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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 Boot Room is a football analysis website, bringing original and creative content to the fans of the English Football League.

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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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Is Friday Night Football anything more than a money-making tool for broadcasters?

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Last Saturday, the most anticipated Premier League season for years (although that’s what we say every year) made an overdue return, and to be quite honest, what an anti-climax it was, with reigning champions Leicester City going down two goals to one against an extremely depleted Hull City team. Gary Lineker presenting Match of the Day in his pants was probably the only true highlight of Saturday, with the fixtures only being able to be described as dour. But I digress.

The purpose of this piece is to discuss the arrival of Sky Sports’ new addition to their footballing broadcasts; ‘Friday Night Football’, and it’s possible impacts. Now, as a League Two fan, who dabbles into the depths of non-league on a regular basis too, the fact that the Sky Sports corporate steamroller have ventured into a Friday night prime time slot as part of their £8 billion TV deals means very little to me, and quite honestly I was unaware of it happening until very recently. It has no bearing whatsoever on my attendances at Wycombe Wanderers games, and its introduction will purely give me the option of watching a Premier League game at home or in the pub on a Friday night if I wish to do so. However, for many, the introduction of  ‘Friday Night Football’ will have consequences – some positive, and some negative.

The clear winners here, are without a doubt the broadcasters. Another box has well and truly been ticked. They have managed to secure Premier League football on a Friday, meaning effectively it could mean that we could see the stars of the Premier League, and the likes of Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher gracing our screens every day between Friday and Monday – another nail in the coffin away from the old school tradition of purely having games on a Saturday at 3pm and the odd few on a Tuesday night.

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But like I’ve alluded to before, the giants of the corporate sports world (Sky and BT) care very little about fans, rather customers and viewing figures, and alongside this – lining their pockets with hard cash. If Friday Night Football is a success, which I’m predicting it will be – with the likes of Rachel Riley and Jeff Stelling involved – it could prove to be an extremely profitable venture. Obviously the arrival of Friday Night Football will also go down well with those who are Sky viewers, another opportunity to savour the delight of one of the most elite leagues on the planet – and with the prospect of more televised football it will likely mean more Sky Sports subscription purchases – another profitable tributary in the ever flowing monetary stream that is Sky Sports.

Another benefactor of the new Friday fixtures are pubs. As someone who has worked many a Friday night behind the bar I know that Friday is more often than not the busiest night of the week, the added incentive of football being televised is only going to see an influx in the amount of people visiting their local. Sky Sports win in terms of exposure and pubs buying the rights to show these extra games.

Now, I fully appreciate the likes of BT Sport and Sky Sports and their ease of use, the users ability to discover new sports and their ever growing influence on sporting culture, however, the introduction of Friday Night Football could prove to be extremely detrimental to both football fans who regularly attend matches, and smaller league and non-league clubs who already live in the shadows of the superstar teams of the Premier League.

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Although the Premier League have recognised the extortionate ticket prices and have therefore capped away tickets to a maximum of £30, the concern is logistics when it comes to these Friday night matches – a potential problem for away and home fans, alike. Take Friday night, for example, as Southampton traveled to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United, an 8pm kick off. A fan driving from Southampton would take on average three and half hours to arrive at the home of Manchester United, meaning your Average Joe working a 9-5 weekday job hasn’t got a hope in hell of attending the match. Whereas, if the fixture was played on a Saturday they would more than likely be able to take the trip.

In addition to this public transport is far from trustworthy, or frequent for that matter, with trains available after evening matches, especially on a Friday. It would be a different story if television money acquired by clubs from the broadcaster was used to help out their fans that evidently care for the club, but obviously this feeling isn’t a mutual one. This means fans could become alienated from their club, and attendances could prove to suffer because of this – Sky Sports win again.

Away from the glitz and glamour of the Premier League in the ever so different world of the Football League and more so non-league there are concerns that the introduction of football on a Friday could see attendances continue to fall. Already faced by Tuesday night televised Champions League matches, some non-league clubs, such as Wealdstone and Oxford City who play in the National League South have begun moving fixtures from a Tuesday to a Monday night, as attendances have plummeted with the obsession regarding the biggest club competition in Europe continuing to grow. It could indeed prove to be beneficial with football fans looking for another local club to support on a Saturday. However, time will very much tell.

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By no means has this piece been a tirade against Sky Sports, merely a way of analysing the effects of the introduction of Friday Night Football. However, what is clear to me is that we’ve entered into a new realm of televised football, in which money well and truly talks, with sports channels getting preference over football fans. Evidently, not everybody is happy about its introduction. However, what is clear is that it has arrived, and it’s here to stay.

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