BBC BLOGS - Mihir Bose

Archives for May 2009

Goal reached over political football

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Mihir Bose | 16:31 UK time, Friday, 29 May 2009

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The drama we have witnessed, which is now very likely to result in a GB football team taking part in the London 2012 Olympics, has been a very British clash of fear versus ambition.

The ambition of the Football Association and the British Olympic Association to have an Olympic football team in the summer of 2012 has never been in doubt.

The problem has been the fear of the Celtic nations, particularly the Scots, that it will put in jeopardy the unique privileged status that Britain has - one political nation but four footballing identities - and this fear is not entirely baseless.

There are some in international football who feel these privileges, agreed after the Second World War, when the British home countries came back to world football's governing body Fifa, are outdated and ought to be scrapped. Indeed, when the Fifa statutes were being rewritten not long ago another privilege of having a British vice-president of Fifa on the international board, was nearly lost.

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United on and off the pitch

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Mihir Bose | 13:08 UK time, Wednesday, 27 May 2009

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It was at the end of my interview with Sir Bobby Charlton, during what we call in television terms a 2-shot, that the great man spoke in awe of the history surrounding us here in Rome.

"Look down from the lift of this hotel", he said, "and there are amazing ruins everywhere."

How appropriate that, in this city where history barks at you, both United and Barcelona are seeking to make football history of their own.

But whatever the result, the most significant thing to emerge from Rome may be how comfortable United currently feel in their own skin at almost every level of the club.

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Europa League has its merits

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Mihir Bose | 22:20 UK time, Wednesday, 20 May 2009

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A few hours before the last ever Uefa Cup final kicked off in Istanbul on Wednesday, a rather forlorn Gunter Netzer stood in a hotel foyer in the Turkish capital and lamented the lack of atmosphere. The German football great, whose mood was no doubt more sombre after seeing Werder Bremen lose to Shakhtar Donetsk in extra-time at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, put it down to the absence of a Turkish team.

Yet there had been no lack of atmosphere at the all-Spanish final in Glasgow two years ago and perhaps too much of it in Manchester last year when Rangers took on Zenit St Petersburg. I doubt if the build-up in Istanbul would have been so lacklustre had, say, Manchester City got through. A bully point for those who speak of the special passion the British bring to football, unmatched by any other country.

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Onside for England 2018

Mihir Bose | 21:02 UK time, Monday, 18 May 2009

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Successful bids for high-profile sporting events run on several tracks.

A bid must carry their domestic audience but in the process not alienate the overseas voters who will decide the outcome.

And since the international voters of sports organisations have diverse, even conflicting interests, a winning campaign can never be a one size fits all variety.

England's bid for the 2018 World Cup has made a start in that direction, right on message with little talk of football coming home.

Launched in Wembley Stadium's evocative Bobby Moore room, and with many of the former England captain's fellow 1966 World Cup winning squad present, the temptation to trot out the old cry of how this country gave football to the world and why this gives it a divine right to stage the tournament, more so as by 2018 it will more than 50 years since it was last held here, must have been very strong.

Thankfully the urge was resisted..

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Hiddink sets high standard for Ancelotti

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Mihir Bose | 12:40 UK time, Thursday, 7 May 2009

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Chelsea fans recovering from last night's Champions League disappointment would be advised to look to Carlo Ancelotti, not Guus Hiddink, as the man who will mastermind their campaign next season.

It's not exactly a surprise Hiddink will move on after the FA Cup final on 30 May.

That was what the club said would happen when he took over from Luiz Felipe Scolari back in February, and what Hiddink himself has always said.

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Cricket must seize day

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Mihir Bose | 08:00 UK time, Wednesday, 6 May 2009

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This should be English cricket's great year.

Not only are the Ashes at stake but the ICC World Twenty20 takes place on these shores in June, the first major international sports event to be held in Britain since the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

More than that, this is an off-year as far as football is concerned, no World Cup or European Championship and no Olympics.

Yet why do I get the impression, shared by many I have spoken to, that the cricket season is creeping in like a thief at night?

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