Is The World Cup Worth The Money?

In order to host a World Cup, countries have to go through an arduous bidding process, competing against other nations for the prize of hosting the biggest sporting spectacle on Earth. However, more is promised than just a month-long festival of football. When any major sporting event takes place, a lot is said about the legacy that it will leave behind once all the spectators have went home. This is especially true for the World Cup. The hosting nation often builds new stadiums, infrastructure and accommodation. In return for this, an economic stimulus is promised. A World Cup is meant to leave permanent benefits for the host nation, in terms of job creation, increased participation in football and public facilities in return for a lot of spent money. But does this happen?

During the 2002 World Cup, co-hosted by South Korea and Japan, South Korea’s national side miraculously made it the the Semi Final’s, narrowly losing 1-0 to a 75th minute Michael Ballack strike. The event was hailed as a success for its seamlessly smooth operations and excellent football, but what effect did this have on both of the host countries? Tourism to Japan increased after the tournament. The Japanese public opinion of South Korea reached an all time high, helping to heal long standing issues between both countries, stemming from WW2. Although football is popular in Japan today, baseball remains the nations favourite pastime. The tournament reportedly cost a combined total of $7.5b to host, with an estimated economic impact of $11.86bn, making the tournament a financial success. This was the first time the World Cup was hosted across two countries.

The 2006 World Cup in Germany was widely praised as a tremendous success for the nation. According to the German government, tourism revenue increased by around $400m during the tournament, helping to boost the Germany economy. Also, a staggering 500,000 new jobs were created in the lead up to the tournament. The city of Cologne reported that their visitor numbers after the World Cup increased by between 7& and 10%. Another tangible benefit was that in preparation for the tournament, the German government invested the sum of €37b in infrastructure such as roads, transportation and facilities, so that the country could facilitate the surge in visitors. This is something that the German people still benefit from today. The German League also benefited by being awarded $70m, which was in turn put into grassroots development, so that young Germans could dream about playing in a World Cup one day themselves.

South Africa spend around $4bn on the 2010 World Cup, investing the money in six new state of the art stadiums and upgrading infrastructure such as roads and airports. FIFA generated a staggering $3.36bn from the event and awarded South Africa with $100m to fund grassroots projects around the country. Unfortunately, the South Africa World Cup has done nothing to improve the fortunes of the nation’s national team. Nicknamed Bafana Bafana, the team failed to qualify for Russia 2018, finishing bottom of their qualifying group with 4 points from 6 games. The national league still suffers from poor attendances, excluding the countries two major teams, Orlando Pirates and the Kaiser Chiefs. The estimated average cost of a tourist attending South Africa for the World Cup is estimated to be $13,000. The Cape Town stadium hosted five first round matches, and went on to host a second round, quarter final and semi final throughout the tournament. The stadium cost a reported $600m with the nation’s total spending for stadium construction and refurbishment topping $1.4bn. This left many South African’s wondering if they money could be better spent elsewhere in the country.

Widely criticised for leaving Brazil with several expensive but dormant stadiums, the 2014 World Cup is one that divides opinion. Brazil exited the tournament in a humiliating 7-1 defeat to Germany in the Semi Final, leaving the Selecao’s dream of winning the World Cup on home soil in tatters. Despite initial concerns, the 12 World Cup stadiums were ready on time for the opening ceremony to begin. However, now lies several near-abandoned stadiums which struggle to host any football at all. The most expensive stadium, adding up to a total cost of $550m, is located in Brasilia and is being used as a parking space for buses. It’s hard to argue here that any expenditure was good value for money.

Thanks to Moneypod for the data

Post by Author – Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983). Originally posted on

Understanding The Rangers EGM

Who will control Rangers after the EGM? (Image from PA)In two weeks’ time, the board of Rangers International Football Club (RIFC) are obliged to hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) for the company’s shareholders. After two London hotels withdrew from staging the event, it will be convened at Ibrox, the team’s home and the venue for the previous two annual general meetings. It will probably be a short meeting, since there are only seven resolutions to be read out and voted on, and no opening or closing addresses. It is, though, the culmination in a long battle for control of the club.

Dave King is desperate to wrestle control of Rangers back to him  (Image from PA)

Dave King is desperate to wrestle control of Rangers back to him
(Image from PA)

What is the EGM about?

In its broadest sense, the future of Rangers; but in pragmatic terms, control of the board. The EGM has been called by Dave King, the former Rangers director who owns 14.5% of RIFC. He has raised seven resolutions: the removal of all four current directors – chairman David Somers, chief executive Derek Llambias, finance director Barry Leach, and James Easdale – and the appointments of King, Paul Murray and John Gilligan. As far as the bigger picture is concerned, this can be framed as Mike Ashley versus ‘the rest’. The former is the majority shareholder of Sports Direct and Newcastle United, and his MASH company owns an 8.92% stake in RIFC. King is at the head of the latter, but he has clear and unambiguous support from fellow Rangers-supporting shareholders, ranging from ordinary fans with small holdings to Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor, who between them own 20% of the RIFC shares.

Who are the key parties?

Ashley looms over the current regime. He wanted to increase his stake, in underwriting a share issue, but the Scottish Football Association paid heed to the spirit of their dual ownership guidelines and denied him permission. Sports Direct have a joint retail agreement with Rangers and have lent RIFC £5m, secured against various assets, with a second tranche of £5m available to be drawn down. As part of this agreement, Sports Direct are entitled to appoint two directors until the loan has been repaid, but no new directors have been appointed. Llambias is the former managing director of Newcastle United and when he was appointed as a non-executive director, the Stock Exchange was informed by the club that this was on behalf of MASH. Leach left his executive role at Sports Direct to take up the position at Ibrox. Sandy Easdale is also part of this group, having supported the board appointments through his brother, James. Sandy Easdale owns 6.45% of RIFC and holds proxy votes for a further 19.67%, which includes the shares held by Blue Pitch and Margarita Holdings.

Somers and Llambias are looking to stay on the board after the EGM (Image from SNS Group)

Somers and Llambias are looking to stay on the board after the EGM (Image from SNS Group)

King was born and raised in Castlemilk before moving to South Africa early in his working life. He was a director of Rangers under Sir David Murray and then Craig Whyte, with his position on the board under the latter one of two issues that he faces in terms of ‘fit and proper person’ criteria. After an 11-year battle with the South African Revenue Services, King was convicted of 41 breaches of the Income Tax Act – paying a cumulative fine of around £186,000 – and a tax bill of more than £40m. King has said that he has a company lined up to act as the nominated advisor of RIFC – which manages the company’s listing on the Alternative Investment Market – that will approve his appointment as a director. He would then need to seek the approval of the SFA’s professional game board, having been on the board under Whyte when Rangers Football Club plc was put into administration, and due to his breaches of the Income Tax Act.

Root Cause Of The Recent Problems - Disgraced Former Owner Craig Whyte  (Image from Getty)

Root Cause Of The Recent Problems – Disgraced Former Owner Craig Whyte
(Image from Getty)

Paul Murray is also a former director of Rangers, and faces the same issue with the SFA having been on the board under Whyte, albeit he was sacked by the former owner before RFC plc entered administration and had previously been very vocal about Whyte’s unsuitability as an owner. A private equity investor, Murray has campaigned for proper corporate governance at Ibrox, becoming a thorn in the side of Charles Green and others who have passed through the boardroom in the past three years. Gilligan is the former managing director of Tennents Caledonian Breweries and a former vice-chair of the Rangers Supporters Trust (RST). There is a further block of powerful shareholders in Park, Letham and Taylor. The three offered to provide equity finance to RIFC earlier this year, but the board chose instead to take a loan from Sports Direct. All three want to invest in the club, and will vote for King’s resolutions. They have yet to respond to comments to the Rangers Fans Board by Leach, that were noted in minutes and released online, in which he said – in very uncomplimentary language – that they had been terrified when they thought their offer would be accepted. Later, Rangers said: “These minutes have not been seen or approved by the board. We are very disappointed by the behaviour of the existing fans’ board”.

How do the votes stack up?

Votes are currently being cast by post or by proxy, but informed estimations can be made. King is adamant that he will win, and has the backing of his own 14.5%, the 19.49% held by Park, Letham and Taylor, River & Mercantile’s 5.7%, Rangers First’s 1.75%, Rangers Supporters Trust’s 1.56%, Kieron Prior’s 1.35%, Ally McCoist’s 1.34%, Felix Magath’s 0.99%, Graeme Henderson’s 0.72%, Malcolm Murray’s 0.25% and Walter Smith’s 0.09%. That gives King a starting point of 47.74%.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has a share in Rangers  (Image from Getty)

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has a share in Rangers
(Image from Getty)

The board can count on MASH’s 8.92%, Sandy Easdale’s 6.45%, Blue Pitch Holding’s 4.91%, Margarita Funds Holding’s 3.19%, James Easdale’s 0.7%, David Somers’ 0.08%, and the remainder of Sandy Easdale’s proxy, 11.57%. That gives the board a starting point of 35.74%.

The floating voters?

The remainder of the shares – 16.52% – are held by a smattering of small investors and individual fan shareholders. The latter are thought to hold around 10%, and many have been motivated to vote in advance by the board’s attempts to hold the EGM in London. The RST, in particular, and Rangers First have been gathering proxy votes and will cast them ahead of the EGM. Given the amount of proxies lodged so far, those votes alone could see King have the backing of more than 50% of shareholders, and a straight majority is all that is required for resolutions to be passed. It is conceivable that the board will be informed ahead of the EGM that King’s resolutions have the required support, prompting them to appoint the three and then resign.

What happens after the EGM?

Whichever side wins, there are clear and critical issues to address. The first is finance, since the Sports Direct loan is short-term and the club needs rebuilding from top to bottom. It is also conceivable that the second £5m tranche from Sports Direct will be drawn down before the EGM, with additional securities. If King wins he will not seek the second tranche of finance. He will refinance himself and with the support of Rangers-fan investors.  The performance of the team also needs to be addressed, since Rangers’ only likely route to the Scottish Premiership is now via the play-offs, and performances have sagged during the recent political strife.

Note to reader: This is a repost of BBC Scotland article written by Richard Wilson and the BBC. Full credit is given to him. Images have been added by BOTN and are credited as such

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The Show Must Go On As The 2015 African Cup Of Nations Gets Set To Start

Who will win the African Cup of Nations? (Image from Getty)This Saturday sees the kick off of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations with host nation Equatorial Guinea taking on Congo in the opening match. The start of this year’s tournament will come as a great relief to the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Issa Hayatou who has endured a stressful time of late since Morocco spectacularly pulled the plug on hosting the event in an announcement made in October 2014. Originally selected back in 2011, Morocco informed CAF that it refused to host the tournament amid concerns around the Ebola virus epidemic that was gripping parts of western Africa spreading to their country. Their principle fear was that if the virus spread to Morocco it would affect one of their principle pillars of revenue – tourism with visitors staying away as a result. Whilst reassurances were made by CAF, Morocco failed to budge and as a result the tournament had to be relocated quickly. Step forward Equatorial Guinea, who despite the tight turnaround believed that they could host Africa’s biggest tournament.

CAF President Issa Hayatou has had much to ponder of late  (Image from Getty)

CAF President Issa Hayatou has had much to ponder of late
(Image from Getty)

Tight is hardly how to describe the situation that Guinea faced, left with only 8 weeks to organize a 16 team 3 week long tournament. Venues had to be identified and secured quickly, accommodation for all 16 teams established as well as hundreds of other smaller items including match scheduling, ticket allocation and security to name a few. There was little time for this small oil rich central African state to improve on the stadiums so some fall far behind what would be classed as international ready. But Hayatou is hardly in a position to complain having taken the tough decision not to delay or postpone the tournament after Morocco’s exit. Hayatou is also facing the wrath of several national teams and coaches who are highly critical of the facilities in Guinea and its organization in general, citing the federation has done little to help resolve a growing list of problems. Guinea to be fair has done a remarkable job in getting ready, albeit with slight hiccups along the way – some nations are still hunting for additional accommodation as there aren’t enough hotel rooms to go around whilst others who are lucky enough to have rooms have found in some cases a lack running water or rooms in a desperate state of disrepair. Despite the chaos, the tournament will kick off in earnest on Saturday with the football taking the spotlight rather than the circus that has led up to it.

Not all the accommodation options in Guinea have been up to scratch  (Image from

Not all the accommodation options in Guinea have been up to scratch
(Image from

Algeria enter the tournament as strong favourites after an outstanding World Cup which saw them reaching the last 16 for the first time in their history. Regarded by many as the best team in Africa at the present time, Algeria play an attractive fast flowing game which utilizes many of the same squad retained from the Brazil World Cup. Stand out players Yacine Brahimi, Islam Slimani and Sofiane Feghouli will need to be on form and up for the event when they kick off their campaign against South Africa on Monday. To win the tournament, Algeria will need to first escape from what is by far the hardest group that also contains Ghana and Senegal alongside South Africa. Ghana in particular are keen to put their poor performance at the World Cup behind them and show that they are a dominant force in African football. It has remarkably been 30 years since Ghana lifted the Cup, something the current team is all too aware of and keen to rectify. As too are the stars of the Ivory Coast team who have had to wait 20 years since their last victory. But with Manchester City’s newest signing Wilfried Bony on a rich vein of form coming into the tournament as well as host of other star players around him like Yaya Toure, Gervinho and Salomon Kalou, the Ivory Coast has a very strong chance of ending their run of bad luck. South Africa and Cameroon are considered potential winners as well after strong qualifying campaigns. The two nations, who have a rich pedigree in international football have fallen on darker days of late but are displaying early signs of recovery in their recent form.

Few are giving host nation Equatorial Guinea much of a chance of providing a shock but as history has shown in the past, the winner of the African Cup of Nations is hardly an easy one to predict. Zambia were shock winners in 2012 whilst Burkina Faso almost upset the apple cart last year before being beat in the final by a young and vibrant Nigeria side. Regardless of the winner, the next three weeks will be an action packed hell raising experience for the fans that have made the journey. Whilst not on the same level of stature as the World Cup, the African Cup of Nations is certainly one of the most vivacious in international football. It’s a tournament that showcases the very best of African talent and for Hayatou is the highlight of the calendar year, hence his desire to make it happen.

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Football – A Bridge Over Poverty And Suffering

Zambia Captain Chris Katongo is a role model for kidsOriginal post from December 2012

In January, the football world’s gaze is taken back to South Africa for the first time since the successful 2010 World Cup, for the 2013 African Nations Cup. Originally due to be held in Libya, the tournament was wisely moved to South Africa as conflict and war has torn Libya apart earlier this year. With less than a month away, the whole continent is looking forward to the start of the cup, with 15 nations aiming for success in one of football’s hardest to call tournaments. Last year’s surprise winner Zambia showed how open it is, beating a strong Ivory Coast, and in the process putting their players on the top of many clubs transfer wish list. Zambia’s success made household names of Emmanuel Mayuka, Christopher Katongo and Emmanuel Mbola, who were all key players in the team’s win.

But every player has to start somewhere and for a lot of children in the third world, football is an escape from the modern horrors of life. War, famine, drought, disease and poverty effect many countries across Africa, with children often caught in the middle. Many children dream of following their idols like Drogba, Eto’o, Essien, Adebayor and Kanoute to European football’s greener pastures. But for most, this dream never becomes a reality. Their football pitches at home are hardly green, often rocky and dry. Most children growing up in African can’t afford football boots or football strips. Some can’t even afford a football so have to make do with their own home-made footballs made from garbage and string. Companies have donated balls in the past but they tend to rip or deflate in the harsh climate and against rocky conditions.

Home made football's are normal across poorer countries

Home made football’s are normal across poorer countries

It was seeing kids in Darfur, playing with one of these garbage balls that inspired inventor Tim Jahnigen to come up with a solution. What he created was a football that would never burst, would never deflate and most importantly never stop being a ball. In a brilliant piece by the New York Times, Jahnigen’s story from conception to build is written brilliantly. With a little help from a well-known friend, Sting, his idea came to life and soon his new indestructible balls were being purchased by UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders and other charity organisations to gift these balls to children across Africa. Even Chevrolet, the car manufacturer, is getting involved, agreeing to buy 1.5 million of the balls over the next 3 years to donate them to children.

Sting and inventor Tim with the new ball

Sting and inventor Tim with the new ball

Jahnigen’s indestructible ball invention has been put to the test and survived – mauled by lions, stamped on by elephants and driven over by cars, and still it sprang back into place. Investor Sting spoke of how impressed he was with the balls:

“Even on the harshest of terrain and in the worst of conditions, the ball could survive and the kids could still play. I said, wow, yeah, let’s make it.”       

With orders pouring in, Jahnigen is struggling to keep up with the demand, especially as new areas of the world like India, Indonesia and Haiti look to his invention. It’s a nice problem to have as Jahnigen knows that there is nothing more important to these kids than playing. And who knows, in 20 years time at the African Nations Cup of 2033, we may be seeing the first glimpses of a new talented youngster who learned to play the beautiful game, thanks to Jahnigen’s invention.

To watch the One World Futbol Promise video, click here:

To read the NYT article on Jahnigen, click here:

Super Eagles Soar Again

Nigeria Squad (Image from Getty)It’s been 13 years since their last final appearance but Nigeria are back there once again after securing their place in the African Cup of Nations final. After qualifying from a tough group that contained reining champions Zambia, new boys Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, they faced favourites Ivory Coast in the quarter finals. After taking the lead, Nigeria (known as the Super Eagles) were pegged back by a Chieck Toite goal that looked to have swung the balance back in favour of the White Elephants (Ivory Coast) and all but end their run. But midfielder Sunday Mba had a different plan and hit the wining goal twelve minutes from time to put Nigeria into the semi finals. Surprise package Mali awaited for them there after knocking out host South Africa in a dramatic game eventually settled by penalties. Mali were 90 minutes away from their first final appearance since 1972 and approached the game with confidence. What they didn’t expect was to face a youthful Nigeria side out to prove a point and keen to secure their place in Sunday’s showcase match. A stunning first-half display helped the Super Eagles demolish Mali 4-1 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban and book their place against Burkina Faso in the final.

Nigeria celebrate during AFCON (Image from

Nigeria celebrate during AFCON
(Image from

Nigeria’s management team of Stephen Keshi and Daniel Amokachi, both legends in Nigeria, knows all about winning this tournament. Alongside the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Emmanuel Amuneke and Rashidi Yekini, they were part of the famous Super Eagles team that won the countries last African Cup of Nations title in February 1994, before going on to compete in the 1994 World Cup held in the USA. As they look forward to Sunday’s final, they will know that success is within their grasp especially now as they face Burkina Faso, who shocked the world by knocking out Ghana in the semi finals on penalties. But Nigeria will be weary of the surprise package after drawing 1-1 with them in their opening group game some three weeks ago. Keshi’s young squad is still growing in stature but this will be a huge challenge for the manager to mental prepare his team for their first cup final.

Keshi and Amokachi watch from the sidelines (Image from

Keshi and Amokachi watch from the sidelines
(Image from

After leaving out a host of more established players like Taye Taiwo, Peter Odemwingie, Obafemi Martins, and Yakubu Aiyegbeni in favour of blooding a host of stars for the future, Keshi looked to be adopting a risky strategy coming into the tournament, but his faith in his young squad is paying off after some blistering performances. Whilst it is still early days for his new look squad, Keshi knows that the goal is ultimately to recreate the brotherly like bond that was found in that 1994 squad, that was the platform for the Super Eagles to build a successful international team around that was feared throughout the football world:

“There is a lot of talent and potential in this team, but it’s going to take a while to get them up to where I want to. So far it’s gone well. There were lots of problems back home when I left out some of the senior players in the team, but I had my own reasons, which are known to me only. I know that some people did not understand, but I knew exactly the type of players we wanted, the mentality, the players who can work for the team. It took us five years to build the 1994 squad, this one is just five weeks old. That was a wonderful squad, the spirit in that team was unbelievable, we’re friends, we were brothers. Until I can get that same atmosphere from this team, we can’t really compare. I don’t want us to get ahead of ourselves; as I said, we’re still building. I Don’t think we’re there yet.”

Amokachi and co celebrate scoring in the 1994 World Cup (Image from Reuters)

Amokachi and co celebrate scoring in the 1994 World Cup
(Image from Reuters)

Keshi and Amokachi can further cement their legendary status in Nigeria by helping their country to lift the trophy on Sunday but that will matter little to the two former players. This tournament is part of a long-term plan that will hopefully take Nigeria to the World Cup Finals in Brazil next summer. A win on Sunday would be the perfect platform to build upon and give this young squad the confidence it needs to push forward. With the luxury of being able to bring back some of the more established members of the squad after the tournament, Keshi knows that his team can only get stronger and can hopefully recreate the family like atmosphere that the 1994 squad had. Ten years on from that team, it looks as though the next generation of Super Eagles stars has arrived and is keen to make their mark on the world game once again.

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Ethiopia Look Towards Zambia For Inspiration

2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Image from the African Cup of Nations 2013 kicking off in eight days time, all attention is turned towards South Africa to see what country manages to emulate the 2012 surprise winners Zambia and lift the coveted trophy. Competition will be fierce with host South Africa, along with Ghana and Ivory Coast joining Zambia as favourites to win the tournament. However if Zambia’s win has taught us anything, the African Cup of Nations is wide open with all teams capable of causing an upset. Former champions Tunisia and Nigeria will be hoping to reclaim the trophy after a years of disappointment whilst other teams like Togo and Morocco will be thankful that 7 times winners Egypt and World Cup regulars Cameroon failed to qualify for this years event. But for one team, taking part in th African Cup of Nations is the first step in rebuilding pride in football within their country.

Zambia wins last years Cup (Image from AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO)

Zambia wins last years Cup

After a 31 year absence, Ethiopia are back in the Cup and are looking to make an impact. The winners in 1964 have a relatively inexperienced side, whose squad contains only three players who play in leagues outside of Ethiopia (Yussuf Saleh in Sweden, Saladin Said in Egypt and Fuad Ibrahim in the US), are attempting to follow in Zambia’s footsteps and upset the apple cart by winning the tournament. Having beaten Sudan on away goals to qualify, Ethiopia are out to prove that they warrant their place and are not there just to make up the numbers. Place in a Group C, they face three tough games against Nigeria, Burkina Faso and current champions Zambia with hopes of reaching the second round looking relatively slim.

Ethiopia will face Nigeria in the group stages (Image from

Ethiopia will face Nigeria in the group stages (Image from

Whilst expectations are low, Ethiopian football is on the up at the moment with the national team experiencing a good spell. Not only have they qualified for this tournament, they also lead  Group A in the 2014 World Cup qualification. Whilst they still have along way to go, it will give the country a lift to believe that they may qualify for their first ever World Cup appearance. But for Head Coach, Sewnet Bishaw and his team, the focus is 100% on the African Cup of Nations for now. With a host of good young players making up the step up to national team such as striker Getaneh Kebede and fellow striker Saladin Said (the country’s record holder for the highest transfer paid), the future looks bright for Ethiopia. The youngsters are supported by the more experienced members of the squad like Adane Girma and captain Degu Debebe who are looking towards Zambia’s success last time for inspiration. Debebe, interviewed during their latest training session gave his views:

“What matters most is our strength. We saw how Zambia performed in the last Afcon. No one expected them to win the cup. They won because they played as a team and didn’t underestimate any team. We can learn a lesson from them and make possible what seems impossible. We will give our best.”

Youthful team - Ethiopia (Image from

Youthful team – Ethiopia (Image from

Regardless of how Ethiopia perform in this tournament and if they can make the fairytale underdog story come true and win the cup, their country will be proud of what this young team has achieved. With each game comes more experience and the longer these players play together, the better they will become. If they can continue their existing form, then maybe they might just shock a few teams at this years event and help to write yet another chapter in their football history.