When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Society

European Soccer: Winning With Money You Don’t Have

European Soccer: Winning With Money You Don’t Have

The risks of the "financial doping" of Europe's top football leagues.

(Nigel Wilson)

Favilla

The ever-wise Frederic Thiriez, President of France's professional soccer leagues, recently offered a biting observation that deserves attention. Legendary player Michel Platini, who today heads European soccer's governing body UEFA, was presenting a prize to Raymond Kopa, the star French striker of Stade de Reims and Real Madrid in the 1950s and 1960s. It was the perfect occasion to compare the financial scope of big clubs then and now.

It should be noted that this moving ceremony took place just days after English clubs faced off in a fierce competition to acquire some of the world's most renowned players. Chelsea ended up buying Spanish world champion Fernando Torres for 60 million euros from Liverpool, just as Chelsea was announcing an 82 million euro deficit.

Arsene Wenger, the French coach of Arsenal, one of the other top London clubs, immediately denounced the "financial doping" afflicting the sport. But Thiriez went even further. He said that professional soccer was "heading toward a brick wall if it continued trying to win trophies with money it didn't have."

English soccer has wracked up a huge 4 billion euro debt; in France the sport faces a 150 million euro shortfall; and even German soccer, long thought to be more rigorous about its finances, has accumulated a 100 million euro deficit.

"Winning with money we don't have." Does it remind you of something? Isn't it similar to the futures bets played on financial markets, in which investors hope to make a profit on the forward sale of a product that has not yet been purchased? Thiriez deeply regrets that professional soccer is using the financial markets' most objectionable speculative practices. Platini shares his feeling. We wish them luck in their showdown against the empty billions of European soccer.

Read the original article in French

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest