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WEEKLY WHINE

Schmilblick Patrol: Gianni Infantino

Edvard: Hello! Welcome everyone! Thank you! Thank you so much! Welcome one and all to the programme. It’s GoobNet’s Adventures of the Schmilblick Patrol, and we’re back once again to find out if three people can understand what is in the minds of the most influential and consequential people in the world. Well, this week we’ve got a very interesting fellow participating, so let’s bring him out right now. He is a Swiss man who has worked at UEFA since 2000, rising to the rank of general secretary. He has served on FIFA’s reform committee that developed the reform measures passed by the FIFA membership last week. And of course, at that meeting last week, he was elected the new president of FIFA. So here he is, FIFA president Gianni Infantino!

Gianni: Hello Edvard.

Edvard: Hello Gianni. Thank you for joining us here on the programme.

Gianni: It is a pleasure. I apologise for taking the presidency. I know it is a job that you wanted.

Edvard: Yes, I did. But congratulations on winning the election.

Gianni: Thank you.

Edvard: I am sure you’ll do a fine job and lead FIFA back to respectability. And if you do not, I will run against you in 2019.

Gianni: Well, I hope that it will not come to that.

Edvard: Very good. Very good. Well, would you like to meet our patrollers for this week?

Gianni: Yes, certainly.

Edvard: Great. First, we have Lisa from Grant Lake, TX, USA.

Lisa: Hi.

Edvard: Ginger from Atlantic City, NJ, USA.

Ginger: Hello.

Edvard: And D’Jaundine from Eugene, OR, USA.

D’Jaundine: Hi.

Edvard: Welcome to all three of you. Gianni, please inform our patrollers what your Schmilblick for today will be.

Gianni: Certainly. My Schmilblick is: Why I wish to expand the FIFA World Cup to 40 teams.

Edvard: Why you want to expand the Men’s World Cup to 40 teams. Well, it is currently composed of 32 teams. And it will remain so through at least the 2022 tournament, correct?

Gianni: Yes.

Edvard: Good. Well, let us see if our patrollers can work out why you would like to expand it. They will have up to eighteen questions in which to do so, Gianni. If they are successful in identifying your Schmilblick, they will win a trip to Japan for the Club World Cup. We’ll fly all three of you round trip to Japan, where you’ll spend eight nights in a fabulous hotel. A real one, not one of those pod ones they have in Japan. And we’ll supply you with tickets to the semifinals, the third place match, and the final. But Gianni, if they can’t correctly identify your Schmilblick within eighteen queries, you will win a trip to Las Vegas, NV, USA for Lisa’s drone race final. We’ll fly you round trip to Las Vegas, where you’ll spend five nights in a bizarrely themed hotel. And we’ll supply you with tickets to all three days of the drone races. So, a lot to play for, everyone. Patrollers, are you ready?

Ginger: Yeah!

Lisa: Ready.

D’Jaundine: Ready.

Edvard: Gianni, are you ready?

Gianni: Yes, I am.

Edvard: Then let’s go on patrol! Lisa, you have the first question.

Lisa: Hello, Gianni.

Gianni: Hello, Lisa.

Lisa: Gianni, you think the World Cup should be expanded to 40 teams. Do you believe that the World Cup is currently too small?

Gianni: Yes, I do.

Edvard: But that’s not your Schmilblick.

Gianni: It is not, no.

Edvard: But regardless, when you were compiling your list of problems that FIFA has, one of them was “World Cup too small”.

Gianni: Yes.

Edvard: Well, I must say that the Men’s World Cup is many things, but as I see it, “too small” is not one of them. Well, that is one down and seventeen to go. We move over to you now, Ginger. Let us have your first question.

Ginger: Thank you. Gianni, do you want more European teams at the World Cup?

Gianni: I want more teams at the World Cup. Some of them will be European, for sure.

Edvard: So yes, then.

Gianni: Yes. If we were to add eight teams, but none of them were from Europe, I would not believe that was fair. We have to make the extra places available to all confederations.

Edvard: Interesting. Well, that is two down and sixteen to go. And before we continue with our next question, we will of course take a moment to meet our patrollers. D’Jaundine, hi.

D’Jaundine: Hello Edvard.

Edvard: You are from Eugene, Oregon.

D’Jaundine: Yes.

Edvard: What do you do there?

D’Jaundine: I help oversee chemical disposal at several sites within the city.

Edvard: Chemical disposal.

D’Jaundine: Yes. There are some old landfills in the city that need to be cleaned up. I am making sure that they are cleaned up safely so that our groundwater is not contaminated.

Edvard: What sorts of chemicals are we talking about?

D’Jaundine: Primarily solvents and oils.

Edvard: And these were simply tossed into a landfill?

D’Jaundine: Yes. Prior to the 1970s and 1980s, there were far fewer environmental regulations.

Edvard: So these are landfills that are thirty to forty years old and have been contaminating the water ever since?

D’Jaundine: Very little of these products so far have made their way into the groundwater. It can take decades for this to happen, which is why we need to act now before it is too late.

Edvard: Well, thank you for acting now and keeping our environment safe. Let us have your first question for Gianni, please.

D’Jaundine: Yes, thank you. Hello, Gianni.

Gianni: Good evening, D’Jaundine.

D’Jaundine: Gianni, does FIFA need more television money from the additional matches because it is running out of money?

Edvard: Well, that’s a mighty specific shot. Gianni, is it the television money?

Gianni: No, it is not.

Edvard: It’s not?

Gianni: No.

Edvard: Well. This really is a new FIFA. This is also three down and fifteen to go. Lisa, hi.

Lisa: Hi, Edvard.

Edvard: What do you do there in Texas?

Lisa: I am in sales at a chemical distributor.

Edvard: A chemical distributor? What sorts of chemicals?

Lisa: Primarily solvents and oils.

Edvard: Do you ship any chemicals to Oregon, by any chance?

Lisa: I do not know. Not since I have worked there.

Edvard: Nothing to do with you. Good. Tell us about this drone race in Las Vegas.

Lisa: Yes, I am part of an organisation that builds race courses for drones.

Edvard: What sorts of drones?

Lisa: Under one pound. We place hoops all throughout the course that the drones must fly through. So it requires speed and accuracy.

Edvard: Great. Well, Gianni, you have that to look forward to should you win today. But let’s see if you can prevent that from happening, Lisa, with your next question for him.

Lisa: Gianni, do you want to expand the World Cup in order to make it more confusing?

Gianni: Sorry. More confusing?

Lisa: Yes. Like, 32 teams is a lot, but it’s not quite so many that fans can’t keep them straight. So are you trying to make it so that there are so many teams that nobody knows who’s who?

Gianni: No, that is not the reason.

Edvard: Interesting. But not correct in the end, and so it is four down and fourteen to go. Ginger, hi.

Ginger: Hello.

Edvard: And what do you do in Atlantic City?

Ginger: I procure chemicals at a university laboratory.

Edvard: What, really?

Ginger: Yes.

Edvard: Solvents and oils?

Ginger: Among other things, yes.

Edvard: Do any of them come from Texas?

Ginger: Probably, yes.

Edvard: And do any of them end up in landfills in Oregon?

Ginger: Absolutely not. We dispose of them properly.

Edvard: Good to hear. And it says here that you like women’s football.

Ginger: Yes. I am a big supporter of our local team, Sky Blue FC.

Edvard: Who is your favourite player?

Ginger: Christie Rampone.

Edvard: USA legend.

Ginger: Yep. We love her back in Jersey.

Edvard: Wonderful. Well, good luck with your chemicals, and keep disposing them properly. Meantime, let us have your next question for Gianni.

Ginger: Sure. Gianni, do you want to expand the World Cup so that it will take longer to play?

Gianni: No. In fact, a World Cup with 40 teams could be completed in the same time as the current competition.

Edvard: Really? How?

Gianni: There would be more matches per day.

Edvard: That seems counterproductive, but let us table that for now. It is currently five down and thirteen to go. D’Jaundine, you may now ask your second question of Gianni.

D’Jaundine: Gianni, do you think that there should be more teams from other parts of the world, outside Europe and South America?

Gianni: Yes, I do.

Edvard: But that’s not your Schmilblick.

Gianni: No, it is not.

Edvard: Well, progress, regardless. It is now six down and twelve to go. We have gone to each patroller twice so far. Lisa, we will go to you for your third question.

Lisa: Gianni, would non-FIFA teams such as Gibraltar and the Basque national team be eligible to qualify for an expanded World Cup?

Edvard: Hm. Well, that’s certainly an intriguing possibility. It would quite literally be an expanded tournament. Gianni?

Gianni: No, it would continue to be open to members of FIFA only.

Edvard: So seven down and eleven to go. Ginger?

Ginger: Gianni, would you support FIFA membership for nations that are not currently members, such as Gibraltar and the Basque country?

Gianni: In principle, providing that they met the necessary conditions, yes.

Edvard: So a hollow answer takes us to eight down and ten to go. Back to you, D’Jaundine.

D’Jaundine: Gianni, if the World Cup went to 40 teams, would it add an extra knockout round?

Gianni: No, it could be done with only sixteen teams advancing. You would have ten groups, with the group winners and the six best runners up advancing.

Edvard: Only six of the second placed teams would advance?

Gianni: Correct.

Edvard: What would be the criteria?

Gianni: If I were to answer that, it would be cheating.

Edvard: Cheating?

Gianni: Yes. The patrollers have nine more questions, do they not?

Edvard: You are correct. Who’s hosting this programme, anyway?

Gianni: Well, I will need someplace to go if you replace me as FIFA president.

Edvard: Yes. I’m coming for you, Gianni. It is nine down and nine to go, however. We have reached the halfway point of our questioning, and our patrollers are making some progress in identifying the Schmilblick of new FIFA president Gianni Infantino, which today is why he favours expansion of the Men’s World Cup to 40 teams. We go back to you, Lisa. What will your fourth question be?

Lisa: Gianni, you mentioned that six of the ten second placed teams would advance, but you wouldn’t talk about the criteria. Do those criteria have something to do with your Schmilblick?

Gianni: Yes, they do.

Edvard: Interesting. That could concentrate the questioning for our last set of queries. It is now ten down and eight to go as we come back to you, Ginger. Give us your next question, please.

Ginger: Gianni, currently in these sorts of scenarios, the teams to advance are selected based upon points and goal difference. Would your proposed criteria be different?

Gianni: Yes.

Edvard: Really?

Gianni: Yes.

Edvard: That seems very odd, but we will discover the method behind your madness, I’m sure. We are now at eleven down and seven to go. D’Jaundine, we come back to you.

D’Jaundine: Gianni, do you propose to decide the advancing teams by lottery?

Gianni: No.

Edvard: You don’t want to pull ping pong balls out of a bowl?

Gianni: I have already conducted many such ceremonies.

Edvard: You certainly have. So that takes us to twelve down and six to go. Only two more questions from each of our patrollers. Lisa, the heat is on. Can you come through for the team?

Lisa: I hope so. Gianni, would the criteria be based on some kind of skills competition?

Gianni: Skills competition?

Lisa: Yeah. You know, like maybe the second placed teams all send somebody to take penalty kicks, and the first four that miss are eliminated, and the other six move on.

Gianni: Ah, I understand. That is not what I have in mind, no.

Edvard: Are you sure? That sounds like enormous fun.

Gianni: It certainly does. I may wish to hire you as a consultant.

Edvard: Well, we are now at thirteen down and five to go. Ginger, what will you ask?

Ginger: Gianni, would your proposed criteria include a trivia contest involving the players?

Edvard: That sounds like enormous fun, too.

Gianni: It does. But no, that is not what I have in mind either.

Edvard: All right. That means it is now fourteen down and four to go. D’Jaundine?

D’Jaundine: Gianni, would your proposed criteria be based upon past performance?

Gianni: No.

Edvard: So, teams that have performed well at past Men’s World Cups would get priority.

Gianni: Actually, for a time, I considered the opposite. Teams that have not previously reached the knockout stages would get priority.

Edvard: Really?

Gianni: Yes. You see, this would require historically good teams to win their groups outright if they want to be assured of reaching the last sixteen. Meanwhile, upstart teams without so much history would have a chance to advance even if they finish in second place. Therefore, it would have the advantage of removing the incentive for top tier teams to coast through the group stages. Every match would be competitive.

Edvard: And it also favours turnover in the elimination phase from one tournament from the next. I must say, that is a very good idea. Why did you move away from this?

Gianni: All will be revealed, Edvard.

Edvard: I do hope so. And apparently we will not have to wait too long, as it is now fifteen down and three to go. Lisa, you are down to your last question for Gianni.

Lisa: Gianni, would the criteria be based on the FIFA rankings?

Gianni: No, they would not.

Edvard: Something not based on the FIFA rankings? This really is a new FIFA. But that’s sixteen down and two to go. One more question for you, Ginger.

Ginger: Gianni, would your proposed criteria involve a three legged race?

Gianni: Sorry, what? A three legged race?

Ginger: Yeah. You know, you’d get two players from each team, and they’d have to run a race with one player’s right leg tied to his teammate’s left leg.

Gianni: That is... that is not what I had in mind, no.

Edvard: That sounds like enormous fun, too. These are some fantastic ideas. Gianni, how could you not go with any of these?

Gianni: I do have a proposal.

Edvard: It had better be epic. You’ve got some brilliant ideas to go up against now. But it is seventeen down and one to go. D’Jaundine, you are the last hope for the patrollers. One more query. Can you do it?

D’Jaundine: Gianni, do you propose to decide which second placed teams advance by holding a Eurovision-style singing contest involving the players and voted on by fans around the world?

Gianni: Yes. And that’s my Schmilblick.

Edvard: It is?

Gianni: Yes.

Edvard: Really?

Gianni: Yes.

Edvard: A singing competition?

Gianni: Yes.

Edvard: Involving footballers?

Gianni: That is correct.

Edvard: Isn’t it likely that the players will all be horrible singers and that the whole thing will become a giant fiasco?

Gianni: Even if that were the case, I ask you: Would you watch it?

Edvard: Of course I would. That’s not a fair question. Round of Sixteen Qualifying Night 2026: Footballers Try to Sing? How could I tune away from that? Well, congratulations are in order to our patrollers. You have identified Gianni Infantino’s Schmilblick at the last opportunity. Gianni, you’ve missed out on that trip to Las Vegas, but Lisa, Ginger, and D’Jaundine, you are on your way to Japan for the Club World Cup. Have a wonderful time out there. Thank you for joining us, everyone. And thanks to you at home for being with us tonight. On behalf of all of us here at GoobNet, this is Edvard van de Kamp, wishing you good tidings and better Schmilblicks. Good night everyone!

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