Melting pot

MOTD at 50: ‘Interesting, very interesting … Oh look at his face, just look at his face’

* By Nick Harris 22 August 2014 When the first episode of Match of the Day was screened 50 years ago today, there were more than twice as many people inside Anfield watching Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-2 than there were watching on TV later. MoTD was a one-game show then, screening whatever was deemed to be the match of the day. Just 20,000 souls tuned into the first broadcast to see extended highlights of a win for Bill Shankly’s men, played in front of a crowd of 47,620. Nobody in Liverpool saw the programme. For most of its inaugural season, the show was only screened...


‘Sport does not exist in a vacuum. Fifa has a responsibility to act on Russia’

* By Roger Pielke Jr 29 July 2014 Over the weekend, British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg told the Sunday Times that Russia should be stripped of the 2018 World Cup. Clegg joins several senior German politicians in calling for the next World Cup to be moved as a sanction against Russia for its role in the continuing conflict in the Ukraine. The renewed calls for sanctions have been prompted by the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines 17 over eastern Ukraine, allegedly by Russian-supported Ukrainian separatists. Does FIFA have a responsibility to engage in global geopolitics? Its history and actions say yes. Yet FIFA's first...


‘Could England play “the German way”? Of course not … It is never going to be’

* By Tim Rich 21 July 2014 Before I was married, I used to go to weddings and sit at the back as the bride and groom danced to the first song – usually something utterly inappropriate like Careless Whisper or the Police’s creepy Every Breath you Take. I would wonder why it wasn’t me up there in the middle of all the flashbulbs, grinning like the star of a commercial for Colgate. Why not me? A lot of English footballers, particularly those who returned from the World Cup to be greeted by crowds of zero, would have similar feelings watching the Germans parade...