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England's Golden Age is off, not on the Field

Can the golden age of English soccer off the field be matched by success on it? England has the most lucrative soccer league in the world, some of the world's best stadiums, most ardent fans, and most recognizable players, and yet, England and English teams haven't won much of anything when it comes to international competitions.

One reason for the lack of success on the field, says the Telegraph's David Davies, has been the divide between the country's soccer organizations -- the Football Association, the Premier League and the Football League, which have all done "their own thing." The EPL is all about the money that continues to roll in from foreign investors and astronomical TV deals while the FA continues to drag its heels behind the league's success. Even the once-prestigious FA Cup has lost significance among the Premiership's top clubs. The result Davies says is a sort of lost generation, representing a missed opportunity.

Sure, England sent three teams to the Champions League semifinals, yet the fourth, AC Milan of Italy, won the competition. Meanwhile, the national team has been dumped out of the quarterfinals now in its past three major international tournaments -- a poor record for a country that considers itself one of the sport's greats. What about the future of England's academies, the release of players for internationals, and the compensation to clubs when players are injured on national team duty? All of these things need to be ironed out to guarantee a successful run to a major international championship, Davies says, adding that the recent past has been marked by a begrudging compromise with little commitment to an overarching national team goal.

Read the whole story at Telegraph »

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