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Football

Can the Euros decide how the Brits vote in the referendum?

Posted June 20, 2016
 
On the face of it this is an absurd question. How can what happens to England, Wales and Northern Ireland make any difference to how they vote in the EU referendum?

The first is a football tournament that at the end of the day only affects one continent, albeit the most important one in footballing terms – it controls the game economically, the best players in the world play on the continent and, after Germany’s victory in Brazil, south America can no longer claim that at least on the field of play it is superior. Nevertheless kicking a ball, or worrying about Ronaldo’s moods, has surely nothing to do with how we decide what is described as a decision that will affect not merely us but our children and their children.

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West Ham deal exposes the moral vacuum at the heart of UK politics

Posted April 15, 2016

Inside World Football 

The great gift the London Legacy Development Corporation, chaired by Boris Johnson, has given West Ham football club is the sort of gift that makes the money that David Cameron’s mother gave him to help avoid inheritance tax look like chicken feed. It also exposes the fact that when it comes to the national game not only are our political masters grossly unfair, favouring some clubs while penalising the vast majority, but there is also a huge question of whether football has lost its moral compass.

The details of the deal finally revealed, due to the exemplary tenacity of football fans, should come as no surprise. Many of us suspected it, Barry Hearn has for more than two years been shouting from the rooftops that Hammers got amazing sweeteners and, in recent months, there have been media disclosures. Even then the details now confirmed take the breath away.

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Could FIFA do with a Donald Trump?

Posted February 26, 2016

London Loves Business

FIFA’s presidential candidates are a bland bunch. They should be calling for revolutionary change, argues Mihir Bose

Imagine an election which has some of the elements of the US primary race but is in many ways more bottled up than the election of board of directors of a well-run company.

That is exactly what the election for the FIFA President to succeed Sepp Blatter is turning out to be. I have spent the last two days in Zurich and this city of bankers has never seen anything like this.

FIFA Congresses have always been football’s equivalent of the barons of the medieval age meeting for a joust. The 209 member countries that make up FIFA herd together under the various continental confederations. Each of the confederations have their own hotels dotted round the main conference centre, their flags fly outside the hotels, and the atmosphere is very much like the barons pitching tents round the jousting field.

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Fifa elections: Limos but no parties as world football picks new chief

Posted February 25, 2016

London Evening Standard

The first thing greeting passengers arriving at Zurich airport is a sign reading “Fifa Congress: Limousine Service”.

When I ask one of the two young ladies holding up the placard who is entitled to ride in the limos she tells me they are reserved for the high officials who run world football.

The US Justice Department may have charged high Fifa officials with racketeering, and even Zurich taxi drivers talk of its bosses as “mafiosi”, but the hierarchy is entitled to the perks of office. Yet the corruption scandal that has engulfed the organisation means that for many in it the landscape has changed. The mood is so subdued it is hard to believe Fifa is even in town.

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Clubs should treat fans not as customers but investors

Posted February 15, 2016

Inside World Football

The sorry Liverpool saga about season ticket prices, increasing prices, fans walking out, then price rise rescinded, has once again raised the question of what is the place of fans in modern football.

The moment the question is asked the answer comes there can be no football without fans. But this is as much a cliché as taking each game at a time and the various other sound bites football managers and chairmen come up with.

The fact is the role of fans has changed since football became a business and neither clubs nor fans have really appreciated that.

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