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from Breakingviews:

Spexit comes two years late

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

The unthinkable has happened. Spain stayed in the euro but exited the World Cup in the early group stages. The negative correlation with the economy is striking. Spain’s national side has modernised less rapidly than its economic policy in recent years.

The shock exit from the soccer tournament after two consecutive defeats in the group stages is ignominious - reigning champions rarely do quite so badly. The poor showing ends a six-year winning streak in international competitions.

Spain’s golden age in soccer began just as the country was succumbing to a prolonged financial crisis. When the country won the World Cup in 2010, commentators even wondered whether success on the pitch would mark a turning point in the economy. An ABN Amro study suggested victory could boost the winner’s GDP by 0.7 percent. Others predicted a big boost to tourism. In fact, winning wasn’t enough to pull Spain out of the recession that year, nor in 2012 when it won the European cup amid “Spanic” about “Spexit” – Spain’s possible exit from the euro.

from Felix Salmon:

Bad investment of the day, Fantex edition

Now that the ban on general solicitation is over, all manner of weird companies are emerging from the nether regions of the internet, trying to persuade people to part with their money in return for a nominal stake in some unlikely investment. One of the glossiest of these new companies is Fantex, which just filed a prospectus for its first athlete-IPO.

Fantex couldn't have hoped for better press: the NYT covered the story in its Venture Capital section, under the headline "If You Like a Star Athlete, Now You Can Buy a Share". ESPN, meanwhile, went with "Fantex to offer Arian Foster stock", while USA Today opted for "Want to invest in NFL's Arian Foster? Here's a chance". Which just says to me that none of the journalists actually read and understood Fantex's S-1.

from Breakingviews:

Li Ning hits gruelling part of TPG fitness plan

By John Foley

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Most fitness plans come down to two things: burning fat and building muscle. Li Ning has managed the first, but not yet the second. In the first half of 2013 the Chinese sportswear brand closed stores and shed inventory, narrowing its operating losses to 39 million yuan ($6.3 million). But Li Ning has yet to prove it can follow this up with sustainable top-line growth.

from The Human Impact:

Could there be another female F1 driver? Susie Wolff thinks so

When Susie Wolff first got behind the wheel of a race cart as a young girl, the experience didn’t give her the thrills.

"My first time out on the race track, I remember carts flying past me - much quicker - and this little boy - really aggressive - hitting me as I was going past," she said.

from Breakingviews:

Bayern’s profits shine in fickle football economy

By Olaf Storbeck

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

In the mid 60s, the executives of a minuscule football club from southern Germany, Bayern Munich, travelled north to Cologne to visit the country’s most successful team. They wanted to learn how to run a professional sports club. And learn they did. Bayern has dominated the Bundesliga, Germany’s professional league, ever since.

from Photographers' Blog:

When baseballs attack

By Darryl Webb

"I was really glad I saw it coming."

I know that statement above sounds a little confusing so allow me to explain.

I don't know how many professional sporting events I've covered in the last 20 years. Let's just say it's been a lot and in all that time I've never been hurt. There have been a couple of close calls here and there, but nothing serious until earlier this week.

Had I not seen this sphere coming toward me at a blistering speed, the end result could have been a lot worse. I'm not saying it would have been as bad as Sports Illustrated's photographer John Iacono, who was hit by an overthrown ball in 1999, shattering his jaw which resulted in two titanium plates, some wire mess and something like 20 screws. But it definitely would have been worse than a headache, a bump on the head and two hours spent at Urgent Care.

from The Human Impact:

A refugee, an amputee, a marathon runner: Abdifatah’s story

Abdifatah Dhuhulow takes a break from some training in London’s Hyde Park, February 17, 2012. ALERTNET/Shanshan Chen

For someone who struggles to run a few metres before collapsing with a stitch, I'm constantly amazed by the skill of long-distance runners, and used to think crossing the finishing line of a marathon was the height of physical achievement -- until meeting Abdifatah Dhuhulow.

from Breakingviews:

BRICs raise relegation risk for European soccer

By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Global wealth is shifting south and east and the world’s best soccer players appear to be following. Nicolas Anelka is on his way from Chelsea, the top-flight London club, to Shanghai. Samuel Eto’o, meanwhile, is heading to the Russian North Caucasus region, having starred for Internazionale of Milan and a Barcelona side which is one of the finest to grace the stadiums of western Europe.

from Breakingviews:

Don’t boo U.S. football’s zero-coupon perpetuals

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The Green Bay Packers are on some kind of streak. The venerable U.S. football team has followed up last year’s Super Bowl victory with 12 consecutive wins to start this season. It is now parlaying the local exuberance into an unconventional investment achievement.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Signs that you made a dumb career move

Blog Guy, your career advice is very useful, especially your tips on possible indicators that we may have taken the wrong career path at some point. Thanks to your last one, my brother got out of the bee-wearing profession.

Thanks. Here's a tip that a surprising number of young urban professionals tend to overlook, what with their busy schedules.

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