BBC BLOGS - Mihir Bose

Archives for January 2009

England set for tough 2018 battle

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Mihir Bose | 17:05 UK time, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

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It is fascinating to identify the challenges England must overcome if they are to avoid the fiasco of their failed 2006 campaign and win the right to stage the 2018 World Cup.

For a start, let's forget who has the best bid, the best stadia, the best facilities, the best support. In the end, this campaign, like previous ones, will be decided on football politics - who can make the best deals with the 24 Fifa executive members and convince 13 to vote their way.

Back in 2006, the main problem for England was that they were 7-0 down before the contest kicked off. Uefa, led by then president Lennart Johansson, insisted England had promised to step aside for Germany, who had backed England's bid to stage Euro 96. England denied any such agreement, prompting a number of public rows. When it eventually came to the vote, Germany received seven of the eight Uefa votes available and went on to win the right to stage the tournament. England were eliminated in the second round, polling just two votes.

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Can the man from the Gulf bridge the Anfield divide?

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Mihir Bose | 15:27 UK time, Friday, 23 January 2009

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Liverpool's potential new owner Nasser Al -Kharafi could not be a more powerful man. He is reckoned to be one of the richest men in Kuwait and the largest shareholder in the National Bank of Kuwait and his politician brother is chairman of the Kuwaiti National Assembly.

He will see any investment he might make in Liverpool much more as a financial investment and is unlikely to behave like the Abu Dhabi owners of Manchester City, who are intent on splashing the money and demanding that the best of world football be assembled at Eastlands.

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Update: 2012 budget already using contingency fund

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Mihir Bose | 15:04 UK time, Thursday, 22 January 2009

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As I revealed last week the Government has today confirmed that they will be dipping into the contingency fund to make up for the lack of private money for the building of the Olympic village and media centres.

I said several hundred millions would be taken. It has turned out to be £394 million from the Olympic Funders Group contingency, the part of the budget designed to guard against risks outside the control of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

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The flight to quality

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Mihir Bose | 16:57 UK time, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

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There is a story told of how, soon after the Manchester United take-over by the Glazers, one of the brothers Bryan decided to get more money from their sponsors.

The Glazers had looked at the United contracts and decided they could and should do better.

Brother Bryan was the man to spearhead the sponsorship and marketing drive.

Marketing sources have recounted to me how aggressively this Glazer went in often asking for double the money and totally taking the marketing men aback.

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Money talks in the London 2012 script

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Mihir Bose | 14:23 UK time, Friday, 16 January 2009

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In sport, as in politics, the modern buzz word is the 'narrative'.

Chelsea have been struggling with theirs, while Manchester City look like they are ready to change the script. London 2012 has always been keen to get its narrative right.

In the week leading up to that magical moment in Singapore in July 2005 Sebastian Coe and his team hid themselves away from the bright lights of the Orient preparing the presentation.

It worked so well that after London surprised Paris, one International Olympic Committee member put it to me: "I never thought I would see this - the French behaving like the tight-lipped English while the English, in very Gallic style, showed flair, passion and vision."

As Friday marks the halfway point between winning the bid and the start of the Games themselves, this is a good time to take stock of what the organisers have achieved so far and how much work still remains to be done.

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A new Scolari emerges

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Mihir Bose | 17:06 UK time, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

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Signs of the new Luiz Felipe Scolari emerged at his news conference ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup replay with Southend.

Observe the tenor of his answers and you see a Scolari that takes no prisoners, and is willing to read the riot act to his players.
This is the message that Stamford Bridge is very keen to give.

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Pietersen & ECB fail the test

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Mihir Bose | 15:51 UK time, Thursday, 8 January 2009

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The only victors in the current shambles that is English cricket are the players. It is their power which has dictated the course of this extraordinary story.

Kevin Pietersen, as captain, thought he could dictate to his bosses who the national team coach should be, but he had to go when he realised many of his team-mates did not back him.

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Moores set to lose Pietersen battle

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Mihir Bose | 17:56 UK time, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

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In 1981, shortly after he was recalled as England's captain, Mike Brearley received a letter which read: "Dear Brearley, there is an old Italian proverb which says that if you want to know that a fish is bad look at its head."

As we all know, Brearley dealt so well with English cricket's head that the national side went onto to record one of their most memorable Ashes triumphs.

It would be an exaggeration to say that the stand-off between Peter Moores and Kevin Petersen suggests that the head of English cricket is quite as bad as it was in the summer of 1981. In any case, that Ashes triumph was a misleading pointer to the future, as successive 5-0 defeats at the hands of the West Indies demonstrated.

The truly worrying thing about the current saga is that an issue that should have been dealt with internally by banging a few heads together has now assumed the proportions of a major crisis.

The only solution is likely to be the departure of Moores, with an announcement possible as early as Thursday.

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