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Time for FIFA to change?

11 May

It is no easy job for Mr. Sepp Blatter to gain his position as the president of FIFA and build up his empire now. Then it will be equally difficult to change the world football organisation from what it ends up to now.

Rather than just sit comfortably in the couch and watch football games at home, now the public can at least turn their attention to FIFA itself via knowing more about its ugly sides. Cash and knighthood for votes? Finally people’s speculations about this secret body echo in the media output and talkings of conspiracy now have their justifications. The Sword of Damocles is about to fall, and this is the time for FIFA to change.

But will it?

It is obviously “good” to know that FIFA has its own scandal, because if it is true (of course we do not know yet), the interest of the public was so hardly harmed in the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup. And maybe it has been harmed for a long time. If without media from England the “bad loser”, God knows at what point of history people will be informed of this possibility.

James Olley from London Evening Standard certainly has his point saying that there will not be significant change with Blatter still in power. But he might be too optimistic here, as FIFA will not possibily to change even without Sepp Blatter.

Just like a company, FIFA has its own culture and ways of dealing with things. Eliminating a CEO does not mean sweeping the whole set of corporation culture, which also seems impossible. If the scandals of bribery are true, then they must have become a vicious tumor in a dying body, and it was already too late for the public to find it out. Transplanting that specific organ will not cure, as the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. The only way to turn this around is either to kill the body so that it will not hurt more or to let it be and  wait for the miracle.

Now the transplanting i.e. the FIFA election is just around the corner. Even if Mr. Mohamed Bin Hammam manages to make his way to the throne, dare he start it all over and end the corruption? Remember, FIFA is not just as easy as football, it is also about geo-politics. It is incredible to believe that someone that used to be part of the system will actually destroy all the dirty networks that it lives on, because the day of doom for that body will be the day of doom for himself as well.

And the hatred of FIFA against England continues

10 May

Do FIFA hate England? At least many of the English people believe so. All the ethics of being neutral, objective and open sound like intolerable offence to them now. This hatred, after what happens today, will unfortunately continue.

Lord Triesman, former Football Association chairman and president of the English bid for the 2018 World Cup, claims that four FIFA members intends to take advantage from England’s campaign in exchange for their votes.

These four members who are named include: Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi. Some of them asked for cash or TV rights, one of them even request for a knighthood.

This, of course, has once more put FIFA under fire. The world football organisation will apparently not want the public to be refreshed about its scandal exposed by the BBC and the Sun earlier this year. Their credibility has been severely lowered since then. Now about five month later the English people once again bring the issue to the light.

Will Mr. Sepp Blatter, head of FIFA, be okay this time after he called England a “bad loser”? At least he seems so.

According to the BBC, he said:

“I was shocked [upon hearing] but one has to see the evidence. They are coming from other confederations, so I cannot say that they are all angels or all devils. There is a new round of information. Give us time to digest that and start the investigation by asking for evidence on what has been said. We will react immediately against all those in breach of the ethics code rules. Zero tolerance is going through Fifa, it is one of the items on the Congress. It is my battle horse.”

So more investigations? To those cynics  Mr. Blatter sounds once again like a politician.

Need one more reason to hate England in this case? This just happened at a bad time. Soon in June Mr. Blatter will stand against Mr. Mohammed Bin Hammam, President of Asian Football Association,  in the FIFA general election. What works  better to bring down the 75 aged Swiss’ credibility than informing of FIFA members again the scandal?

Well maybe football should thank what the English people have done in the sense of cleaning the environment. Only that England may need to pay for their chivalric move, again.

The London derby off the pitch

25 Mar

It is quite hard to explain why a derby is so special for a football fan. There is some complex there to make it stand out from other games.

London, capital of the country where the modern football originated, has its own interesting derby games. It will be a good idea to attend one of them as part of the course of stay in London.

However the tickets can be expensive and hard to get. Sometimes you need to give up to your fate, as bad luck looms.

But it will be a great shame if you miss it, still. So why not reach out to the stadium on a match day, stay there for a while, wait for the final whistle and feel the post-match atmosphere?

I went to the game of Tottenham Hotspur v.s. West Ham at White Hart Lane with my colleagues on Saturday 19 March to get a touch of the London derby.

A place like there is no such a game

Due to the complicated transport routes and the place that Hotspurs’ home stadium locates, we only managed to arrive the White Hart Lane during the half time. The score was 0-0.

It was somehow weird to see such a scene. Massive rubbish was lying on nearly every square metre of the street and the pavement.

It was like a demonstration of football fans’ beverage. Beer bottles, cola cans, newspapers, take-away boxes, you name it.

Every sign is telling that there used to be a huge stream of people passing by, only that they were not there anymore.

Even souvenir sellers were doing something else while keeping an eye on their goods, which were right now sun bathing in London’s early spring.

When we got close to the south end, we could hardly hear any scream, any sighs of pity, any whistle blowing, which were supposed to belong to a football match. Not to mention this is the derby.

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“Is there really a match going on?” One of my colleagues asked. That was exactly what I was asking myself.

It was a place like there was no such a game.

Policemen standing by

But there is a game going on, only that we did not feel it and that the game in the massive cereal building is taking place too quietly.

Thank God we finally heard the announcement from the stadium, of course in such a subtle way that the content could hardly be identified.

As the match went close to the end – according to the clock not the sound – we started to get a sight on a lot of policemen.

The shiny yellow shirt and the black too-stylish-to-fit-a-policeman hat of the London Metropolitan Police began to appear in a massive number.

Police vans were lined up at the cross, blocking the street. Another team of policemen with anti-violent helmets was disposed in a line in the middle of the street, separating the street into two passages, half and half.

Of course for such a massive event, human beings would also have to ask their animal friends for help. Horses with the police atop joined the group that separated the street.

They stood by, and were obviously waiting for something or hopefully nothing from the match.

Weren’t we waiting for the same thing?

Fans as stars off the pitch

We were.

“There they come.” I could almost hear this from those police as well as from my colleagues, as those first group of fans came out of the stadium, not even before the match finished.

Something strange caught our attention again. Those who got out first were all in a worried face and literally running. My colleagues would hate this, as they could not even get a proper interview.

Those fans were running for the transportation. It would be a nightmare to get the car out of thousands of other cars and make it on the road after such a game. Not to mention the public transportation. Crowds could almost be impossible to avoid if not sacrificing the last minutes of the game.

Then there went more of running fans, and more. Within five minutes fans filled the previously vacant street.

Some of them were in quite good mood. We heard that the final score was still 0-0 – a good news for my colleagues and the police. Fans of both Tottenham and West Ham could accept this for a derby, which meant no extreme emotion were among the crowds.

For most fans, 90 minutes without a single goal on a lovely, sunny Saturday afternoon could not let all of their energy out. Hence songs started to be heard from the crowd. It would be quite easy to get your song echoed when being around thousands of people who have the same favorite team.

Fans of Tottenham, who were playing home, naturally outnumbered West Ham fans. Their supporting songs for the team and their hero Gareth Bale were of course of a higher volumn.

You could also hear the minority sang back, waving their team colour, they did not cause of trouble for the police.

My colleagues seemed getting lucky there, as they managed to stop some fans to talk to.

Towards the media, fans were quite enthusiastic. Those who stopped by were very willing to share their opinions and to show off their love for the team.

Everyone was walking in order in the two passages separated by the police. Everyone seemed to just want to go back home and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

For less than half an hour the biggest wave of fans had passed. We joined the rest of them to the public transportation. There was already an endless queue at the tube station. Oh no…

He who lives with tennis: a profile of Luca Pisculli

21 Mar

He won the Italian national championship as a swimmer when he was only 12 years old. But he did not like the sport.

He found his love for tennis and reached the national level when he was a teenager.

Italy may have its own Michael Phelps and Andy Murray now if he had ever continued either sport.

Luca Pisculli, now a final year student of political science at Roma Tre University, has followed his own heart to finish the player career but still keeps his passion for tennis, the sport that has already become part of his life.

Luca is quite nice and easy to approach, but his caution can still be detected when talking to a newly known person.

“I don’t know it in English,” Luca the Italian said every time when he tried to clarify himself so as to avoid confusion.

Farewell to the sportsman career

It sounds hardly too ambitious if a player says he wants to be the best in his field, but the then 18-aged Luca chose to be very down-to-earth about his career.

Luca Pisculli

He decided to finish his sportsman career and turned to coaching and study.

“I was a good player, but I start to play late in the age of 12. In one year I was able to enter the national championship. For several years I was really good. At the age of 18 I need to decide if I want to be a professional player or I just want to study, ” he said.

Even though it was a difficult decision for him, he seems to have less regret than satisfaction, and soon he found another way to keep tennis in his life.

The now 23-year-old added with relief and slightly detectable sense of pity: I’m happy with my decision. My other friends continued to play as professional players. They are still playing now but they are not good enough to make a living with tennis.

But I’m kind of sad. Every time I think about my player career, I’m kind of sad. This is why I decide to be a coach. Just to continue with tennis.”

Luca is now holding the certificate of international coach for tennis, after he went through a long journey.

“In Italy if you want to be the coach for professional players, it’s very difficult. You need to do the six-month course, pass the exam and after that you need to work with a national coach for two years, pass another exam, then you can become a tennis coach,” he explained, paying absolute attention to clarifying each stage.

Aged 23 in 2010, he was the then youngest person taking the final exam for the international coach certificate.

The future tennis coach

As a coach, he teaches young professionals aged from 12 to 26, and he knows how to enjoy this new role on the court as a different experience from being a player.

“This year [2011] I was working with the daughter of the famous Brazilian footballer Emerson, who used to play for AS Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid. Once I was even invited to Emerson’s house. It’s a huge house with swimming pool, it’s funny.”

Luca is also very self-reflective concerning his role as a coach. He believes that a former player career is very important for a good coach, although not necessarily so.

“As a player you can understand how players think. Because you did it and you will know. It’s easier.

“But for a coach, a player career is not so important. Because we have very good tennis coaches who have never played as players.”

He also emphasized the necessity of study for a coach by saying “If you are a tennis coach it is very, very important to study. Because when you study, you have an open mind”.

“But in tennis, no one studies. Just few coaches have the graduation. In Italy it’s just Coppo, ” he added.

Giampaolo Coppo, the 56-year-old international tennis coach who enjoys his reputation in Italy, used to train Luca to be a player and now helps Luca to be a good coach.

Luca describes the relationship with his sensei with pride and gratitude in his voice: “ I was very lucky to work with him. He’s very intelligent. He’s like a father who helps me.”

In Luca’s life, study seems to be important as well, if not more important than tennis.

During the Christmas holiday, he did not even go back to Sicily, where most of his family now lives.

He has also chosen for himself a master’s degree, a bit surprisingly in motorsports management rather than tennis, as his goal of further study.

“I’m going to do a master that’s not linked with tennis, because it’s better to have more ways, more possibilities,” he said.

How to make the last eight in Champions League into four interesting games

17 Mar

This year’s Champions League has just had its last eight after 16 exciting or boring games.

Barcelona and Real Madrid from Spain, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur from England, Inter Milan from Italy, Shalke 04 from Germany and Shakhtar from Ukraine are technically the this year’s best eight European clubs, who have the chance to finally march to Wembley for the trophy.

Similar scenes are being played in each year’s knockout stage. There are one or two predictable games and some finals being played too early.

Fans of the last eight will of course enjoy it but do not forget those neutral fans, whose population will unsurprisingly be bigger.

The draw is on tomorrow (Fri 18 March). Before that let us put teams together by ourselves and make it interesing. Why not?

Barcelona v.s. Manchester United

A repeat of the Champions 2009 League final? Fergie shall never forget summer night in Rome. Although Barca is now probably the team everyone wants to avoid, for the English club a bit sense of revenge will give players the extra willingness of winning and therefore more juice for the match.

Pep Guardiola has been making extreme success with Barca since he toke over the club in 2008. Six trophies in the 08/09 season has made him in the record book of world football. This season’s 5-0 win against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid in the Spanish La Liga also made the testimony of him being the world’s most successful and young football manager.

His clash with Sir Alex Fergusen will therefore be a two-legged match between managers of two generations.

Chelsea v.s. Tottenham Hotspur

This derby will again turn London into a city of blue and white. Fans of both club will not have to travel too much to support their teams.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team lost their ground in the Premier League, currently ranking 4th on the table. Roman Abramovic’s long-waited dream of the Champions League trophy did not come true with Mourinho being the manager. Now with the Italian cup expert, the Russian will certainly hope his team to go further to save this season, after losing the hope for champion on the other three frontlines.

Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham has been delivering absolutely phenomenal performances in the Champions League, with Gareth Bale becoming the superstar and predictably the hot topic in the summer transfer window.

But how far can they go? The Champions League will never refuse some surprise from a dark horse.

Real Madrid v.s. Inter Milan

Even without the attribute of the clash between the most succesful club in the history of Champions league and the defending champion, this will still be two interesting matches – all because of Jose.

“The special one” will become the focus immediately wherever he goes to. A game between his current and former clubs will always welcomed by journalists, as it is almost a guarantee of good quotes.

Still remember last year’s Inter v.s. Chelsea game? Mourinho gave his exemployee almost no chance to qualify. Will this game be another proof of his professionalism and cruelty?

Shalke 04 v.s. Shakhtar

Who will be the better “miner”? The two clubs both with a background of mining industry are two surprises of this year’s Champions League.

Shakhtar topped its group with Arsenal following. In the first round of the knockout they smashed AS Roma with 6-2 on aggregate. Few people will say that this Ukrainian club can go this far.

Surprisingly, Shalke 04 is the only team from Germany in the Champions League as their companion FC Bayern lost to Inter Milan. The German Bundesliga will become the third league in terms of places of the Champions league in two seasons’ time. The last German bleed is necessary to remain this position.

It will also be interesting to see Ralf Rangnick, who has just replaced Felix Magath as the coach, to take the quarter-finalist go any further with probable different tactics.

Of course, the forever Spanish No. 7 Raúl González is another focus. He is currently leading the all-time goals table of UEFA Cup and Champions League. For 69 times he netted the ball into the opponents goals, and there is no sign that the 33-year-old legend is slowering his pace, as he has already nailed three goals in the tournament – the same with his Dutch colleague Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

In the name of Barcelona, we need Jose

9 Mar

With Jose Mourinho‘s success with Inter Milan last season, criticisms on his “ugly” football start to come under the spotlight as well.

To be “ugly” or not, this is a problem.

But not anymore when last year Spain was crowned in South Africa. Plus they also won the Europe Cup two years earlier, “beautiful” football has reached its heyday with a combination of the way it is played and the result.

Sharing the same football gene with Spain, Barcelona made its way to a top European club.

However, interestingly, they did not even make it to the Champions League Final. They were blocked in the semi-final. By whom? Morinho’s “ugly” Inter.

Is “beautiful” football actually making the game beautiful?

I’m afraid not.

Take Barcelona as an example. They just beat Arsenal in the Champions League knock-out round for last 16. In the second leg they dominated the game by possessing the ball for 76% of the time according to ESPN, leaving their opponent chasing shadows.

An even more embarrassing fact is that Arsenal did not even make one shot – they made the score level for a time by pushing Segio Busquets to commit an own goal.

Such a one-sided game will only be enjoyed by supporters of both teams. For neutral fans it is a rather killing game like this:

A “beautiful” ugly game

For opponents of Barcelona, an open game is almost equivalent to a loss. As strong as a team like Real Madrid (in the sense of the squad) can lost the game to Barca by 0-5, you can really not hope too much but for losing by less goals by Barca.

So the logic makes the opponent tend to stay in a defensive formation. Voila, it is like a training session of Barcelona again.

Too strong to be beautiful

For the sake of football, there is no doubt that Barcelona is on the right track. They have pushed the aesthetics of football to another crest, by involving lots of short and quick passes, and incredible speed and flexibility. Leo Messi is just a definition of the football that Barcelona is playing now. It is beautiful, by itself.

So why is Barcelona actually ruining the game?

Apart from the defensive position that their opponents will choose, another reason is that Barcelona have not find an equivalently strong opponent who also play “beautiful” football.

Arsenal’s games are supposed to be quite enjoyable, as their manager Arsene Wenger has well kept the Latin heritage for the northern London club.

But when they meet Barcelona, they are like pupils playing with professionals. No offence, but the match is still dominated by the Spain club.

Had we have another Barcelona, it must be quite interesting when these two teams meet together. Then it will be the testimony of the true beautiful football.

The match will be quite balanced between two teams having the same philosophy.

Let there be Jose

That’s why we need coaches like Jose Morinho, whose philosophy is rather pragmatic and based on muscles and strict execution of tactics.

Since we cannot see another Barcelona to occur in the near future, we need an “ugly” team who is equally strong as Barcelona (in the sense of both the squad and tactics!).

Then it will be a clash of two completely different types of football philosophy. The game is not necessarily made more beautiful for neutral fans, at least it will be quite interesting to see how these two teams will define the direction of the world football.

The 2010 World Cup semi-final between Spain and Germany, and the final between Spain and Holland almost made it.

This process should probably take five to 10 years, when teams of both types divide champions.

Therefore to make this happen, Jose still have a long way to go.

If 2022 World Cup Were Held in January

21 Dec

If the World Cup is not held in the summer time of the north hemisphere, it will be a brand new experience for clubs, footballers and fans.

After Qatar won the 2022 bid, plans of moving the World Cup tournament to winter have been heard.

Now they are endorsed by FIFPro, the world’s footballers’ union, who requires to change the World Cup timing in order to avoid the heat wave of summer in Qatar.

It sounds like a humane plan to footballers, but is it really feasible?

Huge disturb in the winter break

If the 2022 World Cup took place in January, most clubs of European leagues would suffer.

Football leagues in Italy, Germany, France, Spain all have their winter breaks for players to restore their energy for spring.

The Premier League in England though, does not have a winter break. Normally during the Christmas slot, matches are even more intense.

This has been very controversial as football managers in England think their players need a break in winter.

If the 2022 World Cup were held in January, a problem will be posed to FIFA and all football associations in Europe: whether to postpone the league or not.

If they postpone the leagues, the whole time slot of European will be disturbed.

Leagues and Champions League matches will be finished later, which means the summer break will be influenced as well.

If not, the interest of clubs who own many internationals, such as Chelsea and Barcelona, can hardly be guaranteed, as their top players will then be in Qatar playing for their nations.

Similar collisions have already been witnessed when the Africa Cup of Nations takes place every two years.

Teams like Chelsea, whose squads include many African internationals have been hardly in a honeymoon with FIFA.

Either way, top players will not get enough rest before summer.

Why Messi but not Sneijder?

9 Dec

This year’s Ballon D’or candidates are bizarre.

Absolutely no surprise about Xavi and Iniesta, as they both played well in the past year, especially during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

But Why Messi, again?

Wesley Sneijder seems to be a more reasonable choice for the final three candidates.

According to the tradition of Ballon D’or, both individual and team performances are two of the most important criteria of deciding who is the winner.

Champion’s League

Sneijder won last season’s Champion’s League with Inter. Being the tactical core of Jose Mourinho, the versatile Dutch is everywhere on the pitch.

Inter’s Argentinian striker Diego Milito should probably thank Sneijer for his assists (6, ESPN). Without Sneijder, maybe he would still be a critical player in Inter, he would never be so phenomenal (6 goals, 2 assists, ESPN) at the attacking line.

Wesley Sneijder 2010

Leo Messi?

Eight (ESPN) goals top the Champion’s League 09/10. Sparkling performance truly if judging as an individual. Assists? Zero.

But his team, Barcelona was blocked exactly by Sneijder’s Inter in the semi-finals.

The FIFA Word Cup

The whole world remembers Spain’s victory, declaring the revival of artistic football against the backdrop that defense wins all.

If Arjen Robben could nail the one on one chance against Iker Casillas in the Final, the candidates for Ballon D’or might have been largely different now. Sadly there is no “if” within football.

But this cannot conceal what Sneijder did in South Africa. Without him being one of the few inspirations of attacking in van Marwijk’s team, the Orange could have been terminated by Brazil in the kick-out.

In terms of Messi, it seems that he left all his lucks of goal at Barcelona. Apparently the winner of last time’s Ballon D’or and FIFA MVP was not born for his country, not like Diego Maradona.

So how come it is Messi again but not Sneijder?

The chosen one

Maybe except for fans of Real Madrid, everyone loves Messi, the one in Barcelona, where he can puts the ball into the net just as normally as walking and eating.

Especially after he “copied” Maladona’s stunning goal on the 1986 World Cup against England, Messi was crowned by the media and fans as the next king of soccer.

  Messi vs Maradona

So under the backdrop that Iniesta and Xavi can almost confirm the first and second places, why not put Messi as another candidate?

A, he seems to be more like a superstar than Sneijder, who looks more like someone from the working class. More fans will be attacted.

B, If put Messi on rather than Sneijder, an astonishingly rare thing will happen: three players from the same club occupy the first three positions of Ballon D’or. Hala La Masia!

C, This year’s Ballon D’or is for the first time combined with the FIFA MVP. FIFA is about football but is never just football. It is politics, it is exchanges of interests. Anything weird can happen with this governing organisation, whose supervising body does not even exist yet.

England: See World Cup in 2030, maybe

2 Dec

I almost composed my article for the result of the 2018 bid as “Modern Football Back Home”, and I believe many media in England had the same idea.

However that type of title never turns up as England lost the 2018 World Cup host to Russia, gaining only two votes at the first round. The next chance for England to host the World Cup will be in 2030, when the world sporting event will go back to Europe.

Massive disappointment across England

Fans of football in England are so disappointed that they almost lost the bid which they think was already in their pocket before the bid was announced, as the England seemed to be enjoying several reasons to believe that it will win.

“After all the politiking, millions of pounds and bringing in the big-guns for the England 2018 bid , we manage TWO votes out of 22! Shocking!” Said a fan named 2yyiam on Twitter.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter announcing the 2018 bid result

Not only general fans, several big names have also joined the team of disappointment.

Prince William, as a member of the bidding team and one of the presenters for England at Zurich today, says, “I’m very disappointed, as are the rest of the team.”

The BBC also reveals that British Prime Minister David Cameron shares his feeling after being defeated, by saying, “I think, according to Fifa, we had the best technical bid, the best commercial bid. No-one could identify any risks coming to England. But it turns out that’s not enough.”

Skepticism on FIFA rises

After the disappointing result was announced by the existing president of FIFA Sepp Blatter, the world football governing body becomes the target to blame at once.

Skepticism on FIFA spreads among demoralised fans.

“FIFA is just a joke.” Says a fan who talks on BBC 5’s evening programme.

Another fan on Radio 5’s programme Phil claims that FIFA is not assessing what they are supposed to assess concerning a World Cup host candidate, by saying, “We have all stadiums here, but they are not interested in it. ”

A fan called Rogan says that FIFA has not considered the football culture  that England boasts and that “we have the enthusiasm even before the FIFA was born”.

FIFA under fire after England lost the bid

England 2018 bid chief executive Andy Anson is far from satisfied as England did not even get across the first hurdle, saying that it is “pretty disheartening”, according to the BBC.

He has also criticised FIFA’s decision of announcing two bid results at the same time, saying, “It inevitably led to people with votes in 2018 doing deals with people involved in 2022.”

The media influence

As FIFA has become the largest target of disappointed England fans, the media seems to be less blamed than they were earlier this week after the BBC documentary revealing corruption in FIFA was released on Monday.

Several fans on BBC Radio 5’s evening programme said that it was not all the media’s fault as England lost the bid.

However some fans still believe that it is the media who have at least negatively impacted England’s bid.

“They are irresponsible,” said a fan named Phil. “They can write whatever they want. The timing wasn’t right. “

Five Reasons to Believe England Will Win 2018 Bid

2 Dec

There is no such a place like England who is so passionate – nearly impatient  – about holding the FIFA World Cup, again. English people have been waiting for too long a time.

The final result for the 2018 World Cup bid is planned to be announced at 1500 GMT on 2 December at Zurich.

Being nervous is not a shame. But there are more reasons to be confident instead.

No. 1 Economy

This is a word everybody in Europe is trying to avoid during a time of austerity, as each bite of it feels like a needle punching on the skin.

Yet this is the topic that FIFA, the world football governing body can hardly ignore when assessing candidates for the World Cup.

Indeed England is not immune from the recession, as the British government tries to lift the country from economic difficulty by promoting spending cuts plans.

But neither do other candidates escape from it.

Netherlands-Belgium, Russia and Spain-Portugal are also suffering from the global economic depression which triggered by the financial crisis in 2007.

Therefore to this point, all candidates seem to be at similar levels.

England may enjoy a bit of advantage concerning revenue generation, as it is the only country that is assumed to fully meet FIFA’s revenue target.

According to The Sun, an economic report indicates that England is the only candidate that can strike 100 percent of revenue in all five categories: ticketing, media rights, licensing, hospitality and sponsorship, with Spain-Portugal at 91 percent, Holland-Belgium at 87 percent and Russia at 86 percent.

No. 2 The effect of 2012 Olympic Games

Never ever underestimate the effect of the Olympic Games, as it not only brings billions of pounds of revenue, but also bears the chance of boosting the credibility of the host country.

In terms of infrastructure, London has done much for its 2012 hospitality concerning public transport, information technology and communication, stadiums and security.

London will be considered as an epitome of England’s capability of holding a world-level sporting event.

The last time people see Russia and Spain hold a sporting event equivalent to World Cup can date back to the 1980 and 1992 Olympic Games. Russia was still a member of the Soviet Union, while Spain has not even entered the euro zone.

Holland and Belgium used to cooperate in the 2000 European Cup, which is ten years ago.

No. 3 The football culture

As the birthplace of modern football, England boasts the best football atmosphere in Europe.

It is not surprising to see a family of football fans in England, not to mention a small local football team can also have thousands of supporters who will attend their team’s matches regardless of any extreme weathers.

The Premier League is one of the most successful football leagues in the world, with Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool as the “Big Four” boasting worldwide popularity.

The deep football culture also leaves England well-prepared modern stadiums and affiliated facilities, which have already experienced tests of big events.

No. 4 The star effect

The England 2018 bidding team is all-star. Listen to these names: David Beckham, Alan Shearer, David Cameron, Prince William…Each of them can easily occupy people’s attention. Now they are working as a team.

Well-recognised images can of course not guarantee a win, but it can surely reflect the passion of a country for the World Cup and attract enough media exposure.

The BBC could help England win the 2018 World Cup

Russia may suffer from the stand-back of its Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, as he recently declared that the 2018 bidding is “unscrupulous competition”.

No. 5 BBC Documentary

BBC is under severe criticism after it released a documentary about the bidding scandal of FIFA on its Panorama programme on Monday.

Angry Fans and officials are saying that BBC’s bad timing of putting the documentary on air may ruin England’s 2018 bid by pointing the fire straight at members of the committee.

However this controversial move can also help England to win the bid, as it may reflect a country’s integrity and its attitude towards corruption.

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