SOCCER WORLD CUP: Will England win the title and lose its Premiership?

The answers are ‘no’ and ‘quite possibly’.
But the two subjects are closely connected.

We’re almost into World Cup full-on telly mode now: two days to the kick-off, and even the Guardian is talking about it. Mind you, their advice is on how to survive the experience if you don’t like soccer.

Most anti-footies will survive the World Cup. But I’d be willing to bet that at least two Premiership clubs don’t survive the coming Crash II financial crisis.

We should all remember that UK clubs are run by maniacs and staffed by egomaniacs. The latter abound in other Europe countries, but the former don’t. FIFA is tightening up on the debt-to-income-salary-bill rules for entry into the Champions League and other money-spinning competitions. Apart from Arsenal, I can’t think of one UK club that has made any proper financial allowance for this. But the vicious circle of falling dominoes is a pretty obvious one:

No Euro-competition, lower receipts. Lower receipts, bigger debt. Bigger debt, fewer big players acquired. Fewer big players, lower receipts and poorer results. Poorer results, less sponsorship. Less sponsorship, bigger debt.

There is only one end to this process: financial ruin – and an England team dropping further down the world rankings – as home-grown talent is ignored in favour of big foreign stars.

Two things could very easily act as unwanted catalysts to accelerate Premiership collapse. First, hugely indebted (largely American) ownership. And second, the failure or success of Newscorp’s unique and widely derided approach to online news. Murdoch is the goose that laid this egg, whether one thinks it golden or not. If he drops out, that’s it.

By all means enjoy the World Cup. It might turn out to be the last bit of joy in the Beautiful Game for some time to come.