European Football 2014 style

21 07 2014
UMF Stjarnan 4 Bangor City 0,
Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 1st Leg,
3/7/14

Hope was in our bones, we were definitely going to get something tonight, we were going to have one of those “great European nights”. You can tell I was gushingly positive from my facebook status;

As I can’t watch Bangor City in Iceland I’ve decided to do the next best thing and listen to Radio Bangor in the Prestatyn Branch of the Iceland supermarket chain. It wasn’t easy but I’ve managed to secure a lock in with full access to one “Savoury Pastry Assortment” and a single portion dessert of my choice. I can tell it’s going to be one of the great nights…..Bangor in Europe…… The blue army in full voice…… Unfettered access to some partly defrosted food……… and most importantly…….. I’ll be doing it all in comfort, Iceland’s freezers provide the optimum height for laptop stability and safety. Actually, now I think about it it’s going to be a great night. ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dave’s ingenuity gave us both a live match commentary and pictures via a webcam. Tonight was the first time I had watched a match via a webcam. It was all fine to begin with, Dave’s words were clear, the pictures were sharp and most importantly Bangor were comfortable on the ball.

Aug 20 001

Then the buffering kicked in, then an anonymous killjoy from Colwyn Bay used the chatbox to remind us that UEFA run minute by minute reports in their match centre. I couldn’t resist clicking on the killjoy’s link.

The spell was broken, anyone that clicked on the link immediately knew that Dave’s feed was about 10 minutes behind the action. Yeah thanks for that you anonymous killjoy from Colwyn Bay, thanks for diluting my sense of excited anticipation, thanks for ruining my evening.

Having said that without  UEFA’s match centre I would not have found out about the innovative formations that Bangor and Stjarnan were deploying. Stjarnan favoured the Pitchfork whereas Bangor opted for the Circle / Piggy In The Middle.

Aug 20 011

I can’t say for certain that our anonymous killjoy from Colwyn Bay caused Bangor to concede two goals but it clearly was his fault. If we’d all just carried on watching the images from Dave’s webcam Bangor would not have conceded those goals. These anonymous killjoys from Colwyn Bay ruin everything, and with my evening already ruined it was no surprise that Bangor conceded two more goals.

When the people that were there reported back, via our main message board, it seemed as though Stajarnan’s first goal was a highly disputable penalty and their second goal was directly preceded by a foul on Johnno. This may not have been one of those “great European nights” but photos posted on facebook showed that it had been a good trip, how many times will travelling fans use a walkway between tectonic plates?

Bangor City 0 UMF Stjarnan 4,
Europa League 1st Qualifying Round 1st Leg,
3/7/14

Most Bangor fans seems hopeful that we could get something out of this match but then humans are resolutely positive, we generally hope for the best.

As long as the score remained goalless the hope remained, and we’d had a couple of good chances in the first half and who’s to say we would score five second half goals. By the by, the Icelandic fans seemed rather loud, friendly and drunk.

Sadly Stjarnan scored their first goal in the first minute of the second half. By the end of the half another 3 goals had fallen in the gap between semi-pro fitness and Icelandic professionalism. The Icelandic fans sportingly took their shows off as they left to generous applause.

Aug 20 014





Yeah it’s like soooo been the “best world cup EVER”

13 07 2014

A few days ago I saw, or was it read?, that this edition of Blatter’s world cup was the “best world cup ever”. It was like Italia ’90 like never happened.

Here are the “best world cup ever” lowlights of a moaning cynic.

The worst team – Brazil

My choice isn’t based on their mistakes or disappointing lack of relative glamour, it’s their demeanour. Brazil managed to combine an unsubtle tendency to throw their weight around with an ability to dive while wearing a look of sweet innocence. David Luiz, Oscar, Fred, shitbags the lot of them. Lest we forget, this bellend supported Brazil.

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The worst kit – Brazil home

Seeing the granddad-esque collar was a trip back to the Primark ubiquity of 2012.

neymar_r_2903945b

The worst presenter – Adrian Chiles

It’s the hope I can’t stand. The gap between the end of the adverts and hearing Adrian’s words has become a horrible time.  We’re only seconds away from incredulity wrapped in a matey demeanour replacing the hope of something uplifting again. Despite the obvious clues I began to think that Adrian wasn’t actually sat beside a world famous beach in a country that’s hosting a world cup.

The worst co-commentator – Andy Townsend / Robbie Savage

Thank the fates that these two are on different channels. Come the revolution one of our first duties will be to cast Townsend and Savage in to exile on St. Helena. During their extended stay they’ll be able to angrily dissect each other’s behaviour, like why the chores aren’t being done as they should be, to their heart’s content.

The worst pitchside adverts – Budweiser

If you’re involved with a company that’s been accused of trampling over local customs and traditions at previous world cups because you’ve served fans weak piss that’s masqueraded as beer don’t worry, you can always make up for it. All you need to do is advertise the local beer of the markets that feature in a televised match. Hey presto, you’ll have convinced the world that you’re a cynical multinational that seems to produce most of the world’s beer rather than a heartless multi-national conglomerate that produces alcoholic drinks.

The worst feeling – Cynicism

The adverts, the branding, the people, the players, the brightly coloured boots, the stage managed spectacle, the blue sheeting that covered concrete, the slogans, the special ball for the final, the words, the criticism, the words, the words, the words. FIFA’s slogan was actually “Football For Hope” which as someone said to me on twitter, is not really a slogan more of an offer from FIFA; “We’ll swap your hope for our football”.

I don’t think I’ll be able to enjoy a world cup ever again. I’d love to be able to just watch the football and relive van Persie’s header or Rodiguez’s volley but I all see Blatter’s fucking face.





European football is rather exciting!!!!

29 06 2014

Last Sunday Bangor fans were rather excited. We knew we could draw any of the following team in Monday’s draw;

Fola Esch
Crusaders
Sant Julià
Shirak
Veris Chișinău
Gabala
Mika
Sioni Bolnisi
Hibernians
Sliema Wanderers
Čelik Nikšić
Astana
Fram Reykjavík
Jelgava
Víkingur
Kairat
Laçi
Turnovo
Dundalk
VPS
Stjarnan
Banga Gargždai
Daugava Rīga
Lovćen Cetinje
B36 Tórshavn
UE Santa Coloma
Sillamäe Kalev
Atlantas
ÍF
Glenavon
Libertas
Santos Tartu
Folgore
College Europa

The appetites of discovery were whetted. The draw covered nearly every corner of Europe; from Gibraltar on the outer edge of the Mediterranean to within touching distance of Chinese border in Kazakhstan, from the edge of the Arctic circle to the shores of the Caspian, from the Baltic to Dublin Bay.

Well I say all appetites were whetted but mine wasn’t, the date of the first qualifying round matches meant I would’t be able to go. If we get through to the 2nd qualifying round I’ll only be able to go to the away match if we’re away in the second leg. Never mind though, it’s been like that for the last 5 years and I’m used to it. Having said that it still hurts when you see people discussing travel plans on facebook, nothing every quells that pain.

By Sunday evening we knew of Bangor’s subgroup in the draw. We were in group 6;

Seeded Clubs

1 Aberdeen FC (SCO)
2 AS Jeunesse Esch (LUX)
3 Tromsø IL (NOR)
4 FK Ekranas (LTU)
5 Myllykosken Pallo-47 (FIN)
6 Bangor City FC (WAL)

Unseeded Clubs

7 Dundalk FC (IRL)
8 Stjarnan (ISL)

9 Crusaders FC (NIR)
10 Tartu FC Santos (EST)
11 ÍF Fuglafjørdur (FRO)
12 FK Daugava Rīga (LVA)

Sadly we’ve missed the chance for a linguistic derby with Lithuania’s Banga. I’ve noticed a metaphorical slight of hand at this level of European football,  sides might look “beatable” but you don’t know what to expect. Even clubs from the “weaker” leagues can play a bit. Consequently I wasn’t sure what to hope for. The Estonians and Latvians are probably skillful, the Icelandic team are probably tricky and the Northern Irish side will be up for it.

In the end we drew Stjarnan. Stjarnan? Who are Stjarnan? A you tube search uncovered  a load of rehearsed goal celebrations.

I’m not sure what these clips tell us about their footballing abilities. Anyway it doesn’t matter I can’t go, I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland as well. UEFA also made drew the next round and the winners of Stjarnan v Bangor City will play Motherwell.

That was more like it!!! Then I noticed that if we got through we’d be playing away in Motherwell in the first leg, which means I couldn’t go. Bollocks. Bollocks to it all. I mean that’s just bloody typical that is.

Even though I won’t be able to take a full part in this season’s European adventure I was still excited by the prospect of EUROPEAN FOOTBALL IN BANGOR. Exotic international visitors, summer evenings, a chance of glory, aaaaaaah European football. Europe brings the stuff that makes the trips to Aberystwyth, Afan Lido and Airbus worthwhile.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see this banner on the Internet a couple of days later.

Europa League

Finding stuff in foreign languages about Bangor City is why I love European football.





When world cups start to feel familiar

28 06 2014

As good as this world cup has been there’s been something of the slow puncture about it. The actual football’s been rather good and FIFA’s commercial angle was expected so I’m not complaining about either of those. I’m referring to the world cup’s backdrop; the grounds.

The convoluted logic of corporate sport tells that the world cup has to take place in massive and futuristic grounds that cost billions so each organizing committee builds their own set of massive and futuristic grounds that cost billions. Over the last fortnight I’ve wondered why Brazil bothered.

The design school that Brazil employed – “The logic of corporate sport stadium design school” – means that I can’t tell the Maracana from Manaus. It’s not just that they all look similar either, it’s the sense of dejavu they present.

On television the grounds of Brazil appear to look like the grounds of previous tournaments from certain angles. For example I find that Belo Horizonte’s ground looks quite similar to the Parc Des Princes….

Belo Horizonte

Parc Des Princes

…and Porto Allegre looks similar Port Elizabeth from the last world cup.

Porto Allegre

Port Elizabeth

This isn’t really a surprise because “The logic of corporate sport stadium design school” only employs a cabal of worthy architects. The ground in Natal was designed by the same architect as the new Wembley, Ashburton Grove, the new Stadium of Light in Lisbon and the Friends Arena in Stockholm. The grounds in Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Manaus were designed by the architects that designed the new national stadium in Warsaw, the redeveloped Olympic Stadium in Kiev and Durban’s stadium for the last world cup.

It seems a shame to go to the effort of building all these lovely new grounds when they’re identikit. The grounds can be distinctive. In Italia ’90 all the grounds were distinctive.

Bologna

Genoa

san-siro

In France ’98 all the grounds were distinctive.

Stade_de_la_Beaujoire

Lyon

stade

In this world cup I can only remember three distinctive grounds out of the twelve; Cuiaba with its floodlit corner pillars, Salvador with its asymmetrical goal end and Sao Paolo with its the open ends.

Even when they redeveloped old grounds they became idenikit. Here’s a before and after view of Belo Horizonte;

 

externo_mineirao

 

Why did they go to the effort and expense of redevelopment and not create something more distinctive? I look at the grounds and wonder where the flavour of the host nation is, for example the Maracana had its distinctive charm removed during its redevelopment. Without the commentators or the corporate branding how do we even know we’re watching a Brazilian world cup?

The international trend of homogenization is leading inexorably to a smooth corporate version of football where Munich, Wembley, Athens and Istanbul become indistinguishable. By creating these tournament archetypes they remove the national idiosyncrasies that make world cups interesting. If we take identikit grounds to a logical extreme the process of awarding the hosting rights to different countries becomes meaningless.

Grounds are utilitarian buildings for holding large crowds. The synthesis of function and form is desirable but function is preferable. If pre-existing grounds are big enough why not use them? Would the fans really mind if they had visit characterful older grounds rather than glossy new pleasure domes with ergonomic handrails? I suspect they wouldn’t, and the tournaments would be cheaper to host as well.





World cup history repeating

21 06 2014

The pictures from this world cup are a continual reminder that we are watching matches taking places in brand spanking new stadia. It seems apposite to repost a post I wrote In October 2011……

 

I’ve spent the last few weeks casually watching the rugby world cup and one match has remained with me; Scotland v Romania in Invercargill. The main reason this outwardly unremarkable match lodged in my memory is that it was played in what seemed to be a country fair showground.

Some people accuse rugby of nasty things like the fact it’s an arena for needless brutality and behaviour requirse a tolerance for drinking pints of vomit. Fortunately I’m a man of the world and I know that there is a lot about rugby that is sort of charming; the camaraderie, the respect for officials, Max Boyce, drunk people in sparkly cowboy hats, morons waving at the camera during the national anthem when they see themselves on the big screen, the quintets of people dotted around the Millennium Stadium all wearing those daffodil shaped balaclavas to prove how “wacky!!!!” they are, etc, etc.

Speaking seriously for a moment, one of the better things about rugby is that  in comparison to the olympics and football the sport has a sense of its size. Rugby’s administrators seem to realise that their sport doesn’t need to be the biggest sport in the world, or even merely gigantic. Generally they don’t see the need for legions of PR execs or flashy architects.

In terms of the stadia rugby tend to adopt a “make do and mend” approach. This approach was visible in Invercargill; some parts of the crowd sat in temporary stands whilst other parts of the crowd stood, yes stood, down one side of the pitch.

I have become so accustomed to the placing of sporting events on the escalator of perpetual enlargement and brilliance that I struggled to remember that I watching a match in an international tournament from the 21st century.

I was transported into the past………

….. It was 1958 and I was in Sweden, Vasteras to be exact, and what a charming venue it was!! Scotland were playing and the pitch was thronged by locals. Cherubic youngsters were sitting cross-legged around the perimeter, aaah the good old days, jumpers for goal posts, rickets and casual racism…

Ahem …… Let’s get back on track. Yes, rugby lacks the need to describe itself as the biggest event in the universe.

A few hours after the Scottish match the most populous rugby nation on Earth, England, played their first match in a flashy new ground built for the tournament. This flashy new ground was small compared to the new grounds built for football tournaments.

From just these two pieces of evidence you can argue that rugby union does things differently. I know you could argue that rugby is played in fewer countries than football, and therefore they don’t need the massive facilities, but there doesn’t seem to be much of desire to change the situation and there’s certainly not much desire to make billions in profit.

Rugby is charmingly out of step with the logic of major championships and a throwback to less stressful times. Piecemeal changes – A clean-up, a coat of paint and a few corporate banners – plus modest new grounds suffice. Other governing bodies need a touch of rugby’s humility. Football used to be like that, FIFA used to have the quaint idea of using stadia that were already there for events.

The contemporary approach taken by tournament organising committees is one-eyed one-upmanship. The next tournament WILL be the BIGGEST and BEST EVER and most importantly, it WILL make the host country look fantastic. Let’s call this approach the “Showbiz Outlook”.

All stadia MUST look futuristic and fantastic because the “Showbiz Outlook” sees a competition/tournament as a shop window for a country. The shop window WILL automatically entice lots and lots of money in to the shop.

The preachers of the “Showbiz Outlook” sell us their dream by telling us that it’s our dream. They tell us that the competition will transform a country by bestowing development and goodness simply by taking place. Facilities will be built, airports will be built, roads will be built, the money will flow!!! Here’s Ricardo Teixeira about Brazil 2014;

“Over the next few years we will have a consistent influx of investments. The 2014 World Cup will enable Brazil to have a modern infrastructure,” Teixeira said. “In social terms will be very beneficial. Our objective is to make Brazil become more visible in global arenas,” he added. “The World Cup goes far beyond a mere sporting event. It’s going to be an interesting tool to promote social transformation.”

Similar claims about the last world cup’s transformative powers on South Africa (and Africa by natural extension);

If all this will happen it’s no wonder countries pay for new stadia, they’d be mad not to!!!

There are a couple of points that go against the “Showbiz Outlook”. Firstly we must dispute the accepted logic. Will massive positive changes naturally flow from hosting a major sporting event. Will a country see any real change?

The main motivation for taking this path is conforming to a bloated and misguided image of how things should be. This kind of development diverts funding (actual and potential) away from more vital social policies. Forcing a relatively poor country like South Africa to build massive stadia is hardly the moral position;

Africa also falls into the trap of the “Showbiz Outlook” with the Africa Cup of Nations. Why should poor countries be forced to fit in with a logic directed by rich countries?

If your country is “civilized” like Ricardo Teixeira’s Brazil then why would it wait for a world cup or olympics to develop a decent infrastructure?

This thinking not only falls short on the moral level, it also falls short on the basis that they’re sold to us; there is no evidence the new stadia encourage economic growth. The academic economist, Rob Baade, found that there is no economic case for new stadia and has written many books and articles stating his case, here the abstract from one piece of his research;

“Sports leagues, franchises, and civic boosters tout the economic benefits of professional sports as an incentive for host cities to construct new stadiums or arenas at considerable public expense. Past league-sponsored studies have estimated that new stadiums, franchises, and mega-events such as the Super Bowl increase economic activity by potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in host cities. A detailed regression analysis of taxable sales in Florida over the period extending from 1980 to 2005 fails to support these claims. New stadiums, arenas, and franchises, as well as mega-events, appear to be as likely to reduce taxable sales as increase them. Similarly, strikes and lockouts in professional sports have not systematically lead to reductions in local taxable sales.”

When there was a rumour that the Penguins NHL ice hockey team relocating from Pittsburgh to Kansas City Dr. Baade give the idea short shrift.;

“The idea that Kansas City could support yet another professional sports team seems to be unrealistic,” said Rob Baade, an economist and author at Lake Forest College in Illinois whose research includes the economic impact of professional sports teams on metropolitan areas.”

It was simple logic as the other sports clubs in Kansas City were suffering from poor attendances;

“The AL’s Royals and Major League Soccer’s Wizards are struggling at the gate, and the Blades and indoor-soccer Attack also rank near the bottoms of their respective leagues’ attendance charts.

Only the NFL’s Chiefs consistently draw large crowds.”

This example highlights the power of  spurious ideas. Despite Dr. Baade’s simple ideas Kansas City still wanted a professional Ice Hockey club and the mayor actually invited the co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins for discussions about moving.

In the end there are two similar questions that beg to be asked; why do we have to have these brand spanking new stadia? What’s wrong with using the existing facilities? The rugby way is the way forward.

A major problem with the “Showbiz Outlook” is the problem of “The White Elephant”

Take Italia ’90. On a surface architectural level this tournament was impressive All the stadia were breathtaking, Milan, Turin, Rome, Udine, Bari. They all made you want to be an Italian fan. A couple of decades after the event and the breathtaking stadia don’t seem so useful – Turin’s ground was demolished, refurbished and re-opened a few weeks ago with a better design, Cagliari have done away with their athletic track by building stands on it, Bari’s stadium dwarves their average gate, the Milan pitch is frequently ruined etc etc

Sporting competitions from the past tell us of the danger of white elephants. In Euro 2004 there was Faro, in Germany 2006 there was Dresden, in Euro 2008 there was Klagenfurt. In Korea and Japan there are a whole host of stadia that we too damn big for sensible post-tournament usage. None of these stadia was built cheaply. Take the Daddy of all costly stadia; the Montreal Olympic Stadium. It took Montreal 30 years to pay off the cost and they’ve now lost their main tenets.

The hubris of yesterday is often floodlit by the economic catastrophe of tomorrow. Next year’s European Championship is already showing signs of not making ends meet.

The cost is the nub of the problem. It’s rather amoral to spend billions and billions of pounds/dollars/euros on facilities that will be used for 4 weeks at the most (or a fortnight in the case of the olympics). Even if they are used by a club after the event it’s still an extortionate amount of money. It’s bad enough when this happens in rich countries but it’s positively obscene to divert public money toward stadia in poorer countries.

The situation becomes even more obscene when western governments shackle themselves to the Thatcher/Pinochet model of public spending (a severely limited budget that must be balanced). Chuck in the present economic difficulty and the situation appears even worse.

If a stadium is passed fit, and they have to be passed fit to host football matches, why can’t it be used for hosting big matches if the ground capacity is suitable? Why does it need redevelopment? Most football championship before 1990 seemed to manage with existing stadia and what was wrong with this approach?

Football needs a bit of humility but….

“Premier League clubs should be able to do their own television deals abroad, Liverpool’s managing director has said.

Ian Ayre fears English sides will be left behind by their European rivals if overseas revenues continue to be shared equally between the league’s 20 clubs.

Ayre said: “The other European clubs just don’t follow that model. They will create much greater revenue to go and buy the best players.”

Ayre believes that Liverpool – along with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal – deserve to receive an increased share.”

Sadly the premier league looks on the world in the same way that the East India Company did. You wonder what needs to happen to make people change their minds.

Bollocks to Blatter’s world cup.





A scientific analysis of England v Italy

17 06 2014

I’ve decided to give the moaning a rest today so that I can devote myself to humanity. This is my rather cumbersome way of saying that I will be using the venture science of football statistical analysis (VSoFSA) to prove how Italy beat England.

After lengthy use of the VSoFSA I can categorically prove why Italy beat England. In fact my VSoFSA skills are so finely tuned I can cut through the needless waffle to show you the exact point at which Italy were able to win.

Here is that moment;

Balotelli, 2

Here it is from another scientific angle, thus proving the scientific rigour of my work

Balotelli, 3

This work is not just based on the naked eye of your uncritical layman, your neanderthal football watchers, it has a firm basis in VSoFSA. Here is the proof via some scienfific diagrams.

Here’s the scene a second before the “Goal Creating Cross From A Position Of Maximum Goalscoring Chance Creation Efficacy Point” (or “GCCFAPOMGCCEP” to those in the know) arrived.

pitch 5

Here’s the scene just after the “GCCFAPOMGCCEP” arrived.

Football-Pitch-hd-wallpaper-hd-wallpaper-1440x900-3-52823d4dd6199-9528

Here’s an added heat map for further scientific rigour.

pitch 4

It ain’t easy being a venture scientist but it is very rewarding.





Some lovely world cup images from the first few days

15 06 2014

A Pitbull in shorts.

BqBPkIgCUAA6wPC

A Brazilian in a bin.

BqAi73aCMAAmd4o

A lion in an England shirt.

10449927_10152098088096722_8047200683232906342_n

A “prayer” for England.

BqEwDUKCMAAn3G3

A branded Paddy Power drinking game.

blog_drinking-game_feat-v2

A company that makes tattooed sleeve things for Murdoch’s comic.

BqDlCEzCAAAZDLx

A pub showing something on their screens.

BqGEBDfCQAApIYn

English Stormtroopers.

BqA-vGACQAEMKmb

And last but not least, a family that entered ITV’s goal competition.

Bp-FsPIIQAAjOEc

When inter-generational buffoonery of this nature takes place it’s no wonder the multinationals win.

Bollocks to Blatter’s world cup.





The world cup begins with a sunny disposition

13 06 2014

Reality ruins reverie.

Yesterday was the first day of the world cup and when the day began I had stuff like this on my mind.

Then the internet intervened with its dispiriting evidence of people, FIFA and Andy Fucking Townsend. Naturally I ended up thinking about dispiriting stuff . I didn’t set out to find dispiriting stuff you understand, I just happened upon it.

My first discovery was an article by Barney Ronay. The article seemed perfectly sunny until I came across this dispiriting reminder;

“The World Cup may be less a tournament of the people these days, more a tournament of the un-people: the brands, the machines, the corporate personages. It may seem mixed and muddled, a progressive corporate hijack too large and too hungry for its own health….”

Even though the very next sentence was a hopeful plea for a fascinating and engrossing world cup I could only think of the Blatter’s face.

I went on the BBC website to find the world cup’s fixtures and found an article that contained this photo…

_75416794_75416793

…..and a companion to the photo I found two days ago;

Anthony Baddams, of Northbrook Road, Southampton,spent about three weeks putting up a display which features some 300 flags, England shirts, hats and other memorabilia.

He said he had received a “positive response” from his community, including people from Australia, Poland, the US and even his German next-door neighbour.

“A lot of people stop and take photos,” he said. “They say ‘it looks brilliant, keep it up’. People from all cultures have had their pictures taken and said they liked it.”

Mr Baddams, 46, has put up similar displays during World Cups since the 1980s, but he said this was his largest effort yet.

“I’m a proper proud England fan and I always go OTT with the displays because I never see anyone else doing it anymore.

“You see the odd flag but it’s not proper support. I’m flying the flags to show real support to our boys.”

So to show “proper support” you have to look like a moron, I’d rather give up football. Then I was inexorably drawn to another dispiriting BBC article. This was the opening sentence;

“Sepp Blatter has indicated he wants to seek a fifth term as Fifa president and called Uefa “disrespectful” following calls for his resignation.”

A fifth term!!! I also found this photo on the BBC website.

_75470672_75470671

Yesterday evening this photo appeared on twitter;

Bp8mLrnIQAAQCco

You swan around thinking that it’s not possible for the Labour Party to move even further away from you, then they confound your expectations. I also found this on facebook.

Peachy-s-Brazil-2014-predictions-on-Facebook

Yes “Predict Brazil World Cup 2014 scores and Win!!”…… with Peachy! Yeah that’s right, “….Win with Peachy“, that’s “Peachy, the payday loan cunts”. Look at their trademarked ITV goalfaces! Why are they holding a Brazilian flag? Fucking people.

Bollocks to Blatter’s world cup





The world cup’s tomorrow, get your flags out!!!

11 06 2014

Only don’t do it like this moron.

eNGLAND

Bollocks to Blatter’s world cup





There are only three days to go and you can practically taste the samba

9 06 2014

Just close your eyes and imagine Copacabana beach.

………Mas que Nada wafts along on the tropical breeze………….The scantily clad ladies………… The bare chested men playing foot volley……………… Pele and Jairzinho frolicking in the surf with a beachball.

Oh yes welcome to Brazil, the land of samba and the spiritual home of spiritual football. Come on world everyone’s invited to Blatter’s world cup party!!!

Except for Brazil’s poor and disenfranchised of course.

Yeah but who cares about them, Brazil’s all about some smiling faces and bikinis. There’s no poverty or corruption, only smiling faces thanks to the holy power of football.

What about the people that are angry about the cost of the world cup?

People won’t be angry when they see FIFA’s legacy.

People are angry.

No they’re not, they love football, they love to smile on the beach, listening to a Bossa Nova beat

People are angry

No they’re not.

Yes they are.

It seems that even though they love football the people of Brazil are angry. (All photos were taken from this website)

Brazil 1

Brazil 2

Brazil 3

Brazil 4

Brazil 5

Brazil 6

Brazil 7

Brazil 8

Why are people angry Blatter? Why?

Bollocks to Blatter’s world cup.

I didn’t find this post until I’d posted what you’ve just read, I might not have bothered if I’d have known of its existence.

 





There are world cup songs and there are world cup songs

7 06 2014

As we’re now 5 days away from the world cup here’s a lovely little song from Pop Will Eat Itself.

If you ask me there aren’t enough songs that feature the words Hegemony and Bourgeoisie. Thanks to @StoneDunk for pointing me in that direction. Sadly there are also other world cup songs, like this travesty;

Thanks to @the_itch1980 for drawing my attention towards that. The last world cup “song” that annoyed me in this manner was a piece of shit by a couple of wanky geezer wannabes;

I defy you to look the fat one’s face and not hate football. I defy you to behold this next piece of crap and not wish that football had remained unpopular in the late 19th century.

Back to this world cup, here’s a stone dead classic;

And another, this time a reissue from 2010….

To end on a positive note, it looks as though this lot won’t be allowed to play in the world cup stadiums.

There’s nothing better than the knowledge that those annoying pricks have had trouble getting in to matches.

Bollocks to your world cup Blatter, bollock to it.





Bollocks to Blatter’s world cup

6 06 2014

Now that there’s less than a week to go before the world cup let’s take a walk down world cup memory lane. Here’s an article from just before the last world cup in South Africa;

World Cup: To tax or not to tax?

The Italian players celebrate as Fabio Cannavaro of Italy lifts the World Cup trophy aloft following victory in a penalty shootout at the end of the Fifa World Cup Germany 2006 Final
The moment every bidding nation wants to see in its soil

The BBC can reveal, for the first time, the full scale of the remarkable tax concessions that the world football authority Fifa demands of countries that wish to host a World Cup competition.

This Friday, 14 May, in Zurich in Switzerland, representatives of footballing countries around the world will submit their bids to host either the 2018 or 2022 tournaments.

The bidding nations have been asked to comply with a wide variety of conditions that Fifa has laid down – and which it would like to keep confidential.

Among them is that the entire event should be free of tax for Fifa.

“Any host country requires a comprehensive tax exemption to be given to Fifa and further parties involved in the hosting and staging of an event,” said a Fifa spokesman.

This means that to be successful in its bid, the UK government must agree to forgo tens of millions of pounds in tax for the benefit of Fifa, which – as a charitable organisation – pays hardly any tax to its home country of Switzerland.

It also appears to mean that the tournament income of the players, some of whom are among the highest paid earners in the world, should also be exempt from tax.

Confidentiality

The decision on where the 2018 and 2022 competitions are to be staged will be taken by Fifa in December, after considering the huge Bid Books that the contending nations are about to submit.

“Fifa have very strict confidentiality clauses” Gerry Sutcliffe Former sports minister

These will contain the details of how, exactly, the would-be hosts propose to go about organising such a massive event.

They will have to comply with eight government guarantees, which the UK government signed last December in support of England’s bid.

Do they involve relieving the players, possibly even those already resident in the UK, from paying tax on their incomes?

“I’m not able to tell you,” said a spokesman for the England 2018 bid team. “Fifa requires it [the technical bid document] to remain confidential.”

But he stressed that this applied to all conditions, including those applying to visas, work permits, travel, security, banking and foreign currency, commercial rights and broadcasting.

“It is not a selective confidentiality,” he said.

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said: “I can’t go into detail of any of that because Fifa have very strict confidentiality clauses – but there is always room for manoeuvre.”

What does the former sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe say? “Fifa require that details of the guarantees not be made public,” he told me.

“If I did that it would damage the bid and I am not prepared to do that.”

The tax exemption

Not all bidders feel so bound by this confidentiality. Holland and Belgium have a joint bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

The Dutch government recently published all eight government guarantees on its official website, in the form of a draft letter to Fifa President Sepp Blatter.

Guarantee no.3 requires “Full tax exemption of Fifa and Fifa subsidiaries” and “is not limited to the events and is not limited time-wise.”

“The exemption stated in this section shall encompass all revenues, profits, income, expenses, costs, investments and any and all kind of payments, in cash or otherwise, including through (i) the delivery of goods or services, (ii) accounting credits, (iii) other deliveries, (iv) applications, or (v) remittances, made by or to Fifa and/or Fifa subsidiaries,” the letter says.

This exemption also applies to associated bodies such as the local organising committee; Fifa confederations; Fifa member associations including the hosting association; the host broadcaster; and Fifa service providers.

That applies so long as the potential tax relates directly or indirectly to the World Cup and any of its associated events.

Intriguingly, the document does not directly mention the most high-profile participants in the World Cup – the players.

But the Dutch exemption for individuals seems all-encompassing:

“Individuals employed or otherwise hired by

  • Fifa
  • a Fifa subsidiary
  • the local organising committee (LOC)
  • Fifa confederations
  • Fifa member associations
  • Fifa host broadcasters
  • Fifa service providers

regardless whether these individuals are deemed as tax residents in the Netherlands or not, shall not be subject to payment of individuals taxes on

  • payments
  • fringe benefits
  • reimbursements
  • and any other sort of compensation received from one of the entities above which is not resident in the Netherlands

but only as regards to payments, fringe benefits, reimbursements and any other sort of compensation received until December 31 of the second year following the year of the competitions.”

Experience so far

It is not a foregone conclusion that all taxes will be avoided during the 2018 or 2022 World Cups, should they be staged in England.

“Brazil stands to win a lot more by the stimulating effect on the economy” Orlando Silva Brazilian sports minister

After the 2006 World Cup, the German football association (DFB) paid 101 million Euros (£87.8m at current exchange rates) in various taxes on its activities during the tournament.

Germany also taxed the non-resident players and trainers as normal, charging them 21.1% on their football fees and bonuses, and other commercial earnings; for instance from appearing in adverts.

That raised just over seven million Euros (£6.1m).

Everyone else from abroad who was officially accredited to the competition was exempted from German income or corporation tax, although VAT was applied to sales and services as normal.

The German government’s official report into the way it organised the 2006 event reveals that as many as 170,000 foreigners were given permits to work in the country as part of the competition.

A spokesman said this did not equate exactly to the number exempted from tax; no exact figure is available.

But it clearly suggests that tens of thousands of people benefited from Fifa’s tax requirements.

Meanwhile the Brazilian government, already awarded the 2014 World Cup, has just agreed that Fifa and its partners can be exempt from taxes on any goods and services related to the tournament for five years; from January 2011 until the end of 2015.

“Brazil stands to win a lot more by the stimulating effect on the economy,” said the Brazilian sports minister Orlando Silva last month.

When a law is passed by the country’s Congress, an exemption from personal income tax will also apply to non-residents who are employed, or in some way contracted, in organising or taking part in the World Cup.

“This exemption will also apply to referees, players and other members of national delegations, but only with regard to the receipt of payments directly related to the events,” said a spokesman for the Receita Federal (Federal Revenue), the Brazilian tax authority.

South Africa

In this year’s competition in South Africa, a “tax-free bubble” has been established around the tournament at Fifa’s request, relieving Fifa, its subsidiaries, and foreign football associations which are taking part, of income tax, customs duties, and VAT.

A member of the Police Tactical Response Unit abseils in the Green Point Soccer Stadium, as he take part in a simulated exercise in the Soccer World Cup host city of Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, April 29, 2010.
World Cup preparations have cost South Africa an estimated R33bn – nearly £3bn

This also applies to the various organisations designated as Fifa’s commercial affiliates, licensees, host broadcasters, broadcast rights agencies, merchandise partners, service providers, concession operators and providers of hospitality.

For these organisations the tax concessions only apply when the goods or services are provided at an official Fifa site.

A standard 15% tax on the earnings of foreign sportsmen and entertainers will be applied as normal and ticket sales will have 14% VAT applied.

So how much money may go untaxed if a World Cup is staged in the UK?

No one can tell yet, but Fifa’s accounts for 2007, which cover the previous year’s World Cup, give a flavour of the huge amounts of money that sloshed around.

Nearly 900 million Swiss Francs (£552m at current exchange rates) were spent by Fifa on organising the tournament, including prize money and preparation payments for participating teams, on their hotel and travelling costs, and in a subsidy to the organising committee.

Much of that might have been taxed in Germany had it not been for the tournament’s favourable tax arrangements.

Meanwhile Fifa accrued more than 2.8 billion Swiss Francs (£1.72bn) in the four years up to and including the competition, mainly from selling broadcasting rights, sponsorship, hospitality packages and licensing rights in advance, plus a share of the local organising committee’s eventual profits from the tournament.

Much of that will have gone directly to Fifa in Switzerland, outside the scope of the German tax net.

How much income tax did Fifa pay in 2006 locally? Just one million Swiss Francs (£613,500).

What about England?

The authorities in the UK may be shy about talking about Fifa’s demands now, but if they wish to comply they will eventually have to change UK tax law, and do so in public.

“The host government has given away almost the entire tax-take to Fifa”  Moray Wilson Deloitte, South Africa

The government has agreed this sort of thing before.

The 2006 Budget exempted overseas sportsmen and women from being taxed here during the 2012 London Olympics.

The London Organising Committee is exempt from corporation tax, the International Olympic Committee is exempt from income and capital gains tax as well, and foreign competitors and staff are covered by this too.

A little-noticed, one line, clause in this year’s Budget exempted foreign players, and officials, of teams competing in the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley from paying income tax.

This fulfilled a government promise made in 2008 in response to the demands of the European football authority Uefa.

Should we care?

Moray Wilson, from the professional advisory firm Deloitte in Cape Town, says the financing of this year’s competition has still stirred up a fair bit of public debate in South Africa.

He points to taxpayers’ money being used to build new stadiums while untaxed profits largely go to Fifa in Switzerland.

“The host government has given away almost the entire tax-take to Fifa,” he says.

“It is certainly taking the lion’s share of the revenue.

“There is a degree of suspicion in the minds of many people of global organisations who extract extensive concessions from the host government,” he adds.

While people whoop at Ronaldo’s hair and love the tremendous Tiki Taka tactical tussles FIFA are taking millions of dollars out of Brazil because they think they can, bollocks to Blatter’s world cup.








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