Day: June 8, 2010

UEFA’s Financial Fair Play – The Usual Suspects Have Their Say

It was predictable, but depressing nonetheless. UEFA’s new rules on finances for clubs entering their competitions have garnered the usual barbs from the usual mix of free-marketeers, journalistic free-loaders, xenophobes in general, Francophobes in particular and people who just hate UEFA president Michel Platini. It would be nice – challenging, even – if there was more than the faintest evidence that any of these people had understood the rules, or even read them, and based their opposition on that understanding. I’m cynical enough not to expect a rounded debate. But the mixture of arrogance and ignorance which characterises the opposition still takes me aback. All of a sudden, everyone’s Martin Samuel. And that’s not good. The regulations are designed to prevent clubs from spending more than they earn – spending money they don’t have.  Common sense in its purest form. The focus of the less-loony opposition is on what they don’t “achieve.” The idea that the regulations will create a “level playing-field” across European club football is dismissed. Indeed, criticism centres on the notion that the current “playing-field”- less level than Wembley – will be entrenched, “for the next 200 years, starting in 2012,” according to Samuel’s detailed scientific analysis in his Daily Mail newspaper column. There is some logic to this (not Samuel’s contribution, don’t be daft). The clubs, via the European Club Association, lobbied successfully for the...

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Unnecessary World Cup Music

Dizzee Rascal has already had four number one singles in the United Kingdom. His motives, therefore, for getting involved with the atrocious Simon Cowell vehicle World Cup song “Shout” (a cover of the 1984 Tears For Fears protest song), remain unclear. Perhaps he genuinely feels that hollering at the top of his voice about “Bobby Moore an’ that” will really help the team while they struggle against odds that seem to be getting longer with each passing day, five and a half thousand miles away in South Africa. Perhaps he is really desperate for that fifth number one single. Perhaps he merely has a particularly persuasive agent. That Dizzee’s involvement is possibly the least worst thing involved with this musical venture says more about the quality of the venture than it does about the quality of said involvement. In just over three minutes of constant appallingness, the absolute, bottom-of-the-barrel nadir comes with the apparent comic actor James Corden bellowing, “Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough” at the top of his voice at the end of the chorus, a phrase which, in itself, is worthy of our closer inspection. Was there really nobody at all involved with this project with so little a cursory knowledge of football as to be able to put forward the idea that, you know, considering the global reputation of England...

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Video Of The Week: “The Match Of The Century” – Italy vs West Germany, 1970

The other week, we brought you the 1970 World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Uruguay in its entirety, and this week it’s time for the other semi-final from that tournament between Italy and West Germany. Italy had started the 1970 World Cup finals slowly. They won their group, but only managed one win, by a solitary goal against Sweden, and two goalless draws, against Uruguay and Israel, to make the quarter-finals of the competition. It was at this stage that they finally sparked into life, beating the host nation Mexico by four goals to one in Toluca after having gone a goal down early on in the match. West Germany, meanwhile, had been the entertainers up to that point in the tournament. They had scored ten goals in three group match wins against Peru, Bulgaria and Morocco, and the three goals that they scored in coming from two down in the quarter-finals to beat England 3-2 in Leon made them, up to that point, the top scorers in the competition. Even the legendary Brazil side of the 1970 tournament didn’t overtake the German team until they scored their second goal in the final. They started this match as the narrow favourites to win a match that was expected by many to be a battle between the Italian defence, which had conceded just one goal in their four matches so...

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