David Owen: A route to a biennial World Cup?

UEFA’s drive to turn Euro 2020 into a multinational event, rather than a tournament put on by one or two host-countries, seems to have ushered in one of those periods when the structure of numerous elite football competitions is up for debate.

In recent weeks suggestions have surfaced for: non-European countries to be invited to the European championships; a super league of elite European clubs; and friendly internationals to be replaced by a European Nations League.

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David Owen: Why England should not pin their hopes on Adnan Januzaj

Nations over the centuries have found different ways to enhance their prestige.

They have waged wars; they have erected great buildings; they have cultivated institutions of artistic excellence.

We in Britain should take great pride in the fact that today, in the year of the Football Association’s 150th anniversary, one of the most popular ways in which nations strive to achieve this is by excelling in sports many of which were invented by our 19th century ancestors.

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David Owen: Qatar and the 2022 World Cup – Expect Amazing, perhaps; Expect A Maze, definitely

Expect Amazing. As a writer, I was never a great fan of the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid slogan, on grounds of dodgy syntax.

With the benefit of hindsight, I can now see they were just one syllable away from a formulation that pretty well encapsulates what we have been going through since the Gulf state’s fourth-round December 2010 victory: Expect A Maze.

To summarise – with the third anniversary of Qatar’s moment of moments fast approaching,

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David Owen: Whatever happens on the pitch, Spurs could soon overtake Arsenal at the head of the Premier League profits table

After a weekend in which none of the Premier League’s big three managed to win, it remains tough to predict who will emerge as the 2013-14 champions. But you don’t need too powerful a crystal ball even at this stage to foresee which club is likely to make the season’s biggest pre-tax profit.

Assuming the soap opera of Gareth Bale’s transfer to Real Madrid (or A.N.Other) reaches a consummation before the window closes,

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David Owen: A big step forward, but where do you draw the new technology line?

I don’t know if Michel Platini is a fan of Ashes cricket.

If he is, he might have allowed himself a wry smile at the way debates relating to the sport’s attempts to harness technology to improve the quality of on-pitch decisions have provided an engrossing sub-text to the live action as the series has progressed.

Platini as far as I know still opposes use of the sort of goal-line technology that the Premier League will deploy for the first time at Anfield on Saturday when Liverpool and Stoke City kick off the 2013-14 season.

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David Owen: Putting football into perspective

The anniversary of Hiroshima fell this week, as it usually does, in the middle of football’s silly season.

Millions for a few weeks consecrate every spare minute to fretting over what coloured shirt a dozen or so millionaires will be wearing next month; or to reading significance into meaningless matches.

Yet 68 years ago this happened.

It’s progress, I suppose.

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David Owen: Why Sky versus BT may turn into a long-running Premier League fixture

The season has yet to kick off, but this is a big week for the Barclays Premier League.

On August 1, the seed sown in spectacular fashion just over a year ago by BT, a traditional telephone company, is scheduled to bear its first fruit with the launch of its BT Sport channels.

Two days later, BT Sport will begin its live football coverage with Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard’s testimonial match against Olympiacos of Greece.

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David Owen: Why Turkish Airlines boss finds delight in Dortmund

A summer Thursday on the shores of Lake Geneva. I am in a salon in Lausanne’s plush Palace hotel talking to Temel Kotil, President and chief executive of Turkish Airlines.

We are just days away from the curtain being drawn on the airline’s sponsorship of Manchester United, arguably the world’s favourite football club (Aeroflot have become the club’s sponsor). Yet I don’t think I have ever met a business leader so bursting with enthusiasm about the effect sporting partnerships can have on multinational companies.

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David Owen: Balancing a £1bn profit with reality

I don’t know about you, but I always thought that company accounts were supposed to reflect financial reality.

Not, it seems, when the value of professional footballers is concerned.

Over the five years between 2008 and 2012, clubs competing in England’s Premier League booked a cool £1 billion-plus in net profits from the sale of players.

This means, in effect, that those players were undervalued by the same amount in the clubs’

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David Owen: Protests show it’s time for Big Sport to shake off complacency

Demonstrations in Istanbul; a protest over high ticket prices by football fans in London; demonstrations in Brazil.

Decidedly, the world has changed, but the question is, ‘Have the grandees who run Big Sport taken notice?’

Yes, it is simplistic to bracket these three manifestations of frustration and rage together.

The Istanbul protesters seemed indifferent to, or even mildly positive about, their city’s prospects of hosting the 2020 Olympics – although they have thrown a spanner in that particular works.

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David Owen: Financial fine print makes interesting reading, especially for Arsenal and Villa fans

I have been trawling the fine print of the new Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance (so you don’t have to).

Since football fans like league tables, I have used the data to put together 26 top-threes ranking English Premier League clubs according to different financial parameters.

I wouldn’t read too much into them without scrutinising the big picture.

However, Arsenal supporters, starved of real on-field success, may have mixed feelings about the north London club’s top ranking for most cash,

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David Owen: Not being there – how television became football’s chief paymaster

Nothing in recent years has changed football as much as television.

The box in the living-room corner has spawned Manchester United fans from Tacoma to Tahiti and made top players as wealthy as successful bond traders.

Few of us now, not even the most avid groundhoppers, consume as many matches live as on TV.

Even professional football reporters, who think nothing of covering 100 games a season, will turn instantly to the screens scattered around the press stands to assess whether a foul has been committed or the ball has crossed the line.

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David Owen: Is Spain signposting the way to a European Superleague?

Carlo Ancelotti may be about to inherit a problem.

The former Chelsea manager is, as I write this, prohibitive odds-on favourite to succeed the new Chelsea manager José Mourinho in the hot seat at Real Madrid.

If he does, the Italian will be looked to by the Spanish club’s fans to deliver a 10th European Cup to the Bernabéu’s church-like trophy-room – and the first for more than a decade.

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David Owen: The FIFA Club Protection Programme – delving into the detail

I have been delving further into the detail of FIFA’s new Club Protection Programme (CPP), the scheme designed to remove a longstanding bone of contention by compensating clubs when players they employ are injured on international duty.

I was concerned lest an unforeseen spate of injuries sent costs soaring to the point where they absorbed most or all of FIFA’s positive annual result. This stood at $89 million in 2012.

The world football governing body has now told me that they have moved to protect themselves against unexpectedly high costs.

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David Owen: Ja, ja, it’s German week in London – but should we be congratulating the FA for its foresight in rebuilding Wembley?

Yes, OK, this is the German renaissance – and the juxtaposition of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in Saturday’s European Cup final certainly indicates that German football is doing something right.

But, in one small detail, the match is a notable coup for the English game: it is being played at Wembley, the second time in just three years that European club football’s flagship occasion has been staged underneath the now famous arch.

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