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The Club World Cup reaches its climax and will have a fresh feel to it. The image of Barcelona is changed and Sepp Blatter makes the headlines for the wrong reason. You can listen to these and other stories on our weekly podcast. Explanations of key vocabulary (in bold) can be found at the foot of the post.
A few weeks ago we spotlighted the Club World Cup taking place in Abu Dhabi and confidently predicted a South American v European match up in the finals. Wrong! It turned out to be great news for TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and African football. The African champions beat Internacional of Brazil 2-0 in the semi-finals to become the first non-European or South American team to make it to the Club World Cup finals! Striker, Kabangu scored the opening goal for the African side in front of 22,000 fans and the shock result was sealed in the 85th minute by Kaluyituka. Pele predicted that an African team would be World Champions in 2010 – he meant a national side, but it is now at least possible that an African club side could be World champions.
We could feature Joey Barton again in the bad section for his onfield abuse of Fernando Torres, or Chelsea letting victory slip through their grasp with a Drogba penalty miss. But this week in the bad section I’m going to feature Barcelona, who many pundits believe is one of the best teams ever. The Catalonian side famously do not have sponsorship on their shirt. In fact, they donate money to the charity UNICEF instead. This has added to the image of Barcelona as a team that is purely about football, different from others. Now, that will all change, as Barca have decided to accept a £125 million sponsorship deal from the Qatar Foundation (an NPO connected with many projects in the Middle East). In July this year, they took out a £125 million loan to help with their £370 million debt, and it looks like as they try to balance the books the whiter than white Barcelona will be brought back down to Earth amongst the other mortals.
Sepp Blatter has put his foot in it again. After the controversy of the World Cup hosting decision that we mentioned last week, the FIFA President, well known for his gaffs angered many people, and especially gay groups with his comments about the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar. Many people critical of the decision have mentioned the fact that the laws in Qatar are very conservative, highlighting the fact that homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf State. Blatter’s answer to these concerns was to say that gay people travelling to the World Cup finals should ‘refrain from sex‘ while in the country. Nice one Sepp!
(a) match up: a pairing, a combining (in this contect) when two teams face each other
(to) seal: to secure, to make safe
(something) slip through (your) grasp: to lose an opportunity, to miss a chance, to not seal
pundit: expert, commentator, journalist
(to) balance the books: the make finances safe, to improve the economic position (of a club)
whiter than white: 100% pure or perfect, completely good
(to) bring down to Earth: to make aware of the real world, of reality
(to) put your foot in it: make a faux pas, say something embarrassing
gaff: verbal mistake, nonesense, spoken error