Asian football – the tomorrow people

WITH the forthcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League final between Jeonbok Hyundai Motors and Al-Ain on the horizon, football in the world’s most densely populated continent comes under the microscope. Since 2008, the global economy has been buoyed by the upward trajectory of Asia, with China and India both growing at a rapid rate. Recent concerns have focused on the sustainability of economies that … Continue reading Asian football – the tomorrow people

Eastern promise: Could China’s appetite include non-league?

A FEW years back, Stockport County received a delegation of Chinese businessmen interested in investing in English football.  This unlikely alliance resulted in a club in China being named after the “the hatters”, Stockport Tiger Star, based in Shanyang. It was a taste of things to come as China is now buying into English and European football in a big way. The recent transfer market … Continue reading Eastern promise: Could China’s appetite include non-league?

Here to stay – China’s interest in European football

EUROPEAN FOOTBALL markets can expect continued interest from cash-rich Chinese investors, according to a new report from KPMG’s Football Benchmark. Chinese clubs spent heavily in the last transfer window, raising eyebrows as they took some big name players back to the Chinese Super League. As KPMG points out, more than EUR 300m was spent on the likes of Ramires, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Jackson Martinez and Alex … Continue reading Here to stay – China’s interest in European football

Football and the China syndrome

CHINA has dominated the news since the turn of the year. The world’s latest superpower has been stuttering on the economic front, providing one of the catalysts for a possible global downturn. From a football perspective, the recent behaviour of China’s clubs has also attracted attention, and perhaps pointed the way forward to a new world order in the game. China is desperate to become … Continue reading Football and the China syndrome

India, China and the US – credible stats

NO MATTER how much activity seems to be coming out of emerging market football nations, not many people are prepared to consider that the United States, India and China will ever be serious football powers. You cannot deny, however, that interest in the game in these markets is booming, with India and China particularly growing at a rapid pace. Attendances at top level matches in … Continue reading India, China and the US – credible stats

Japan braces itself for Emperor’s Cup Final

NEW YEAR’S DAY will host Japan’s  Emperor’s Cup Final between Urawa Red Diamonds and Gamba Osaka. As the December 31 fireworks fade away from the Japanese capital, possibly the first cup final of 2016 takes place in Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium. Urawa will be hoping to pick-up their first Emperor’s Cup since 2006 against Gamba Osaka, the holders. Between the two clubs, they have won the … Continue reading Japan braces itself for Emperor’s Cup Final

Sanfrecce Hiroshima keep the host flame alive

QUIETLY, QUIETLY, the FIFA Club World Cup kicked-off in Yokohama’s impressive stadium (left) with Japanese champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima beating Auckland City in the play-off to see who went through to the last six. Only 19,000 people attended the game, which Sanfrecce won 2-0. Yusuke Minagawa and Tsukasa Shiotani scored the goals, one early on and the decisive second 20 minutes from time. People ask why … Continue reading Sanfrecce Hiroshima keep the host flame alive

Scolari’s Chinese medicine

IN 2014, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s reputation was, to some extent, in tatters. Brazil’s humiliation in its own backyard looked to have brought the curtain down on a distinguished career, at the same time signaling the decline of Brazil as the benchmark for international football. Scolari is about to appear on the world stage again, albeit in the bastard child of FIFA, the Club World Cup. … Continue reading Scolari’s Chinese medicine

Soccerex: India – tomorrow’s football giant?

India’s inaugural Super League season has been heralded a huge success – the average attendance of 26,505 was the fourth highest in world football in 2014. Little wonder that FIFA President Sepp Blatter has called India “a sleeping giant that needs to be woken up”. On the evidence of the efforts being made by Indian football, it might not be too long before the country starts to make … Continue reading Soccerex: India – tomorrow’s football giant?

Brand-building with Mr. Muto

The globalisation of football is a fact of life. We watch multi-national teams that somehow manage to sign who they want regardless of any labour laws. The UK’s major clubs have been spreading their wings for years, embarking on money-spinning tours that enable, for example, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, to build their “brand” in Asia Pacific. Yet there have been only 23 players from China, … Continue reading Brand-building with Mr. Muto

Indian football – it’s just not cricket

We don’t associate India with football. This is largely because the country is so obsessed with cricket and in the days when Britain marched across the world building up its imperialist portfolio you just couldn’t imagine the sons of empire kicking the ball around in the Bombay heat in their finest tweed. Given the ruling classes turned the World map pink, football – the pastime … Continue reading Indian football – it’s just not cricket

Calling in on….Urawa Red Diamonds – passion of a different kind

If there’s a Manchester United in Japan, it is probably Urawa Red Diamonds from Saitama, which is a city north of Tokyo but part of the Greater Tokyo area. It’s not just because they play in a United-style kit, but it helps. The club is the best supported in Japan, averaging some 37,000 per game in 2013, some 10,000 more than the next best, Yokohama … Continue reading Calling in on….Urawa Red Diamonds – passion of a different kind

Hello sailors – seeking out Yokohama F Marinos

Yokohama is a big port, renowned for its merchant as well as military activities. It’s also less than 20 minutes from Tokyo, so when its major football team, Yokohama F Marinos, play in the Japanese capital, it’s a local derby. Yokohama and Saitama are arguably better qualified football locations than Tokyo and that may have been why the World Cup Final of 2002 was played … Continue reading Hello sailors – seeking out Yokohama F Marinos