Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Photographers' Blog:

Russia’s hooligans

By Maxim Shemetov

Photographing a soccer match for the first time, I realized that shooting the fans can be more interesting than covering the game itself.

We all keep up with the destinies of football clubs and the careers of soccer players. There are many parts to soccer life, however, that rarely appear on TV and on the front pages of newspapers. It's the life of people absorbed by the game - those inspiring exciting games, TV translations, as well as the construction of new stadiums.

Fan life is inseparable from the game itself, but there are certain aspects to soccer-fan culture that are rarely talked about. It's a quiet closed-off world with its own unwritten rules and laws, concepts of respect and dignity. The community is very picky about who it lets inside. The fan culture is aggressive and resembles that of medieval knights at first sight. Physical power, fighting skills and determination in battle are often attributes of soccer fans.

The world of fans, outside of ordinary team supporters, can be divided into two main categories: "ultras" (those arranging performances and focused on supporting the team in the dedicated area in the stadium) and "hooligans" (those fighting for their club with fans of other soccer teams). As a rule, the fan movement consists of a combination of such groups, competing against each other for authority.

from Photographers' Blog:

Saving the Canon 400mm f2.8

By Murad Sezer

All photographers make plans to deal with possible clashes. They are ready to protect themselves and their equipment when covering a potential riot (or a May Day demonstration as I did a few days earlier). But you don’t expect to be doing that before a soccer match, or any other sports events.

While covering the May Day protests I don't carry a camera bag or a laptop. I head out with my two camera bodies, spare memory cards, a gas mask and a wireless lan transmitter attached to the camera body to file my pictures - that’s all.. It's more comfortable and easy to cover if any riots break out. But to cover a soccer match is a different story. If it's a cup final or a decisive match like last Saturday's Fenerbahce - Galatasaray Turkish Super League Super Final, we bring along much more equipment. I pack a hardcase with a laptop, 3 camera bodies, four lenses including a 400 mm f2.8 super telephoto, remote control devices to set up a camera behind the goal, network cables, a mini tripod etc. And usually we don't even think about the safety of ourselves or our equipment. Normally during half time or at the end of the game we set our cameras down and rush to file pictures from the field or in the photographers’ working room.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

FIFA takes agenda by scruff of the snood

SOCCER-ENGLAND/There will be a lot of fashion-conscious footballers holding their breath for item “V.1.b” at the International Football Association Board’s annual meeting next month.

Forget goal-line technology and positioning of goal posts and the other very sensible items on the agenda, the one sure to get a few people rather hot under the collar is the “wearing of snoods” – those snugly neck warmers much loved by the likes of Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri.

The Lineman’s NFL picks — Still backing the Pack

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NFL/That was another great football weekend made all the more exciting for the Lineman by going a very respectable 3-1. Only two games this week and both look like crackers. Enjoy.

Playoffs: 5-3. Pick of the Week 1-1.

Last week: 3-1

Regular Season Record: 53-49

PICK OF THE WEEK:

Green Bay Packers (12-6) at Chicago Bears (12-5) (Line Packers minus-3.5): I backed the Pack to get to the Super Bowl when the season started and there is no reason to slip off the Green Bay bandwagon now.

The Lineman’s NFL picks — classics on the cards

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NFL/The Lineman is only sure of one thing this weekend and that is that football fans are in for a real treat with all four games shaping up as potential classics.

It was a rough ride for home teams last weekend with only the Seattle Seahawks surviving and who says you need an elite quarterback to win in the playoffs.

The Lineman’s NFL playoff picks — Saints march on

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NFL/Well, the Lineman sneaks into the playoffs with a solid but unspectacular finish to the regular season. OK, so we were not the New England Patriots of predictions but neither were we the Seattle Seahawks.

But this is the start of the real season, when things really count. Super Bowl here we come.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Beckham’s value is his values

SOCCER-MLS/Harry Redknapp does not need a right-sided midfield player and, with the depth of talent regularly available on his bench, he hardly needs to bolster his squad with a three-month loan signing.

Yet he, and several other Premier League managers, are trying to secure the services of 35-year-old David Beckham.

The Lineman’s NFL picks

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NFL/Big shout out to all those who came through with Christmas gift picks last week, especially the G-Man, Fine Tooner and the Bark with big wins.

But here we are in the final week of the season and the Lineman is going it alone.

The Lineman’s NFL picks — week 14

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NFL/Tis the season, to be jolly and a 4-2 Week 13 has put the Lineman in the holiday spirit, The Lineman is also feeling pretty good about Week 14 because it looks like there are a few gifts. So in the spirit of giving, here are Week 14′s winners.

Record: 39-39.

Last week: 4-2. Pick of the Week: 6-7

PICK OF THE WEEK:

Atlanta Falcons (10-2) at Carolina Panthers (11-1) (Line Falcons minus-7.5): The Falcons share the best record in the NFL, the Panthers own the worst.

The Lineman’s NFL picks — week 13

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NFL/Another tough week made tougher by losing two games by a half-point each. Ouch.

If you believe in such things, this should be unlucky Week 13 but with the results last week, my luck cannot be any worse this Sunday.

Record: 35-37.

Last week: 2-4. Pick of the Week: 5-7

PICK OF THE WEEK:

Chicago Bears (8-3) at Detroit Lions (2-9) (Line Bears minus-3.5): The Bears have come out of their mid-season hibernation stringing together four straight wins, including last week’s impressive decision over the high-flying Eagles.

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