FIFA elects its new president on Friday and so no apologies for the fact that this week’s sports industry reading list has a world football governing body tinge to it. As always, though, this is my pick of the most interesting writing on the global business of sport from the past few days, published by newspapers, specialist titles and pretty much any other nook and cranny of the internet. Let’s get underway.
This week’s FIFA-related must-reads:
- SportsPro’s Eoin Connolly sets the scene with this comprehensive piece on how we got to here and what on earth might happen next.
- Friday will mark the formal end of Sepp Blatter’s tenure at the helm of FIFA. Martyn Ziegler, now safely installed as the Times’ chief sports reporter, sat down with Blatter last week, delivering this terrific piece (the portraits of Blatter by Marc Aspland are pretty darn good too).
- Sticking with Blatter, I thought this was a good piece on his legacy and how he simply stuck around too long by David Owen for Inside the Games.
- There are those who suggest that anybody actually interested in becoming FIFA president should automatically be excluded from the process, but five men have stayed the course and will be on the ballot paper in Zurich. Rob Harris from the Associated Press put together these handy pen pictures of them all.
- An essential read on the favourite (or joint-favourite, or close second favourite) Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, whose campaign has been marred by his questionable record on human rights, by James M. Dorsey.
- And finally on Fifa and its associated governing bodies, a barnstormer of a piece by Bloomberg’s Tariq Panja and David Voeracos on the remarkable goings-on at CONCACAF, the governing body for Central and North American football (tip of the hat to blog fan Richard Gillis, AKA Unofficial Partner, for this one).
This week’s non-Fifa related sports industry must-reads:
- An excellent piece on a literally crappy topic, ESPN’s Bonnie D. Ford went to Brazil and reported back on the state of the water surrounding Rio as the Olympic Games approach.
- The Daily Telegraph’s football correspondent Sam Wallace wrote a fascinating piece on the financial implications of Real Madrid’s basketball operation.
- Written before the closest Daytona 500 finish in history on Sunday, Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel sat down with Danica Patrick to discuss the end of her long-term corporate relationship with Go Daddy and her new major partner Nature’s Bakery. It’s a really good, detailed insight into the dynamics of the athlete as brand ambassador.
- Bernie Ecclestone gave the Daily Mail’s Jonathan McEvoy an interview as Formula One came out of its winter hibernation. I’m not really sure what else to say about it.
- Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated used his always-interesting weekly media column to conduct a roundtable with several members of the mixed martial arts media. It’s a fascinating read on access and attitudes in the UFC and the other major promotions.
- And finally this week, a must-listen: Matt Cutler, the former editor of Sport Business (not to mention my sports business trade magazine nemesis for several years) has launched his new podcast venture, SB Weekly. His first guest is Riccardo Silva, grand mozzarella at MP & Silva. You’ll find it here.