The Lead

It seems to happen after every major tournament or Olympic games.

Some sort of extravagant facility is built at taxpayer expense for a month-long or three-week event. This is followed by enormous political fallout and scandal as organizers scramble to ensure it remains in regular use.

Sometimes these venues become integral to the national sporting scene, as with the Stade de France and the Stadium Australia. Often they become white elephants, as in Beijing’s Bird Nest and Montreal’s “Big Owe.”

The problem is there is no clear road map however to relevancy for enormous sporting facilities. In some cases these stadia fill an already-existing national sporting void. In London’s athletics-focused Olympic stadium however, it’s hard to see a venue the country was in desperate need of with the new Wembley and the Oval covering two of the UK’s most popular national field sports. Athletics cannot compete with these, but there is a surfeit of football clubs in need of space in London.

Which is why former sports minister Richard Caborn may not be overreaching when he suggests that West Ham’s super mega cheap deal to take over the stadium on a 99-year lease was “the biggest mistake of the London Olympics.” He originally worked to see the stadium originally outfitted with an eye to its use as a regular football stadium instead of an athletics facility, a decision that will leave UK taxpayers with the tab as West Ham United prepare to blow bubbles all over it.

Sometimes hindsight is 20/20, but this one appears to have been a little more obvious…


2015 FIFA Women’s WC final to be held in Vancouver.


West Ham secure deal, will play in Olympic stadium starting in 2016/2017.

Roy Hodgson has no regrets over Ferdinand.


“Let’s hope that soon there’s going to be a black (Jose) Mourinho and Pakistani (Pep) Guardiola.” Kevin-Prince Boateng on racism in football.

Is there such a thing as the Balotelli effect?

La Liga

Miranda resumes training at Atletico.


Hoffenheim sponsors withdraw deal.

Player to watch for next season: Hakan Çalhanoğlu.

Bit and Bobs

Barcelona’s women master tiki-taka.

Here’s more about San Marino, the worst national team in the world.

Northern Ireland vs Russia WC qualifier may face delay due to snow.

Yugoslavia’s civil war helped fuel Serbia vs Croatia football rivalry.

Thanks to Alima Hotakie for compiling today’s links.