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Showing posts from March, 2011

Retro fit stadiums an improvement for fans

I always thought the football authorities over-reacted after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. It was a horrible accident and shouldn't have happened, but standing crowds weren't really the problem. Thus rebuilding stadiums to dispense with the terraces was both uneccessary and mistaken.

As this article notes in good detail, the debate about retro-fitting stadiums is now hotting up.

Having paid a small fortune to watch top level games in Europe, I know that match prices are out of reach to most and for those without access to fountains of cash - like me- going to a top level football game is more a rare treat than the weekly ritual it used to be. This hurts kids especially.

The irony of all-seater stadiums is of course that you spend half the game standing up anyway.

In the EPL such match prices, along with high TV fees which have put many free-to-air TV channels around the world - including here in Australia - out of reach, go to paying overly inflated wages for pampered, arr…

When the colour of money is dark

This is very worrying. We have seen the impact of rapidly rising revenues in cricket on shady, behind the scenes business dealings (read: corruption) and you'd have to be naive to ignore the possibility in football.

I dont believe football has a history of match fixing and I am not aware of many, if any examples, at the top international level. So this is a serious turn of events.

Apparently, FIFA is clearly concerned and the Presidential election is very much focussed on the issue.

Yet, as this BBC piece reveals, aspects of the problem are largely being ignored,  for reasons that are difficult to fathom.

Let's hope it doesn't just become a hot issue until June when the new or incumbent FIFA boss, post election, can put it back in the side netting.

Burma/FIFA questions raised

Apropos the previous post on The Kick Project. Not surprising that questions are being asked. If bin Hammam has any brains he won't be playing these kinds of games. You just dont get away with tricks like this these days...

Critics Blast FIFA support for Burmese regime crony

"Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - Members of Burma's opposition ctiticised FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the organisation's general secretary Jerome Valcke for visiting Burma this week at the invitation of Myanmar Football Federation President Zaw Zaw..."(more)

Thomas Maung Shwe
Mizzima
March 17, 2011



Is this engagement or is it cosying up?

Memo to Mr Blatter: Football has great social influence. Your job is to see that it is used wisely.
Sincerely
The Kick Project

Enough said.

FIFA and Burma: the beautiful game

It's a match to conjure with: FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the Burmese generals. An unaccountable regime, long dogged by allegations of corruption, mismanagement of resources, and arbitrary decision making. And then of course there are the Burmese....(more)

Tim Johnston
The Financial Times
March 18, 2011

Picture credit: Christian Science Monitor

Palestinian victory in the face of many defeats

This is my first column piece for a new football website, http://www.cleatbeat.com/ and its regular online magazine, Half-Time.

Many years ago, in another life, I was privileged to spend some time in Gaza and on the West Bank. Lots of people warned me about how dangerous it would be, how shifty the Palestinians were and how I'd be shot at. Suffice to say, none of this was true and I recall walking around the dishevelled streets of Gaza and eating pizza on the beautiful beach-front, feeling as safe as I've felt anywhere.....(more)

James Rose
Half-Time
March 17, 2011

Photo credit: Pixmac

Egypt's military government plays the football card

Have just come across this excellent resource on the cross-overs between politics and football in the Middle East and North Africa. I'll feature upcoming articles from this blog.

"Egypt’s military rulers have authorized a lifting of a ban on professional soccer matches in a bid to limit the impact of the two-month old suspension, prevent an exodus of players and coaches and quell growing unrest among fans...."

James Dorsey
The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer link here
March 16, 2011

Football discrimination, more talk?

A seminar in Amsterdam, organised by UEFA, the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), the English Football Association (FA) and the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network has taken the first step to tackle institutional discrimination in football.....

Source: Cleatbeat
Full Article Here

Photo credit: BBC

Pictures speak louder than words department

Beautiful picture taken for the BBC website from the air over Abijan in Cote d'Ivoire, where violence has been rife for some months following disputed elections. Amid the horror, football goes on, as it should.

New football publication, with some KICK

I have just written hopefully the first of many regular columns for the New Delhi-based Cleat Beat website and its new football magazine "Half-Time".
Cleat Beat has been started by football brainiac Asit Ganguli, who is clearly aiming to bring a more sophisticated football product to India and beyond. Given India is perhaps the last largely untapped major football population in the world, that's an important agenda to carry and I for one certainly support Asit in his footballing endeavours.

The magazine is filled with excellent features and commentary on the inner workings of both the technical side of the game as well as the business and cultural side of things. It's an excellent read for professionals, amateur clubbies and fans alike.

The first edition is available here

My column is scheduled to run in the next edition, so hopefully you can check it out. I'll post a link to it here after it's gone online.

First home game for Palestine ends in both defeat and victory

How good is this?

Shame to note that there were few women and girls in the crowd but a significant step for peace in Palestine nevertheless.

Photo credit: AP

A little late?

Task force set up to combat Old Firm violence
FC Business
March 9, 2011

Sad that it is now seen as normal that Rangers v Celtic games will break out in violence between fans somehow, but good that some "firm" action is being introduced.

Begs the question: why has it taken so long for such action? They are called the Old Firm because they've been around for so long. Has violence only just become the theme of Glasgow derbies?

Anyway, its not just about rules and policing. It's about the culture of the game in Glasgow and, in wider terms, religious borders. This is a disease that needs a lot of curing to be got rid of. Not sure some rules and a few more patrolmen will do the trick...

Could a movie cross the last great football frontier: India?

Could a new film about one of India's most remarkable sporting encounters help to spread the popularity of football in a country renowned for its obsession with cricket?.....
Andrew Buncombe "Football scores at the box office in cricket mad India" The Indepedent March 7, 2011

Goose kills owl

No-one likes to see violence on the field, against humans or animals. This idiot should be ashamed of himself.