Day: June 15, 2012

Premier League TV Money & Footballs Consumerist Culture

It will have come as no great surprise that Richard Scudamore, the chief executive of the Premier League, should have been in a distinctly crowing mood this week. Against many expectations, the top division in English football managed to squeeze even more money than it ever has before from the television companies with its new television deal, which will start from the beginning of the season after next. The amounts of money concerned are now so great that they melt in front of the eyes. BSkyB will pay £3bn for the rights to show one hundred and sixteen live matches per season from the start of the 2013/14 season, while BT have picked up the secondary package of thirty-eight games per season for the not inconsiderable price of £738m over three years. Scudamore is nothing if not a keen observer of prevailing winds, and he was quick to try and dismiss the idea that the overwhelming majority of money being thrown at the league will be thrown straight into the pockets of players and agents. “We are entering a new era with financial fair play, ” he said, I’m hoping it will get invested in things other than playing talent. It should also be able to achieve sustainability,” at which point, somewhere in the far distance, the vague but distinctive sound of a buzzword klaxon went off at his use...

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Euro 2012: Spain 4-0 Republic Of Ireland

Like they needed the help. Spain were only ever going to be denied victory over Ireland by the sort of rearguard action Giovanni Trapattoni’s men produced in the qualifying group game against Russia in Moscow. But whereas in Moscow the ball usually ended up rebounding off centre-back Richard Dunne’s arse, in Poznan, centre-back Sean St. Ledger ended up on his arse so often that you suspected he was wearing plimsolls. It’s these little details which make the difference at international level. Having spent much of the day pondering the incongruity of midfield match-ups such as Andres Iniesta against Keith Andrews and Xabi Alonso against Glenn Whelan, what transpired in Gdansk should not have been any sort of shock. Ordinarily, I’d have been admiring the speed and fluidity of Spain’s passing. Iniesta’s runs at Italy’s defence are probably my highlight of the tournament to date. But here, my reaction was frustration and fear, not least because the breathtaking close control Iniesta produced against the Italians simply wasn’t required against Ireland, his opponents simply didn’t get near enough to him. If you were in the mood for national stereotyping, you’d imagine that of all the languages in the world, Italian must have the most words for “keep it tight at the back in the early stages.” Yet they must all have deserted Trapattoni in Poland. It is easy to describe all...

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