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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Internationals

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Could Slovakia-England result affect Brexit vote?

I'm a bit sceptical about the link between football results and voting behaviour.   The evidence is contradictory and if there are causal effects they could be in opposite directions.   My scepticism is increased in the case of referendums where voters are making a different kind of judgment from elections.

Euro 2016 'Brexit' threat to pubs

There's another 'Brexit' threat in the offing, an early exit by the home teams from the Euro 2016 championships could hit pub takings.   Owners are hoping the teams will 'Remain'.

Of course, England could be expelled if there are further clashes involving their fans, although it was interesting to see the Russian sports minister appluading his fans after their hooligans had launched an attack on English fans.

Free to air international matches cut back

It looks as is free to air broadcasting of international matches may be undermined with Sky poised to secure the rights for the new Uefa Nations League.   The new competition is set to launch in 2018.

It will divide national teams into leagues and will replace most friendly matches.   It is intended to tackle declining interest in international football outside of the major competitions.

Rebranding Belgium

This post is an interesting piece of analysis on how the Belgium national team reconnected with its disilluisoned fans.   Part of the process was a 'rebranding' which involved a new red devils logo.

Of course, having a group of exciting and talented players that helped Belgium finish top of their European qualification group also helped.

FA refinances Wembley Stadium

The Football Association has agreed a £300m loan facility with three leading banks enabling it to refinance Wembley Stadium.   The loan will give the FA more flexibility and enable it to reduce interest payments.

Sponsors could hold key to Fifa crisis

Commercial sponsors could hold the key to the outcome of the crisis at Fifa.   MacDonalds and adidas, two of the headline sponsors for the 2018 World Cup, expressed grave concern at the fresh wave of allegations of systematic corruption within Fifa.

However, the strongest line has taken by Visa.   Any company involved in financial services has a particular interest in not being tainted by allegations of corruption.

In a statement, Visa said: 

Gibraltar's stadium dilemma

Gibraltar's international team scored their first goal in an international competition against Scotland yesterday.   A policeman scored the goal.

Gibraltar is the fifth oldest football association in the world, founded in 1895. They have more than 2,600 registered players, 8 per cent of the national population. There is an artificial surface at the 2,400 capacity Victoria Stadium, which hosts all games in the national league (two divisions plus reserves), plus youth matches and training sessions.

Russian World Cup stadium behind schedule

There is nothing unusual in new sports stadiums behind schedule and over budget.   However, the Zenit Arena which is being built in St. Petersburg for the 2018 World Cup in Russia appears to be in a class of its own.  It is seven years behind schedule and the cost is likely to be at least €1bn compared with an original estimate of €190m.

Russian World Cup stadium behind schedule

There is nothing unusual in new sports stadiums behind schedule and over budget.   However, the Zenit Arena which is being built for the 2018 World Cup in Russia appears to be in a class of its own.  It is seven years behind schedule and the cost is likely to be at least €1bn compared with an original estimate of €190m.

Blatter to stand again

It's no great surprise to hear that Sepp Blatter is to stand again as President of Fifa.  Nevertheless, football fans broke open the champagne  and danced in the streets as they heard that their hero would be continuing his blend of high quality decision-making with being a scourge against corruption in the world governing body.   Without Blatter we may never have got the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!