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Just as many fans have been grudgingly coming to terms with football’s new reality, Qatar Sports Investments shelled out the £198m to transfer Neymar from Barcelona. This hardly came as a surprise. Neymar is a phenomenal talent. But it is important to understand what lies behind this: governments from across Asia have been targeting football for some time as a means of building their global soft power and boosting their images.
Doha-based beIN Sports, a successor to the Al Jazeera Sports network, has been a mainstay in the homes of many football-loving Arabs. [...] However, the political dispute between Qatar and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in June opened the door for other Arab networks to challenge beIN’s stranglehold on sports broadcasts.
Blind football represents hope and belonging for Egypt's one million visually impaired. [...] Globally, blind football's star is rising rapidly. Since the 1980s, when the first five-a-side national championships took place in Brazil and Spain, the sport has spread to dozens of countries. In 1997, Europe and North America held the first continental championships, followed by the first blind football world championship a year later. In 2004, it became a summer Paralympic sport.
Harnessing young people's enthusiasm for football and sports in general is a useful and interesting way to offer opportunities for personal and professional growth, said Rubem Cesar Fernandes, executive director of Viva Rio, a Brazilian NGO focusing on development through innovative projects. [...] Viva Rio has established the Black Pearls Academy, a high-performance football training centre for young athletes from refugee and underprivileged communities in Brazil and Haiti.
U.S. football players visit Israel while Budweiser highlights immigration during the Super Bowl
During the visit, the players will hold an exhibition game together with players from the Israeli Football Association on February 18 in Jerusalem. Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister Gilad Erdan expressed hope the visit would offer the players “a balanced picture of Israel, the opposite from the false incitement campaign that is being waged against Israel around the world.”
A delegation of NFL players will arrive in Israel next week as part of a campaign to showcase the country's "true face" to the world, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced on Sunday. The delegation will arrive next Monday as part of a joint initiative between the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, also headed by Erdan, and the Tourism Ministry.