In April 1967, in an era when sports rights-holders were apt to worry about the impact of television on attendance figures, Football League chairmen in England took less than half an hour to turn down a BBC live television proposal worth a then highly respectable £781,000.
When two [or more] elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers” – African proverb.
When FIFA, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and the OFC were brought to their knees, in 2015, as a result of the financial scandals that exposed shocking levels of graft and maladministration in the game, informed watchers of the African football landscape always wondered when the continent’s inevitable moment of reckoning would come, as it was virtually unscathed during this tumultuous period.
By David Owen
One line in Watford’s recent annual accounts jumped out at me. Explaining a near 15% increase in turnover, the strategic report said this was “mainly due to an increase in Media & Broadcasting revenue because of a higher finishing position consequently attracting increased centralised distributions from the Premier League”.
January 28 – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is facing accusations of undermining the game’s oldest domestic cup competition in a row over whether English football’s first winter break is being fairly applied.
“We must find an African solution to our problems” – Kwame Nkrumah (Prime Minister of Ghana, 1957-1966)
Anyone with an acute sense of history will remember how, in the late 1980s, the master-servant relationship between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Western financial institutions, on the one hand, and financially troubled African nations on the other, led to the imposition of flawed ‘Structural Adjustment Programmes’ (SAP) that devastated the economies of the countries that borrowed money under these onerous SAP terms and conditions.
City Football Group (CFG)’s business strategy always seemed rather baffling. Yes, OK, assemble a collection of similar businesses – in this case football clubs – inside the same tent and you can shave back-office costs. You might be able to engineer a less wasteful talent development pipeline than one-legged rivals. And if the real aim is soft power, well, the Abu Dhabi flag has been well and truly planted in outposts of the beautiful game from Melbourne to Mumbai.
“In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.”
― Samuel Taylor Coleridge
While the decision of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to unilaterally terminate its 12-year $1 billion contract with Lagardere Sports (LS) continues to reverberate around the continent – and outside of it – informed Insideworldfootball readers will not be surprised about the development.
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley
FIFA’s decision to stage an expanded 24-team Club World Cup (CWC) in China, which will take place between June 17 and July 4 2021, has serious and grave implications for the future of Africa’s most prestigious tournament – the biennial Cup of Nations.
By David Owen
October 21 – Women’s football is on a roll – and more power to its elbow for that. Nonetheless, the viewing figures for this summer’s Women’s World Cup, released at the end of last week to some fanfare, deserve to be treated with a certain amount of caution.
By Andrew Warshaw
October 21 – Everyone was appalled by the headline-making events in Sofia recently when England’s black players were verbally abused by a section of the Bulgarian fans.
Alistair Burt, a former Minister of the Crown, is one of those increasingly rare Conservative MPs who don’t make you feel like you have been transported to the Planet Zog when you talk or, more recently, listen to them.
No sooner has the video assistant referee system been implemented in the Premier League after two years of experimentation than there has been an outcry over whether it is being used properly – or in fact whether it should be employed at all.
In a speech delivered at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, on 23 January 1963, Malcom X spoke about the House Negro and the Field Negro. He said:
After the shenanigans of the last few days, and weeks, in the Byzantine world of Confederation of African Football (CAF) politics, where Niccolo Machiavelli clearly has his ardent disciples – in the art of ruthless political bloodletting and the decimation of perceived, real and feared adversaries – my original plan was to write a column on the serial governance missteps that are a clear existential threat to the organisation.
In the three decades I’ve covered African football, I have gone through the entire gamut of emotions: exhilaration – over some of the continent’s great moments at the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup; frustration – over the comedic errors our football governors repeatedly make; and deep despair, as one continually questions whether the custodians of a game that means so much, to Africa’s one billion people, will ever live up to their responsibilities and do their darned jobs diligently.