The moment Morocco entered the bidding for the 2026 World Cup, you kind of knew it wouldn’t be a straightforward affair. But few surely imagined it would become quite as bitter and bizarre as this.
Before Morocco threw its hat in the ring, there was only America. MAGA appears to be the name of the game anywhere you look these days. Make America Great Again everywhere and anywhere. As long as the US profit and their competitors eat sand (or salt water or rocks – you choose), all is good in Trump’s special democracy.
Carrying a gun into a football stadium is forbidden by Greek Law. Reaching for the gun in a threatening fashion takes this to the next level. Demanding the ref to change a decision at gun-point is an altogether novel approach to winning a title. But when PAOK of Thessaloniki scored an offside goal in the 90th minute to win the match, that’s exactly what happened. The goal was not given and the proverbial hit the fan.
The good news for Premier League club owners: top-tier English football has never been more profitable. The bad news: this is probably as good as it is going to get for at least the next five years – an age in terms of media technology.
The Bundesliga is the top football league in Western Europe’s most populous country. Based purely on these two facts, you might expect it to generate more revenue than any other rival league worldwide.
How many 19th century industries can say they have more than tripled revenues over the first 16 years of this millennium? My hunch would be only one: European club football which, according to the latest UEFA Club Licensing Benchmarking Report, generated revenues of €18.5 billion in 2016, up from €6 billion in 2000.
If there ever was a snub, then it is this one: Transparencist-in-Chief and FIFA-Almighty Gianni, The Infantino, made a trip recently to see how his flock are faring in the timid December heat of the Middle East. It was a fine trip, with lovely meals, lovely people everywhere and lovely sights to see (sic!).
When England won the recent under-17 World Cup to add to their under-20 triumph in June, one of my journalist colleagues (I wish I could take the credit) came up with a novel and intriguing idea.
Saudi Arabia may be breaking through a long criticised barrier to allow women to watch sports in stadiums, but the real questions should perhaps be around what sports they will be able to watch.
US striker Megan Rapinoe’s claim that FIFA is “old, male and stale” may have been a comment triggered by disbelief over FIFA’s final nominations for its top female player award, but the wider context does bear closer examination. A look at the top of the FIFA hierarchy shows that half its confederation presidents do not have competing national women’s senior teams.
The US were beaten by lowly Trinidad & Tobago (no, it is one country, they weren’t playing two countries at the same time), lost fair and square and to add to their grief, Panama equalised against Costa Rica with a Thierry Henry type goal (“…the referee’s decision is final”, so don’t expect a Samoura-Senegal type replay decision to bail the US out).
It was interesting to read my colleague Andrew Warshaw’s piece this week recounting Catalán sports minister Gerard Figueras’s thoughts on where the region’s top football clubs might play should the region achieve independence.
“We must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow.” Dwight D Eisenhower
As the Supreme Commander of the allies’ war effort in the European theatre during World War Two who went on to become president, ‘Ike’ knew a bit about budgets. He was fortunate as the 34th President of the US to lead the world’s biggest economy during rampant boom time,
The man who was arrested by the anti-corruption unit of the Guardia Civil in Madrid the other day, former FIFA and UEFA Grande Angel Maria Villar-Llona (alongside his son Gorka who ran CONMEBOL, leaving behind a major shambles) should not have been arrested at all.
July 20 – The G20 demonstrations in Hamburg against Qatar last Saturday were paid for by an Egyptian businessman, according to German reports. The fake event that in turn spawned ‘fake’ news reports is one of an increasingly distorting series of stories and revelations that make the real situation in Qatar hard to understand, especially when trying to put into context any impact the blockade will have on the 2022 World Cup preparations and hosting.