David Owen: Why Financial Fair Play is unlikely to chill the transfer market

What impact should we expect UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations to have on business conducted during player transfer windows such as the one that closes today?

You might think the break-even requirement enshrined in the rules would have a chilling effect, dissuading clubs from splashing the cash on these costly assets.

Actually though I think this will be far from the case. Why? Because of the lop-sided way player valuations are dealt with in corporate accounts,

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David Owen: Champagne reveal beggars the question: Will Sepp run?

FIFA Presidential elections are different. So it was probably par for the course that the first candidate out of the traps – and this more than 16 months before any vote – should at once cast doubt on his candidacy by refusing to make clear whether he would stay in the race if the incumbent President decides to run. Indeed, he admitted he did not think he could beat Joseph Blatter, who will mark 16 years in the post at this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil,

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David Owen: Is it time to designate permanent homes for the World Cup and Olympics?

I was not altogether surprised on Friday to open my copy of The Guardian newspaper and find that the latest twists in the Qatar World Cup saga had combined with the approach of Sochi 2014 to provoke columnist Simon Jenkins into an elegant tirade.

These mega-events, Jenkins argued, “are about the crudest form of politics, that of national prestige.

“The athletico-military-industrial complex seems to have a mesmeric appeal to world leaders,

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David Owen: A team of African-Europeans in honour of Eusébio

In 2002, I travelled to Sedan in northern France to watch a match against Lens that featured some of the Senegal players likely to represent their country in the opening match of that year’s World Cup against France.

Afterwards I wrote: “If Dakar-born Patrick Vieira were playing for the country of his birth, Senegal would have a real shout at springing the World Cup’s first upset.” I was wrong, of course: Senegal beat the then World Cup-holders,

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David Owen: What Luís Suárez has in common with Diego Maradona

Hands up everyone who thought that Liverpool would be top of the Barclays Premier League at Christmas.

In truth, the Merseysiders are precariously perched: their next two games are away at Manchester City and Chelsea respectively. Lose those and they would probably be back below local rivals Everton and out of the Champions League places before the year-end. A New Year’s Day engagement back at Anfield against newly-promoted Hull then has the look of an ideal fixture with which to stop the rot – until you remember that the Tigers claimed their first-ever win over Liverpool on Humberside less than a month ago.

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David Owen: ‘Don’t play it again, Sepp’: Casablanca’s coup should not distract from the Club World Cup’s shortcomings

Congratulations to Raja Casablanca, whose 3-1 win over Ronaldinho’s Atletico Mineiro in Marrakech on Wednesday has earned them a match-up with Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in the final of the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup.

The Moroccan side will be following a trail blazed by the magnificently-named Tout Puissant Mazembe Englebert, from the Congolese mining capital of Lubumbashi, who in 2010 became the first African team to contest a Club World Cup final,

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David Owen: Homage to Catalonia

Can politics (though I hesitate to use the word) ‘succeed’ where football has failed?

I raise the question in the context of a referendum on independence that the President of Catalonia, the region around Barcelona, seems keen to hold in November 2014, less than two months after a similar vote in Scotland.

For the moment, it is far from sure this Catalonian referendum will even take place, or be seen as legally binding,

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David Owen: Why the Tiger brand name may be necessary to keep Hull’s future burning bright

Tradition versus success; it is a trade-off at the heart of some of sport’s most agonising dilemmas, and it has been spotlighted again by the shenanigans at Premier League new boys Hull City.

As a Bristol City fan of some decades’ standing, I have a certain amount of sympathy with members of the City Till We Die campaign group who oppose owner Assem Allam’s idea to rebrand the club Hull Tigers.

Then again,

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David Owen: Ryan Giggs in the pantheon of sporting veterans

“It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” Neil Young

Or is it? I remember a time when all rock stars, Young included, were, well, young. And then the music industry discovered irony, and we realised it was no more ridiculous for Jagger to perform Satisfaction at 55 than 25.

I don’t know if the deft through-ball with which Ryan Giggs, then aged 39 years and 363 days,

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David Owen: Papal audience – has FIFA learnt a classics lesson from the Olympic Movement?

Taken at face value, it was just a harmless – and rather imaginative – public relations stunt. But I wonder whether FIFA President Joseph Blatter’s present on Friday to the head of the Roman Catholic church of a Latin edition of the FIFA Weekly, the governing body’s new publishing venture, doesn’t offer us a deeper glimpse into the mind of the man who has run world football these last 15 years, even though it was an idea of the FIFA communications division.

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David Owen: Bosnia aside, my fix of new World Cup blood is drying up before its time

More than 83 years after 13 teams contested the inaugural competition in Uruguay, the flow of FIFA World Cup debutants has slowed to a trickle.

Of the 32 countries who have fought their way through to next year’s showpiece in Brazil, only Bosnia and Herzegovina have never been to the World Cup finals before. It was a similar story three years ago in South Africa where Slovakia were the only newcomers.

The only previous occasion when there was just the one newbie came the first time the competition visited Brazil,

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David Owen: A message for football from a jump-jockey’s big day

On Thursday I went to one of the most uplifting sports events I have attended in a long time.

It took place in a small English town of perhaps 12,000 people with Roman origins. Its apogee came when the sport’s supreme champion of modern times, aged 39, set a benchmark for sustained excellence and endurance on a par with Australian cricketer Don Bradman’s 99.94 Test match batting average, or US swimmer Michael Phelps’s 22 Olympic medals,

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David Owen: Premiership musings – Moyes’s slow-starting United still look a good bet for title

International breaks have made this a stuttering start to the English Premier League season. With more than a quarter of matches now completed though, the balance of forces is starting to come into clearer focus.

Of the six clubs with genuine, if in some cases remote, title aspirations, Manchester United – with three defeats already and only 50% of matches won – are in the lowest position in the table.

For me,

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David Owen: Mega-events – why FIFA needs to engage the little guy

It is 29 July 2012. I am on a bus with other journalists being whisked through south-east London on a lane reserved for Olympic vehicles. Beside us, I am uncomfortably aware, snakes a long queue of non-Olympic traffic. It is at this point that I spot a road sign that makes me do a double-take. It says: “Ha Ha Road Closed”.

I later checked on a city map and there is, bizarrely, a Ha Ha Road in that area of the UK capital.

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David Owen: Brazil 2014: England will be hoping for something better than Brazil 1950

It isn’t World Cup fever, but Tuesday night’s win over Poland has left England gripped by what I would diagnose as a mild case of World Cup euphoria.

More than 15,000 fans were said to have registered their interest in going to Brazil; bookies predicted a £100 million betting bonanza; and a much-publicised tabloid story about manager Roy Hodgson’s half-time team-talk seems only to have redoubled the country’s determination to get behind the team.

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