|Title||Teams might play competitive games against those close|
|Description||More interesting is the correlation of population and wealth with qualification. The 53 members of UEFA have a combined population of 851 million and a GDP of $20.3 trillion. Suppose that qualification were decided by population size, then instead of Croatia, Ireland and Denmark you would select Turkey, Romania and Kazakhstan. If qualification were based on incomes (GDP) then you eliminate the same teams plus Portugal to include Turkey, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland. All in all, not a big difference from the actual outcome. Another way to say this is that the value of the broadcast rights will be maximised if the qualifying teams come from the largest and wealthiest nations. In terms of population, the combined population of the qualifying nations is 604 million compared to 702 million for the 16 largest nations. The GDP of the qualifying nations is $15.7 trillion, compared to $17 trillion for the 16 largest nations. Euro 2012 is a marketer’s dream. This leads you to wonder what the point is of slogging through the qualifying rounds, in which big, wealthy nations generally overwhelm small and or poor nations. What is gained by, say, Spain playing Liechtenstein, Italy playing the Faroe Islands or Russia playing Andorra? I recently heard a senior football administrator suggest that the time taken by the qualifying rounds for the Euros and the World Cup might be better spent by organizing some kind of international ladder. Teams might play competitive games against those close to them on the ladder, moving up and down accordingly while qualification was reserved for the top teams. Smaller teams could still qualify, and indeed their chances might be no worse than now. But in the meantime fans would get to see a better standard of international football. I confess I’d not thought of this before, and I’m sure the clubs fut coins would hate to see their players involved in more competitive games leading to greater risk of injury. But it certainly ties in with my own view that people generally want to see the best play against the best.Russia And Qatar World Cup Bids Caught In FBI Dragnet. Just what Vladimir Putin feared. His 2018 World Cup is threatened by an FBI investigation into corruption at the world soccer organization FIFA. While it is unclear whether any of this means that a host city willlose rights to the games, it certainly hits the event with a black eye. Further out, Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid is also being investigated for possible fraud. The worst case scenario has Russia losing its host city status and a new bidding practice put in place, one without the alleged bribery scandals FIFA is now known for. In such a scenario, Russia would have to refile its desire to host the 2018 World Cup and hope they win.|
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