sport

The Club: How the Premier League Became the Richest, Most Disruptive Business in Sport|
Joshua Robinson & Jonathan Clegg
John Murray Publishing, 2019
338 pages

If football is a simple game (get the ball, pass the ball), then the football business is even simpler (buy the best players, bank the profits).

United States football (soccer) players filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit on International Women’s Day on March 8 seeking pay equal to that of their male counterparts.

The action comes just three months before the women’s national team will defend its title at the Women’s World Cup.

The class-action lawsuit was filed today in a Los Angeles federal court under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It alleges gender-based discrimination by the US Football Federation.

When world football executives receive FIFA’s annual report this year, they will see that US$753,000 is funding a women’s league in Colombia, $588,197 is helping female players in New Zealand and girls in Botswana are benefiting from $341,600.

That’s merely a snapshot of the $270.3 million that football’s world governing body has invested in projects between 2016 and 2018.

Four years since police raided the hotel and offices of football officials and FIFA’s Zurich headquarters in 2015 in a scandal that threatened the organisation’s existence, FIFA is awash with cash.

The Peter Norman Story
Written by Andrew Webster & Matt Norman
Macmillan, 2018
$34.99

When Footballers Were Skint: A Journey in Search of the Soul of Football
Jon Henderson
Biteback Publishing, 2018
308 pages

Bill Leivers, who played for Manchester City from 1953-1964, wryly recalls to the British journalist Jon Henderson in When Footballers Were Skint about how the football club owner once rewarded the players on the train home from a successful away game, not with a fistful of sterling for a few drinks all round, but with a packet of Polo Mints.

Noor Daoud was the only woman to take to the track in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where the Palestinian car racer impressed the crowds with her “drift” driving skills.

The Invictus Games, taking place in Sydney over October 20-27, features athletes who were injured serving in the armed forces of 18 countries. The games celebrate the undefeated human spirit, but come with deep irony, being sponsored by the very same arms companies that profit from causing the injuries in the first place.

At the first preseason NFL games on August 9, players continued to protest racial inequity and police violence by kneeling or raising a fist during the US national anthem, writes Dave Zirin.

Triumph: Jesse Owens & Hitler’s Olympics

Jeremy Schaap

Head of Zeus, 2014

272 pages

He may have been the world’s greatest athlete at the time, writes Jeremy Schaap in Triumph, but Jesse Owens was also a Black American. Therefore Owens, the winner of four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, was refused a room at hotel after hotel on his arrival back in New York, until a agreed on condition that he use the service entrance.

World Cup organisers FIFA and its corporate sponsors market their products to the members of the LGBTI community by presenting themselves as allies and advocates for their struggles. But this is questioned by its holding of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and giving the rights to the 2022 event to Qatar.

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