The World Cup draw in South Africa had all the razzmatazz you would expect from such occasions and some. Not every draw gets Nelson Mandela, albeit on video. And quite right too that the Gandhi of our time was there.
Today I met a great football man. Easily done, you might think, in the city that is about to host the World Cup draw; the place must be swarming with Beckenbauers, Platinis and Beckhams.
The jury is now out on the question of which dozen-or-so of the 15 applicant English cities will be become potential hosts for the 2014 World Cup finals should England’s bid be successful – with a decision due on the 16th of this month.
David Triesman finds himself in the position not dissimilar to Prime Ministers: more popular abroad than at home. But this happened to Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair towards the end of their long reign. It has happened to Triesman barely two years in as FA chairman and just as he faces his greatest test leading England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup.
Thierry Henry’s “handled” assist in the recent match against the Republic of Ireland, which led to an “illicit” equaliser raises again the issue about the use of technology in football.
England’s wobbling World Cup bid has been reshaped and reorganised but for all the tactical changes forced on skipper Lord Triesman, the 2018 squad still seems to lack fire-power up front. There are some worthy big guns on board, like Lord Coe and Sir Keith Mills, both architects of London’s successful 2012 Olympic bid, and the articulate ex-Chelsea star Paul Elliott.
One day soon David Beckham will become Sir David Beckham. He has been the most influential English sports figure both on and off the field since the late great Bobby Moore. Bobby was never knighted – a national disgrace in my view. Now Beckham faces one of his biggest challenges on Sunday in the final of the Major League Soccer Championship.
“It was desert in July 2003.”
The Aspire academy for sports excellence – along with the city-centre skyline – is perhaps the most dramatic illustration of the pace at which Doha is changing.
Football is a sport that the majority of people in South Africa are passionate about but, there are real questions as to whether there will be a legacy for them post the 2010 World Cup.
What do the rugby sevens World Cup, tennis’s Sony Ericsson Championships and football’s Club World Cup have in common?