Opinion: England faces economic hit following Euro failure

December 13, 2007 — by Tim Tsai

By Tim Tsai

In the wake of the English national soccer team's disastrous failure to qualify for the UEFA European Soccer Championship, the British economy is predicting a loss of up to two billion pounds, the equivalent of over four billion US dollars.

Not only have soccer fans around the world been deprived of watching one of the world's powerhouse soccer teams play in the European Championships but also the tremendous hit to the British economy proves that sports hold a remarkable influence on the welfare of a country.

Professor Chadwick at the Coventry Business School predicts not only a drop in the sales in sports pubs and athletic apparel, but also in the overall worker morale around the country. According to Chadwick, the worker morale and efficiency of the country dramatically increases as the nation's soccer team progresses in major tournaments. He cites this effect as the "feel good factor."

The English national soccer team was seen as a favorite to compete for the championship in Vienna, but their loss to Croatia on Nov. 22 ended the country's dreams of a European Championship.

With soccer's almost religious hold on sports fans outside the U.S., it is hardly surprising that the failure of soccer's founding country to qualify for the largest competition in Europe should lead to such a large financial hit on the economy.

England's inability to qualify for the tournament should not only worry the Football Association, the governing soccer body in England but also the country's government. The European Championships and the World Cup are tremendous earners for the country, and due to England's precarious position in the soccer world, a failure to reach the World Cup is now real issue. If the "Three Lions" fail to qualify for the largest sporting event in the world two years from now in South Africa, there will surely be another dramatic drop in the British economy.

Ultimately, the final blame rests on the players and coaches of the English National team. For the rest of the world, soccer is almost a matter of life and death, and for England, which boasts the most competitive and most watched league in the world, the English Premier league which garners over 600 million viewers every week, failure to qualify for the European Championships is simply unacceptable. It would be analogous to the world champion Boston Red Sox losing to a minor league baseball team.

If the English National soccer team does not get its act together and start winning games, it will affect England's economy and the world's faith in a perennial powerhouse. And to the delirious soccer fans around the globe, continued failures to meet expectations is simply unthinkable.

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