Day: November 27, 2008

France, England & The Future Of European Football

France and England have a complex relationship. Both are considerably more like each other than either would like to admit and, even after thirty-five years of European integration, any attempts by the French to dictate European political policy are likely to be greeted with honks of derision in the British press. This is exactly what has happened with (what now seems likely to be) a failed attempted by EU sports ministers to inject a little control and regulation into the way that European football legislates itself. As France began its presidency of the EU, French ministers called for a Europe-wide regulator of football finances. They would also like to see a ban on the transfer of players under the age of eighteen, to try and counter a trade in young African players which they regard as bordering on child employment trafficking. In France, an organisation called La Direction Nationale de Contrôle de Gestion (DNCG) oversees the financial running of football clubs. It places strict rules on the ability of French clubs to get into debt. French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his ministers are of the opinion that clubs getting massively into debt in order to sustain massive wage bills is a form of cheating, and UEFA’s Michel Platini is inclined to agree, although he has stopped short of offering support for the French plans to introduce a version of...

Read More

Review: 1966 Uncovered by Peter Robinson et al

Some events in human history, a sage once noted, are so great that even those that weren’t  born at the time can remember what they were doing at the time. A large number of these events come, perhaps unsurprisingly, from the 1960s, when satellite technology first tentatively fired live television images around the world. Whether the 1966 World Cup Finals fall into this category is open to question, but there can be little debate over the long term significance of the tournament. Quite asides from the small issue of the albatross around the neck of the England team that the final result brought, there are the images. If there’s one thing that the 1966 World Cup finals has got, it’s iconic images. There’s that shot of Bobby Moore holding the trophy aloft. Then there’s that shot of Roger Hunt turning away as the ball almost certainly doesn’t cross the line. And a million more besides. There have been a million books on the subject but “1966 Uncovered” is different, claiming to tell “The Unseen Story Of The World Cup In England” and, if the book is anything to go by, what is remembered in the national consciousness as the sporting equivalent of an Austin Powers actually had more in common with the immediate post-war austerity period. The players land at airports that are shrouded in good old British mist...

Read More