Are Top Football Clubs Biting the Hand That Feeds Them?

Imagine with me, if you will, the image of football’s future at a restaurant. Worry not, we are not looking at a fast food joint during a major tournament, the gaudy images of Disney characters doing scissor kicks is not welcome here. I am, of course, speaking metaphorically. Within our scene we see a top table, reserved for the best, the more sizeable contingent. Here we see our Real Madrid’s and Barcelona’s, our Manchester United’s and Chelsea’s, our Milanese giants. We look on as they stuff more into there already full mouths, chairs buckling beneath weighty posteriors, crumbs and excess falling to the ground around their feet. As we look down we see a sight that is unpleasant for anyone to view. The once great powers of Paris St Germain, Ajax and Celtic are scrambling to claim what they can from the slurry, enough maybe to see out starvation for just one more season. Is this the way our game is headed?

There is a gulf beginning to open; an expanse which will seemingly become harder and harder to bridge. The divide of which I speak is that between the various leagues under the weighty jurisdiction of the UEFA. As the big guns get fatter, those of lower stature become increasingly separated. The football associations of leagues such as Scotland, Belgium and Holland can only look on in awe as their bulkier neighbours enjoy increased sponsorship revenue, an influx of the cream of players from around the globe and as a result, greater worldwide coverage.

When the news of the English Premiership last week agreeing a television rights deal that will result in even the side finishing last at the end of the season pocketing £30 million, an equal sum to that which Chelsea received for their Championship winning term last year, the emphasis on the increasing gulf became all the more clear. So what does the future hold for side’s in leagues aside from the ‘Big 3’ of England, Italy and Spain?

Scottish football has now reached a juncture at which the league championship has become increasingly insignificant. Without doubt there will be fireworks, champagne and Tenants Super a-plenty at Parkhead when the inevitable occurs, but by many Bhoys supporters will concede that the ease at which their side continually win the championship does diminish the achievement to an extent. It now seems that Celtic and Rangers now focus their attentions more upon European competition than domestic.

This in itself creates a vicious circle. A cyclone that reduces the worthiness a various country’s domestic programmes, the upshot of this will ultimately render the teams effected occupying the unenviable position of having their finances, potential purchases and competitiveness marginalised. The effects of this, which many may argue we are already experiencing, could be catastrophic.

The richer the ‘big three’ leagues of England, Spain and Italy become, the harder it will become for those following to keep pace. Over the past decade this effect has become prevalent. Using the Champions League as an example, only twice in the past ten years have sides away from the ‘elite’ brought home the famous trophy. Taking this into consideration looking forwards, surely the chasm that divides will only widen, possibly to the extent to which long established leagues from countries like the Netherlands, Scandinavia and possibly even France become little more than feeder leagues to those who have established financial superiority.

The question that must be addressed is what can be done about this issue? Having recently succeeded UEFA stalwart Lennart Johansson, former France captain Michel Platini has many difficult tasks in his new role as president of the organisation, but I foresee this issue to be of huge importance in keeping the sport in the possession of the people.

The issue has been previously debated heavily in the Netherlands. At some point over the past ten years, all of the nations three most successful clubs (Ajax Amsterdam, Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven have voiced their desire to potentially leave the Dutch Championship as, similarly to in with the Old Firm sides of Scotland, they feel that they can gain nothing more from this competition.

Although this has not yet materialised, talk has been apparent of a merger between such leagues. Using the working title of a ‘Northern European Superleague’ it was voiced that an alliance as the title confers could give teams in this predicament a new lease of life. The new league could theoretically be as strong as any other whilst simultaneously enabling the clubs involved to fulfil the potential they posses, a potential really only denied previously due to a geographical misfortune.

The Ajax’s, Celtic’s and Anderlecht’s from across the continent would welcome this with open arms. It would instantly grant the prospective clubs money making opportunities that they had never experienced before. It has long been the argument of many Old Firm supporters that their beloved clubs would be as big as any south of the border if the competition so allowed, this could be the chance to prove this bold claim to be true.

Overall, bigger games week-in-week-out would produce more media interest, in turn gate receipts could improve, sponsorship deals fatten, and those who are now forced to sell to survive could begin to buy into a galactico class of player. Basically, everybody’s happy.

Or so you would think.

On the other side of the fence, the side where the grass is lush and the lawnmower is shiny. The side of the fence onto which the ball has been kicked, on this side we will find that the current occupants would rather the status quo remains.

For starters, we must appreciate that the power in football is held by the mighty. UEFA remain the organising and decision making entity, but the English FA, the Spanish LFP and Italian FIGC and the recently formed G14 conglomerate of clubs hold many of the Aces.

If we look at the situation from this perspective, we can easily see why the fattest diners at the table would not wish for someone to cut in on the cake. A rival league such as the one mooted could claim a portion of what is essentially a market share that is currently held by the biggest leagues. With football clubs run today more with financial gain in mind than ever before, the big hitters will doubtlessly not wish to see what they perceive as being their money (money that is often already accounted for in these days of projective finances), as such it is unlikely that any such league will be formed without much protestation.

Also, and the key deciding factor from the perspective of the governing body, is the impact that a pan-European league could have upon the Champions League. The jewel in UEFA’s crown can justly proclaim itself as being (aside from the World Cup) amongst the finest competitions in football today. A league combining different nations could potentially throw the famous tournament into disarray, with qualification processes requiring instant and dramatic overhaul.

As highly unlikely as the idea is to get off the ground is, the thinking behind the theory is the key factor that we must acknowledge. Quite simply, the divide between rich and poor in football today is widening to an extent to which I fear that domestic leagues outside of our decided elite will serve as little more than to develop and groom players for their ‘superiors’.

Once proud leagues like Le Championat in France, the Scottish Premier Division, possibly even the German Bundesliga find themselves further and further behind and the struggle to keep up is not getting any easier. Surely the greed of the biggest will not destroy that which grants the stature initially? Without healthy competition at all levels, football will be an elitist pastime, further separating itself from the people. The fans who supply the fuel that powers our beautiful game could become yet further separated.

A pan-European league may not be the answer, but surely something should be done to prevent the bloated sides at the top table ultimately crushing the hand that feeds them.

Source by David Hardy

🇫🇷🆚🇧🇪 Allez les Bleus 🇫🇷 Come on Belgium 🇧🇪 Which country are you supporting i…


Allez les Bleus 🇫🇷
Come on Belgium 🇧🇪

Which country are you supporting in this semi-final?
Quel pays vas-tu supporter lors de cette demi-finale ?


The ‘Other’ Museums of Paris

These are perhaps the best known and most widely visited of the Paris museums.

But Paris is also the home of many other fine museums that often get overlooked by the casual visitor — museums well worth seeing and well worth adding to any visitor’s itinerary Among those that should not be missed are the following:

Musee Picasso. (Metro: St. Paul) A chronological collection of more than 3000 works of Pablo Picasso together with the artist’s own collection of Cezanne, Degas, Rousseau, Seurat, Mattisse, and various personal archives.

Musee Marmottan-Monet. (Metro: La Muette) While a lesser known and more recent museum, it has one of the world’s largest collection of Monet’s. The works were provided by the physician (Georges de Bellio) of Manet, Monet, Pissarro, and Renoir, in 1957 and by the Monet’s second son, Michel, in 1966.

Musee Rodin. (Metro: Varenne) Seven acres in the building, courts, and spectacular gardens of the Hotel Biron contains both bronze and plaster sculptures (e.g. The ‘Thinker’, and ‘Gates of Hell), sketches, paintings and archives of Auguste Rodin. An excellent venue.

Musee Delacroix. (Metro: St. Germain des Fres) The works of Eugene Delacroix presented in the artist’s apartment and studio. Exhibits rotate between his drawings, pastels and watercolours.

Musee Malliol. (Metro: Rue du Bac) A museum of 20th Century art collected by Dina Viernyincluding works of Gauguin, Bonnard, Redon, Kandinsky, and others. There are permanent exhibits dedicated to Jacques Villon, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, and Marcel Duchamp, and to the French Primitivists.

Musee Guimet. (Metro: Lena) The museum is the French National Museum of Asian Art. It includes precious art and artefacts from South Asia, Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Indonesia. It also offers the Galleries of the Buddhist Pantheon together with a Japanese Garden and Tea Pavillion of exquisite quality.

One of the last of the smaller Paris Museums, but one that should be first for the visitor new to Paris, is the Musee Carnavalet (Metro: St. Paul). This museum, housed in the Hotel Carnavalet and an adjoining mansion, is dedicated to the history of Paris itself. In it are both permanent and temporary exhibits highlighting the long history of Paris and its culture.

None of the museums mentioned here would be called large museums and certainly none of these are as well-known as the Louve or the Musee dOrsay. But each of these museums does provide a special and focused perspective of the real Paris and her many fine artists. Certainly, none of these museums deserve to be missed by anyone visiting Paris.

Source by Gaizka Pujana

🤴 One of Us

Benvenuto Gigi 🔥🇮🇹

🤴 #OneOfUs


Luxury Apartments in Paris

Paris “The City of Lights” is synonymous with romance, enchanting and beautiful landscape and popular tourist destinations like The Eiffel Tower, L’ Arc de Triomphe, Invalides Palace, Bridge Alexander the 3rd, Montaigne Avenue, St Germain des Pres and Cultural landmarks such as Musee d’Orsay, The Louvre, Musee de Rodin and Musee de Maillol. The word Paris can bring a smile and excitement to the face of any holiday maker.

Every year 45 million tourists come to Paris to see its beauty and culture. Paris always welcomes its Guests by providing them the perfect venue for their needs with its diverse Luxury accommodations like Luxury hotels and Luxury rental Apartments along with best services and cuisine. While hotels are not best suited for everyone for their high prices, the apartments (adapted for every budget ranging from economical studios to luxury apartment) are the best alternatives.

If you are on your business trip or on your family vacation these furnished luxury rental apartments give you all the luxury of a hotel added with wider space and all modern facilities including Internet access, direct dial telephone, tea /coffee making facilities, air-conditioner, satellite television, and others. The cozy feel of these Luxury Paris Apartments will not let you feel away from home as these provide you the privacy and comfort of a home which adds to your vacation.

In the comforts of a furnished apartment in Paris you can really enjoy the Parisian “vie en rose”, the character of your neighborhood, the museums and cafes. These apartments generally located near most popular tourist destinations that you can get to the downtown or anywhere you may want to go within minutes. You can save much of your money by best deals on serviced apartments offered by multiple accommodation providers.

If you are traveling on tight budget or with family or groups, these apartments can provide you best deals in cheaper price. Unlike luxury hotels, these Luxury Apartments in Paris provide you spacious accommodation at an affordable rate meeting all your requirements. You can do and manage things on your own in these apartments and save money. These apartments are suitable for both short and long or extended stays. If you are tired of staying in hotels and want to save money so that you may spend more on your visiting and shopping, these Rental Luxury Apartments in Paris are really more practical alternative for an affordable accommodation.

Rent easily in Paris at moderate prices is possible through these apartments which allow you to enjoy Paris at ease. The luxury Apartments in Paris are dynamic, exciting and relaxing which would make you proud of being the part of one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world.

Source by Chandan Sri

A legend in Paris. Gianluigi Buffon 🇮🇹 Une légende à Paris, le grand Gianluigi B…

A legend in Paris. Gianluigi Buffon 🇮🇹
Une légende à Paris, le grand Gianluigi Buffon 🇮🇹

🤴 #OneOfUs


Selecting Schools in Paris France

One of the hardest parts of our move was finding schools in Paris.

We moved to Paris France in August 2008 when our children were ages ten and twelve and neither of them spoke any French. Now that we've lived in Paris for a year I realize that finding schools is one of the biggest challenges faced by all families relocating to Paris, including French families moving home after living overseas.

My strongest advice with regards to schools is to investigate the different options early, apply to a few schools and do not assume you have a place until after you receive your acceptance letter.

Things to consider when choosing a school include; whether or not your children speak French, their general scholastic aptitude, their personality, the length of your stay in France, where you will be livings and your budget.

French Public Schools

Public schools in France are free and offer a generally high level of French education. Many children integrate perfectly well into the French-only classroom. The younger your children are the easier this is going to be. In France you can send children to school starting at age 3 "Maternelle". The elementary school is called "ecole elementaire", middle school is the "college" and high school is "lycee".

The French education system is successful but old fashioned. Children still learn to write with an ink pen and daily dictations are normal. Some public schools will accept children who do not speak any French but not all of them have programs to help the students.

You can register for the French public school in your neighborhood by going to your local "Marie". Make sure you ask what the school will do to help your child transition. Check to see if the school has a program for non-French speaking children. These program places all non-French speaking children in a separate classroom where they work with a teacher specialized in transitioning children into the French system. Depending on the grade level the goal is to move the children into their regular French bedroom by Easter of their first year.

I would definitely check out this option as I have recently met two American families who moved to Paris with children from kindergarten to high school and who have had very good experiences with their local schools.

French Public Schools with Tuition Based Immersion Programs

Fees for these schools range from 3000 to 6000 euro a year with the exception of the Lycee Honore de Balzac which is the only French public school I'm aware of that offers a "free" international program.

The principle of these schools is that students who speak French must be multilingual when they enter whereas international students who speak a foreign tongue will grow, either to become bilingual or multilingual with the teaching of the French language.

Unlike regular French Public Schools these schools also offer lessons in literature, geography and history (from 6 to 8 hours a week according to the grade) in the students mother tongue.

EaB Park Monceau (private school subsidized by the French government) and International Sections of Sevres offer immersion programs that are very successful but not as stringent in their academic demands as St. Louis. Germain En Laye or Jeannine Manuel. Severs also offers a very strong French / German program for German speakers moving to Paris.

Two of the top rated public schools in Paris offering immersion programs are Jeannine Manuel in the 15th arrondissement and the Lycee International in St. Louis. Germain En Laye (a suburb 20 km west of Paris). Although applications typically exceed available spaces by a wide margin, both schools reserve space for international applicants, including children of families who expect to remain in France for a limited period of time.

WARNING! Getting into the top public schools is like getting into college! The application forms are lengthy, you need report cards, references from teachers and principles, samples of the children's work and test results. If everything looks good on paper you might have to fly to France so the children can be tested and the families interviewed. Jeannine Manuel often requires a special IQ test if they do not recognize the educational system of your home country or previous posting.

The schools are very clear about the level of commitment required and explain that there is a lot of pressure on the children and that if they do not meet the required level they will be asked to leave at the end of the year. These schools maintain their top academic ranking by shedding their fellow students every year and continuing to teach to the top of class.

We know students who have had wonderful experiences at these schools and some who have melted under the pressure. Whether or not this is a good option for your family really depends on your children's personalities and on how much time you can commit to helping them with the transition.

Both of our children were accepted on paper at St. Louis. Germain En Laye and we had to fly to France just for them to take the entrance tests. We were told that the tests were just a formal but but neither of them passed this left us scrambling to find other schools.

I have met a number of other families since moving here who had similar experiences and this is why it's important to check out more than one school. I would not recommend trying out for both Jeannine Manuel and St. Louis. Germain En Laye in the same year as their entrance criteria is very similar and if you do not make it into one it is very illegally you will make the other.

Private International Schools

Most subjects are taught in English and the curriculum is either American, British or an international standard designed to help the children transition easily when they return back to their countries of origin or move on to their parents next posting. These schools tend to be very expensive but do provide the easiest transition for non-french speaking children.

The downside to choosing an international option is obviously that the children do not learn to speak fluent french. The academic standard is hard to track as most children only spend one or two years at these schools before moving on.

Both of our children currently attend EaB Victor Hugo which is by far the most affordable of all the international schools. At EaB the school is small with only one class for each grade level. The school is well run, there is a very friendly parent teacher association but the academic standard is harder to judge especially when it comes to middle school and high school where teaching standards very from class to class. On the whole I would have to say I'm happy with the school but if we were planning to stay in Paris for longer than two years we would have gone with an immersion program in one of the French public schools.

Other Things to Consider When Selecting Schools in Paris

If possible find an apartment or house close to the school with good metro, bus or tram options. The school day is long in France and there are no school buses unless you are at private school and even then you can expect to pay around 3000 euro a year for the school bus.

Source by Emma Schnyder

Happy birthday Ludovic Giuly! 🇫🇷 En ce jour spécial, joyeux anniversaire à Lud…


Happy birthday Ludovic Giuly! 🇫🇷
En ce jour spécial, joyeux anniversaire à Ludovic Giuly 🇫🇷 qui fête ses 4️⃣2️⃣ ans ! 🎉


Liverpool Pays The Price For Brendan’s Bad Buys

Last season was undoubtedly a triumph for Liverpool Football Club under Brendan Rodgers in his first full season in charge which saw the Reds miss out on the title by the slip of a Steven Gerrard boot.

However, the 2014 / 2015 season has seen the wheels fall off with his team currently lying in eight position in the Barclays Premier League and struggling for form. Replacing Louis Suarez was always going to be mission impossible for Rodgers unless Lionel Messi or Christiano Ronaldo suddenly became realistic transfer targets. Even though Suarez almost single-handedly took Liverpool to their first ever Premier League title there may be a more concerning explanation for this seasons demise

Since taking over on 1 July 2012, Rodgers has signed a total of 25 players at a staggering cost of £215.2m. More worrying, is the fact that, aside from Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho, the remaining 23 players have failed to make the impact that Rodgers or the Liverpool faithful would have hoped, suggesting an over-emphasis on the quantity of new signings rather than their quality. This table lists Liverpool’s transfer signings under Brendan Rodgers in chronological order:

Player – Fee – Selling club

Fabio Borini – £10.4m – Roma

Joe Allen – £15m – Swansea City

Oussama Assaidi – £3m – Heerenveen

Nuri Sahin – Loan – Real Madrid

Samed Yesil – £1m – Bayer Leverkusen

Daniel Sturridge – £12m – Chelsea

Joao Tiexeira – £0.83m – Sporting Lisbon

Luis Alberto – £6.8m – Sevilla

Iago Aspas – £7m – Celta Vigo

Simon Mignolet – £9m – Sunderland

Kolo Toure – Free

Aly Cissokho – Loan – Valencia

Mamadou Sakho – £15m – Paris St Germain

Tiago Ilori – £7m – Sporting Lisbon

Victor Moses – Loan – Chelsea

Emre Can – £9.75m – Bayer Lerkusen

Lazar Markovic – £19.8m – Benfica

Dejan Lovren – £20m – Southampton

Divick Origi – £9.8m – Lille

Javier Manquillo – Loan – Atletico Madrid

Alberto Moreno – £12m – Sevilla

Mario Balotelli – £16m – AC Milan

Mario Balotelli is the obvious fall guy and was always going to be a risky buy considering his track record but the buck doesn’t just stop with the out of form Italian. The problem goes beyond Balotelli. Over the Summer Rodgers brought in Dejan Lovren to strengthen the defence, yet after a series of glaring errors he finds himself out of favour. Another one of Roger’s big money buys Lazar Markovic at £19.8m has also flattered to deceive and doesn’t look anything like a player who would command that sort of price tag. Adam Lallana is in and out of the team every week and his ex-Southampton team mate Ricky Lambert has had even less chance to prove himself at the club he grew up supporting as Rodgers doesn’t appear to have any faith in him as a striker. This lack of faith in his own signings was no more apparent than in the Carling Cup tie against Chelsea when he left both of his new strikers, Balotelli and Lambert, on the bench, instead preferring to go with midfielder Raheem Sterling as his lone front man.

Rodgers has undoubtedly done a good job on the training ground working with the players he inherited but it was Kenny Dalglish who signed Suraez and Sterling was already breaking into the squad from the youth team before he arrived. Since Rodgers has had money to spend on his own team it appears that he’s only managed to invest in ineffective players who have failed to make an impact, so much so that he’s reverted back to the likes of Henderson and Skirtel, both players who must have feared their time at Anfield was up when the new coach was bringing in the likes of Lovren, Allen and Sakho. These three players alone cost £50 million and are no longer preferred in his best eleven so when you consider that Mourinho has brought in two world-class players in Costa and Fabregas at a combined cost of only £59m it’s easy to see why Liverpool are currently sitting seven places below league leaders Chelsea. Another blow for the Liverpool boss was his failure to secure a deal for Alexis Sanchez who opted to join rivals Arsenal, much to the delight of the Gunners. Sanchez has debatably been the outstanding player so far this season, contributing a hat full of goals and assists along with a fantastic work rate, not dissimilar to Suarez last season. The signing of a top drawer player like Sanchez would have gone a long way to filling the void left by Suarez and would have signaled Liverpool’s intentions to challenge again for the title. Instead, the influx of mistake prone defenders, mediocre midfielders and misfiring strikers has meant Liverpool have slumped closer to mid-table mediocrity rather than posing a threat to the top four. Rodgers has always talked of bringing in a new philosophy and he will be given time, especially given last seasons escapades. However, the pressure is now on and will soon mount from both the board and fans alike if he continues to buy overpriced and unproven players that aren’t taking the team in the right direction.

Source by Martin Richard Sleigh

QUELLE JOIE !!! C’EST LA FINALE POUR NOTRE Équipe de France de Football ! WHAT A…

QUELLE JOIE !!! C’EST LA FINALE POUR NOTRE Équipe de France de Football !