Election Night Special - AFR Voice: Episode 5
In what has been a historic week for American politics, AFR Voice is here to count the ballot papers of world football and see who have been the real winners and losers this week.
We’ll be getting things started with the audio equivalent of shaking hands and kissing numerous babies as we get bleary eyed about the first round of this year’s FA Cup, the return of Big Mick McCarthy to football management, before having it out in an untelevised debate on the diving issue, featuring special guest - Olympic diver Tom Daley (not technically a guest on the show, but we do talk about him a bit).
Then it’s off to canvas support on the key battle ground that is the MLS playoffs – can LA pull things back against San Jose after conceding a right stinker of a free kick late in the first leg, just how many more own goals do DC United and the New York Red Bulls have up their sleeves, and will we see a goal in a match between Seattle and Real Salt Lake ever again?
After that, it’s back to the political stronghold that is Europe where Roma have been holding up trains, Zlatan has been kicking people again, Inter have been ruining the party in Turin, and how for a fraction of a Presidential campaign budget, you can own part of a Spanish football club.
As always, you can contact the team on Twitter @AFRvoice, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also subscribe to AFR Voice on iTunes, follow us on Soundcloud, and find past episodes on the site here. Get involved, vote or die, etc…
Showcasing the power to overcome homelessness in Times Square? The beauty of Street Soccer USA
The mission is as simple as it is admirable: “scoring goals on the field, and achieving their goals in life.” The non-profit organization Street Soccer USA believes in the beautiful game’s power to promote social change. In an annual tournament, teams from cities all over the country come together. 100% of the players are homeless, but through a systematic approach, SSUSA is able to get 75% of players off of the streets within a year.
As remarkable as the numbers are, I decided to take in the tournament firsthand. Last weekend, the teams from over 20 cities met in New York City, setting up in Chinatown and Times Square. I stopped by both venues, and actually managed to get in a game in the tournament’s corporate cup. Functioning with its own set of rules, perhaps the best nuance to SSUSA matches is the fact that in addition to giving out cards for disciplinary purposes, there is a green card, which reinforces clean play and encourages teams to compete for a Fair Play trophy.
Teams represent their cities, but in addition each team is also associated with a term aligning with SSUSA’s focus on self-empowerment (i.e. Dignity FC, Change, Respect, Family, etc…). The final set of matches took place in Times Square, the universe’s center for commercialization. Alongside advertisements for Coke and shows on Broadway, the power and novelty of the tournament was unmistakeable.
Basking in this epicenter of capitalism, the genuine joy and determination on show starkly portrayed the superfluousness of that which surrounded it. Tourists lined up to watch, only to be knocked entirely out of their respective comfort zones when hearing that this fantastic display was supplied by the homeless. As New York Red Bulls striker Kenny Cooper gave medals to the winners (all the participants), a German woman asked me, “But is it true that they’re all homeless?” Before I could respond, a photographer replied, “Not for long.”
By Michael Park, writing from Scotland
England fans will groan at this statement but Ukraine’s disallowed goal in the final Group D game has finally forced UEFA’s hand and pushed them toward introducing goal-line technology into the game.
Michel Platini’s footballing boffins have been working tirelessly to find a way to introduce goal-line technology that does something other than setting off a massive buzzer that electrocutes the referee and forces him to blow for a goal. Many have suggested that the introduction of any kind of goal-line technology would ruin the flow of the game and they would much rather continue monopolising the time of officials who have much better things to do than stand behind the by-line staring at a post. Some have families. Some might just want to sit in a darkened room and cry.
Senior UEFA officials have been quoted in certain European newspapers speaking about a revolution in football that could see the spectacle return to every football match, starting with a pilot scheme in next season’s Europa League.
Scientists at Qatar University claim to have developed artificial clouds to provide shade for stadia and training grounds at the 2022 World Cup.
In this episode of The Floyd Hall Show: some thoughts on the uprising in Egypt, world football start Ronaldo retires, and an interview with Steven Otu, Managing Partner of iFundie.com.
Saturday’s soccer match between Manchester United and Manchester City of the English Premier League, a game known as the “Manchester Derby,” is likely to be played in the sort of bleak and drizzly weather conditions one might expect.
But this won’t be just another regularly-scheduled whistle stop on the British soccer calendar. It will be the richest match played in any sport, at any time, anywhere on the planet Earth.
According to analyst estimates, team statements and media reports, the players on the field and on the two benches in the Manchester Derby will have cost their teams roughly $850 million to acquire, or about as much as NASA spent to refurbish the Hubble Telescope.
Those numbers should prove comforting to baseball fans who are worried about the profligacy of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. When those teams meet, there’s only about $380 million in player investments on display. In pro football, the NFL record belongs to the free-spending Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, who met twice this season. But the total only came to about $350 million.
Even Spain’s two notoriously extravagant teams, Real Madrid and Barcelona—which are the two biggest soccer clubs in the world by revenues—fall short in this arena when they play one another. While Madrid’s player investments are on par with the top English clubs, it’s not scheduled to play any of them this season. Barcelona still draws many of its players from its youth development program, which greatly reduces the amount of money it takes to assemble a team.
The Derby’s reign at the top of the money pile won’t last long. Next month’s match between Manchester City and Chelsea will shoot past it to set a new combined record of about $900 million. By the time Manchester United and Chelsea (combined player investment: over $800 million) square off in two upcoming matches this season, the Derby will have fallen to fourth-place on the all-time list.
These records reflect a wave of spending by English clubs this year during the recently completed period known as the “transfer window,” when teams in the EPL can juggle their rosters. Unlike North American team sports, soccer clubs don’t just acquire players for the cost of their salaries. They’re also expected to pay the player’s current club an additional “transfer fee.”
Tottenham are the firm favourites to sign the ex-England captain, who is believed to be relaxed about whether he plays competitive matches or trains.
The terms of a move, including image rights and insurance against injury, are still being negotiated.
If a deal is agreed, Beckham, 35, could play up to 11 games before the Major League Soccer season starts in March.
Several Premier League clubs have expressed an interest in taking Beckham on loan, but Spurs, where he trained as a boy, remain the most likely option.
If an agreement can be reached quickly, Beckham could join up with Tottenham ahead of their FA Cup clash with Charlton on Sunday.