Huddersfield Town in China farce
This is just ridiculous. English football club Huddersfield Town has announced plans to “make its first foray into China as part of the Club’s wider International Development plan.”
From what I can work out from their convoluted press release, the club, who currently sit 18th in the Championship (i.e. near the bottom of English football’s second tier) are taking a delegation of businessmen to China for a week in April to explore opportunities because, you know, everyone loves football.
Commercial Director Sean Jarvis:
“Our International Development programme is underpinned by the principles of knowledge transfer and business relationships and we hope that we can use football as a vehicle for international trade.”
Hmmm, sounds like BS to me. How about International Development Manager Ajin Abraham? Let’s see what he had to say:
“We believe that the power of the Huddersfield Town brand would instantly help open doors for partner businesses. English football has an immense appetite worldwide and one would be surprised at the opportunities that we could help realise through initiatives such as these.”
The power of the Huddersfield Town brand? Yes, I’m pretty sure they will be surprised. But at least they know where China is:
AFC Champions League TV viewing figures up 53%
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) saw TV viewing figures for the Champions League rise by 53% in 2012, up to 262.4 million.
Six games drew more than 10 million viewers, with 19.2 million tuning into Guangzhou Evergrande vs. FC Tokyo, the largest audience in the Round of 16 stage.
International media would give you the impression there’s little more to Chinese soccer than Shanghai Shenhua – who did not, of course, even qualify for the AFC Champions League – but Pierre Justo, the man responsible for analyzing the Chinese data (not the easiest job, given the unreliable nature of the source) said that thanks to Guangzhou Evergrande’s success, Chinese national broadcaster CCTV saw large growth in audience numbers for the competition, with AFC Champions League games responsible for the top two most watched football matches (and four of the top ten) in China in 2012.
He then undermines himself somewhat with the following quote:
“There is no doubt that if Guangzhou had made it to the semi-final and final, the ratings would have been even higher.”
That’s true – and if China had won the World Cup, viewing figures would have been higher still.
Nanjing YOG floored by Chinese firm
Not much to say about this but it’s getting pretty desperate when major sporting events announce their “official floor supplier’ – and I thought an official paint partner was bad enough.
Hebei Tinsue Floor Technology has become the official sports floor supplier for the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games table tennis event. But, hey, Tinsue did the floors at the London Olympics so they clearly know how to lay a floor or two. At the standard reading rate of three words per second, that’s 24 seconds of your life you’ll never get back, but thanks to International Table Tennis Federation president Adham Sharara you now know that “the brand Tinsue has become synonymous with top quality sports flooring.”
And for that we can all be thankful.
Rowan Simons’ informative piece on what Europe can learn from China’s match-fixing troubles, as well as the possibility that China might have something to teach Europe about football governance:
China still has everything else about football to learn from Europe, including understanding the Fifa constitution.
However, if there is anything in this sorry saga for Europe to consider as it faces a scandal of much bigger proportions, it is first that corruption and bribery in sport must be taken very seriously at the highest level if anything is to be achieved.
Be prepared for the truth to reveal a disgusting web of greed that has infected parts of the game and people in the game who had previously seemed above suspicion. As China discovered, bribery starts at junior grassroots level and it reaches to the very top.