Sporting Venues in London

Here’s a look at some of the venues for sport in London, including a look ahead to the 2012 Olympic venues and other popular spectator sports in and around the city of London.

Londoners have a ravenous appetite for sports, football in particular. London boasts six teams playing in the Premiership and ten other teams in lower divisions of professional football.

The most successful or at least the most popular teams are Chelsea, champions of the English Premier League, and Arsenal.

The Arsenal museum near the current stadium tells of munitions workers who had to take up a collection to purchase the club’s first football in 1886. The timeline runs through 2002 when Arsenal won the FA cup and the Premier League, with the entire history of the club sandwiched in between.

Arsenal is in the process of building a new stadium in Ash Burton Grove that will cost nearly three quarters of a billion U.S. dollars. Chelsea completed renovations to their 42,000 seat stadium in 2001, costing an estimated two hundred million dollars. The new stadium will offer some 4,000 more seats than old Arsenal Stadium. The record attendance of an Arsenal game was in 1935 when 73,000 fans saw Arsenal play to a 0-0 tie with Sunderland FC. The old stadium is a listed building because of its Art Deco style.

Chelsea has been playing football for over a hundred years. Their winning ways started after the 1955 season when they won the league for the first time. Chelsea has been popular all along, but their fan base seems to grow larger every year. Chelsea’s stadium was renovated in 2001 at a cost of nearly two hundred million dollars. Their home at Stamford Bridge was constructed in 1877. The origins of its name are from a creek that flows near the stadium, called «Stamford Creek», and a bridge called «Little Chelsea Bridge». Over time it has just been called «Stamford Bridge». The only part of the original stadium is the east stand. An overly ambitious project, the renovations of the 1970’s nearly bankrupt the team, and forced them to liquidate star players to stay afloat financially. The current «Stamford Bridge Stadium» has been totally updated in the past two decades. It houses two 4 star hotels, five restaurants, underground parking, a health club, business center, retail outlets, and a museum of sorts that chronicles the history of Chelsea FC with interactive activities for fans on its twelve and a half acre grounds.

Tickets to either Chelsea FC or Arsenal FC matches are quite expensive and some of the other eleven professional teams within London make going to a match more affordable. Barnet, Brentford, Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leyton Orient, Milwall, Queens Park, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford, and West Ham United are all professional football clubs in the London Area. That makes more professional teams than any other city in the world.

Even with football as the main course, London’s ravenous appetite for sports still has room for other sports. The first written records of Cricket being played in London go back to 1680, but it is thought by many to have been played in the city prior to that. The main venues for Cricket in London are The Oval, Kennington, and Lords Cricket Grounds. While most Cricket Clubs around London use amateur players it is still quite popular as a spectator sport.

Rugby was developed at Rugby School in Rugby Warwickshire in England. A plaque at the school commemorates the invention of Rugby by William Webb Ellis, and his total disregard for the rules of football became the game of Rugby when he picked the ball up and ran with it. Rugby is currently played in over 100 countries world wide. England has four national rugby teams currently that compete in the World Cup, and other Championship events. Twickenham is the reigning world championship venue for rugby.

With the exception of Wimbledon, tennis is not a great spectator sport. A lot of junior tennis is played in London, and some world class junior tournaments are held there. Sport England is a board that encourages grass roots participation in sport. With the Olympics coming in 2012 the London branch has decided to make a push for youngsters to play serious tennis. Since Wimbledon is held in London they want to get more kids interested in tennis and hopefully some to represent London during the championships.

London has been officially named the host of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. While that seems like a lot of time to prepare, it really isn’t. London already has many world class venues that will be used with little improvement. Other facilities need to be built. The Olympic Village will be constructed in East London. Swimming, hockey, rowing, football, and equestrian events will all need special venues. The Olympic Village is being built in Olympic Park so that seventy-five percent of the athletes will be able to compete within 20 minutes of their events. The diversity of the city insures fans for all sports, and all national teams at the Olympics. The staff for the 2012 Olympics will be about 3,000 plus an additional 70,000 volunteers by the time the games commence. Putting these games on will be both a challenge and an honour, and will serve as a testament to Londoners’ love of sport.

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Learn La Liga Rules in Regards to Transfer, Promotion, Relegation & Non-EU Players

La Liga refers to the first division Spanish League. The top professional football league in Spain is officially called as Liga BBVA for the reason of sponsorship. It is one of the most professional and exciting leagues in Europe, attracting some best football talents from all over the globe.

Just like any other leagues, La Liga is also guided by some strict rules and regulations regarding promotional and relegation of the clubs as well as how many non-EU players can play in the league. Let us take a quick glance over the La Liga rules.

Rules of Promotion-Relegation

Every year, 20 teams take part in the competition. The three teams finishing at the bottom of the league table are relegated to the 2nd division of the Spanish league system, with the top two rankers in the immediately lower division and the winner in a play-off replacing the relegated clubs.

Inclusion of Non-EU Players

There is an upper cap in regards to retaining of non-EU players in this top-most division of Spanish league. In La Liga, every team is allowed to retain a maximum of three offshore players. Even in the second division, each participating clubs can keep hold of only 2 players. If any La Liga club is relegated to the lower division, it is allowed to keep hold of the same number of foreign players until their contracts are expired.

What does it mean by «Non-EU»? The phrase has been repeated many times following several verdicts from the European Court of Justice. According to a decision adopted by the Spanish Federation in this regard, the participating La Liga teams are entitled to make the best use of the rules and bring many foreign players to their squad.

Claim of Citizenship

The foreign players are allowed to apply for Spanish citizenship from the countries where their ancestors descended from. In La Liga, a non-EU player can claim for Spanish Citizenship if he has played in Spain for at least, five years and it may result into triple citizenship. Let us give you an example. Leo Franco was born in Argentina and has Italian ancestry. He is capable of applying for Spain citizenship, having played in the country for more than five years.

The players arriving from the ACP countries including Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific, are not considered against the Non-EU category as per the Kolpak ruling.

Breach of Rules & Conduct

All the La Liga clubs are required to abide by the rules and regulations as clearly specified by the highest authority in the Spanish football league system that, in turn, ensures compatibility with the guidelines made by FIFA, the governing body of football in the world. In recent times, Barcelona have been handed punishment by FIFA for failing to conform to the rules regarding transfer of the players after allegation of transfer of the under-age players (below 18).

The defending La Liga champions are not allowed to play any new player until January of 2016. The club applied against the ban but it was not lifted. However, they have been allowed to sell players during the time of transfer ban.

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Short Biography of Famous Soccer Player – Oliver Kahn

His full name is Oliver Rolf Kahn. He was born June 15, 1969 in Karlsruhe, Germany. He was a German soccer player and played the position of the goalkeeper for Bayern Munich. From 1988 until 1994, Kahn played for Karlsruher. He has played 86 games for the Germany national team. His nicknames are «King Kahn» or «the titan».

Kahn begun his career at Karlsruher SC and in 1994 was transferred to Bayern Munich, his last professional club. He’s a modern goalkeeper, that manages his defenders splendidly and he also has the power of character to make himself heard and esteemed by his teammates, which is a surprising achievement considering he’s playing together with world class superstars at Bayern Munich and the German national team.

He is one of the most triumphant and famous soccer players of German in latest history, having won eight German championships, six German cups, the UEFA Cup in 1996, the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup, both in 2001.

His personal contributions have received him four consecutive UEFA Best European Goalkeeper awards, three IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper of the Year awards. He is regarded to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of the all time and is the only goalkeeper in the history of football to win the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (in World Cup 2002).

At 38 years of age, the majority players, even goalkeepers, make a decision to hang up their soccer boots, but not Oliver Kahn. For all we know, we might as well observe Oliver Kahn play for Germany in yet another World Cup in 2010.

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