can scarcely be met by the unequal supply. With only five months between today and the start of the tournament, prices can only be expected to rise, and anybody who has followed the course of ticket prices knows that means scary news. Is there no limit to what people will pay to see the best squads compete for the Webb Ellis trophy?

For the 2011 Rugby World Cup held in New Zealand, ticket sales went on sale in late April for a tournament that began in September—when it will begin this year. That means fans are being held ticketless even with the association’s adjustment to allow for earlier sales.

Whatever the price, it looks as if some may have to wait until the tournament starts for more to be obtainable.

The State Of Rugby In The United States


Rugby is not among the most popular sports in the United States and is not celebrated as much as it is in England or Australia but there is a strong contingent of fiercely loyal fans and players. The International Rugby Board classifies the United States as a growing market but still uncompetitive in international play.

It is, however, growing quickly as more and more youth are picking it up at an early age.

USA Rugby is the governing body that oversees rugby play from young men into professional, including college rugby which is the fastest growing segment of rugby union play in the United States. College rugby is not, however, part of the NCAA.

The United States holds the 1920 and 1924 Rugby gold medal but the decline in the sport’s popularity meant athletic talent went to play other sports. A slow increase in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s led to the formation of USA Rugby.

Though rugby was added to the 1900 Olympics it was discontinued after 1924, making the United States the reigning champions. This means international rugby play is very much in its nascent stages. The World Cup has only been held every four years since 1987. The U.S. has qualified for all but one and only 20 teams participate in the tournament each year.

But even with a sport growing in popularity and a decent national team, professional rugby in America has not faired well. Rugby Super League was USA Rugby’s attempt at creating a professional rugby championship with the U.S. The league lasted 15 years and ultimately couldn’t grow a big enough audience.

Women’s USA rugby has done very well, however, having a World Cup championship under their belt and six quarterfinal appearances in seven years of play.

The United States Eagles, as they are called, will be playing in this year’s World Cup  which will be held in England beginning on September 18th.

Rugby’s Six Nations Starts Today


Rugby’s Six Nations starts tonight and you should get excited because it kicks off with a classic. Beginning at eight o’clock Wales takes on England. Wales-England is a legendary rivalry and sure there are World Cup connotations but this match is about rugby and pride.

Six Nations is always important but this year it is the last international rugby championship before the World Cup.

The contest happens every year and always includes Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy. It is the oldest international rugby tournament and by far the most important annual tournament in the region.

Ireland which is seeing one of its highest IRB rankings in history at third is the team to beat. Last Year, Ireland won the trophy after tying in points with England, but earning more overall points. This year we are looking at an amazing contest, here are the teams:


England hosts the World Cup this year so it will be important to show their strength in the Six Nations. The team has very powerful forwards. Look out for a young and tough Billy Vunipola to intimidate and inspire the English fans.


Wales is always a potential winner in the six nations tournament. They won in both 2012 and 2013. George North is a winger for the Welsh with 21 tries in international play at just 22 years old.


After making some changes and hiring a new coach from New Zealand, they are looking a little more fierce but not yet the feared team of old.


Fresh off a Six Nations victory and playing some of their best rugby, Ireland is a force to be reckoned with. Paul O’Connell is a beastly 6’6 man with unnatural longevity that strikes fear into opponents


A team with a ton of talent but that hasn’t lived up to it. It will be interesting to watch however their tournament turns out.


Very small chance of winning the tournament but Sergio Parisse is a tough opponent.

The Top Countries For International Rugby

It’s 2015, The World Cup of Rugby is approaching. With that in mind let’s look at the top teams in International Rugby Play.


New Zealand – A constant at the top of the world rankings, also known as All Blacks. The team has won two World Cups in the short history of the trophy. They are also the current champions.

South Africa – Also known as the Springbooks, South Africa is a feared opponent and and easily has the most storied history. Their first World Cup appearance resulted in a championship and was critical in helping the country out of apartheid.

Ireland – Recently jumping up in the rankings, The Irish team is seeing its highest ranking in history. It consists of both Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland.

England – With two World Cup Finals appearances and 26 Six Nations Championship victories, The English National Team is looking tough for 2015.

Australia – Also known as the Wallabies, Australia always seems to show up in the World Cup. They have won twice.

Wales – Another strong team, The Welsh also have 26 Six Nations Championship victories. Though they haven’t had the best showing in the World Cup, they are a force to be reckoned with.

France – France has a powerful team and have made the finals of the World Cup three times, losing all three times. They have only lost twice at home. This year’s World Cup is in England.

Scotland – The British are good at rugby, this much is evident. Their best showing in the World Cup, however, is fourth place.

Argentina – Not a country you associate with rugby, but they are internationally feared in the rugby world. As best team in the Americas by far their highest ranking was third in 2008.

Samoa – AKA Manu Samua. The country is well known for producing large athletic people and they love rugby. Just don’t ask them to play on Sunday, many are devout Christians.

2015 World Cup Roundup

Rugby Founder William Web bEllis
Rugby Founder William Webb Ellis

2015 is less than a month away so it’s time to look at the 2015 World Cup of Rugby put on by World Rugby. This year it will be held in England.

The Rugby World Cup was started in 1987 and like the World Cup of Football is held every four years. The style of rugby is Rugby Union, which is much more popular than the other style, Rugby League.

The trophy that has only been hoisted by four countries is appropriately named The William Webb Ellis Cup. William Webb Ellis was is an important part of Rugby folklore as he was been widely accepted as the inventor of the sport. According to legend, Ellis wasn’t one to follow the rules, and in 1876 during a game of traditional football he caught the ball and ran with it. Interestingly, Ellis went on to become a clergyman.

There are 20 teams that will enter next years’ World Cup but only one will reign supreme, and unlike soccer, American football, or basketball it’s a pretty safe bet you can guess the outcome.

In New Zealand rugby is a way of life, much like American football here in the United States. So it is no surprise New Zealand and its extensive neighbor Australia hold four titles among them. There’s only been seven tournaments.

The only other two countries that have won the cup are England and South Africa, and there are only seven teams that have ever made the semifinals, making the sport something of an oligarchy. The other three countries that at least give some competition are Argentina, Wales and France, which has made the final three times.

The tournament spans six weeks. The first stage is group stage where the teams are separated into four teams of five. The top four countries from the world rankings three years prior are separately placed into each group.



A New Stadium for the Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills Defense Rushing the Passer
Buffalo Bills Defense Rushing the Passer

Terry Pegula and his wife Kim have finally stated that they are going to build a new football stadium for the Buffalo Bills which will result in ending the Bills’s annual home games in Toronto, Canada.

Terry Pegula is a multi-billionaire who owns both the Buffalo Bills American football team but also the Buffalo Sabre’s professional hockey team. That is, of course, in addition to his interests in natural gas and real estate.

This announcement comes just a few months after Pegula made a $1.4 million all cash purchase of the team. Having previously bought the Buffalo Sabre’s, and having shown a commitment and appreciation for the Western New York area, he was a shoe-in. His purchase and subsequent reinvigorating of the Sabre’s hockey community endeared the billionaire to Buffalo.

Buffalo is not the largest sports market and has some stiff local competition in New York City. Pegula mentioned this in a recent interview regarding the announcement, and said that this was an deciding factor in the decision to build a new stadium stating the need to be as competitive as possible.

They have not finalized a location for the new stadium, nor have they decided on a timeline, stating the need to do research to make an informed decision. There are many factors to take into account and their in no rush to build it since $140 million was just invested in the Buffalo Bills’s current stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The first priority, in fact,  for Pegula is to end the home games being played in Toronto. The Bills play a home game in Toronto each year but hold a 1 – 5 record in games played on the other side of the border. Toronto is Canada’s largest city and, in theory, part of the Bill’s market. However, the support from fan’s in the city has been sub-par.


Tom Cannavo’s Tips on How to Coach Little League

Tom Cannavo in Buffalo coaching 8-9 year olds
Tom Cannavo coaching little league

There are many reasons you might have started coaching little league baseball. Maybe you were a professional baseball player and your children are playing on the team, or maybe you picked the shortest straw among the teams’ dads. Whatever the reason, every little league coach can use some coaching of their own.

The following tips are from Tom Cannavo’s years of coaching little league from children ages 6 – 11,  and all skill levels.

Safety First!

Little league is great for kids’ self confidence, team building, etc. No need to get hyper competitive. First priority should always be safety. Make sure you have a First-Aid kit filled to the brim with the necessities. If there is heavy rain better to postpone the game, the kids aren’t pros… yet. Also, know your team. If any of the children has a medical issue it’s important to know and take the proper precautions. 

Confidence, Coaching and Dealing with Children

Whatever the reason you got into coaching little league, I’m guessing you have children of your own. So you know it’s not always easy, like herding cats. For that reason you need to be confident, kids respond to and listen to confident people. Next, you need to learn to couple your confidence with coaching and teaching. Confidence will help in dealing with parents as well.

Set up a Process of Communication

Google Drive and Email. There will be documents, forms and so forth and I’m pretty sure the early adopters of email, Dropbox and Google Drive were little league coaches and engaged parents. One cannot trust a 7 year old to give something to their parents. Whatever the process you decide on to communicate with parents, make sure everyone knows.

Know the Rules

There is a good chance that if you are reading this you have never played baseball and need to learn how to coach to play it. Learn the rules and terminology of baseball first and then familiarize yourself with the league specific rules, policies and locations. You will be interacting with umpires, officials, and overbearing parents, better to know what they’re talking about.

Part Two of Little League Coaching Tips Coming Soon!


What is Rugby?

All Blacks and America

Simply put, Rugby is a type of football.

The term football itself is by definition a broad term referring to all sports where a ball is kicked to score a goal. However, used colloquially it is a very specific term, referring to American football if you are in the United States or soccer if you’re abroad.

The objective of the sport of rugby is to score a try. A try is similar to a touchdown in American football, and is achieved by touching the ball to the ground behind the opposing team’s goal line. Teams can also earn points through conversions, penalty goals and drop goals.  each game lasts 80 minutes.

Goals can be kicked between the two posts similar to a field goal. However, this can be done during open play or as the result of a penalty.  The team that scores the try given the chance to score two additional points by kicking a conversion similar to an extra point in American football.

There are two types of Rugby. Rugby League and Ruby Union. Rugby became popular in the United Kingdom in the 1860’s when people started running the ball, and in 1895 the administration in charge of the sport split into two factions with the same rules. Rugby union is more popular world-wide. At a high level Rugby league’s rules tend to allow for a faster game.

Tom Cannavo’s simple scoring guide:

  • Rugby Union try: 5 points
  • Rugby League try: 4 points
  • Conversion in both: 2 points
  • a drop goal during open play – Union: 3 points
  • a drop goal during open play – League: 1 point


Rugby Player and Little League Coach Tom Cannavo