Posted: 12/18/2017


             First of all, lets talk about QATAR, that soccer power in the desert that was 'AWARDED' the 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP. Talk about being powerful !! Last Thursday at home in the Hamid bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha they lost 2-1 to the MIGHTY Liechtenstein, that feared European powerhouse, even though the visitors finished up with 10 men after a red card. Liechtenstein are 190th in the FIFA rankings so this was a big result for the Men from Vaduz.

             Even more embarassing was the loss of the Gulf Cup of Nations, which has been moved to Kuwait after Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain objected to the original host.

            A camel ride away in Abu Dahbi in the UAE. United Arab Emirates, another hot, if not hot spot, of the The Beautiful Game we had Real Madrid beating Gremio of Porto Alegre, Brazil for their third World Club Championship..equalling that of fierce rivals FC Barcelona. 42,000 in attendance for this biggie. Cristiano Ronaldo had scored the only goal after 53 minutes. Earlier, at the same Zayed Sport City Stadium on December 16th,  local club  Al Jazira had lost 4-1 to Pachuca of Mexico in the 3rd place match in front of 11,000 fans.

            Al Jazira had started off in the tournament by beating Auckland City 1-0 with a goal from Romarinho..who doesnt seem to be a local youth product? Their Dutch coach is Henk ten Cate.  Romarinho had won the 2012 tournament with Corinthians of Sao Paulo.  They saw off Urawa Red Diamonds, the Asian champions,  in the quarter final and lost to a Gareth Bale late strike for Los Blancos in the semis. The controversial VAR system was used during the tournament.

              Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyn is a very busy Arabian and VERY, VERY RICH.  He is the deputy Prime Minister of UAE and half brother of the President. (Not sure if they actually bother with elections over there?). He has two wives and six children, owns a bunch of football clubs and a MASSIVE yacht. Its called TOPAZ.cost £450 million, has eight decks, 4 swimming pools, two helicopter pads and costs £380,000 to fill up with fuel, which takes five hours.

            Through his (ADUG) Abu Dhabi United Group,  he bought Manchester City in 2008 and made them into a massive club. After 30 years of hurt they won the FA Cup, qualified for The Champions League and won the EPL. £100 million was spent on the Etihad Campus, linked by a walkway over a very busy intersection. About 16 pitches, medical and training facilities and the 8,000 capacity Academy mini stadium, home to the Manchester City Womens team and the older youth teams. He later bought NYCSC in MLS and Melbourne Hearts(name now changed to Melbourne City) in Victoria, Australia, a small club in Montevideo, Uruguay called CA Torque, Girona of Catalonia, owned by Pepe Guardiola's brother, and now in La Liga.  Yokahama F Marinos of Japan. WHO WILL BE NEXT.?

              May I recommend to you a recently published book: THE BILLIONAIRES CLUB, The unstoppable rise of football's super-rich owners. by James Montague. I just read the chapter about Enos Stanley Kroenke (named after two baseball legends). However he is into NFL football LA Rams(moved from St. Louis), Denver Nuggets NBA, Colorado Avalanche NHL Colorado Rapids MLS, Colorado Mammoth NLL(Lacrosse) and major shareholder of Arsenal of London. It helped that he married Ann Walton, daughter of Walmart co-founder James Walton. Kroenke's net worth is about US $8 billion.

               Never heard of Torque?  Me neither, and I thought that I knew more than most people after three visits. Small 2nd Division club in The Oriental Republic of Uruguay, bought to make it easier to sign South American players. The purchase was completed in April 2017 and a new city centre small stadium and sports replace their tiny 1,000 capacity  Complejo Daniel Marsicano is planned.  They are only 10 years old and were founded by Cancun based Uruguayan businessman Raul Aquino Reynoso. 

                 Uruguay won the Olympic football tournament in both 1924 in Paris and 1928 in Amsterdam before winning the inaugural 13 team World Cup at home, which they repeated in Rio de Janeiro in 1950. My first visit was for the 6 nation MUNDIALITO in 1980 to celebrate 50 years since the 1930 victory, All matches in Estadio Centenario. All six world cup winners were invited, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, West Germany and England. The Three Lions declined and were replaced by Holland. Uruguay beat Brazil in the final.