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The League’s Online Hegemony, Nationwide Nike 5-a-side tournament

So some of you may be busy getting all mushy with your Valentine, trust me to spend Feb 14th with my brand new Bose Headphones and a new DirecTV install. Who cares about a day created strategically between New Year’s and Easter to boost consumer spending? Oh the couples in love I guess. Not that I’m bitter, it’s just that I don’t feel there’s a point for having a day created especially for celebrating your love when you can do it pretty much throughout the year on a spontaneous basis. Oh well, that’s my opinion.

Anyway, this may be non-United news but is nonetheless relevant in the context of the Premier League and online content creation.

Most of you may have heard of the Offside — a well visited football blog that’s grown so big that it’s got individual blogs for clubs that reside in every nook and cranny of the world, let alone England.

They just got served a notice to take down the club crest logos used to designate the individual club pages on their site, citing copyright violation. Net Result, a company that has in the past come after this very site — for posting Manchester United fixtures [yes, apparently it’s illegal to post Premier League fixtures on a site without “paying for that right”] — our sister site, Soccerlens and countless other blogs, are at the forefront of this bird brained exercise in anti-goodwill. True, copyright is one thing; there’s good reason why clubs may be concerned about people selling counterfeit merchandise with the clubs crest on it. But requesting blogs to take down club crests is downright ridiculous and shows a clear lack of common sense while going after protection of intellectual property.

The Offside has this to say[read more here]:

While football fans see football crests as a helpful way of identifying football teams, Football Data Co (the Premier League’s licensing arm) sees football crests as a way to make money.

We could understand the legal takedown notice if we were profiteering from club crests by selling counterfeit Arsenal shirts or dodgy Man Utd dog food bowls. But we’re not. We use club crests the way they were originally intended: to identify teams.

And for the Premier League to prevent us doing that is not only comically tyrannical, it’s extremely short-sighted too.

You can read more on this in the following links:

1. The Offside
2. Brian Phillips on the Run of Play
3. Ahmed Bilal on Football Media.

Moving on, most of you might have seen the kid nutmegging Rooney video that’s out on many blogs and news sites. If you haven’t, here you go. But here I can share a bit of a back ground on it thanks to the people who approached me to spread the word. This video is a part of an upcoming Nike commercial that launches a nationwide Nike Five contest for an 5-a-side tournament, dedicated to giving urban footballers a stage to showcase their skills.

The way UK based people can enter it is by signing up via and creating their own profiles, selecting team mates (if I’m not mistaken) and mentioning the area where they live and play. Through March and April there will be 16,000 people competing which, by process of elimination, leads to city finals which in turn lead to a national cup final. So those interested watch this space for updates on it.

Finally, there’s an FA Cup game tomorrow. I will put up a preview for it later in the day and tomorrow, hopefully there’ll be a live blog.