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eXiled Online Special UK Correspondent

LONDON–As you’ve perhaps completely failed to notice, Russia recently won the prize of hosting the 2018 World Cup finals. Any ignorance about this on your part is understandable since a) you’re likely to be American and take pride in not giving a shit about soccer and b) this site isn’t some where anyone comes to get their sporting fix, but the competition to win the bid has been fascinating for a range of reasons that have very little to do with guys kicking a ball about the pitch but plenty to do with what’s happening in international relations.

I like football, but even if you don’t, you ought to know that most of the world outside North America is far more interested in football than politics. By the way, one of the first people to realise the implications of this was wily old Rupert Murdoch. His canny understanding of this is one of the main reasons reason he’s now more powerful than God. The extensive reporting of sport in general and football in particular in British newspapers, such as The Sun and News of the World was a crucial but often overlooked factor in the paper’s massive appeal to the proles. Murdoch then used the vast profits these rags generated to start his satellite empire which locked exclusive rights to show English football. This proved to be a licence to print money which in turn funded the early days of the Fox network. Yes, that’s right: you largely have obsessive English football supporters to thank for making Fox News the American institution it is today… (more…)

Posted: December 12th, 2010