Friday, March 30, 2012

The Kyiv Post reports that UEFA has chosen a Ukrainian Defense Ministry hospital to help treat football fans during Euro 2012. 

UEFA took the decision after concluding that Ukraine's military doctors are among the most skilled and best trained medical staff in all of Ukraine.
 
 
Some of the top goals from the last European Championships in Switzerland and Austria in 2008.
 
 
Thursday, March 29, 2012

Having failed to qualify for Euro 2012, Scotland will be represented at the tournament after all, with UEFA announcing that a team of six Scottish referees will travel to Ukraine and Poland.

Referee Craig Thomson will be joined by a team of four assistant referees (that's 'linesmen' to you and me), with a fifth Scottish linesman travelling as a standby should any match officials suffer injury in June. 

It is a great showing for Scottish referees after only Thomson was selected for Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria. It's a shame the same can't be said for the Scottish national football team, which has now failed to qualify for a major football tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.
 
 
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Apologies for the lack of updates over the past week. It was time for a short spring break and an internet-free few days.

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous in England, which has helped focus the mind on this summer and the upcoming European Championships. Incredibly, England remain without a national manager and Glenn Hoddle is the latest name to be put forward for the role of caretaker manager. Hoddle told the Independent newspaper at the weekend that if he were to die tomorrow 'his life would be incomplete' in reference to his previous stint as England manager and a desire to manage the team once more. 

For many fans now it is no longer so much a case of who the next England manager will be but more about England actually having a manager. Let's remind the English FA of one not insignificant fact: the 2012 European Championships begin in just over 10 weeks! Surely, it is time for a coach to be appointed to the role.

Whoever the next England coach is, he'd do well to include Peter Crouch in his Euro 2012 squad. Crouch scored a contender for goal of the season for Stoke against Manchester City at the weekend and it is not as if this was the first world-class volley the lanky striker has scored in his career. England have a real problem with a lack of international experience from their current crop of front men and perhaps Crouch, almost totally overlooked by Fabio Capello, is a good wild card to include in the national squad. 22 goals in 42 England appearances says it all. After all, the 'legendary' Wayne Rooney has only scored 6 more international goals than Crouch and that's from having played 73 times for his country.
 
 
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

As well as the lads who I might travel out to Euro 2012 with, I have also heard today from a couple of the friends I met at the Copa America in Argentina in 2011. Danish Niklas and German Andreas will both be in Ukraine in June, Niklas apparently working as a 'Media Runner' for UEFA. Another friend from Latvia, Martins, is also working in Ukraine for UEFA, so it seems like plenty of us are heading south east this summer.Whatever the football serves up, a memorable hedonistic summer is a given.
 
 
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It is good to hear that Fabrice Muamba is improving. It was a shock to the whole football community when he collapsed after suffering a heart attack whilst playing for Bolton last weekend. Just shows how fragile we all are. With all the nonsense that has gone on in the English game recently, the only big positive has been the way the entire English game seems to have rallied around the young African footballer during the past few days.

In other news I hear that the Polish Competition watchdog has filed a lawsuit against UEFA for the way it has conducted itself with its ticket sales for Euro 2012 in Poland. According to those hard-working journalists at Xinhua News Agency, the Polish office of Competition and Consumer Protection is questioning 25 UEFA rules in relation to such issues as ticket delivery. Good to see a national body standing up to the likes of UEFA and FIFA, who often seem to be able to make up their own rules as they go along.

Meanwhile, two friends have been in contact not about Euro 2012 but asking about More Than a Game's plans for FIFA 2014. We are planning a very big and special project for Brazil 2014 and it is great to know that Michael and Mael would like to be involved in some way. 
 
 

Two ticketless Australian fans celebrate 'magically' acquiring tickets for their match against Germany at FIFA 2010 in South Africa


Monday, March 19, 2012

Received an email from UEFA over the weekend informing me that I have tickets for all of England's matches at Euro 2012. 

It seems that every England fan who applied for tickets through the England Members club has been successful with their applications. With the exception of England v Ukraine (category two - 70 euro), I decided to apply for category 3 tickets for all of the matches that will or might involve the English national team. The thinking behind this was that there is such a huge price discrepancy between category 'threes' and 'twos' for matches in Poland and Ukraine that I couldn't really justify (or afford) to buy category two tickets anyway.

You certainly can't complain, in this day and age, about paying 30 euro to watch England v France in the European Championships. In the highly unlikely event of England getting to the final in Kyiv on July 1st, I will be guaranteed a final ticket for just 50 euro. Had I stated that I was willing to accept category two tickets for the final, I would need to pay 330 euro for the pleasure, and 500 euro for category one. Thankfully, I was wise enough this time to know if I told UEFA I was willing to accept a higher price category that was what they'd give me. You live and learn.

Meanwhile, I have also received the good news that I have media accreditation for Ukraine. So, hopefully, I will also get the opportunity to attend some matches in Lvov involving Denmark, Germany and Portugal. 

Certainly, those of you who follow More Than a Game can now expect full coverage of this summer's tournament from on the ground in Ukraine....time to start getting the guide books out and start putting together an itinerary...
 
 
Friday, March 16, 2012

Hundreds of thousands of football fans will receive emails today telling them whether they have been successful in applying for tickets for Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. 

UEFA has been busy allocating tickets to each of the 14 non-host federations' fans and while the number of england supporters applying for England-only-matches is said to be less than the official supply, it is reported that around 12,000 Irish fans have applied for each of their group matches where their official allocation is just 6,000 tickets.

UEFA.com says that it recieved more than 12 million ticket applications when Euro 2012 tickets first went on sale in March 2011


 
 
Friday, March 16

While it is not unusual for men in a number of European countries to urinate in a darkened corner of a street or behind a tree when they are 'taken short', the citizens of many western European countries are often surprised to discover that this kind of behaviour in eastern Europe is not only frowned upon but can lead to massive fines, public outcry and even time in prison.

Quite why the good people of eastern Europe get so upset at the news that a foreigner has urinated behind a tree in one of their parks is hard to explain but foreign football fans visiting Poland this summer for Euro 2012 should perhaps be aware that they could face up to two years in prison for 'defacing' a national monument or urinating in public. 

The Irish Daily Star reports the case of two speedway fans who are now in prison after doing nothing more than hanging a scarf around a statue of Jesus in a Polish town. 
 
 

Sheffield Football Club in 1857


Thursday, March 15, 2012

English Premier League chairman Dave Richards was pulling no punches this week when he accused FIFA and UEFA of having stolen football from England. 
"England gave the world football. It gave the best legacy anyone could give. We gave them the game. Then, 50 years later, some guy came along and said, 'you're liars', and they actually stole it. It was called FIFA."

Richards also pointed out to a room full of shocked delegates in Qatar  that the game of football originated in the English industrial city of Sheffield around 150 years ago: "We started the game and wrote the rules and took it to the world... the British own it and we gave it to the rest of the world." 

Richards also suggested that FIFA's decision to take the 2022 World Cup to Qatar had been a fix and England had wasted £20 million on a pointless World Cup bid.

Although Richards has, rather predictably, received much bad press over his honest viewpoints, there are those who agree with his sentiment. A poll for the Daily Telegraph on March 15 had around 75% of its readers backing Richards.

Meanwhile, those who accuse Richards of behaving like a clown will have been delighted by the sight of the Premier League's chief man falling into a Doha pool later the same day.

Watch the first part of Richards' statement here: