Ronaldo – Slave or Hero?

Apparently Ronaldo is being treated like ‘a modern day slave’ according to FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Manchester United’s refusal to allow Ronaldo to leave for Real Madrid is tantamount to slavery.

And he believes Manchester United and Real Madrid should» sit together» if Ronaldo wants a move to the Spanish club.

«If the player wants to play somewhere else, then a solution should be found,» commented Blatter.

«Because if he stays in a club where he does not feel comfortable to play then it’s no good for the player and for the club.

«I’m always in favour to protect the player and if the player wants to leave, let him leave.»

Whilst Blatter has a point in that it is pointless trying to keep a player tied to a club if he wants to leave, comparing such players to ‘modern day slaves’ is an insult to those people who really are ‘modern day slaves’. Ronaldo ,football genius he is, earns more in a week than children in Asia will earn in a lifetime, he lives in mansions, wears the best clothes, drives the best cars, holidays in the best hotels. Real ‘modern day slaves’ do not have enough to eat, live in houses without sanitation or water or electricity – in my view Blatter pampered and spoiled bureaucrat that he is should think about what he is saying and try to be a little more thoughtful in his responses.

And anyway what about loyalty- should Ronaldo not have some measure of loyalty to the club that has helped bring him universal acclaim? Is there no loyalty in football any more or merely a wish for more and more money and prizes? So will Ronaldo stop playing if he is forced to stay at Manchester United or will he display a new maturity and still play at his peak?

On the subject of slaves are not 90% of the population who work in normal jobs, who are not fortunate enough to possess genius or the adulation of millions slaves also?

What do you think?

AC MILAN MAGLIA GARA THIRD NIÑO 2018/19 AC MILAN MAGLIA GARA THIRD NIÑO 2018/19

The Different Types Of Soccer Cleat Patterns

Soccer shoes may not improve your playing skills, but they definitely ensure that you put your best foot forward and give the best performance. There are so many brands offering all kinds of cleats. The most striking thing about the modern cleats is that they tend to be very colorful and appealing. But apart from looking at the colors and beautiful designs, you should ensure that you select the perfect pattern to match that play surface or ground.

Wearing the wrong type of cleat will not only make your play uncomfortable and minimize your chances of giving your best but you could also end up injuring yourself. Below are the different patterns you will find to make it easy for you to select the most suitable pair for your play.

Cleats for firm ground – Cleat patterns created for firm ground cover any field type that is generally dry in all climates where there are less rainy days. They are the standard cleats that you find in shoe stores and are accompanied by letters FG. In this category you will find long, narrow bladed studs and rounded studs. The rounded ones make better choices for damp ground, whereas the blades are best for dryer surfaces and offer overall stability. These cleats may also be referred to as hard ground cleats.

Cleats for soft ground – The cleats usually feature rounded metal studs with few contact points with the ground. They are best for wet surfaces and suitable for areas that receive lots of rain. The designs are done in such a way that the cleats, cut through the mud and offer reliable grip even under the wet conditions. The metallic cleats are however not a preference for many coaches because of the possible damage they risk when they meet the other players’ legs. You might want to check with your coach before selecting them.

Cleats for indoor courts – They are for smaller soccer games and designed for the artificial materials in the indoor courts. They feature a flat bottom and flex points or fins that run across the bottom part of the short so they remain comfortable and flexible. They do not only work well for indoor soccer, but also other indoor activities and can be just right for firm ground uses too even though they may not be recommended for those.

Cleats for turf surfaces – Astroturf is a material created to mimic a natural grass playfield and there are cleats intended for such. These soccer shoes will usually come with plenty of short stubby studs all over the bottom part so they are able to offer proper traction of the face grass surfaces. They come with an extra layer of lacquer that protects them from the artificial grass that can be abrasive; they are therefore glossier in appearance.

You can easily tell the cleats apart by the initials they are displayed with denoting the surfaces they are made for. You can also use reviews and guides to select the most suitable sports cleats for your use.

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How Bitcoin Will Promote Latin American Growth

There has been much ado concerning Bitcoin and how authorities and businesses in China and the United States have reacted to it, but possibly more intriguing possibilities may lie ahead for this currency and other cryptocurrencies. The Wall Street Journal ran a piece a week ago about the obvious divide that exists in Latin America. The Atlantic facing countries have more command oriented economies while the Pacific facing countries, with the exception of Ecuador and Nicaragua, have more market-oriented economies. Latin America has become a continent of focus on a global scale with stifled European growth and an Asia-Pacific region that has already been welcomed into the global economic conversation. Alternative currencies will make their mark on Latin America and it will affect both sides in a different fashion. In the end, Bitcoin and Latin American Growth will go together as they both are in spotlight at the same time and cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin) will afford Latin American businesses and entrepreneurs the opportunity to operate on a level playing field with the rest of the globe.

Notable State Oriented Economies of Latin America

  • Ecuador
  • Bolivia
  • Cuba
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Nicaragua
  • Venezuela

These countries have economies that are more beholden to national interests. The most extreme state run economy on this list is Cuba, which has a Communist regime that has made slight concessions to economic liberalization. Venezuela has arguably the second most extreme state run economy and is in the midst of a socioeconomic and political crisis. Argentina has had its fair share of instability and command-oriented economic events courtesy of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner including price controls, drama concerning possession of the Falkland Islands, inflation of 26%, police strikes, and the nationalization of YPF just to name a few measures. Brazil is always feared to resort to its old ways and currently there is still a great deal of red tape and taxation is comparatively higher than peers.

Notable Market-Oriented Economies of Latin America

  • Mexico
  • Colombia
  • Panama
  • Chile
  • Peru
  • Belize

Mexico’s efforts to attract and grow business is not just limited to Mexico City, but Guadalajara has been emphasized as a growth destination in the digital and tech space much like the way Bogota is the established economic powerhouse city in Colombia and Medellin has broken out a youthful, digital force. Mexico is currently the 14th largest economy and growing. Mexico is still plagued by the drug cartels as demand for drugs across the northern border still exists. Ciudad Juarez is plagued by cartel-induced violence, which is considered so bad that the Sun Bowl strongly discouraged visitors from traveling across the border as the college bowl game was an opportunity to promote both El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez for tourism and business.

Colombia still is combatting FARC, but it is clearly winning the battle after President Uribe’s term. FARC has been more limited to the jungle areas of Colombia. Active peace talks with FARC are also being negotiated to an extent. The Colombian economy has much room to grow in terms of agriculture, energy, finance, tourism, and digital technology.

Belize is actively courting Americans to purchase real estate in the country marketing their pristine beaches, tax policies, and English fluency. Belize has a lot more growing to do and it has to shake stigmas.

Chile is considered by the Heritage Foundation to be #1 in economic freedom in Latin America. Chile enjoys a trade surplus, a central bank policy rate of 4.5% that would be attractive to investors outside of Chile. Trading the Chilean Peso may be a worthy endeavor for those wishing to take advantage of the carry trade against countries/economic zones that have extremely low interest rates such as the United States, European Union, and Japan. Chile has low inflation and has policies that benefit not just copper exports, but other exports to help maintain the surplus. Morgan Stanley expects Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico to grow on average 4.25% in 2014.

These countries are not facing looting outbreaks, fights over toilet paper, nor do they have leaders that are trying to escalate action against another country.

Bitcoin’s Impact on State-Oriented Economies

In all of these state-oriented economies, there are currency controls. Venezuela and Argentina are infamous for their price controls. Brazil’s government influence in the economy stems from their excessive influence, possible corruption issues, and inflationary concerns. Entrepreneurs, investors, and ordinary individuals will be looking to the marketplace to meet their needs. Rationing, red tape, high costs, and possible surveillance are associated with these state-oriented economies. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies will meet the needs of many that have access to the internet.

Competing globally in countries that wish to be more insular comes with negative ramifications, but the usage of the internet and the ability to transact in a possibly untraced fashion in a global marketplace will enable competitive pricing for citizens to receive the goods and services needed. Venezuelans will be able to buy toilet paper from foreign sources without having to use a currency that is being grossly debased. Venezuelans will also have the opportunity to engage in entrepreneurship while still in Venezuela to fund their endeavors and possible defection to other countries such as Colombia. Over 26% of Venezuelans use the internet on a daily basis. Venezuela has not filtered the internet just yet and purchasing Bitcoin is far more secure than holding onto Bolivar.

Bitcoin usage could take the government’s tight grip on the economy away by rendering its presence useless by adopting the private currency. Less tax revenues can be collected, a populace that is armed financially and possibly literally (you could have bought anything on Silk Road), and decreased influence from political leaders and enforcers as cryptocurrency usage becomes viral. This thought process can be applied to Venezuela-lite in Argentina, which is an economy with a lot of potential.

The Brazilian economy could grow further by giving businesses more exposure overseas and overcoming the exotic sovereign currency issue. The World Cup in 2014 and Olympics in 2016 will put much pressure on the Brazilian economy to grow and keep up appearances. Lower transaction costs, currency familiarity, and nationality ambivalence with Bitcoin customers will help Brazilian firms seeking to do business outside of Brazil. With a large influx of tourists and business-people coming to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the acceptance of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will remove the barriers of having to convert currencies and engage in secure purchases. Brazil may be a more command-oriented economy like Argentina, but global expectations and aspirations should push them away from past tendencies.

For the state-oriented economies, Bitcoin and its competitors offer greater freedom, monetary security, entrepreneurship opportunities, transaction security, and privacy. In the case of Venezuela, it could spark a change in governance much like the way social media was credited for bringing in the Arab Spring to life. Much of the problems surrounding Venezuela are economic in nature and the black market is a natural alternative. Prevention of seizure of assets by keeping them in a digital wallet in the cloud is far more secure than keeping funds in a bank regulated by the Venezuelan government.

Bitcoin’s Role in Economic Growth for the Pacific Countries

Entrepreneurship as described in the previous section is on a smaller level than what may be in Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Peru. Colombia and Mexico have cities that have hopes to global players in the digital space. Attracting business from Europe, Canada, and the United States would be easier with lower exchange and transaction fees. Credit cards and PayPal place transaction fees on users wishing to make international transactions and this fee would be reduced.

Latin American outsourcing can experience growth as call centers, development and design firms, and independent contractors are able to not only competitively bid as they do now, but they would be able to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and this will drive in more business. It is not a fad, it is a matter of making an easier and cheaper transaction. Less barriers to making the purchase will make the sale and it will help Latin American businesses be able to be global, which can lead to Venture Capital growth.

Bitcoin will lead to greater international business transactions for Latin America and enable economic growth. The benefits are different for these countries as the need for stability is not pressing, but rather these countries have an insatiable appetite for growth. Entrepreneurship, competing globally, lower transaction fees, transactional security, competitive biddng, improved economic development, and changing perceptions are all benefits of adopting cryptocurrencies in these countries. A startup in Medellin or Cartagena can compete with a firm in Toronto and another firm in Indianapolis for a services contract. Removing the barriers of nationality from the transaction to focus solely on the services provided and costs involved are a major benefit.

Consumers win too in these countries as they would gain purchasing power because some items are more expensive in their domestic markets than foreign markets. Ex-pats and immigrants can send money to family members in their native country in a simple, inexpensive, quick, and secure fashion. This can help boost local economies.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies help make the world a smaller place just like the way air travel, the internet, telecommunications, and social media have done. Cryptocurrencies promote globalization and Bitcoin will help provide that opportunity to Latin America, which is eager to compete and grow in the global marketplace.

Indian Premier League – A Cricketing Extravaganza Or Something Else

Cricket has gone through a strong metamorphosis, moving from the 5 day test match pattern to one-day internationals that give 50 overs a team and now, we are into an even more compact format of cricket called T20 or twenty-twenty. The twenty-twenty format shrinks the game further to just 20 overs per team. The present T20 world cup is supposed to be held from 30th April to 16th May 2010. In addition, we also have different competitive events like the Sharjah Cup, the Champion’s Trophy and so on. Given the slew of cricketing events and the massive fan following they have it was only a matter of time before a sports entrepreneur decided to capitalize on this phenomenon and build one of India’s largest sporting extravaganzas of all time. And India being a cricket-crazy nation, the Indian Premier League, which is closely modeled on the hugely successful English Premier League found almost instant fan following.

So, the first installment of the IPL began in 2008, with 8 teams – Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore. The teams are essentially named after specific Indian states, and they are owned by different entities beginning with movie stars, media conglomerates, and industrialists and so on. There was massive media frenzy around the whole event as it started in early 2008, with international players, Indian players all up for grabs and a huge auction following it. The teams were formed and the matches began. The model was interesting in more ways than one. First, players of the same country were being pitted against each other many-a-time. So, as far as the sport went, we could see the magic of Muralidharan along with the keeping of Dhoni in one team. As with seeing Tendulkar and Jayasurya bat on the same side! Secondly, the teams were all tied to different states or cities. So a Mumbai Indians match versus say Kings XI Punjab was played in Mumbai or in Punjab, and somehow the scintillation of watching a Mumbai team in Mumbai or a Deccan team in AP was brought out, much like how fans find watching Man U play at Old Trafford more enjoyable than any other Man U match! It even served to unite a state with the underlying theme being cricket. So, while different teams won and lost at different times, the winner clearly was cricket. At the same time, the whole franchise is valued at over $4 billion!

And so, as is the case with any event that gathers instant stardom and is worth billions of dollars, this one found its controversies as well. Even the Beijing Olympics that were executed to inch-perfect perfection were not spared the controversy, from lip-syncing ceremony performers to instant shutdown of polluting factories. So how can this sporting enterprise be spared?

So, IPL2 – the second installment was mired in controversy over security. The event clashed with General Elections in India and so security was of paramount concern. The Government requested the organizers to postpone the tournament till after the elections, but this was refused since apparently TV rights and slots had been booked. So amid a lot of controversy and hue and cry the tournament shifted to South Africa, leaving a disgruntled Indian Government and disappointed Indian fans in its wake.

IPL3 was not spared as well. When peace talks with Pakistan hit an impasse, some political parties were up in arms against allowing Pakistani players from participating in the IPL. Yet again, the papers screamed out about how some politicians were interfering in sport, and how the unifying spirit of sport was being squandered and so on. Finally newer players were given a chance and the Pakistani players didn’t indeed get a chance to play in IPL3.

Now IPL4 though, attracted controversy before it could even begin and this controversy has threatened the entire existence of the enterprise – the biggest controversy so far.

As per the original plan by the organizers, 2 more teams were to be added to the IPL franchise in 2011 – Pune and Kochi. There apparently have been some wrongdoings in terms of money laundering and corruption underlying some dealings and the way the auctions and franchises have been conducted are allegedly not very transparent. So, the past few weeks have brought out a lot of murkiness in the story to the fore. Now, one of the proposed 2 new teams was Kochi, in Kerala. The IPL chief, Lalit Modi tweeted once revealing the winners of the Kochi team and also commented that a Kerala MP, and Union Minister Dr. Shashi Tharoor was involved in ‘mentoring’ the team. It came to the fore that the winning bidder, Rendezvous Sports World belonged to Dr. Tharoor’s friend, Sunanda Pushkar. What followed was a murky mud-slinging exercise, with allegations of wrongdoing flying on all sides. On one side the union minister was accused of pocketing some money himself, the financial capability of Ms. Pushkar was called into question, the union minister’s involvement was looked upon with suspicion, his friendship with Ms. Pushkar was questioned and just like it takes a pinprick to open up a can of worms, all skeletons came tumbling out of the IPL closet.

The taxmen then stepped up and started scrutinizing the records of the bidding process. The bid documents of two legitimate bidders who lost were interestingly missing. The winning franchise owners were not spared either. Save for a couple of teams like say the Chennai Super Kings with 100% ownership by India Cements, many other teams seemed to have ownership by different entities, some hailing from tax havens like the British Virgin Islands as well! Clearly the IPL had ventured into a lot more than just cricket and unification of the sport.

Dr. Tharoor was asked to step down, since it looked as if the minister was exploiting his governmental powers and the Indian Opposition demanded the same of the ruling coalition. Ms. Pushkar gave up her sweat equity in an attempt to prevent the resignation of the minister. As if that were not enough, the erstwhile BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India) president Mr. Sharad Pawar and his political party were drawn into the controversy. And when accosted, Mr. Pawar, with whose blessings Lalit Modi had started the IPL franchise, had to disown it all. And then, apparently Multi Screen Media (MSM), an arm of Sony Entertainment Television paid all of Rs. 125 crore or 1.25 billion rupees to World Sports Group (WSG) for broadcast rights. This money apparently has flown to several beneficiaries with ‘political connections’.

The controversy keeps getting murkier and different entities and their nefarious interests keep coming to the fore. And while all this is happening, Mumbai Indians take on Chennai Super Kings in a face/off on Sunday – April 25th. Whether that match is interesting or otherwise, the IPL controversy sure makes for interesting early morning coffee time reading!

What does all this mean for me as an Indian? Well, I was exposed to how a business can take shape out of an Indian fan phenomenon. At school, we had a representative of an IPL team come and give us a talk on their business plan and proposition and that was when I realized how an entrepreneur could capitalize on the two things that stoke the Indian imagination – cricket and glamor. The combination came as a masterstroke. And now, with the whole franchise embroiled in controversy, another Indian phenomenon has come to the fore and that is the quintessential C for corruption which nowadays seems to underline every enterprise that plans to take shoot in India. Till the controversy opens itself up, I guess we at least have enough stories as fodder for the media and enough to fill up newsprint. So no matter who wins this battle of who is the most corrupt of them all, the winner most definitely is the media that finally has one of the juiciest Indian story of all time.

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