How is Qatar building a national team for the 2022 World Cup?: by importing promising children from poor countries. Their families are given stipends and the boys come to live in a beautiful, possibly insane facility ("Across the campus, speakers pipe in the sounds of birds chirping throughout the day.") in hopes of some day making it onto the Qatar-owned team in Belgium. Doubly so since their options, much like those of the people building stadiums for 2022, limited:
Aspire executives were displeased by the departures. "They didnít want us to talk to other agents, they definitely did not," said Tchoutou, who now plays for A.S. Romaís top youth team. But after three years, he decided to leave with their approval or not. According to one scholarship agreement, the boys pledge not to sign any contract without the written authorization of Aspire. Of the few boys who have left the program, Bleicher said agents approached them secretly and made promises.
A search for the original New England Patriots' fan: has a strange and surprising twist to it. The calls are coming from inside the house!
Even if you don't follow La Liga, it's worth reading The Sids: the annual awards from Sid Lowe. They start about a quarter of the way down with "Best signing" and move on to videos of mooning a penalty kick, stories of fans playing linesman and the eloquence of Javier Aguirre:
ďI said hijo de puta but I say that 10 or 12 times a game: thatís the way I talk,Ē Aguirre admitted, going on to say hijo de puta rather a lot to reinforce the fact that he does indeed say hijo de puta rather a lot. Out came a magnificent stream of Mexican mouthing off, his accent getting stronger with every smirk and every swear word.
Marina Hyde on the really troubling aspects of the Premier League's Richard Scudamore : after the chief executive's rather retrograde views on women were leaked last weekend.
Kansas State denies player the right to transfer away: "With a release, Romero could go to another Division I school and receive scholarship money while sitting out the required year to transfer. But without the release, she would have to pay all her own expenses for that year, which she says she's not in a financial position to do as a foreign student."
"That makes two of us, doesnít it Steve?": Mike Vaccaro on New York sports teams, Steve Philllips and Lupica.
Before televised sports were pervasive and the Internet a nonstop gusher of sports trivia, Mr. Hollander found a niche in the market by annually providing statistics, team rosters, records, schedules and predictions for the coming season in the form of brick-size tomes he titled "Complete Handbooks."
Oops: Atlanta Braves Set Fire to U.S. Flag: The Braves home opener doubled as William Tecumseh Sherman Night.
"The Krafts Are the Worst Owners in the League": what the heck is wrong with the New England Revolution?
What is the best possible season a player could have?: "Our superhuman player is only 20 wins better than Danny Worth, and getting to that superhuman player was pretty difficult. This makes you think about how small the difference is between terrible and great in baseball and why the games are so entertaining. Even the worst teams manage to win and the best teams manage to lose, and this illustrates why that's the case."
Taro Tsujimoto's story: years before Hideo Nomo and Dice-K, Tsujimoto was a hockey wunderkind who promised to improve the Buffalo Sabres. But he never arrived because he never existed: he was one of the many pranks the Sabres' long-time PR man Paul Wielan invented.
Nicolas Anelka scored twice this weekend and celebrated in a way only Nicolas Anelka could: sending a heartfelt gesture to a close friend going through some tough times. The friend is a old-school comedian with a style reminiscent of old European theatres, specifically, WWII's Eastern and Western Fronts and the gesture is his, a variation on the Nazi salute combined with a more traditionally obscene gesture.
Tigers and Rangers Swap Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler: the move allows Detroit to move Cabrera to first and call up a prospect to play third and clears up a logjam in the middle of the infield for Texas.
Even after the NFL wised up, the Premier League still isn't sure concussions matter: Saturday's Everton/ Tottenham matched featured a 10 minute Keystone Kops skit that ended when the Tottenham medical staff gave up and let Hugo Lloris stay in the game after being knocked unconscious by Romelu Lukaku's massive thigh.
So you've purchased a football team: here's how to use it for nefarious means. This week's The Economist provides "A villainís guide to football". As a counter-balance, they also offer suggestions on cleaning up the game.
Old Blood: an elegy for Theo Fleury, hero to undersized scrappers.
As part of the cover vote for NHL14, the NHL remembers its history: sadly, some of the voters who have embraced a "Vote Early, Vote Often" philosophy can't remember important facts.
As the season gets closer to a close, the npower Championship league has hit some turbulence: some, like Crystal Palace's Ian Holloway feel Watford's use of loan players from foreign teams their owners also control is unfair. Understandably, Watford fans do not and quickly try to change the subject to Cardiff City's crass purchase of promotion by a new owner who feels only the barest sense loyalty to the team's history.
If it seems like Botswana's Bobby Shillinde came out of nowhere,: that's because he did. And sadly, he's probably going right back, assuming they can sort the passport.
"The names are all included in an extraordinary batch of records from Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic tucked into a two-story office building just a hard line drive's distance from the UM campus. They were given to New Times by an employee who worked at Biogenesis before it closed last month and its owner abruptly disappeared. The records are clear in describing the firm's real business: selling performance-enhancing drugs, from human growth hormone (HGH) to testosterone to anabolic steroids."
Russian oligarch fires well-regarded coach mid-season: P.J. Carlesimo will replace
Rafa Benitez Avery Johnson for now.
The New England Patriots are regularly accused of being poor sports: for running up the score. Any number of writers see karmic justice in Rob Gronkowski's injury (a Bills' reporter even hoped for an injury during the Pats/ Jets tilt). This, however, is a new one: Miami Dolphins' defensive tackle Tony McDaniel feels "It was disrespectful to us to run the same play over and over and be successful".
Kansas City Chiefs' Linebacker Jovan Belcher kills girlfriend, self: Belcher drove to the Chiefs' practice facility where he was confronted by coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli before shooting himself.