Friday, June 09, 2006

A Tribute to Charlie Dempsey on Opening Day...

On the opening day of the World Cup, the Germans should dedicate the games to Charlie Dempsey of New Zealand. More than any other man, Charlie assured the hosts that this day would finally come.

Interestingly enough, Charlie didn't do it by casting his vote for Germany six years ago; rather he succeeded by not voting at all. Following his support of the English bid, Charlie couldn't bring himself to vote outside of Europe. Even though the Oceania Confederation, in its Congress just months before the vote in Zurich, had directed their delegate to the FIFA Executive Committee to vote for South Africa following his support for England, he just couldn't do it.

For Charlie that would be like breaking marriage vows. After all, Europe did support Oceania becoming a Confederation and Charlie wasn't one who forgot his friends. Charlie told his associates that he had been getting calls through the night from Nelson Mandela and Gerhard Schröder and he was a nervous wreck. For him, the only answer was not voting for anyone after England's elimination.

The net effect of this was to break the impending tie which would have given Sepp Blatter the casting vote; likely to have been polled in favor of South Africa. The casting vote was not required since Charlie's withdrawal from the process left Germany with a clear majority.

So, Charlie, on this day of great celebration in Germany; a day in which everyone can be proud... take a bow and let everyone shake your hand for a job well done. We wouldn't be here today without you.

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