Day: May 12, 2010

World Cup Tales: Colombia 1986 – The World Cup That Never Was

The upcoming World Cup will the first to take place in the entire continent of Africa but there are several countries that have already held the tournament more that once, such as Italy, France and Germany. The first team to earn the honour of hosting the World Cup finals twice, however, was Mexico and the story of how this came to pass is as much a story of the politics of FIFA as it is of the qualities of Mexico when it comes to hosting the finals of the tournament. The truth of the matter is that the hosts of the 1986 World Cup finals should have been Colombia. Then, as now, the decision made over who to award the World Cup was made many years before the actual tournament took place. In the case of the 1986 tournament, the decision was taking during a tumultuous year for FIFA – 1974, the year that Joao Havelange replaced Stanley Rous as the president of FIFA. Havelange campaigned on the principle of an expanded role within the game for the Asian and African confederations and Rous, who had in 1963 campaigned for Apartheid South Africa to be allowed to play in the World Cup, was an easy picking for him. Havelange would go on to reward those that had supported him by expanding the tournament, it was too late for him...

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In Defence Of The Play-offs

On Saturday I watched Alloa play Cowdenbeath in the second leg of their play-off semi-final, both clubs seeking promotion to the SFL Division One. Cowdenbeth were, in a sense, a little lucky to be there at all – a year ago they lost in the play-offs a division lower, and only three days before the start of this seson were they moved into Division Two as a result of Livingston’s enforced relegation. Having prepared for life in the lower division, many expected them to struggle (including me), but they confounded those expectations by being in the title race for most of the season and finishing in a play-off spot.

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