Yesterday I discovered the book The Fix, by Declan Hill. After learning about Mr. Hill’s solid background as a journalist I can tell this will be a great read. The Fix investigates match fixing in professional soccer. Considered “The most explosive story of sports corruption in a generation.” my only concern about this book is the warning to the reader that we might never look at sports the same way ever again.
Declan Hill is an investigative journalist, documentary maker and academic. He specializes in the study of organized crime and international issues. His recent book ‘The Fix: Soccer & Organized Crime’ examined the corruption at the heart of international football and has become a best-seller in eight languages.
“Fascinating. . . . Part true-crime potboiler, part spy thriller, part academic discourse and part journey of personal discovery.”
— Stephen Brunt, Globe and Mail
“A powerful investigative work…. The Fix is a fascinating read.”
— Ottawa Citizen
“Sensationa…. Fascinating…. [Hill] makes a good case.”
— Winnipeg Free Press
If you are visiting Madrid and you want to play soccer during your stay you’ll be happy to know it’s fairly easy to find games in courts around the city pretty much any afternoon, any day of the week. Fortunately for me the friend I am staying with lives about 10 minutes away walking distance to the soccer courts at the Parque del Retiro. Click to see Google maps link.
Locals rent these courts on an hourly basis for pick up games. Because you’re only visiting and you don’t know the people who will be playing it is not guaranteed that you’ll get to play the day you show up. Based on my experience I’d say your chances are little better than 50/50.
El Retiro park has 2 turf courts, and 2 more courts with Tartan surface for indoor, or as it is locally known futbol sala. For better odds bring both turf shoes and hard surface soccer shoes with you.
Everyone I met at the park was very friendly. Just remember that the group that’s playing had to pay to rent that court for that day and time. Be cordial and understand that you may have to wait and sub for someone if the game is full.
Yesterday I checked out the book European Fields, The landscape of lower league football by Dutch photographer Hans van der Meer. The book is a collection of photographs of neighborhood soccer fields across Europe. These fields represent the cradle of the sport, a place where soccer is practiced untainted by monetary interests. It is also interesting to see the variety of landscapes and terrain on which the game is practiced.
I found the book at La Fabrica, a cool book store in Madrid that specializes in photography books.
While on the subject of soccer photography I must draw attention to the work of Alan Powdril and his portrait collection titled Reality Football. This is a diverse and colorful group of photographs depicting lower league soccer players. This collection serves to remind us of the people who constitute the foundation upon which the sport we love rests.
Weekend action includes: MLS, U-20 Women’s World Cup, the U.S. women’s friendly against Sweden, the SuperLiga (MLS vs. Mexican league tourney) and MLS friendlies vs. British clubs.
(All times Eastern unless noted. TV programming is always subject to change. Check your local listings.)
FRIDAY, July 16
International Club Friendly MANCHESTER UNITED-CELTIC (live) 7 pm.
U-20 Women’s World Cup BRAZIL-SWEDEN (live) 8:48 am.
U-20 Women’s World Cup COSTA RICA-FRANCE (live) 8:48 am.
U-20 Women’s World Cup NORTH KOREA-NEW ZEALAND (live) 11:48 am.
U-20 Women’s World Cup GERMANY-COLUMBIA (live) 11:48 pm. Read the rest of this entry »
The Nike 5500 ball man looks like pixel art suspended in the air. This is a massive sculpture weighting more than 4.5 tons.
Nike used a 3D model of a soccer player to calculate the location in space where each ball was to be placed. The sculpture is on display at the landmark Carlton Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. After the installation the balls will be distributed among different community aid programs.
After Spain took the World Cup trophy home my girlfriend and I were expecting to fly into at least a week long party. Unfortunately for us the celebration on the street had ended by the time we landed. Tuesday morning was business as usual in Madrid. Still, we remain upbeat about the next few weeks in Spain. Madrid is a vibrant city with a million bars and cafes to explore. Then there’s the thousands of historic buildings, palaces and plazas, each structure with intrinsic historic value.
Here’s a link to the local the TV coverage of the celebration:
This is another video making the rounds because it seems to show Gerard Pique spitting onto Pedro Cortes, ex president of the Valencia football club. I think the whole incident has been blown out of proportion. It looks like Pique only spits gum at Cortes as a joke.