51 days to go to the AFC Asian Cup, UAE 2019

David Owen: The Gill and Dyke Show, and why protectionism isn’t the answer for England

Watching developments in English football can be a trying business, whether we are talking on or off the pitch. So it is characteristic that a week which brought a big step forward in manoeuvring a respected English voice on to the sport’s top table should also have featured a proposal from the boss of the Football Association that would, in my opinion, represent a significant backwards step both for the Premier League and the England team he is trying to strengthen.

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David Owen: Financial firepower should soon put Premier League clubs back on top of Europe

Chelsea’s dramatic Champions League elimination at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night makes it likely that next week will bring down the curtain on the participation of Premier League clubs in this season’s flagship European club competition, before even the quarter-final stage. Survival in the other big continent-wide tournament, the Europa League, may last only a further 24 hours if Everton cannot get the better of Ukraine’s Dynamo Kiev over two legs.

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David Owen: A tale of two elections

FIFA isn’t the only International Sports Federation (IF) with a Presidential election on at the moment. And, looking at the way the campaign for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Presidency has started, it is hard not to conclude that world football’s governing body has a few lessons to learn.

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David Owen: The nuclear option – did the IOC just bring an avalanche down on itself?

I read that Sepp Blatter is furious about the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s reluctance to allow him to remain a member beyond its mandatory retirement age of 80. This raises the following question: if true, is he furious enough to exercise his nuclear option by allowing the 2022 World Cup to clash with the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, to the considerable detriment of the latter?

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David Owen: Enough is enough: but can football leaders unearth a credible challenger

Enough, as disco queen and noted football authority Donna Summer observed sagely in the 1970s, is enough.

With the Garcia report fiasco now piled on top of the 2022 World Cup timing fiasco, right-thinking football leaders have a responsibility to come together and get behind a challenger strong enough to unseat long-term incumbent Joseph “Sepp” Blatter in next year’s FIFA Presidential election.

FIFA’s mono-dimensional World Cup-based economy has been going gangbusters enough in recent times for the seemingly endless stream of corruption allegations against football officials to be no more than a superficial irritant,

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David Owen: Parlons Platini – a quiet chat that offers insight

The question and answer format is much resorted to in France. To one more versed in the “cut-to-the-chase” school of Anglo-American journalism, however, it can come across as woolly, evasive and self-indulgent.

By relating a conversation word for word as it happened, or purporting to, the convention both implies that every cough and splutter uttered by the protagonists is worthy of the reader’s attention and largely abdicates the editing function.

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