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

Lee Wellings: World Cup Qualification, a drama you live through over and over again

Apologies to those whose national football teams face a nerve wracking World Cup play-off.

And to those who dreams of reaching Brazil 2014 are already over.

For I’d like to talk about qualification. As in achieving it, sealing the deal.

As an Al Jazeera Correspondent I must be neutral, yet all around me in England there has been the agony, the pain, then the relief at securing a place in the finals.

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Lee Wellings: La Liga president faces up to match fixing

The autumn international break is a strange period isn’t it. Rightly or wrongly fans are pining for club action while the diet of World Cup qualifying ‘build-up’ is stretched to breaking point.

In England for example the comments of Jack Wilshere – plenty of potential though hardly a glittering star of the world game – on the subject of nationalism.

Everyone conveniently ignored the reality that this young footballer didn’t publish a manifesto,

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Lee Wellings: Is ‘Open Season’ on Qatar fair?

In the three years since Qatar was awarded hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup I haven’t heard their Supreme Committee or anyone with power deny anyone the right to free speech, to question or to criticise the decision.

But what would be helpful is if the critics made sure they were accurate, well researched and fair.

Some chance.

It’s open season on the 2022 hosts, where many ‘commentators’

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Lee Wellings: Chewing over the Suarez rehab

It surprised me that Luis Suarez didn’t mark his return to playing for Liverpool against Manchester United after a 157 day absence with a match winning performance. It’s so often the way with comebacks from self-inflicted adversity.

The returning ‘bad boy’ is welcomed gratefully back into the fold straight into the spotlight, and quickly reminds everyone of how much they’ve been missed with a flash of genius.

Most memorably Eric Cantona at Manchester United,

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Lee Wellings: Shake up Euro qualifiers for World Cup’s sake

It’s time to look for solutions to the potential mess that threatens to engulf European football in the season 2022/23.

FIFA and representatives of continents, nations, clubs and players are about to try and harmonise the calendar.

In the spirit of ‘ideas for solutions being more welcome than more problems’ here’s my humble offering to try and ease the disruption and logjam of fixtures.

First let’s remind ourselves of the landscape.

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Lee Wellings: Give Moyes some Fergie time

Manchester United fans won’t want to hear it, and David Moyes certainly won’t be thinking it…but it might be best for them to write this season off. Give him time.

If they win a big trophy of any description it will be a huge bonus.

This is no ordinary club and Moyes is no short term solution. He has been put in a desperately difficult situation which short term will be a nightmare,

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Lee Wellings: The Real Illusion – where DO they get the money?

How do Real Madrid do it?

No it’s not a rhetorical question, really how do they do it?

For over 100 days the question was when will Gareth Bale join them in a world record deal from Tottenham.

With the deal finally, mercifully done, we now need to ask a more interesting question. How did they do it? I can’t be the only one to believe that world record transfers should be more plausibly made by clubs with oil money behind them.

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Lee Wellings: FIFA were right to move goalposts on technology

FIFA. They really are the masters at changing their stance on an issue, taking ownership of it, and complimenting themselves on their new stance.

Please don’t misunderstand me. It’s a compliment. There are some clever operators in and around the Zurich HQ.

Blatter’s nifty footwork to become a racism trailblazer after his horrible gaffe to me in 2011 is one example.

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Lee Wellings: Jose The Simple One

The best football managers in history are often celebrated for their personalities. Their charisma. Their humour. Their temper.

But ultimately a club stands or falls on its team sheet. The players that these managers have selected.

The thing about Ferguson or Zagallo, Shankly, Clough, even Michels is that they knew which players they needed and how to use them, it’s as simple as that. No one-liner, no piece of motivation, not even a footballing philosophy like ‘total football’

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Lee Wellings: Europe shouldn’t set Qatar 2022 temperature

FIFA admit it was a mistake to award two World Cups – 2018 and 2022 – at the same time.

But anyone expecting them to admit giving 2022 to Qatar was a mistake has a long wait.

As the issue is clouded with controversy and debate we get further away from a simple, important truth. That there hasn’t been a World Cup in the Middle East and that there should be a World Cup in Middle East.

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Lee Wellings: Hooligan threat still exists

Football Hooliganism never really was ‘the English disease’ alone. The English were just good at it and, perhaps, the best at reporting it.

But English football has had another uncomfortable reminder it still exists in a nation whose reputation for trouble at football was once ‘world infamous’.

This season was only three days old when football fans and horses were back in the news. Preston fans invaded the pitch and charged at their local rivals Blackpool in a League Cup match.

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Lee Wellings: The Disappearing Players

What motivates footballers? Playing or their bank balance?

It’s easy for critics to say footballers are mercenary.

But it’s also easy to trot out the old adage: ‘players just want to play’.

I think we’d agree that for most young players, the chance to earn fortunes while doing what they love is a winning combination. But if one of these pivotal factors is removed, where does that leave a footballer?

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Lee Wellings: It’s Women’s Euros…Not a debate on the Euro

Are you watching the women’s European football championships?

If you have access to it why not? It’s a question that interests me but, more importantly, it will tax those who have been trying to increase interest in Europe and beyond.

In revisiting this subject, first let me give you the good news. The quality of the football has been pleasing. Not life changing, not Brazil 82, not Barcelona or Bayern no,

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Lee Wellings: Who needs transfer trash talk?

Remember when Diego Maradona signed for Tottenham in the late 1980s?

No neither do I, but I do remember the tabloid newspaper back page claiming the deal was done.

And I remember the same reporter coming up with transfer stories a few desks away that led me to the simple conclusion; he was dealing in fiction.

Transfer trash talk has got a much bigger audience now. The combined weight of football and social media has turned millions –

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