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Cash-for-sport update

The alleged financial machinations of soon-to-be-ex Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich read like they have come from a parallel universe. My favourite charge against the Blagster is that he would help the Chicago Tribune sell Wrigley Field (home of the Cubs) if the paper sacked certain members of the paper's editorial staff who were seeking his impeachment. The deal wasn't a starter, of course. The Tribune's parent company filed for bankruptcy on Monday, the Cubs and their stadium are up for sale, though not with Mighty Milarod's patronage. Blago meanwhile is odds on for impeachment unless he jumps first. Either way, he looks set to become the second consecutive Governor of Illinois to enter The Big House.

Moving right along now, the Australian Government announced a grant on Wednesday to Football Federation Australia to fund a bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Let me quote from Jacqueline Magnay's report on the announcement from today's Sydney Morning Herald:

"This week the Federal Government approved $45.6 million for Football Federation Australia to lobby for the 2018 Football World Cup. The money, which will be paid over the next three years, is to secure at least 13 votes of the 24-strong FIFA executive to gain Australia 2018 hosting rights....

....the amount approved is a massive commitment and represents the equivalent of $3.5 million for each of the 13 votes needed, or $1.9 million for each of the 24 members of the FIFA executive. The executive is meeting in Tokyo on December 19 to ratify the 2018 and 2022 selection process."

- source,

FFA chairman, property billionaire Frank Lowy, told reporters yesterday:

"It [the $45.6 million] will not be spent on entertainment and lunches and dinners, but it will be used for professional services that we will hire in Australia and overseas to make sure that we have the best possible bid. All we need to do now is get 13 of the 24 votes.

"It's easier said than done. I can assure you we'll do the utmost to get it done and I hope that when the time comes, we'll be able to celebrate."

- source

I await further details....