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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Edition 26: Football’s Ground On Cellphone, Medal after 65 yrs, Matchfixing

Ben Klayman/Reuters

The billions of fans of soccer World Cup, globally the premiere sporting event, will increasingly turn to mobile phones to track the action, according to a Nielsen survey released on Thursday.
More than half of the 27,000 people surveyed in 55 countries plan to follow the popular soccer tournament, which is played every four years and begins in South Africa on June 11, Nielsen said in a survey provided to Reuters. Twenty-one percent said they would get information about the tournament on their mobile device and 9 percent would download an application to track the action.

"This event is the biggest in the world of sports by far," Roger Entner, Nielsen's senior vice president for mobile insights, said in a telephone interview. "In 2010, mobile is really starting to be a medium for soccer fans worldwide to connect with the game."

The popular FIFA soccer tournament drew more than 700 million TV viewers when it was last played in 2006, including more than 120 million U.S. viewers who watched at least one minute of World Cup telecasts, Nielsen said.

While this is the first such Nielsen survey, Entner said the numbers using cellphones to follow the event will be far higher than 2006. "The last World Cup, there was no iPhone," he said of Apple Inc's popular smartphone introduced in 2007.

Of those surveyed, 51 percent said they intend to follow the tournament, including 84 percent in Brazil, 83 percent in Argentina, 76 percent in South Korea, 75 percent in Italy and Portugal, 69 percent in Zambia and almost two-thirds of the people in China, Nielsen said. Countries with high planned cellphone use to access World Cup information include Venezuela (27 percent), United States (23 percent) and Brazil (21 percent), Nielsen said. In fact, in every country in the Middle East and Africa where people were surveyed, the rate was between 22 percent and 30 percent.

"People intend to use mobile to supplement their hunger for information about the game," Entner said. "If you can't watch the game live, you're going to follow it through your mobile device."

The rates in Europe were far lower -- 3 percent in soccer powers Germany and Spain -- which Entner thought made sense given most of those countries were in the same time zone as the World Cup and had a higher penetration of TV sets, meaning fans could watch the game live more easily.

Olympic winner Gets Medal After 62 years

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge has presented an Olympic gold medal to a Belgian cyclist - 62 years after he won it, The Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Eugene Van Roosbroeck, 82, and his two team-mates - 81-year-old Lode Wouters and the late Leon De Lathouwer - were blissfully unaware they had won the team cycle race at the 1948 Olympics in London.

The trio simply got on the bus after the 194 kilometres ride while the judges sorted out who had won the medals.

"It was complete chaos after the race - there was no ceremony or stage to collect the medals," Van Roosbroeck recounted.

"Lode Wouters finished third, Leon De Lathouwer was fourth and I was ninth.

"With these results we were first in the team standings but that was a result that they drew up only after many calculations.

"After the event we jumped on the double decker bus back to the barracks that served as the Olympic Village.

"A day later I was back in Belgium."

Van Roosbroeck said that the trio weren't even aware that medals were awarded for the event, which was officially started by the then Princess Elizabeth, now Elizabeth II.

"It was only afterwards that we heard we were the best team. None of us thought that there was a medal awarded for the team event.

"The honour was enough for us."

While Van Roosbroeck, who pursued his claim for him and his team-mates to be awarded the gold medal after reading about a sailor from the 1960 Olympics who received replica medals after his originals were lost in a fire, has received his medal, Wouters will be awarded his later as he was too sick to attend the ceremony.

Van Roosbreck, who along with his team-mates had to even hand back their Belgian team sweaters after the Games were over in an era when the Olympics were strictly amateur, was just relieved to have the medal in his hands at last.

"Better late than never," he said.

Gilly Puts Lid Off On Fixing

Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist has claimed cricket to be an easy target for match-fixers. Even though Gilchrist denied coming across such an incident in his career, he said it would be 'naive' to assume that match-fixing is not taking place in cricket.

The Australian is in England to play for Middlesex in the Friends Provident Twenty20.

'It's been discussed among players in the IPL (Indian Premier League) - more wondering whether it goes on,' Gilchrist, who is the skipper of Deccan Chargers in IPL, was quoted as saying in Daily Telegraph. 'There's a strong thought that we'd be naive to think it's not happening, because it's a pretty easy target. There's a lot of accessibility to players and it's early in its governance.

'We all hope that it's not there, but there's a wide range of players who are exposed to those games. We've got to try and police it.'

Gilchrist, however, said there is no evidence that match-fixing or spot-fixing, where players are paid to influence a small aspect of the game, takes place. Last month Essex's bowlers Danish Kaneria and Mervyn Westfield were arrested over alleged irregularities during a Pro40 game last season, and have been bailed out until September.

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