Thanks to the bank holiday in England yesterday, today is transfer deadline day even though we are into September. It seems like every year there’s some last minute scramble and controversy about whether a deal is done in time or not with all the paperwork behind the scenes.
The Times has an excellent explanation of all that goes into getting a transfer done, and the amount of paperwork that goes into it — which of course means a lot more can be messed up — is fairly staggering, as “up to 30 pieces of paper may need to be sent through relating to a specific transfer, clubs must be careful to begin transmission well before the 5pm deadline so that everything is received in time.”
Of course, at the amounts being spent in the top flight on these players, having even this many ducks in a row shouldn’t be too hard. But I’ll bet that in an hour or so when we hit the deadline, there’ll be some scrambling somewhere.
- What on earth is going on in the USL, America’s lower league structure? A press release from USL-1′s Team Owners Association says they are “extremely disappointed with Nike’s decision to sell USL to a non-USL-1 team owner. Accordingly, the TOA now reconfirms its commitment to achieving a team-owner controlled league and will pursue all avenues to do so.” It looks the USL owners, who want a more aggressive marketing strategy for the league, are threatening to breakaway unless USL’s restructured leadership accedes to some of their demands for more autonomy and investment in the league. Inside Minnesota Soccer has a series on the power struggle in USL that’s definitely worth catching up on.
- The U.S. has a critical qualifier this week against El Salvador in Salt Lake, and Steve Davis asks why the relatively small capacity stadium isn’t sold-out (in an interesting aside, he reports that though the U.S. does lead the world in World Cup finals ticket applications, these are (not suprisingly) spread across support for numerous countries. England leads the way in follow-your-national-team applications). Davis wonders if “U.S. Soccer was doing enough to incentivize U.S. fans to attend these qualifiers” as a key prerequisite to successful ticket applications, and also asks if U.S. fans “get” the importance of the actual qualifiers.
- The Seattle Times looks at the war of words between the Sounders and DC United ahead of the Open Cup final this week. Adrian Hanauer admits to having a respect for D.C.’s marketing of the final, which looks set to double the attendance for last year’s event at the same venue, with a crowd of 15-20,000 expected. Hanauer said that “If our little public spat helped sell a single ticket, then good for the game. Good for U.S. Open Cup, D.C. United, Sounders FC, good for MLS. If I have to push the envelope publicly and in the media to help sell tickets, then I’ll do it again.”
- In sports business, it’s interesting to look at the finetuning going on by Anheuser-Busch in their marketing strategy, as they split their sports spending more directly between Budweiser (which will be the focus for MLS and international soccer) and Bud Light (which will be the focus for the NFL). I’m not sure what it all means, but I do know both beers are crap anyway.
- EPL Talk says MLS on television is doomed because we’re “programmed” to focus on European football. I’m not quite sure I buy this, though it is true MLS gets overwhelmed by the coverage of European football when it’s in-season.
- The 24th minute looks at the stadium controversy in Vancouver, which is putting the Whitecaps in an awkward position ahead of their move to MLS in 2011.
- Now here’s a conspiracy theory: Croatian FA president Vlatko Marković implied that Luka Modrić’s injury while playing for Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend was a pre-meditated attempt to derail the Croatian team ahead of their World Cup qualifier with England. “I’m close to thinking it was done to us deliberately before the England match,” Marković said. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what happened to Luka. He is irreplaceable.” Barmy.
- Louise Taylor has her weekly roundup of the Football League, commenting on the firing of Barnsley manager Simon Davey. How long ago their FA cup victories over Chelsea and Liverpool in 2007-8 seem now.
- Blogistuta looks at the resignation of Roma coach Luciano Spalleti, and the parlous state of the club.
- The seriousness of the future of international sport in the UAE will be trial-run at the Fifa Club World Cup this year, with Abu Dhabi hosting the event. Qatar is bidding for the 2022 World Cup finals, and Fifa’s Chuck Blazer said how it handles this event will be key to improving the region’s presumably low chances of winning the bid.
- Four Four Two looks at the terrible start for AC Milan after their 4-0 mauling by Internazionale, warning Milan fans to steel themselves for “comic humiliation” this season.
The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.