BBC BLOGS - David Bond

Archives for April 2011

Clasico of clasicos

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David Bond | 10:27 UK time, Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Football has many great rivalries. But few can match Real Madrid against Barcelona for historical and political significance or glamour and star appeal.

And on the eve of this clasico of clasicos in Madrid, the unique pressures involved were neatly illustrated by the extraordinary verbal spat between the two coaches.

Barcelona's normally unflappable manager Pep Guardiola finally cracked after his Real Madrid counterpart Jose Mourinho accused him of unfairly criticising referees.

The Bernabeu's press room gasped in amazement as Guardiola, who was still a player when Mourinho worked as an assistant at Barcelona in the 1990s, let rip, swearing twice on live Spanish television, in a highly personal retaliation.

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London 2012 aim for £200m target with first Olympics tickets phase

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David Bond | 10:39 UK time, Tuesday, 26 April 2011

If you are anything like me, you will have left it until the final weekend to submit your application for Olympic tickets.

With the first ticket sales phase closing at midnight on Tuesday, London 2012 have long expected the Easter holidays to be their busiest period so far.

Officials say their predictions were correct with high volumes of traffic on their website over the last four days. They add they are pleased with the response from the public over the course of the last six weeks.

But getting any real sense of how ticket sales have gone remains impossible, since London 2012 will not tell me how may applications have been received, how many tickets have been sold or even how many of the 645 separate sessions will have to go to a random ballot because they are oversubscribed.

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Blatter in denial over damage to Fifa's reputation

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David Bond | 13:20 UK time, Wednesday, 20 April 2011

To read Sepp Blatter's four page re-election manifesto, you would think Fifa has never been in better shape.

Listing his achievements since becoming president of world football's governing body in 1998, Blatter talks up the great sums of money Fifa has invested in football development (£1.02bn since 1999) and the even greater chunks of cash Fifa earns from television and marketing rights (over £2.45bn in the last four year cycle from 2007 to 2010).

He also talks of three successful World Cups, greater professionalism and social responsibility.

At a time of global instability and uncertainty, Blatter argues, there is no need for change. "We do not need revolution... but continuous evolution," he writes in his letter to each of the 208 member countries which will decide the election contest against Mohamed Bin Hammam at the Fifa congress on 1 June.

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What now for the British Olympic Association?

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David Bond | 16:50 UK time, Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The deal agreed late last night between the London Organising Committee (Locog) and the British Olympic Association represents a humiliating climbdown for the BOA and its combative chairman Lord Colin Moynihan.

The BOA will say that the commitments on tickets and sponsorship represent a "strengthening of their partnership" with Locog, but Lord Moynihan was playing for higher stakes than this.

As one senior sports administrator told me today, the seven points which make up the substance of the agreement were all likely to happen anyway. And nowhere in the press release issued this morning is there any mention of the financial assistance the BOA was seeking.

That is deeply embarrassing - especially when one looks back at how this all started.

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What is Kroenke's vision for Arsenal?

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David Bond | 16:05 UK time, Tuesday, 12 April 2011

There seems to be a lot of attention being paid to what Alisher Usmanov will do with his 27% stake in Arsenal.

As the last remaining major shareholder, this is clearly significant. It is evident he feels he has been squeezed out by the Arsenal board, which first introduced a "lockdown" agreement to stop his attempts to build his stake at the same time as building relations with Stan Kroenke which yesterday led to him, finally, seizing full control.

A spokesman for the Uzbekistan-born businessman said today he was still weighing up his options having failed in a last ditch attempt on Sunday evening to scupper Kroenke's bid by making an alternative offer for the 15.9% stake owned by the kingmaker in all this, Lady Nina Bracewell Smith.

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What does Kroenke's purchase mean for Arsenal?

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David Bond | 09:31 UK time, Monday, 11 April 2011

Shortly after Stan Kroenke started buying shares in Arsenal, the club's Old Etonian chairman Peter Hill-Wood famously remarked that he didn't want the American's "sort" involved in the north London outfit.

At a time when the rest of the Premier League's big four was falling into the hands of wealthy foreign backers, Hill-Wood and Arsenal took pride in being different.

Not any more. On Monday, the last domino fell. Arsenal, the Bank of England club, are now another franchise in an American sports tycoon's portfolio.

So will this make any real difference?

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Will English clubs get their finances in order in time to satisfy Uefa?

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David Bond | 06:30 UK time, Friday, 8 April 2011

Having made gigantic losses last year, it's no surprise Chelsea and Manchester City would fail Uefa's new Financial Fair Play regulations were they being applied today.

But Uefa's devilishly complicated rules do not simply measure profit or loss. They have been written to assess the financial performance of the pure football side of each club.

So, in the simplest of terms; transfers, players' wages and the costs of staging games are subtracted from gate revenue, media and sponsorship income. Any club consistently living beyond their means face expulsion from lucrative European competition, the Champions and Europa Leagues.

So, to try and get a clearer picture of how Premier League clubs might measure up against Uefa's criteria, the BBC commissioned the financial analyst and blogger Andy Green to examine the most recent club accounts for 2009/2010.

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Is peace in sight in 2012 cash row?

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David Bond | 11:12 UK time, Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The British Olympic Association's decision to suspend their legal action at the Court of Arbitration for Sport came completely out of the blue.

For days now it seemed the row with the London 2012 organising committee, Locog, was getting more entrenched, not less. Just last week Locog chairman Lord Sebastian Coe described the affair as depressing and argued the BOA's claim to a larger slice of the hypothetical surplus from the Games as "spurious".

But then, perhaps sensing they were running against the public mood and running out of options, the BOA signalled a climbdown.

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MPs let Premier League powerbrokers off the hook

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David Bond | 18:46 UK time, Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Despite spending almost two hours questioning the Premier League's hierarchy on Tuesday, MPs missed a valuable opportunity to shed a clearer light on why there is so much pressure on football to make big changes.

True, the chief executive Richard Scudamore and chairman Sir Dave Richards, gave an impressive performance on a wide range of topics. But, once again, we failed to get a sense of where this select committee inquiry is heading.

Is it about the structure and perceived conflicts of interest inside the Football Association which makes it, arguably, less effective than it should be?

Is it about the debts carried by top clubs and financial regulation and who should take the lead?

Is it about the England team and why it keeps failing in World Cups?

Or is it about who owns Leeds United?

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Rooney outburst allows FA to show its teeth

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David Bond | 22:54 UK time, Monday, 4 April 2011

Even if Manchester United eventually succeed in any attempt to reduce Wayne Rooney's ban to one match, the Football Association will feel it has sent a message in taking such tough and swift action against the Manchester United player.

A message to the game's super-rich performers that it expects them to set a better example to the millions of youngsters who idolise them.

A message that it will not be afraid of reputations when it comes to cracking down on those who step out of line.

And a message to the politicians and other football leaders who have questioned the FA's lack of leadership.

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Secrecy surrounds London 2012 ticket demand

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David Bond | 17:34 UK time, Friday, 1 April 2011

Almost half way through the ticket ballot for London 2012 and we still have no real sense of how big or small the public demand is for the Games.

Speaking after the International Olympic Committee had given London another glowing report on preparations so far, The London Organising Committee (Locog) chief executive Paul Deighton refused to give out any details on the number of online applications received or the number of tickets requested.

All he would say is that demand was "strong" and that he and Locog are very happy with where they are. He did add that the next few days would see a ramping up in advertising and promotion as the 26 April deadline draws closer.

But why doesn't Locog tell us how many tickets have been requested? And for what events?

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