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Internationals

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The financial cost of failure

A number of controversies have arisen from the last two matches of the English national side. However, there is increasing concern about the possibility that England might have to qualify for Brazil via the play offs.

The Football Association has reached preliminary agreements to stage what should be lucrative friendly internationals against Germany, and Uruguay or Argentina, at Wembley in November. These would have to be called off if England had to go down the play off route.

The price is right

Tonights game between England and San Marino at Wembley is a sell out.   This in spite of the fact that the microstate surrounded by Italy is the joint worst team in the world (they rank 207th alongside the Turks & Caicos islands).   No doubt England fans will be hoping to see some goals, although it should be remembered that San Marino also have eleven men on the pitch and getting through a crowded goalmouth is not easy.

Wembley Stadium a financial albatross

As the Football Association celebrates the opening of the St. George's Park national Centre of Football Excellence by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, it should be remembered that Wembley Stadium remains  a potential financial albatross round the organisation's neck.   The completion of the £105m centre of excellence was much delayed by financial challenges, with the whole project being shelved at one stage.

FA shirt deal will cost fans

The Football Association has signed a new shirt deal with Nike.  No doubt it is good business for them, but it will prove costly for England fans as they face the prospect of three different shirts in as many years. Fans will have to decide whether to pay £50 for a new shirt every season which, of course, costs a fraction of that to produce offshore.   Some fans have only recently bought the present kit.

The price of happiness

Football economics guru Professor Stefan Szymanski, now at the University of Michigan, has estimated that the Euro 96 football tournament made people so happy that it had a value of £165 per person.  This is, of course, an average value as some people have no interest at all in football.

Professor Szymanski argues that 'Anything that ultimately brings us happiness can be considered as an economic benefit.'   A social historian of my acquaintance used to argue that football was not about happiness but collective suffering for one's team.

Uefa's fines bonanza

Uefa have been able to raise nearly £335,000 in fines on teams taking part in Euro2012.   Mind you, that's only 0.2 per cent of the £158m prize money.

The Russians have racked up almost £150,000 in fines together with a suspended six point deduction for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.   Croatia have picked up £85,000 in penalties for the behaviour of their fans with Germany being charged £8,000 for the same offence along with England (£4,000) and Poland (£3,200).

Predictors of Euro2012 success

Out of a range of socio-economic and political predictors of a country's success in Euro 2012, the one that works best is the age of consent.   The lower the age of consent, the better a country has done.  It's clearly what's called a spurious correlation that does not reveal a real cause and effect pattern, but quite what it's masking is unclear.

Why is China a big spender?

China is a major emerging power economically and politically, perhaps destined to be the leading power in the world according to some analysts, although its per capita income is well below that of developed countries. Many people still live in relative poverty, despite the growth of the urban middle class.

Failed World Cup bid cost more than thought

The Football Association's failed bid to stage the World Cup cost £6m more than has been previously thought.   The total cost was £21m, or £10.5m per vote, although the net cost was £14m.   £2.5m came from the public purse in terms of contributions from local authorities who hoped to stage matches in their cities.  Another £4.5m came from sponsors. 

Organised crime and football

Sepp Blatter and Fifa have a mission to develop football in the Global South.   That's fair enough: the international organisation of which I am vice-president has a similar mission in its field of activity.


However, in some countries football faces particular challenges from criminal organisations.  One such country is Colombia where the Fifa under-20 World Cup kicks off on July 29th.  It is the biggest sporting event ever held in the country and 250,000 tickets have been sold.