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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Internationals

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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!

Football economy in China

A couple of weeks ago I was in Beijing. Although growth may have slowed somewhat, and there are some problems in the financial system, not least in terms of local government debt, it remains a vibrant and dynamic economy. Indeed, if you take away the language and the cuisine, Beijing could be a large American city.

We therefore welcome this contributed article by Thibaud Andre.

Real time betting is changing football broadcasting

Online bookmakers are increasingly becoming sports broadcasters.   For example, today many of the top online bookmakers will be streaming the United States versus the Czech Republic.  The idea is to facilitate real time betting.

One of the main beneficiaries of this trend is a company called Perform.   It does not have a very high profile, but was something of a stock market favourite before the shares slumped from almost 600p in 2013 to around 210p recently.

World Cup viewing records in US

The World Cup has set new viewing records in the United States both for television and for live streaming through smartphones, tablets and consumers.   With most matches being shown in business hours, Americans have been turning to their devices to keep up.

The USA's match with Belgiym arrived a 9.6 overnight rating with ESPN, the highest for any World Cup match the network has broadcast.   There has been a 50 per cent surge in live streaming compared with the previous record, set during the 2012 London Olympics.

Ambush marketing at the World Cup

In some ways the biggest commercial winners from the World Cup may be those brands that are not official sponsors. Fifa partners were wrong footed by widespread protests over the cost of staging the competition in Brazil, although these died away once the competition started and Brazil progressed. However, it is difficult to stage and manage campaigns in countries experiencing deep social tensions and transformations.

Don't sack the manager after World Cup exit

The contract of Greece's manager ran out after yesterday's defeat to Costa Rica, but he came within a penalty shoot out of getting an extension.   Managers whose teams take a relatively early exit often then fall on their sword, but is this a good idea?

Cost of staging World Cup grows

This infographic shows how the cost of staging the World Cup has grown, while the benefits are generally very small.   For example, in South Africa many of the legacy stadiums are little used.