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Blog - Marcotti's Musings

Questioning FIFA's TV rights decision

World Cup
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Zouma impresses for Chelsea, Real Madrid slip, Man City's season fades

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner and Mark Donaldson preview West Ham's midweek fixture against Chelsea at Upton Park.
The ESPN FC panel highlight Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho's defensive tactics as being the key elements to his side's victory over Tottenham in the Capital One Cup final.
Congratulations to Chelsea, the first team to win the League Cup and the Premier League on the same day!

Chelsea have lost three games all season, and it's not a coincidence that Nemanja Matic was absent for two of them. Thus, it must have been with some trepidation that manager Jose Mourinho approached the Capital One Cup final against Tottenham, not least because, in addition to the midfielder's suspension, John Obi Mikel, his other defensive stopper, was sidelined.

Matic is arguably Chelsea's most important player in terms of what is lost when he's not around. Thibaut Courtois has Petr Cech (and...

FIFA's winter World Cup should not be played in November-December

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti answers what would happen if clubs fight FIFA and refuse to release their players for a winter World Cup.

It's like one of those slow-motion car crash sequences in a 1970s movie. You see the tractor-trailer spinning out of control, and you know what's going to happen next.

Qatar's decision to bid for the 2022 World Cup has led -- indirectly in some cases -- to an absurd sequence of events, each precipitated by the one before, each to some degree both predictable and unavoidable.

A Qatari bid, with all that it implied, magnified a process that was already murky and dubious -- bidding to host a World...

Barca no longer control their Liga fate;
Mourinho's siege mentality; Parma woe

Barcelona's loss and Real Madrid's win puts Carlo Ancelotti's side in charge of the title race.

And just like that, the gap is back to four points. Malaga's 1-0 win at the Camp Nou halts Barcelona's 11-game win streak and, more importantly, serves as a reminder that youth and ideas can trump the biggest of budgets.

Javi Gracia lined up a front six with an average age of 21 and a half, and they executed his game plan brilliantly. They took an early lead with a lot of help from Dani Alves' errant pass and then clogged the space; they moved intelligently on the counter; they hurt Barca every...

Barcelona win by keeping it simple,
Giroud's worth to Arsenal, PSG's crisis

Who will win La Liga? Barcelona's form will push Real Madrid to the wire.
Who will win La Liga? Barcelona's form will push Real Madrid to the wire.

It's now 11 wins in a row for Barcelona in all competitions. You can point to Levante's futility (they've won once in La Liga since November) but that shouldn't take away from the demolition job that Luis Enrique's men inflicted on the visitors.

That Real Sociedad game, the one followed by Lionel Messi's "stomach ache," Andoni Zubizarreta's resignation and rumors of Luis Enrique's departure seem so far away, yet it was only last month. Then again, it's worth noting that for the stick the Barcelona...

Can Ancelotti, Guardiola, Mourinho, Di Matteo win Champions League again?

The UEFA Champions League is back and the FC crew debate which of the remaining 16 teams is the favourite.

The Champions League round of 16 kicks off Tuesday and, ahead of the return of European club football's elite competition, ESPN FC is asking -- and answering -- a series of "burning questions."

The third in the series sees Gab Marcotti assess the managers left in the competition who have past experience of winning the European Cup.

There are 16 managers left in the Champions League. Four of them -- Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho and Roberto Di Matteo  -- have won it before. The...

FIFA's World Cup TV rights decision leads to unanswered questions

As FIFA president, Sepp Blatter may face some testing questions regarding the awarding of rights for the 2026 World Cup.

Earlier this week, the Premier League announced that it had sold its TV rights for the three-season period from 2016 to 2019 for almost $8 billion.

That's a whopping 70 percent increase on the previous rights deal, which covered 2013 to 2016, which itself was a 70 percent bump over its predecessor.

And those, remember, are just the domestic UK rights. The Premier League expects to raise a further $4-5 billion from international rights in the same period.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out why...