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Silly Money Is Ripping The Heart Out Of Our Beautiful Game

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As I gaze at my blank computer screen, spending a few minutes pondering over how to start this article, it suddenly hits me. In the last 5 minutes I’ve spent thinking of how to open this piece and getting distracted by Roy Copper’s love life, Wayne Rooney has earned £150. By the time I’m in full throttle, ranting about astronomical player wages and transfer fees, he would have made another 150. The England captain earns £42,857 in a single day, making his weekly wage a mighty £300,000 – 11 times the average yearly wage in the UK. As we hit the height of the transfer window, we can’t escape the pound signs. All we see on the back pages are clubs demanding more and more money for their star assets. It’s all very evident the money in football, but how exactly is it effecting the game that we love?

It’s got to the point where we say these transfer fees forgetting the sheer quantity that they represent. Raheem Sterling’s move from Liverpool to Manchester City was worth £49 Million. Yep, 49 Million Pounds. It’s completely mind-boggling to think that someone is going to pay that sort of money (plus £200,000 a week) to another human to kick a ball into the back of a net, which he only did 23 times for Liverpool! And the funny thing is, Sterling is one of the most unlikeable footballers around. To be earning so much money, and then complain that you’re ‘tired’ whilst being pictured taking hippy crack and shisha just a few months later is a complete insult to the working class people that pay to watch him play every week.

How can someone be worth so much money, though? It’s probably the only business in the world where humans are trade-able assets that can only be transferred from one owner to another by money, resembling the slave trade. You can look at a mega mansion in Hollywood and still know that it’s worth less than little old Raheem Sterling. How often do really big money transfers work? The worlds most expensive footballer, Gareth Bale, was getting booed by his Real Madrid faithful at the end of last season, and whats not to say that the pressure put on Raheem Sterling isn’t going to be the same.

Sterling’s hefty price tag puts him under intense pressure before he’s even tried on his new team’s colours.

It’s quite frightening the cash being flung at players in this modern game. Every year, the prices seem to inflate even further. The teams at the very top are very satisfied, but teams lesser down in the top flight and in lower divisions are starting to feel the full effects. It’s fair to say Aston Villa have had a nightmare two weeks. First their captain, star man, and now England international pledged his future to the club, just to scurry through the exit door to big spenders Manchester City three days later. Although a comical series of events, it shows just how money talks. Fabian Delph is probably going to sit on the bench for most of the season, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s no real biggie – I mean he is going to be returning to his soon-to-be Cheshire mansion with another £100,000 or so in his bank account every week.

Neither could Villa do anything to save their top striker, Christian Benteke,from leaving for Liverpool, signing for £32.5 Million. The lesser teams are being treated horrifically, and it just means the gap between the top clubs and the not-so top clubs is just going to increase and increase. Any player that impresses at a lower team will always get snapped up in the modern game by one of the big boys at the top. Does it work out all the time for the glory guys though? No. Look at Wilfried Zaha, the winger came through the ranks at Crystal Palace before he was bought by Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, after making an incredibly limited amount of appearances there, he was loaned out before sealing a permanent move away from Old Trafford. Where to? Crystal Palace.

The reasons that young English boys are getting into football now is simply for one reason, money. With such a high foreign influx of players, the prices for English players are spiralling rapidly out of control. £49 Million for Raheem Sterling? £30 Million plus for John Stones? Manchester City were sweating at one point, and in some respects still are, that they won’t even have enough English players in the new season under regulations. Is young Patrick Roberts going to develop any better at the Etihad than at Fulham? Probably not. In fact, the environment that he now finds himself in is in fact a hindrance to his development.

It’s ripping the heart out of football. Football was once played for one thing only – passion. The passion has completely disintegrated. You just need to take one look at the retirement homes of football, the MLS, the Turkish League, the Chinese League, the Middle East Leagues, the Australian League and even now the Indian one. Where players go for one last pay packet. Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Xavi are just a tiny selection of players to make the move from their beloved clubs to these so called retirement homes. They don’t go there because they love the football, or the classic first interview with the club line ‘it’s always been my dream’, they go there for the money.

I was trying my best to resist referring to the 70’s and 80’s when getting my point across, but it had to be done. Back then, players were seen as ‘one of us’, the players symbolised what the club and its fans stood for, there wasn’t a ridiculous amount of money being splashed and players wanted to play because they loved football and they wanted to become legends at their respective clubs. Just like life in general does, things move on and nothing can ever remain the same, so it was always going to change. However, the extent that it has moved on is frightening.

Gascoigne and co can only be left to question why players no longer play for their love of the game.

Is it all bad though? I touched earlier on mid and lower league teams and their poor treatment from the big clubs, but they were handed a very handy boost earlier this year. Premier League clubs share of the incredible £5.3 Billion TV deal is going to, and already has, completely changed some clubs perspective of the transfer window. Sunderland, West Ham, Newcastle, Stoke, Aston Villa and even Watford have all already spent big. So surely this is only going to make the Premier League even more competitive, when these sides are building squads arguably good enough for a Europa League push. We shall see, but maybe a small benefit of the ridiculous inflation of money in the game could be this.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe that money in football has been taken to a new level, and every season more of the heart and soul of the game is being ripped out. I simply can’t stand the attitude shown by these players who are being paid so, so much. What is there to do though? The worldwide obsession makes revenue and as more Arab princes and Russian businessmen take over clubs, football is just going to inflate to the brink. It scares me to think where the game will be in twenty years time. It certainly needs looking into, because it simply isn’t attainable to carry on paying these human beings (that’s all they are) so much money. Nothing, especially money, is ever going to get in the way of my love with football, but come on, it’s getting stupid now.

 

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The never-ending thrill of sports

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Today, the world of sports is not just limited to the real ground and fields, but have moved on to the virtual world. One can enjoy watching their favourite sports such as football, cricket, rugby, tennis, cycling, and horse racing online. They can book their tickets for their favourite sports or watch them online right from within the comforts of their home. It is no surprise to see the mix of sports betting and casinos.

After all, it is hard to keep one segregated from the other. Browse NJ online casino to learn more about those popular sports and online betting. Many sports lovers love to make bets on sports to show their passion for the game.

The sports media

Sports journalists paly an essential role of maintaining the of press provision at the famous venues of the sports. The idea is to spread awareness regarding the high standards of sports and keep the buzz alive around them. Ever since the advent of the internet, the websites and now the smartphones, the sports media has taken off in a big way.

Now fans can enjoy their favorite games with just a few clicks or use social media apps to keep a tap on the current scores, almost anywhere at any time. There are Sports apps that provide updates, game schedules and much more. Sports fans can enjoy real-time results right when it happens. They need not be at the game or at home in front of their television to see how their favorite sports star is doing.

This is a good scenario for all the sports fans as they can now get regular updates on their favorite games and teams anytime. Online sports betting is not far behind and is fast gaining popularity. There are plenty of websites such as NJ online casino where one can enjoy casino games and bet on their favorite sports.

The experience takes their thrill to a whole new level. The gambling opportunities are quite abundant and comprise betting online sports and loads of others games. The software used for online sports and gambling are very easy to install. This is good news for all the novice gamblers out there.

Basketball and football have always enjoyed immense popularity across the world, and their total revenues are already breaking records. Football leagues around the world are raking in more money than ever before. N.B.A., the American sports league, is still one of the most popular brands in China and has more than 70 million followers. Spain’s biggest basketball teams are getting affiliated with their football counterparts.

However, it is the football that is the most heavily financed and dominant one. Popular sportsmen and international athletes get followed on social media. Cristiano Ronaldo leads with more than 127 million followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Do not miss out on any of those best sporting events happening across the world. Indulge your sporting passion and make sure that you get the best experience.

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The biggest fixing scandals in the history of football

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Of all the sports played across the globe, football has had some of the most spectacular match-fixing scandals ever seen.

Of course, football isn’t the only sport that is prone to fixing scandals. History’s top fixing incidents have occurred in horse racing, cricket, and even tennis, showing just how widespread the issue really is. FIFA’s Chris Eaton has described fixing as a crisis that threatens the entire integrity of the game, and when you take a look at history’s 7 most notorious football-fixing cases, you’ll see why.

Calciopoli (2006)

In May 2006, the Italian police cracked open the massive scandal that involved many of Italy’s top teams. Juventus, AC Milan, Reginna and Fiorentina were all involved, with the teams’ managers and referees having been caught conspiring to fix major league matches. Juve was relegated to Serie B and lost several league titles, while other team presidents were banned and fined.

Marseille (1993)

This French FC inspired outrage with its fixing involvement. The team apparently approached members of other local teams and asked them to throw games away, with former manager of Monaco Arsene Wenger dropping a big hint that uncovered the ordeal after losing to Marseille in the two years prior.

The Referee Robert Hoyzer Scandal (2005)

Referee Robert Hoyzer was banned and sentenced to two years in jail after he was caught accepting bribes to fix football matches for Croatian bar owner Ante Sapina. Hoyzer was convicted of fixing numerous matches in the 2nd and 3rd German tiers along with Bundesliga cup matches, in which he also awarded many controversial red cards and penalties to further his cause.

Plateau United Scores Too Many Goals (2013)

To earn a spot in Nigeria’s professional ranks, two teams fixed their matches, but their winning totals cast a spotlight on their plan and the Nigerian FA banned all 4 clubs involved for 10 years. The Plateau United Feeders scored an unbelievable 79-0 win, and the Police Machine FC won their match 67-0.

Belarusian Ghost Match (2015)

Two major betting agencies were caught offering bets and paying out on the results of a ‘ghost match’ in Belarus that never actually took place. The 2-1 result of FC Slutsk and Shakhter Soligorsk was confirmed by an official from the former team, only to have the story unravel later on. A former data collection company employee was found to be the brains behind the con.

SEA Games Fixing (2015)

Singaporean player Rajendran R. Kurusamny received the highest-ever prison term given to a fixer on a single charge when he was caught conspiring to fix 2015 SEA Games matches. The player received a 4-year sentence after his plot was ousted, having made over eight payments to Malaysian players to ensure they lost.

Spiked Water Bottles in Italy (2010)

Players in an Italian 3rd division match began to feel very lethargic and disorientated – only to find out goalkeeper Marco Paolini had spiked his team’s water bottles to fix the match in an attempt to pay off gambling debts. Paolini was banned for 5 years, and some believe the scam was linked to notorious fixing mogul Dan Tan.

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Four international football tournaments you’ve probably never heard of…

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We all know the big boys get all the glory in football – well, nine times out of ten they do. Tournaments like the World Cup, Premier League, Champions League and Euros may be the most lucrative and widely broadcast tournaments, but that doesn’t mean they’re the “biggest”.

There’s no shortage of other international tournaments to tickle your fancy! And they’re well worth watching – with thousands of players and thousands of goals – they can be some of the most entertaining football tournaments to watch. Here are four to get you started:

1) The Norway Cup

Running every year bar one since 1972, the Norway Cup is more like a football festival – and the whole world is invited.

Held on the green expanse of Ekebergsletta in Oslo, the week-long 2016 tournament broke new ground with 2,199 teams competing over the course of 6,000 games – all aimed at crowning the best youth outfits in the world.

From hosting 10-19-year-old footballers, the cup has expanded to include three-a-side football so those from the age of six can join in the fun.

So not only is it the world’s largest youth football tournament, it’s already got more than three decades of history behind it. In fact, the only reason it probably doesn’t get more coverage is the work it would take to cover the 6,000 games taking place in one week!

It’s certainly not because it doesn’t deserve it. There are great stories of success and even the occasional bit of controversy to keep things interesting during the brief interludes between games: this year, the Russian team were thrown out after its players were said to have “gone berserk” on the field, violently attacking their rivals.

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2) The Gothia Cup – otherwise known as The World Youth Cup

So Norway has the biggest youth football tournament but did you know it has a neighbourly rival called the World Youth Cup?

The Gothia Cup in Sweden runs every July and caps its entry at 1,600 teams – be them school teams based either locally or abroad. It started back in 1975 – yet that first tournament included girls’ teams; a huge success and far from the norm.

Over the years, more than a million – yes, a million! – players from 141 countries have participated. It’s well worth watching too: in an “average” year more than 22,000 goals are scored, more than five per match!

As if the goal bonanza wasn’t enough, it’s heritage is first class. It’s featured some of the world’s most famous players who played at the 2006 World Cup including: Xabi Alonso (Spain), Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Ze Roberto (Brazil), José Montiel (Paraguay), Kim Källström and Teddy Lucic (Sweden).

If you didn’t catch it this year on TV, head over to the website. It carries its own live coverage for a subscription charge – but you can’t help feel it deserves a bit more. Especially that opening ceremony.

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3) The Conifa World Football Cup

Conifa – the acronym – sounds like one of the fir trees you might expect to see in Sweden – where its first “world football cup” was held in June 2014, in Ostersund. But it stands for the Confederation of Independent Football Associations – also known as a different world for the beautiful game to thrive, and the result is something quite remarkable.

Conifa puts on its tournament for a veritable feast of states and stateless people, regions and minorities unaffiliated with Fifa such as Greenland, Tibet and Western Armenia – Conifa gives them a chance to show the world exactly what they can do.

“Our main goal is to give football outsiders overseen by Fifa or left behind by their mother country’s FA the chance to win their place on a global stage and advance, football-wise and personally,” said Conifa general secretary Sascha Düerkop.

It’s more than a noble cause. It’s essential. And it’s competitive. Occitania top the current rankings from Panjab and Northern Cyprus – yet it was hosts Abkhazia who won the 2016 tournament in June. The Conifa World Football Cup feels like it’s about something more than just glory hunting – a stark contrast to Fifa’s World Cup.

It’s growing in popularity too with four new members joining in 2016. Two from Africa: Western Sahara and Matabeleland, and two from Europe, Délvidék and Karpatalya.

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4) The Gulf Cup of Nations

Sure, the Euros and Copa America fire up football imaginations across the world – the best nations in Europe and South American respectively doing football battle on an epic stage. But there is something captivating about a little-covered equivalent in the Gulf.

Also known as the Arabian Gulf Cup, the four-yearly tournament is not sanctioned by Fifa – which probably adds to the charm, as some of the world’s wealthiest states thrash it out on the pitch.

On the calendar since 1970, Kuwait is by some way the most successful nation with 10 titles – not bad for a country with a population of approaching 4,000,000. Saudi Arabia, for contrast, is second place with three titles to their name.

It’s Qatar’s turn in 2017 – five years before the state will host the Fifa World Cup. The eyes of the world should be on how they perform and with improving TV coverage in recent years, it may be the world is about to experience more of the Arabian Gulf Cup.

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