Soccer Saturday tour scrapped… but no-one will say why
23:08 GMT, 13 November 2012
A theatre tour of Sky Sports’ cult programme Soccer Saturday, presented by Jeff Stelling, has been cancelled in mysterious circumstances.
Tickets for the four dates in Liverpool this week and Newcastle later this month as well as aborted shows at Wembley and Birmingham had been selling well after successful performances in Southampton and Bournemouth featuring Stelling and regular pundits Charlie Nicholas, Phil Thompson, Chris Kamara, Matt Le Tissier and Paul Merson.
But all the remaining tour dates were scrapped with no plans for them to be re-scheduled and refunds paid out to those who had already booked seats for the question-and-answer football chat.
Stopped: Soccer Saturday's theatre tour has been halted
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Neither Sky nor the roadshow promoter Mike Osman would comment on why the project had been axed with the expectation of forthcoming legal action.
Sky denied the termination was due to executives’ concern that they had no involvement or control over entertainer Osman using the Soccer Saturday brand for his commercial enterprise. However, that might explain why Stelling did not promote the theatre tour during his TV appearances as Osman had wanted.
FA Trio hunting for Bernstein's replacement
The hunt for an FA chairman to succeed David Bernstein, who has to stand down next May after his 70th birthday, is being led by board trio Roger Burden, who heads the national game, Middlesbrough’s Keith Lamb and independent director Roger Devlin.
But Burden’s involvement does not necessarily guarantee his unfailing support for the next chairman. The former Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society chief was also on the nominations panel that chose Bernstein, yet Burden famously said Bernstein had had a humour bypass in a pivotal speech supposedly endorsing an extension to his term of office before the FA council voted against the board proposal.
BBC gain from Fox failure
The fall-out from Fox Sports losing their Premier League rights in the United States to NBC will help the BBC in contract talks with Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, who could have used Fox’s supposed interest in him hosting their PL coverage as a bargaining chip in his BBC talks. But the US rights from next season went to NBC for triple the money.
Benefit: The BBC might find it easier to keep hold of Gary Lineker after Fox lost the bidding war
Blat to normal
The relationships between the FA and FIFA, which reached an all-time low after the 2018 World Cup vote debacle, have improved to the extent that the red carpet will be rolled out for Sepp Blatter when he visits St George’s Park next Wednesday.
FA chairman David Bernstein and his possible successor David Sheepshanks, chairman of St George’s Park, will be in Burton to greet the FIFA president. Next Tuesday, Blatter has invited Fabrice Muamba and Bolton chairman Phil Gartside for lunch in Zurich, where Muamba’s yet-to-be-decided role with FIFA will be discussed.
Leagues meet match
The Premier League and Football League have suffered a major financial setback with their joint venture company, Football DataCo, forbidden from charging media outlets, bookmakers and pools firms for publishing their fixtures.
The Appeals Court upheld the European Court verdict of March 1 that DataCo, which also involves the Scottish leagues, did not have the right to charge copyright fees for fixtures.
They're for everyone: The Premier League and Football DataCo lost in the battle to take copyright fees for fixtures
The decision, which will deny the football bodies hundreds of thousands of pounds, also ordered that any fixture fees paid since March be refunded as well as DataCo paying both sides legal costs of around 1.7million.
Quiet about Clive
Rugby World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward remains the elephant in the room at Twickenham, judging by PR advice given to stadium personnel before they were interviewed by Sky about England’s history in the build-up to the Fiji game. It is understood the RFU spin was that any memories of the 2003 triumph should stress the collective achievement rather than Sir Clive’s.