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Friday, July 24, 2009

Ivorian Football Officials Jailed

Following the collapse of a stadium that was 1,500 over capacity for Ivory Coast's World Cup qualifier against Malawi in March, the head of the Ivory Coast Football Federation and another man, who was responsible for ticketing at the match, have both been jailed.

20 people died and over 130 were injured following a stampede caused by overcrowding and poor safety measures.

While this is clearly a tragedy, it's good to see that people are being held responsible for the disaster and that the Ivory Coast takes such matters seriously. In the year that commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, it's a more than a shame that UK authorities didn't choose to do the same there and just swept the whole thing - particularly the role of the police - under the carpet.

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posted by mark_s at 12:31 PM 0 comments

Come To South Africa, But Please Go Home Again

Serious stories only, today, I'm afraid.

There is a very real concern that the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will become a magnet for Africans looking to escape the troubles and economic hardship of their own countries.

With up to 5 million illegal immigrants among a 45 million population, this is already a serious problem for the country and is one that needs to be addressed in the run up to the World Cup Finals.

Because South Africa have relaxed their usual immigration and visa requirements in order to attract as many football fans as possible, this could make it easier for people to enter the country and disappear among the immigrant community.

The whole issue is discussed here in an AP news release and is, of course, complete with comments like "They come here and take jobs...They will agree to a salary that South Africans will never agree to."

Some things, sadly, never change.



posted by mark_s at 11:58 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You Just Can't Make It Up

England, and more recently Mexico, fans will both remember the reign of Sven Goran Eriksson as manager of their national sides with something less than fondness. To be fair to the guy, he did pretty well with England before it all imploded.

However, to see him back in English football with...wait for it...Notts County, just makes me want to laugh out loud.

Those of you from outside of England who are reading this will be thinking 'who the hell are Notts County?'. In fact, many of you in England will be thinking 'who the hell are Notts County?'.

Well, Notts County are the second biggest team in Nottingham and play in League Two of the Football League. That's division four, in old money.

And Sven, calm as ever, is busy telling the media that he didn't come for the money, despite County now being owned by some very rich arabs. Pull the other one Sven!

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posted by mark_s at 5:03 PM 0 comments

Sunday, July 19, 2009

No Self Interest In This Move At All?

ITV are lobbying the government to ensure that all World Cup and European Championship qualification matches involving the 'home' nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland be added to the list of sporting events that is protected for 'free-to-air' broadcasters such as, well, them.

Obviously, if this were to happen, it would diminish FIFA and UEFA's ability to profit from such matches as pay TV companies would always pay a premium for the rights to these events.

ITV go one step further and are arguing the case that all group matches at tournaments (whether they involve a home nation or not) should be reserved for free-to-air TV channels. They've got a Mori poll to back them up on this and we all know how accurate those are.

The thing is: I would certainly like to see home national qualifying matches back on free to air channels, even though I thought Setanta did a good job. However, I don't want to see them on ITV, whose football coverages veers from bad to laughable and back to completely embarrassing.

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posted by mark_s at 3:10 PM 0 comments