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Wimbledon and Equal Prize Money: The Debate That Won’t Go Away

The debate won’t go away, mainly because journalists like Catch Seventy7 insist on writing about it. But hey, let’s not let that detract from an interesting piece…

Roger Federer: Who cares about equal pay, he's just glad Rafa's not at Wimbledon this year...

Roger Federer: Who cares about equal pay, he's just glad Rafa's not at Wimbledon this year...

Before the All England Club finally relented in 2007, the subject of Wimbledon’s allocation of prize money had become something of a millstone hanging around the necks of all those associated with the tournament.
While hardly on the same level as Augusta National—host of the Masters golf tournament—which singularly refuses to allow female members, Wimbledon’s payouts that reward female winners of the tournament with smaller financial rewards than their male equivalents led many to accuse the Club of being archaic and misogynistic.
In fairness to the Club, for many years the situation had been improving, albeit at an unsatisfactorily slow pace.
In 1968 the men’s singles champion, Rod Laver, won £2,000 for his triumph, while the ladies’ winner, Billie Jean King, received just £750. But by 2006, Amelie Mauresmo was taking home just 5% less than Roger Federer’s £675,000.
But the fact that there was any difference at all still rankled with many.
Fortunately, that nominal difference finally disappeared in 2007 as Wimbledon officials announced that competitors would receive the same amount of prize money—at all stages of the tournament—regardless of sex.
This put the tournament on par with the US and Australian Open, and ahead of Roland Garros—which quickly fell into line).
Despite this, however, some have continued to criticize Wimbledon, arguing that female competitors do not deserve their new-found equality, for a variety of reasons.
It is a debate that is set to run and run.
It is perhaps both ironic and unfortunate for the Wimbledon committee that in the years immediately following their decision to award equal pay to both victors, the quality of the female game has tailed off dramatically.
At the same time, the excitement surrounding the men’s game has reached a level not seen since the days of Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.
While Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer seem to be contesting the world’s grandest tennis match as they rally trophies and titles back and forth across the globe, the top players in the female game seem to have become entrenched in an uninspiring battle to see how many of them can become world number one without actually winning a Grand Slam title.
As a spectacle, there is simply no comparison between the two.
But is that a reason against equal prize money?
It cannot be doubted that female tennis players put in the same amount of effort and dedication to the honing of their craft as their male counterparts.
The fact of the matter is: prize money for sports stars is not calculated on the hours they have put in on the training ground, but rather on the interest and attention they manage to garner from sponsors and, most importantly, spectators.
In this respect, male tennis players have a clear advantage.
“There are not many opening-round matches in the women’s draw of grand slam tournaments that I would cross the road to watch,” said former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. “Predictability has always put me off [the women’s game] and things aren’t too different from ten or 15 years ago.”
Cash’s sentiment is one echoed by most casual fans. On television, men’s finals are more widely viewed than women’s. In 1999, a Wimbledon survey revealed 70% of spectators come to the tournament first and foremost to see men’s singles matches.
For better or worse, the men’s game is most often what fans will pay to see.
Even the most casual of fans can name upwards of 20 top male players, based primarily on their abilities on the court.
But could they name more than five or ten top female tennis players? Of those named, are most not known more for their looks than their devastating forehand smash?
If that constitutes equality, then somewhere the rulebook has been mislaid.
Some, however, see nothing wrong with such a situation—even within the game. For example, the Women’s Tennis Association seem to be enthusiastically employing the maxim that “sex sells” to boost their sport, regardless of the message that may send out.
“I actually feel that one of the great strengths of the tour, is the personalities off the court twinned with these great athletes on the court,” said Larry Scott, the out-going chief executive of the WTA Tour, this week. “Our players are very comfortable with that positioning [the Tour’s advertising focus on looks], and I think they are great role models for women showing that, you know, you can be gritty and determined on the court and go out to win, and still be a feminine celebrity off the court.”
For some, such an attitude is the core problem for the respectability of women’s tennis. The fact that Anna Kournikova is arguably the most famous exponent of the sport—a result of her good looks rather than her tour titles, or lack thereof—is a saddening aspect for many.
Due to the reduced emphasis of power compared to the men’s game, some neutral tennis viewers may prefer the women’s game as a spectacle.
But on the whole, it is not what many viewers would choose to see.
If TV companies could get away with it—or, indeed, were only able to show a limited number of matches—then they would undoubtedly show coverage of men’s games at a far greater frequency than anything involving women, at least until the later stages of the tournament.
So if fewer spectators pay to see females play compared to the men, and broadcasters tolerate the women’s game rather than actively promote it, then how can they justify the equal prize money that some of them—most notably the Williams sisters—lobbied so forcefully for?
After all, many male players think it is an equality that isn’t really, well, equal.
“I don’t think [equal prize money] is really fair,” said professional men’s player Tommy Haas when the change was announced. “I think the depth of men’s tennis is much tougher than the women’s, plus we play best of five sets.”
To earn their equality, then, should women play five set matches too? As Ian O’Doherty of the Irish Independent noted, apparently not:
“In the spirit of equal work for equal pay, should the female game not also adapt to best of five?
Erm no. Because as top female player Jelena Jankovic whined last week at the prospect of playing best of five: ‘What, you want to drive us into oblivion?’
So, we want the same money because we’re women. But we don’t want to do the same work. Because we are women.
But only a sexist pig would point out that absurdity, of course.”
O’Doherty may well have a point, but to penalize women for their physiological shortcomings would hardly be a great demonstration of equality. As Dinara Safina’s victory over Amelie Mauresmo showed, it is still possible to pack a lot of enthralling tennis into a three-set match.
But, on the other hand, the reduced interest in the women’s game means that outside the four Grand Slams, prize money is markedly reduced for women’s events, making it impossible for top women to earn as much as men from their craft.
Not to mention that at many events, the men also play best of three sets games. The difference for the men being that the prize funds are far greater than at women’s satellite events.
Similarly, sponsorship deals are more apparent in the men’s game. Women can sign multi-million pound deals to wear a certain brand, but again this is often based as much on the looks of that player as her ability from behind the baseline.
At least the Grand Slams allow women to earn well regardless of appearance. Perhaps economic equality there is not such a bad thing, after all.
At such high profile events, equal prize funds for both sexes sends a message to young girls—and, perhaps more importantly, boys—that equal pay is a basic requirement of a civilized society.
Such an example is undoubtedly an important one.
Still, once those young minds start to develop and they begin to appreciate the two tours and the difference between three sets and five, many might begin to question the situation.
But whatever the rights and wrongs of individual arguments, the reality is that the All England Club’s decision to move to equal prize money is one that can never be rescinded. The backlash that would come from any reversal would be such a PR disaster that it could never be beneficial to the tournament.
At Wimbledon, equal pay is here to stay.
But that will not stop the discussion from continuing to run and run.
Female players might just be happy to reflect that they are playing in the modern era where, in the Grand Slams at least, their presence is rewarded as handsomely—if not more so—than they deserve.

Before the All England Club finally relented in 2007, the subject of Wimbledon’s allocation of prize money had become something of a millstone hanging around the necks of all those associated with the tournament.

While hardly on the same level as Augusta National — host of the Masters golf tournament — which singularly refuses to allow female members, Wimbledon’s payouts that reward female winners of the tournament with smaller financial rewards than their male equivalents led many to accuse the Club of being archaic and misogynistic.

In fairness to the Club, for many years the situation had been improving, albeit at an unsatisfactorily slow pace.

In 1968 the men’s singles champion, Rod Laver, won £2,000 for his triumph, while the ladies’ winner, Billie Jean King, received just £750. But by 2006, Amelie Mauresmo was taking home just 5% less than Roger Federer’s £675,000.

But the fact that there was any difference at all still rankled with many.

Fortunately, that nominal difference finally disappeared in 2007 as Wimbledon officials announced that competitors would receive the same amount of prize money — at all stages of the tournament — regardless of sex.

This put the tournament on par with the US and Australian Open, and ahead of Roland Garros (which quickly fell into line).

Despite this, however, some have continued to criticize Wimbledon, arguing that female competitors do not deserve their new-found equality, for a variety of reasons.

It is a debate that is set to run and run.

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June 30, 2009 Posted by | Comment, Sport | | Leave a comment

Despite Defeat, USA Announce Arrival on International Stage

At one stage, it looked as if the underdogs might even win the trophy. But even in defeat, the US announced themselves as a force to be reckoned with in international football…

Demerit and the US ultimately fell short, but not by much...

Demerit and the US ultimately fell short, but not by much...

On June 29, 1950, in a game remembered as “The Miracle on Grass,” Team USA beat traditional international powerhouse England 1-0 in a World Cup game in Brazil.
As the score was wired back to newspapers in England, sports editors were so convinced a mistake had been made during transit that some even printed the score as 10-0 to England in the next day’s edition.
They would soon be told of their mistake.
At the time, many thought the U.S. might soon become a real force in world football. Alas, such an emergence did not happen, and the country continued to operate on the fringes of the football fraternity.
Nearly 59 years to the day since that famous result, all that changed.
Despite a defeat to Brazil in the Confederations Cup final, the U.S. announced themselves as genuine competitors on the world stage.
Any team can pull off an unbelievable result, as the U.S. did in 1950 and against Spain in the Confederations Cup Semifinal on Friday.
But to go on and push another world-class side right to the limit, as the U.S. did in the final against Brazil, indicates that perhaps that is the level at which the team belongs.
It wasn’t quite a second “Miracle on Grass” for the American team, but at one stage it looked like it just might be. After goals from Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan gave the U.S. a 2-0 half-time lead, Brazil fought back in the second half valiantly and showed their renowned class as they ran out deserved 3-2 winners.
Luis Fabiano (twice) and Lucio combined to deny their opponents, but the American’s assent to football’s top table was already complete.
“It’s a tough one to see slip away,” said U.S. coach Bob Bradley after the game. “We gave the goal up so quickly in the second half that we put ourselves in a tough spot. But I’m extremely proud of the team.“
Two weeks ago, the U.S. were viewed as dark horses, even in a tournament of only eight teams. The elite teams in the world—Spain, Italy, Brazil, etc.—would not have lost sleep about the team as potential opponents.
Now, however, no international team will take the US for granted.
Still, fans of the U.S. team should not get ahead of themselves. No one should fool themselves into thinking that the Confederations Cup is a big international tournament, one of prestige and standing within the world game.
It isn’t.
By the next tournament, in four year’s time, the result of this final will barely be remembered—that does not indicate a world-class tournament.
But, by the same token, the small field is one of undisputed quality. America beat arguably the best national team in the world, Spain, in the semifinals, and pushed the game’s traditional powerhouse to the limit in the final.
They mixed it with the best of them, and will have learned a lot from this experience.
“We continue to try and move ourselves forward, and playing these sort of games only helps,” Bradley said. “I hope people around the world will see we have good players and good results, and hopefully, we will get even better.”
The trophy cabinet may still be empty, but the U.S. has finally arrived on the world scene.
They might not be expected to win international tournaments in future—few teams ever are—but they will certainly be expected to progress to the later stages of any competitions they enter.
That is a small, but significant shift in status.
With two impressive results, they have gone from novelty act to, if not the main event, certainly top of the undercard.
“They are now a bit more confident about their capacity on the world stage,” said French World Cup winner Marcel Desailly. “They have some good players and have shown that when you play tight and strong, then you can achieve something. I can see some disappointment on the players’ faces, but c’mon, it was Brazil in front of you.”
Traditionally, American squads have travelled to international tournaments with little more than hope.
In a year’s time, assuming all goes well in the remainder of the qualification process, Team USA will return to South Africa with more than hope; they will travel with expectation, too.
As much as it might pain the rest of the world to admit, the U.S. are now a force to be reckoned with—even at the highest levels of what they call “soccer.”

On June 29, 1950, in a game remembered as “The Miracle on Grass,” Team USA beat traditional international powerhouse England 1-0 in a World Cup game in Brazil.

As the score was wired back to newspapers in England, sports editors were so convinced a mistake had been made during transit that some even printed the score as 10-0 to England in the next day’s edition.

They would soon be told of their mistake.

At the time, many thought the U.S. might soon become a real force in world football. Alas, such an emergence did not happen, and the country continued to operate on the fringes of the football fraternity.

Nearly 59 years to the day since that famous result, all that changed.

Despite a defeat to Brazil in the Confederations Cup final, the U.S. announced themselves as genuine competitors on the world stage.

Any team can pull off an unbelievable result, as the U.S. did in 1950 and against Spain in the Confederations Cup semifinal on Friday.

But to go on and push another world-class side right to the limit, as the U.S. did in the final against Brazil, indicates that perhaps that is the level at which the team belongs.

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June 29, 2009 Posted by | Sport, World Football | , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Musings: Twitter, Michael Jackson, and a little bit more

What Catch Seventy7 learned after another week wondering when the wedding season begins, or ends… 

Twitter: Narrate your life, in 140 characters or less...

Twitter: Narrate your life, in 140 characters or less...

Twitter opens another window to the world

Whether Twitter is simply enjoying its extended 15 minutes of fame or is around for good might be debatable, but what cannot be denied is that while it is here it has it uses.  The mainstream media for one have certainly embraced it, catapulting Twitter into the public psyche thanks to the spotlight many national newspapers have put on the micro-blogging site’s coverage of the Iran elections. 

You get the feeling no one, least of all the Twitter honchos, know exactly how the site can carve itself a niche as a breaking news website, but many newspapers were happy to use it nonetheless — even if it meant quoting from Twitter feeds that had not been verified, say, for instance, a certain David Miliband’s comments on Michael Jackson’s death. Unfortunately for the Times, it turns out David Miliband doesn’t even have a Twitter account. Which, for those who think Gordon Brown should quit jabbering on about Susan Boyle and actually do some proper political work, is probably a relief.

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June 28, 2009 Posted by | Weekly Musings | Leave a comment

Michael Owen Deserves Chance to Reclaim Status Among World’s Best

He’s not even 30, yet some newspapers are already (falsely) printing suggestions he is contemplating retirement this summer. But Michael Owen still has a lot to offer on the football pitch, and he intends to get the chance to show it…

Owen: A fan of Pro Evo, is a friend of Catch Seventy7's...

Owen: Any fan of Pro Evo, is a friend of Catch Seventy7's...

Much has been made in the past week of Michael Owen’s almost unprecedented decision to authorise the distribution of a 32-page sales brochure detailing, in quite some depth, why clubs around Europe should bid for the England international’s services.

To many, such a move has been taken as an example of the desperation Owen feels for his professional future, another indication of how the once prodigious young striker’s career has quickly deteriorated.

After all, many seem to believe that his career is all but over. Retirement, as one daily newspaper was foolish enough to print, seems imminent.

In reality, the brochure is there to counter exactly such pre-conceptions.

The execution might not be quite there (indeed, some of it is cringe-inducing), but the idea should not be dismissed out of hand. In recent years, as the wealth within football has reached astronomical levels, we have come to expect out of contract footballers to be courted extensively by interested clubs, rather than the other way round. But in this current economic climate no one, not even footballers, should be criticised for doing something unpredictable in an attempt to make themselves stand out to potential employers.

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June 26, 2009 Posted by | Sport, World Football | | Leave a comment

Review: Reaper Season 2

The first season of Reaper was a triumph, albeit one blighted by the spectre of cancellation and low ratings. In that respect, Season 2 follows in its predecessor’s footsteps…

Reaper: The Devil and Sam Oliver...

Reaper: The Devil and Sam Oliver...

At the conclusion of this second series, having again garnered relatively poor ratings (a fact many attribute to poor scheduling) the show was cancelled by the CW. As a result, Reaper’s two main actors, Bret Harrison (Sam Oliver) and Tyler Labine (Bert ‘Sock’ Wysocki), left the show, making the possibility of an immediate revival on another network look unlikely.

The turmoil behind the show filters through to some of the episodes — later on in the series in particular it certainly feels like producers were trying to squeeze a lot of long-running storylines into the limited 13-episode space they had. While not wanting to give too much away, the ending to the series — if, as looks likely, it is also the end of the show — is not one that will particularly satisfy viewers, and leaves more questions than answers.

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June 23, 2009 Posted by | Reviews, Television | | Leave a comment

David Villa Not Content to Become a Victim of Circumstance

He’s one of the best, if not the best, strikers in world football right now. But despite openly wanting a move away from Valencia, a combination of factors look set to scupper the possibility of a transfer. David Villa isn’t going to just let that happen… 

Villa: All he can do to encourage a transfer is what he does best — score goals...

Villa: Will do all he can do to encourage a transfer. Score goals...

A man who willingly lets himself become a victim of circumstance is invariably a man who never achieves his ultimate ambitions.
David Villa is keen that he does not become a victim of circumstance.
Over the past year, the Valencia striker’s name has been linked with almost every top club in Europe but, despite a concerted recent effort from those around him, a move has yet to materialise.
At 27 years of age, the prolific hitman knows that he needs to move soon if he is to achieve everything the game has to offer, at least at a domestic level. Valencia will be competing in the newly-formed Europa League next season but, like all world-class footballers, Villa craves a shot at the Champions League and the opportunity to win league titles.
With Valencia’s well documented financial troubles, it is unlikely the Mestalla-based outfit will be able to reach that stage in the immediate future.
And it is not as if the striker isn’t coveted by clubs that can offer him such opportunities. With his reputation buoyed—along with the rest of the Spain squad—as his country won 2008’s European Championship, Villa took his spectacular form into the 2008-09 season, scoring a stunning 49 goals in 58 starts across international and club games.
In the process, he cemented his position among the very best strikers in the game today.
Less than a week ago, Valencia were openly shopping around their crown jewel to anyone who might feasibly stump up the asking price, believed to be €53m. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Chelsea (among others) were believed to be queuing up to speak to the player affectionately known as “El Guaje” (The Kid).
Now, however, it is a slightly different matter.
“Villa is not for sale,” Valencia’s president, Manuel Llorente stated this week. “But if there is an offer that is scandalously scandalous we will consider it.”
No one knows the reason behind the u-turn. But having spent the past week actively approaching clubs to encourage talks, David Villa’s agent, Jose Luis Tamargo, certainly isn’t happy about it.
“We have no choice but to back out of the market with our tails between our legs,” Tamargo said. “I’m annoyed that they are toying with us like this. It would have been easier to say that he was not for sale in the first place, not say yes before and no now. I don’t like this at all.”
Disappointed but respectful of Valencia’s wishes, it appears all Villa can do now is try to persuade a club to make the “scandalous” offer his employers now require. And with some head-turning performances at the Confederations Cup over the past weeks, he has gone a long way to doing just that.
In Spain’s final group game on Saturday against a determined South Africa, Villa gave a timely exhibition of his ability to change a game at the highest level. With the game scoreless after 50 minutes, things looked bleak for Villa, when he saw his penalty well saved by South African keeper Itumeleng Khune.
But within a minute of that save, the 27-year-old responded to the disappointment with the sort of mental fortitude and goalscoring nous that few in the world game currently possess, chesting down and volleying an Albert Riera cross in one smooth movement that left Khune with no chance.
It was a goal that would have grabbed attention in boardrooms from Madrid to Manchester.The problem for Villa, however, is that attracting attention alone might not be enough. The asking price set by his club, even before they all but removed him from the market, was obviously deemed slightly prohibitive to interested parties.
No one can be sure what Llorente deems a “scandalously scandalous” offer to be, but it is safe to assume it is at least the original €53m quoted.
Chelsea and Liverpool, both believed to be fervent admirers of the striker (indeed, Rafa Benitez might be the most keen of all managers to sign him), have obviously been put off by the transfer fee—mainly due to the poor exchange rate.
Valencia’s asking price translates to £45m in the current market, but would have only been about £30m this time last year when the pound was still riding high.
At that price, at least one of the clubs would likely have fancied a bid.
Now however, the price is not a financially viable one.
Manchester United, having lost both Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez in the past two weeks, are also evidently in the market for a striker. With £80m (over four years) to budget with as a result of Ronaldo’s sale, they could afford a move for Villa—especially considering the Spaniard’s talents are of the sort that would enhance the team and, significantly, appear to compliment Wayne Rooney’s versatility, rather than exploit it.
But the recent admission that they would not sign players over the age of 26 (Villa is 27) due to the perceived lack of re-sale value such players would have, indicates both the enforced prudence of the Glazer regime, and the unfavourable economic conditions that English clubs face in the European market.
Villa’s challenge, then, is to encourage United, or his suitors on the continent, that the various obstacles they face are worth overcoming in order to acquire his services.
In that pursuit, Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid look the most likely to be persuaded. The exchange rate is not a barrier for either club, and the price demanded (assuming it still remains around the same figure) is one that they will be willing to start negotiations from.
But for Real Madrid, with upwards of €150m already invested in attackers, president Florentino Perez might not believe that Villa’s signing will create a profitable marketing frenzy in the same way his other blockbuster signings are set to.
Perez might feel it wiser to invest remaining funds in defensive reinforcements—and see which of his unwanted attackers (Robben, Van Nistelrooy, Huntelaar) have departed—before returning to Villa later in the summer.
That leaves Barcelona in the driving seat. But with a settled and successful squad, do they need to make any changes? The potential transfer of Samuel Eto’o (rumoured to be on the verge of an exit) might prove the pivotal factor, but it is almost certain the club will make no firm moves until the Cameroon international’s future is decided.
As much as he hates it then, Villa’s only off-the-field option might be to wait and see.
“Last week was not easy at all. I admit that it’s been bad for me,” Villa said after the South Africa game. “I wouldn’t wish all this on anybody but, with the advice of my family, I’ve erased it all from my mind.”
Sensibly, Villa seems to have realized that all he can do is remind football’s heavy hitters of exactly what he can contribute during games.
“When I go out on the pitch I try to show what I can do. On the pitch is where I feel better, and I’m proud to be part of this national team.”
Scoring the goals that take his country towards Confederations Cup success might not be enough to secure himself a move, but at least Villa can be consoled in the fact that there is nothing more he can do.
If Villa is to be a victim of circumstance, at least he will not be so willingly.

A man who willingly lets himself become a victim of circumstance is invariably a man who never achieves his ultimate ambitions.

David Villa is keen that he does not become a victim of circumstance.

Over the past year, the Valencia striker’s name has been linked with almost every top club in Europe but, despite a concerted recent effort from those around him, a move has yet to materialise.

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June 22, 2009 Posted by | Sport, World Football | , , | Leave a comment

Shevchenko Happy to Return to Chelsea, but Privately Expects Transfer

He’s back, and definitely not at all disappointed to be. The Ukrainian international has publicly declared himself happy to fight for his place at Stamford Bridge, but privately expects to be offloaded before the summer is out…

Didier Drogba is one of the players standing in the way of a happy Chelsea return for Shevchenko...

Didier Drogba is one of the players standing in the way of a happy Chelsea return for Shevchenko...

After an unsuccessful loan spell at the club where he made his name, Andriy Shevchenko is back at Chelsea — the club where his reputation was damaged so greatly — in the hope of rebuilding it once again.

Having failed to make a real impact during last season’s return to AC Milan — scoring just twice in nine starts — the Ukranian striker will make his way back to Stamford Bridge ahead of the new season, and is positive about the opportunity.

“I have one year left on my contract with Chelsea,” Shevchenko told Corriere dello Sport, “and I intend to respect it and honour it in the best possible way.”

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June 22, 2009 Posted by | Sport, World Football | , , | Leave a comment

2009 World Cup Twenty20: Team of the Tournament

Predictable, typical, obligatory. Every world tournament worth its salt needs an entirely worthless ‘team of the tournament’. Here’s CatchSeventy7’s entirely subjective verdict on the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup…

Afridi and Akmal were pivotal for Pakistan

Afridi and Akmal were pivotal for Pakistan

Almost as quickly as it began, the World Twenty20 is over. With many standout performances, picking a team of the tournament is not particularly easy, but Catch Seventy7 will give it a go nonetheless. Perhaps unsurprisingly, members of the four semi-final teams dominate proceedings:

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June 21, 2009 Posted by | Sport | , , | 2 Comments

Weekly Musings: The Recession Scuppers Innovation, Twenty20, and more…

What Catch Seventy7 learned after another week wondering whether their budget can extend to an iPhone…

Anonymity: Can be both a defence, and a weapon

Anonymity: Can be both a defence, and a weapon

Times win anonymity case over police blogger

Much has been made — and even more written — about the potential implications of The Times court victory over the publication of the identity of previously anonymous bloggers.

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June 20, 2009 Posted by | Weekly Musings | Leave a comment

Barcelona Bide Time Before Making Real Response in Transfer Market

Real Madrid have stolen all the summer headlines, with Barcelona seemingly doing little more than watch on with interest. How will they respond to their rival’s moves?

David Villa might we join Iniesta and Xavi at the Nou Camp. Capdevila (l) will probably not...

David Villa might well join Iniesta and Xavi at the Nou Camp. Capdevila (left) will probably not...

Only Real Madrid.

Only Real Madrid could steal the spotlight so quickly from Barcelona.

Barely three weeks have passed since Barcelona’s historic triumph against Manchester United in Rome, a triumph that added the Champions League to the Spanish league and cup double the Catalan giants had already acquired. Yet already such triumphs feel like a distant memory.

Right now, the spotlight is only interested in Real Madrid.

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June 17, 2009 Posted by | Sport, World Football | , | Leave a comment