BBC BLOGS - David Bond

Archives for August 2010

Platini worried by FA 'vacuum'

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David Bond | 14:30 UK time, Friday, 27 August 2010

In Monaco

Michel Platini rarely says anything without considering the consequences.

As one of football's most influential figures, his comments to the BBC yesterday about the Football Association having no chairman will have been calculated for maximum impact.

He told the BBC that the absence of a chairman was "not good" and when considering who should host the 2018 World Cup, some might ask why they should vote for a national association which doesn't have a leader.

It is therefore clear that despite attempts to move on from the damaging departure of the former FA and World Cup bid chairman Lord Triesman in May, the fall-out is still being felt by the 2018 campaign.

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How much difference does Fifa visit make to England's 2018 bid?

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David Bond | 07:54 UK time, Monday, 23 August 2010

After suffering a series of setbacks in the nine months before the World Cup in South Africa, England's 2018 bid leaders have restored a semblance of stability to the campaign.

The attack from Fifa vice president Jack Warner, the row over handbags and the embarrassing resignations of Sir David Richards and bid leader Lord David Triesman left England 2018 on the back foot but don't appear to have caused any lasting damage.

And as Fifa's six-man inspection team arrive in London on Monday for the start of a four-day visit, the 2018 team is preparing to press home its key message; that England offers the safest bet for a well delivered, low cost, money-spinning World Cup.

But how important are these visits? And, even more crucially, will the technical side of the bid be enough to bring the World Cup back to England for the first time since 1966?

On Monday the delegation will meet Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg before heading to Wembley to inspect the facilities there and see England coach Fabio Capello.

On Tuesday there will be further venue visits before they travel to the north east, where on Wednesday they will head to Sunderland's Stadium of Light and Newcastle's St James' Park.

And on Thursday they will be in Manchester sampling the City of Manchester Stadium and Old Trafford.

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How serious was Huang about buying Liverpool?

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David Bond | 09:25 UK time, Saturday, 21 August 2010

Just three weeks after he emerged as the latest Liverpool saviour, Kenny Huang vanished from the scene on Friday night.

During that time we never heard from him in person, saw him at a game at Anfield or got any real sense of who might be backing him.

And yet ask any football follower who Huang is and they would probably be able to tell you - such is the publicity he has received.

Two weeks ago I went to Anfield to cover the story and was amazed to find a fan had already gone out and adapted his club shirt to reflect the possible arrival of Huang. The story had only broken two days earlier.

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FA playing a high-risk game

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David Bond | 19:18 UK time, Thursday, 19 August 2010

The next chairman of the Football Association will be able to have held a position within the game the previous year after English football's governing body removed the controversial rule.

At a meeting at Wembley on Thursday, directors rubber-stamped the move, which had been widely expected but nevertheless remains contentious. That is because it removes the most significant reform introduced following the 2005 FA review by Lord Burns and means that Lord Triesman's eventual replacement can be recruited from inside football.

Triesman, who resigned in May after being secretly recorded claiming the Russian Football Association was working with its Spanish counterpart to bribe referees at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, was the first independent chairman of the FA. He was appointed to improve the image of the organisation's leadership after the review by Lord Burns highlighted a number of concerns over governance.

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Empty seats challenge cricket authorities

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David Bond | 06:50 UK time, Wednesday, 18 August 2010

For the first time since 1986, the first day of a Test match at The Oval is not sold out.

With England already 2-0 up in the four-match series, there are 5,000 seats available for Wednesday and 2,000 for Thursday.

Many will say it is a local issue and blame a one-sided series at the end of a sporting summer dominated by football's World Cup.

They will also point to ticket prices, which, critics claim, are now too high. That is undoubtedly part of the problem and might explain why the second Test at Edgbaston was not a sell-out, even though half the ground was closed for redevelopment.

But prices are set high because the grounds which stage Test matches have to recoup the millions of pounds they now pay the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for the privilege of staging Tests.

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Arsenal's prudent approach a template for others

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David Bond | 20:36 UK time, Friday, 13 August 2010

On the day Arsene Wenger revealed he was close to signing a new deal at Arsenal, the club's chief executive Ivan Gazidis reiterated his belief in the Frenchman's prudent philosophy of developing his own talent.

In an interview with the BBC, Gazidis paid tribute to Wenger's ability to manage on a smaller budget than their closest rivals and said that while the club was in good financial shape there were no plans to start spending what they couldn't afford on players.

Gazidis said: "You have transfer fees of £30 million to £40m being talked about as if it's monopoly money - it isn't and it's not sustainable for any football business. We can't and won't compete.

As the new season kicks off, Arsenal's prudent approach to spending is being copied at Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. Each club have their own reasons for stemming the outflow of cash on transfers and wages but the big challenge they face at the start of this new Premier League season is from Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City, who have spent just short of £100m on five players this summer.

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Capello's apology welcome but not enough

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David Bond | 17:40 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010

It was hardly the fresh start England manager Fabio Capello was hoping for.

Six weeks after the Three Lions were humbled by a young Germany side in the last 16 of the World Cup in South Africa, the Italian was back with his players at Arsenal's training ground on Monday morning. "Say sorry and move on" was his strategy. Not for the first time, he found his tactics did not work.

Instead, Capello found himself dealing with the fall-out from the latest botched team announcement. Why didn't he ring goalkeeper Paul Robinson and defender Wes Brown to ask them if they wanted to be included in his squad for Wednesday's friendly against Hungary before he named it?

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Cutting through the spin at Liverpool

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David Bond | 17:46 UK time, Friday, 6 August 2010

More details emerged on Friday of the potential bid for Liverpool being lined up by Hong Kong businessman Kenneth Huang.

Although no formal offer has yet been made, it is understood the total value of the deal that has been put together by Huang and his backers is £450m. This includes around £300m to pay off Liverpool's debts and £150m to start paying for the construction of a new stadium and bring in players.

This is significant for two reasons.

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Scudamore jumps to Premier League's defence

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David Bond | 18:55 UK time, Tuesday, 3 August 2010

How much can the Premier League be blamed for England's dismal showing at this summer's World Cup in South Africa?

On the one hand, half of England's top clubs are owned or part owned by foreign businesses or individuals. 58% of the players playing in the competition are from overseas and the demands of the club season - and here we must include the Champions League, FA Cup and Carling Cup - make it the most punishing of domestic campaigns in the world.

Yet the League would argue they cannot be held responsible for all the problems exposed by the failure of Fabio Capello's side last month. Was it their fault that England's players underperformed in an outdated system and that the Rustenburg camp seemed to be divided? Is it their fault alone that there is a lack of English talent coming through the elite system?

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So who's buying Liverpool FC?

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David Bond | 19:46 UK time, Monday, 2 August 2010

The latest foreign suitor to take an interest in saving one of English football's most revered institutions is Kenny Huang, a former Wall Street broker who carries the distinction of being the first Chinese graduate to work on the New York Stock Exchange.
 
He is the head of Hong Kong-based investment company QSL Sports, which, according to its website, was founded to build on China's success in staging the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It is claimed QSL has the backing of one of the biggest sovereign wealth funds in the Far East while the website says the company's aim is "to expand China's sporting platform through enhancing professional athleticism among the youth and elevating the nation's direct involvement in the industry at an international level."

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