Face-to-face with football's most notorious match fixer
Convicted football match fixer Wilson Raj Perumal faced up to CNN's Don Riddell in his first television interview.
August 27th, 2014
11:46 AM ET

Face-to-face with football's most notorious match fixer

He says he never wanted to be famous; he just wanted a piece of the action.

He says he’s not a real criminal, yet he’s spent more than 10 years in jail.

He says football is a beautiful sport, but he represents the single-biggest threat to the integrity of the professional game.

Wilson Raj Perumal is known as the world’s most prolific match-fixer, and I’m sitting face-to-face with him in the capital of Hungary, Budapest. It’s the first time he’s ever been interviewed on television. FULL POST

How the U.S. learned to love soccer
USA fans in Chicago watch their team's World Cup game against Portugal.
June 26th, 2014
10:35 AM ET

How the U.S. learned to love soccer

As an England football fan, I’m well used to the national mood swings that ebb and flow with the fortunes of my country’s team at major tournaments. For a youthful supporter in 1990 and 1996, glorious semi-final runs have defined my recollections of those entire summers.

Equally, the catastrophic capitulation to Germany in 2010 and numerous penalty shootout fiascos are recalled much less fondly.

Either way, something I had usually taken for granted was that every few years I could expect the England team to compete on a major international stage and - for a few weeks - it felt like the whole country was in it together.

Win or lose and whether the failure was triumphant or abject, there was always something comforting about the collective, patriotic experience.

Having moved to the United States a couple of years ago, it quickly struck me that American sports fans have never experienced anything like it. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football • World Sport Analysis
Hillsborough disaster: 25th anniversary
April 14th, 2014
02:22 PM ET

Will Hillsborough scars ever heal?

For British football fans in the spring of 1989, it was our JFK moment.

Every one of us remembers exactly where we were and what we were doing on April 15, when we learned that over 90 Liverpool supporters had been crushed to death at an FA Cup semifinal. Along with many others across the country, I was listening to the game on the radio, quickly switching on the television to watch a disaster unfold in front of me.

This was a time before the Premier League, before the massive investment in all-seater stadia; football was very different back then.

Anyone who'd stood on a terrace and been herded like cattle into and out of a stadium could relate to what those fans must have gone through. Most of the time, standing behind the goal at a first division game was a lot of fun, the crowd ebbed and flowed with the action on the field, a crowd that was a vibrant, living entity and you were thrilled to be a part of it. FULL POST

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Postcard from America: U.S. sport leads by example in anti-homophobia fight
Michael Sam's agent Cameron Weiss says the NFL has been "amazing" since the defensive end came out.
March 17th, 2014
11:05 AM ET

Postcard from America: U.S. sport leads by example in anti-homophobia fight

These are seminal times in the United States. In the space of just a year, the landscape of professional sports here has been transformed with the emergence of three openly gay athletes.

Robbie Rogers, who now plays for the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer, broke the mould, before Jason Collins became the first openly gay player in any of the four major U.S. sports.

The 35-year-old Collins was only signed on a 10 day contract by the Brooklyn Nets (subsequently signing for another 10 days) but the impact was huge.

So think what it will be like if Michael Sam joins the NFL. Sam is a defensive end and has just completed his education at the University of Missouri –if he’s drafted in May, he’d become the first active NFL player to have declared his homosexuality publicly.

In the macho world of testosterone-fuelled locker-rooms, homosexuality is seen as the last taboo.

FULL POST

On the road
January 16th, 2014
01:12 PM ET

Postcard from America: Does sport need a soundtrack?

Tickets to the big games aren’t cheap these days, and since the teams you’re paying to see can’t guarantee a winning performance – or even a decent one – they try at least to give you value for money.

In the U.S. they try harder than anywhere, and as such it sometimes feels as though you’re at a pop concert, tapping along with your foot as the buckets drop and the goals fly in. Sport and music are big players in the global entertainment industry, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they work together.

On our high-definition televisions, sports highlights are often packaged up and edited to the beats of the day, and somehow they seem even better with a soundtrack. FULL POST

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Filed under:  U.S. Sport
January 7th, 2014
10:55 AM ET

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Filed under:  U.S. Sport
What was the biggest sports story of 2013?
December 17th, 2013
04:26 PM ET

What was the biggest sports story of 2013?

From the heights of achievement to the despair of fallen idols, it has been a game of two halves for sport in 2013.

Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Serena Williams led the way on the tennis court, but sports fans saw heroes such as Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius taint their considerable legacies beyond redemption.

Then there was a farewell to one of the giants of football, Alex Ferguson, who left behind a wealth of memories not just for supporters of his club Manchester United but for the beautiful game as a whole - which has suffered through controversies over corruption and future World Cups.

So what was your top sporting story of 2013? CNN's World Sport anchors share  their leading selections below, and we'd like to hear your opinions too. FULL POST

Postcard from America: Jurgen Klinsmann's U.S. World Cup mission
CNN's Don Riddell with German football legend Jurgen Klinsmann, now coach of the U.S. national team.
December 13th, 2013
11:23 AM ET

Postcard from America: Jurgen Klinsmann's U.S. World Cup mission

It’s always fun trying to explain European soccer to an American who has been raised solely on a diet of football and baseball. The concept of promotion and relegation is totally alien to them, as is the notion that one team can play in up to four different “league-type” competitions every season.

A mate of mine used to play in the NFL and we recently spent a whole lunch working through such matters before we arrived at the notion of international matches. The fact that a player could effectively be two-timing his main employer by also turning out for his country blew his mind.

I struggled to explain how those national teams would be made up and the only way he could get his head around it was to think of them as “All-Star” line-ups. FULL POST

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Filed under:  Football
December 9th, 2013
04:42 PM ET

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Filed under:  Olympics
December 7th, 2013
04:36 PM ET

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