Around a decade ago, Bernie Ecclestone, the guy who runs Formula One, began to make ominous noises about the prospects for F1 in Europe, suggesting that the sport’s future instead lay in the East. Now Bernie is no mug – you don’t become as rich as he is without being very smart. Not least, he is perceptive at spotting new trends. He recognised the potential of TV broadcasting and its associated rights before virtually anyone else in Europe. And he was right about the growing importance of East Asia (though hardly the first to notice it).
The torrent of racial abuse at Spanish matches is the product of a society that is in flux and is also uneasy with immigration. But don’t be complacent, warns Martin Jacques. This is an enemy that English football has yet to defeat
Getafe is a small industrial satellite town on the southern edge of Madrid. Its football ground is modest in the extreme, all-seated but covered on just one side, with a capacity of a mere 13,000. The ground is lined on two sides by soulless, multi-lane roads, on another by a building site and on the fourth by five-storey public housing. Getafe hardly seems the appropriate place to take the temperature of Spanish football. But on a Sunday evening in March, the club, lingering in the lower reaches of the Primera Liga, played Real Madrid . It may only be 15 kilometres from the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Real’s temple to football in central Madrid, to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, Getafe’s humble home on its outskirts, but the clubs occupy two entirely different worlds.