Forever Pure – Football and Racism in Jerusalem

December 22, 2016

“Documentary which follows events at Israel’s most notorious football club. Beitar Jerusalem FC is the most popular team in Israel and the only club in the Premier League never to sign an Arab player. Midway through a season the club’s owner, Russian-Israeli oligarch Arcadi Gaydamak, brought in two Muslim players from Chechnya in a secretive transfer deal that triggered the most racist campaign in Israeli sport and sent the club spiralling out of control. Forever Pure follows the famous football club through the tumultuous season, as power, money and politics fuel a crisis and shows how racism is destroying both the team and society from within.” BBC (Video)

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The best World Cup format–that FIFA would never consider

December 8, 2016

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“The World Cup might grow to 40 teams, or it might wind up with 48. It might be eight groups of five or four groups of 10, or there might be 16 seeds and a straight 32-team knockout round to get to join them in the format we have now. Or it might be 16 groups of three. Either way, the endless gigantism stimulated by FIFA presidential elections, as candidates promise more and more nations that they, too, can play in a World Cup, means that the competition will be even more bloated, even more unwieldy by then. Of course, this is 2026 we’re talking about, so there’s a significant chance global political elections by then will mean that by then, as George Orwell foresaw, it’s just three teams: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


L’Internationale exhibition – London comes alive for Euro 2016

November 2, 2016

“Oxford House in Bethnal Green, London, recently played host to L’Internationale, an exhibition of photos taken in London during Euro 2016. Liam Aylott, by day a professional fashion and advertising photographer, tracked down fans of all twenty-four participating nations and captured the agony and ecstasy of supporting one’s nation. The exhibition and Liam’s work was supported by Kick It Out and the Football Supporters’ Federation’s Fans for Diversity fund, which was set up to help fans celebrate the extraordinary power of football to unite people from a diverse set of backgrounds.” Football Pink


Belgium – The Farce FIFA Needs To Fix

September 15, 2016

“Belgium must have some kind of special glamor power with football’s governing body, or the country collectively holds an awful lot of photos of top FIFA bods at Christmas Karaoke parties going through an enthusiastic Abba medley.  The most under-achieving country in terms of talent vs results are still being rewarded for their purely theoretical footballing prowess by holding fast in the FIFA rankings in second place. Second!” BeinSports – Tim Stannard


Waiting for Con – Ireland’s sports writing colossus

July 30, 2016

“Considering the circumstances of one’s own conception is a curious concern. Dispensing with the questions that are perhaps too crude to contemplate – where, when, and, the most dreaded of all, how – the possibility of ‘why?’ can, on occasion, generate some intriguing answers. Born in mid-March, 1991, a standard gestation would suggest my own ‘seedtime’ fell somewhere in or around June of the previous year. An incongruous month of boring, goal-stricken football for most, Italia ’90 cemented Ireland’s nationwide fascination with a sport whose appeal had been suitably whetted two years previously at Euro ’88.” Football Pink


History of the Ball

April 17, 2016

“According to official FIFA regulations, a soccer ball must be spherical, made of leather or another suitable material, the circumference must be between 68 and 70cm, the weight must be between 410 and 450g, and the internal pressure must be between .6 and 1.1 atmospheres. Within these regulations, however, there can be a lot of variation. The history of the modern soccer ball began in 1862 with the invention of the rubber bladder.” Soccer Politics


Group of death: FIFA officials’ financial secrets exposed in new Wikileaks-style trove

April 12, 2016

“Mossack Fonseca, a prominent law firm headquartered in Panama—with offices in 36 other jurisdictions—sprung a leak last year. That leak produced approximately 11.5 million documents revealing over 200,000 entities and 14,000 clients, surfacing relationships that had remained behind a veil of secrecy and attorney-client privilege. The leaked emails and documents reveal a wide spectrum of clientele—from politicians to celebrities, athletes, the ridiculously wealthy and powerful, and corporations—who have been turning to the firm for decades to create offshore shell companies, corporate vehicles that leave virtually no ownership footprint.” Fusion