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Brazil are out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but the legacy of their superfan Clov…

Brazil are out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but the legacy of their superfan Clovis Fernandes, who followed the team for seven consecutive World Cups and sadly passed away in 2015, continues thanks to his sons ❤⚽

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The Club World Cup Has Lost Its Purpose

The FIFA Club World Cup is no longer a proper measure to decide the best club team in the world.

Because of huge investments in European soccer in the last decade the European clubs (UEFA) have a big money advantage over the rest of the world and can buy the best players which gives them a big advantage over the other confederations. Moreover, the format of the tournament is set to favor UEFA and South America (Conmebol) which is unfair to the other teams.

The problem is that the competition has failed to keep up with changes in the game and has therefore lost its relevance and purpose.

PURPOSE OF THE TOURNAMENT

The competition was started in 2000 (when it absorbed its predecessor the Intercontinental Cup) and was formed as a yearly competition to showcase the best local talent from the various confederations. The idea was that the winners in each continental tournament would compete against each other and the winner crowned as the best club team in the world. This was the theory but in practice it has turned out differently.

Previously the best non-European players pursued their careers in their home countries and were unknown to foreign audiences. The Club World Cup gave these players a chance to showcase their skills on the world stage and at that time there was parity between clubs in Europe and South America.

Conmebol teams won the trophy in the first three years of the competition but after that the European teams dominated and the balance of power shifted to Europe.

DAVID vs GOLIATH

The beginning of European domination coincided in the early part of the current century with a massive influx of investment in UEFA soccer at club level. The fallout from this is that today there is a great disparity of income between European clubs and the other confederations.

The winner of the European Champions League earns much more money than the other continental tournaments combined. Real Madrid made $70.1 million last season for winning the UEFA Champions League. In contrast San Lorenzo made $6.1 million for winning Copa Libertadores (Conmebol), ES Setie made $1.8 million for winning the African (CAF) Champions League and in Asia Western Sydney Wanderers made about the same for defeating Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal over two legs (YAHOO SPORTS – Why does the Club World Cup still struggle for relevance?; by Peter Staunton, December 12, 2014).

With such money on hand, the best talent that money can buy are in Europe’s major leagues, lured by the lucrative contracts that these leagues have to offer. This means that Europe has at its disposal its own talent and whatever the rest of the world has.

The biggest losers in the exodus of soccer talent to Europe are Brazil and Argentina which are the leading exporters of players, so what is Europe’s gain is South America’s loss.

Accordingly, every other side at the Club World Cup is at a disadvantage in comparison with Europe’s Champions League holder. The tournament has evolved from being a rivalry into a battle of David versus Goliath, between European clubs represented by what is tantamount to a World eleven made up mostly of the best international players and the minnows, comprising what is left over after the best of their talent have been siphoned off by the big UEFA clubs.

The current champion, Real Madrid, is a combination of some of the most expensive and best international players coming from Spain (Casillas and Sergio Ramos), France (Benzema and Varane), Portugal (Ronaldo and Pepe), Germany (Kroos), Brazil (Marcelo), Colombia (Rodriquez), Wales (Bale) and Mexico (Chicharito). This assembly of players is hardly representative of the local game in Spain. For three players, namely, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriquez the club paid $367.8 million. Only twelve clubs in the world possess a squad of players whose market value is worth more than the total cost of these three.

Compare that to Auckland City FC one of its competitors in this year’s Club World Cup which is a team of mere amateurs having full-time occupations outside of soccer.

A look at some of the previous champions reveals the heavy foreign component of their squads. In 2010 when Inter Milan (Italy) won the cup, only 5 players in their squad of 23 were Italians while the rest were mostly from South America. Even the television commentators failed to keep up with the changes as they still referred to the Inter team as ‘the Italians’.

In 2011 Barcelona won the cup and 10 of their 23-man squad were from overseas.

BIZARRE FORMAT

Another big problem with the tournament is that teams from UEFA and South America are given a bye to the semi-finals and start playing even after some of the sides are eliminated. This is intentionally done so that only the biggest clubs face off in the final. So far only teams from those two continents have won and only one team from outside has made it to the final, namely, last year’s surprise finalist TP Mazembe, a Congolese side.

Given the money advantage enjoyed by UEFA and the bizarre format that is currently in place, the Club World Cup can hardly be called the fairest of competitions and the winner cannot legitimately be called ‘the best in the world’ anymore than the winners of the former Intercontinental Cup which was limited to UEFA and Conmebol. The tournament has lost its importance and is hardly bragworthy. Some years ago I won a dancing contest but the other contestants couldn’t dance, so was my victory something to brag about?

Some parity needs to be restored to the competition. Brazil and Argentina have started to raise wages in their local leagues to entice their players to remain at home. That is a start but in addition to that, FIFA must limit the number of foreign players available to each team to, say, two and change the format so that all competing teams play the same number of qualifying matches. Failing this, it is pointless to continue the competition in its present form.

Victor A. Dixon

December 23, 2014

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Underdog Chile Takes on the Hot Favourite England on the U-17 FIFA World Cup

The Chile football team qualified for the U-17 FIFA world cup and is to play the England team on the 8th October this year at salt lake, Calcutta. There is a craze for football in this part of the world and many football enthusiasts feel that the England will win today’s match against Chile. The football lovers here adore, admire England in all versions of the game. Calcutta, once ruled by the British has many who support England in this U-17 FIFA world cup.

The match between the two football team has already started in the sprawling greens at the city’s acclaimed stadium, the salt lake stadium. It seems that the Chilean team is warming up this season as their opponent has already scored 1-0 lead in its favour. It appears that the England team is in form, the players know their task well. The field placement seems fantastic and kudos to the England coach and trainer for training the team such well. However, there is much to turn up in this game. It is only 45 minutes of the play and the England team is very much in lead. In the next 45 minutes the Chilean team needs to work really hard to compete against the well-in-form England team.

There is much hype pertaining the U-17 FIFA World Cup. The host nation India failed to capitalize on the very first day against team USA. India lost pathetically to team USA who scored 3-0 in the match. With the win team USA is in an advantageous position in the competition. However, there are many matches to follow and the Indians can only hope to fare well.

Though today’s match is between two foreign teams, yet football lovers from this part of the world, throng in thousands to watch the match. England is undoubtedly a good team as far as football is concerned and therefore, the team is the hot favourite among the football enthusiasts of Calcutta. Many prefer the England team over the Indian team so far as U-17 FIFA world cup are concerned.

As today’s match progresses, there are a few Chile fans seen in the stadium encouraging their team with the anticipation of an equalizer from the Chilean team. Players of both the teams are fighting hard on the field. The England team is trying hard to score another goal as there is much time left for the game to complete. The Chilean team are seen struggling in the field. They are seen trying their best to keep the England players off from their goal post.

It is important for the Chilean attackers to take one or two risks and score an equalizer in order to be in the match. Unless they do that, there is less hope for the Chilean team to taste win in this match. Many are of the opinion that the game is unequally poised with the England team getting maximum possession of the football.

From the current play many perceive that England will win the match. Some pessimists however feel otherwise and they are betting on a 1:1 draw.

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