David Owen: Ultra-realism and why World Cup bidding contests as we know them might soon be consigned to history


For Australia, Ben Buckley spoke about a “No Worries World Cup”.

Alexei Sorokin said Russia would be ready to show “the new country” it had become.

But, for my money, much the most interesting presentation of the three World Cup bidders that spoke at this week’s International Football Arena was that given by Yuuichiro Nakajima of Japan, the only one of the trio, by my judgment, with little chance of winning.

Read more …

David Owen: The gloves are off in the fight for the World Cup

David Owen small(2)

Tuesday was the day that the gloves came off in the battle to stage the 2018 World Cup.

By making a formal complaint to FIFA, England 2018 signalled to its arch-rival Russia that from now on, in the five-and-a-half weeks that remain before the all-important December 2 vote, it will be playing hardball.

Quite when increasingly hard-pressed FIFA officials, ensconced in their ultra-modern slate-grey citadel in the hills above Zurich, will find the time to adjudicate the matter,

Read more …

Mihir Bose: No word in modern football is more misused than “ambition”

Mihir Bose blog picture(1)

The Wayne Rooney drama illustrates two things. One, that much of what has happened to Rooney is a replay of his past, the other that the modern world of football is a curious kind of business where players, managers, administrators and even owners have all developed their own distinctive agendas. Their demands for money are always clothed in a spurious sense of higher morality.

The only ones who have not written a new script for themselves are the fans.

Read more …