Action Replay: Meanwhile…
While the world has been focusing on the Olympics and the European Football Championships, plenty of other sport-related events have been taking place:
• International football transfers fell in the first half of 2012, their total financial value going down by a third. So perhaps even the super-rich owners are beginning to feel the pinch.
• The head of the Professional Footballers’ Association called on players at Portsmouth to accept less in past (so far unpaid) and future wages to keep the club from going under.
• In Glasgow, Rangers have been forced, in effect, to start again as a new club (or, in some views, an existing club but a new company) in the Third Division after owing massive amounts in tax. There have been claims that there is an ‘anti-Rangers agenda’ in many parts of Scottish football (Daily Record website, 8 July); presumably these are people wanting to get their own back at a leading club.
• The National Football Museum (for England, that is) used to be at Deepdale, the historic stadium of Preston North End. But Preston is a small city, a long way from anywhere, and after financial muscle from a bigger set-up, the museum has now transferred to Urbis in Manchester, a building which had spectacularly failed in its original use as a ‘museum of the city’. Big-money transfers aren’t just of players.
• The Brazilian congress passed a bill allowing the sale of beer during matches in the 2014 World Cup there (beer sales are otherwise illegal at football matches in Brazil).
• In English rugby there has been a spat between clubs in the Championship (the second tier) and the Rugby Football Union, with the clubs claiming the RFU owes them money. A number of clubs are already in financial difficulty.
• Trainers withdrew their horses from a hurdle race at Worcester, as a protest against inadequate prize money, partly caused by bookmakers locating their online business offshore and so reducing the amount of betting levy paid to the racing industry.
In other words, sport, and business, as usual.