TIME celebrities

Ed Sheeran Says That His Huge Lion Tattoo Is in Fact Real

Were you fooled into thinking it was fake?

Halfway and ouch

A photo posted by @teddysphotos on

The joke’s on you, Ed Sheeran fans — the 24-year-old pop singer now says that his massive lion tattoo is, in fact, completely real.

Sheeran first posted a picture of a half-finished lion tattoo emblazoned on his chest, meant to honor England’s soccer-team mascot, on Instagram in early August.

Then, early on Wednesday, he posted another picture showing his bare chest, with no lion in sight. He said that the news of the tattoo had always just been an elaborate prank.

Was only joking about the lion

A photo posted by @teddysphotos on

But, trickster that he is, Sheeran then admitted only a few hours later that his alleged prank was in fact, a prank in and of itself. According to his latest Instagram post, the tattoo is still very much there and was only covered up for a TV show.

Only joking, covered it up for a TV show didn't I

A photo posted by @teddysphotos on

His tattoo artist, Kevin Paul, says there’s much more work to be done in the future on the lion tattoo and on many others.

TIME Soccer

‘I’m Clean,’ Says Outgoing FIFA Boss Sepp Blatter

Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia
Dennis Grombkowski—Getty Images FIFA president Sepp Blatter speaks during the preliminary draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg on July 25, 2015

His organization faces a massive graft probe

FIFA’s soon-to-be-ex-president Sepp Blatter, embroiled in a massive investigation into corruption within the governing body of global soccer, said this week that he is “clean.”

“I have my conscience and I know I am an honest man,” he said in an interview with the BBC. “I am not a worried man.”

Blatter has been under investigation since early June in a scandal that has seen 14 FIFA officials indicted for financial irregularities totaling more than $150 million over two and a half decades. He resigned from his post despite having been re-elected for a fifth consecutive presidential term, but will continue to serve as president until a successor is elected early next year.

“I [resigned] because I wanted to protect FIFA,” the 79-year-old told the BBC. “I can protect myself. I am strong enough.”

Read next: These Are the 5 Facts That Explain the FIFA Scandal

The Swiss-led corruption probe is also looking into how hosts for the soccer World Cup were chosen, with the awarding of the quadrennial tournament’s next two editions — in 2018 and 2022 to Russia and Qatar respectively — under particular scrutiny after former FIFA official Chuck Blazer admitted to accepting bribes for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Blatter said he is not “morally responsible” for Blazer and other corrupt officials and told the BBC that the 2010 World Cup “the cleanest World Cup that has ever been done.”

He also defended FIFA, saying the global soccer federation will emerge unscathed from the “tsunami” of allegations.

“The institution is not corrupt,” Blatter said to the BBC. “There is no corruption in football, there is corruption with individuals, it is the people.”

[BBC]

Read next: A South Korean Billionaire Wants to Be FIFA’s Next President

TIME Innovation

Women’s Soccer Is a Feminist Issue

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

This week we’re presenting some of the most interesting ideas from the past year.

1. Women’s soccer is a feminist issue. (From June 16, 2015)

By Maggie Mertens in the Atlantic

2. Time for open-source tractors. (From February 12, 2015)

By Kyle Wiens in Wired

3. America is more afraid of peace than war. (From June 11, 2015)

By Gregory A. Daddis in the National Interest

4. Is it time to start shutting down law schools? (From July 6, 2015)

By Natalie Kitroeff in Bloomberg Business

5. Stop buying food in bulk. (From June 30, 2015)

By Eric Holthaus in Slate

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Soccer

Costa Rica’s Soccer Coach Paulo Wanchope Resigns After a Brawl

Fight happened during a match that Paulo Wanchope claimed was rigged

Paulo Wanchope, the coach for Costa Rica’s national soccer team, quit his position after getting into a fight on Tuesday during an under-23 match in Panama, the Associated Press says.

A video shows Wanchope, visibly agitated, opening a side gate onto the field, then pushing a young boy aside. He then gets into a shoving match with a man in the stands, who, the Guardian reports, was a security guard, after the man tries to restrain him.

Ramon Cardoze, vice president of the Panama Soccer Federation, said Wanchope attempted to get on the field multiple times, claiming to officials that the match was rigged.

On Wednesday, the Costa Rican Soccer Federation released a statement regarding the matter. “The important thing is to ensure the welfare of the team, so I will step aside,” Wanchope said, according to the statement.

Wanchope hasn’t been the Costa Rican team’s coach for long — the former Derby, West Ham and Malaga player was appointed to the post in February after serving as the team’s interim coach during the 2014 World Cup, the Guardian says.

TIME Soccer

Watch Cristiano Ronaldo Walk Out of an Interview After Being Quizzed About FIFA

"I don't care about FIFA"

Cristiano Ronaldo walked out of an interview with CNN Español, after reacting angrily to the interviewer’s line of questioning over the FIFA corruption scandal.

The Real Madrid forward, who was intending to speak to CNNE about a new range of headphones he was launching in the U.S., got irked when interviewer Andrés Oppenheimer asked him whether his teammates ever discussed the crisis at the heart of soccer’s governing body in the locker room, reports CNN.

“You want to know the truth?” the 30-year-old Portuguese soccer star said in Spanish, according to CNN’s translation. “We don’t speak about it at all. I do my profession, my job, I give my all for my club … the rest doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care what happens on the outside.”

When asked what the guys did talk about, Ronaldo said, “music, about women, about fashion, about shoes … about jewelry, about haircuts …”

But when Oppenheimer broached the subject of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Ronaldo wasn’t having any of it and walked out of the interview.

“This is bullsh-t. Speak about FIFA, I don’t care about FIFA. And Qatar … I don’t give a f-ck,” Ronaldo said in English. “What you want me to do? Speak about product, he speaks about FIFA … come on.”

CNN’s English transcript of the interview is here.

[CNN]

TIME Soccer

A South Korean Billionaire Wants to Be FIFA’s Next President

FBL-FIFA-SKOREA-CORRUPTION-BLATTER-CHUNG
Ed Jones—AFP/Getty Images Former FIFA vice president Chung Mong-joon speaks during a press conference in Seoul on June 3, 2015

"We cannot leave FIFA in this kind of disgrace," Chung Mong-joon says

Correction appended, July 31

Chung Mong-joon, a 63-year-old South Korean billionaire who has a controlling stake in the shipbuilding company Hyundai Heavy Industries, says he will throw his hat into the race to replace Sepp Blatter as FIFA’s president.

Blatter, who served five terms as president of the embattled global soccer-governing body, will be replaced in an election slated for February 26, 2016, CNN reports.

Chung has told various news outlets that he will formally announce his candidacy by next week.

He’s up against some pretty well-known names already, according to CNN, including French former soccer star Michel Platini and Brazilian footballer Arthur Antunes Coimbra (popularly known as Zico), who have both confirmed their intentions to run.

Chung does have some football chops, though. He is a former FIFA vice president and also the president of the Korea Football Association (KFA). Under his 17-year stewardship, the KFA increased its budget from $3 million to $100 million, CNN reports.

So far, he has pledged to turn scandal-ridden FIFA around. “It’s not easy, but people don’t want to be part of corruption. They want to be part of the solution,” he told Reuters. “We cannot leave FIFA in this kind of disgrace.”

[CNN]

Correction: The original version of this story and the headline incorrectly described Chung Mong-joon. He is the controlling shareholder of the shipbuilding company Hyundai Heavy Industries.

TIME russia

Putin Says FIFA President Sepp Blatter Worthy of Winning Nobel Prize

Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia
Laurence Griffiths/FIFA&mdashGetty Images FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter shakes hands with Vladimir Putin, President of Russia ahead of the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at The Konstantin Palace on July 25, 2015 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The Russian president does not believe Sepp Blatter is involved in corruption

Vladimir Putin said that FIFA President Sepp Blatter “deserves the Nobel Prize.”

The Russian president spoke favorably of Blatter in an interview with a Swiss broadcaster on Monday, invoking the indictments of other FIFA officials on bribery and fraud charges and saying, “I don’t want to go into details but I don’t believe a word about him being involved in corruption personally,” Reuters reports.

Putin added that Blatter’s fellow “heads of big international sporting federations, or the Olympic Games, deserve special recognition. If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel Prize, it’s those people.”

Russia will host the FIFA World Cup in 2018; by then, Blatter will no longer be president, as he has announced that he will resign when a FIFA Congress elects his successor on Feb. 26, 2016.

 

TIME Soccer

Paraguay Asked to Extradite South American Soccer Official Over FIFA Corruption Charges

CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz speaks during a press conference in Luque, Paraguay, on April 23, 2013.
Norberto Duarte —AFP/Getty Images CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz speaks during a press conference in Luque, Paraguay, on April 23, 2013.

Nicolás Leoz was indicted on charges of racketeering, money laundering and bribery

The U.S. has asked Paraguay to extradite Nicolás Leoz, the former president of South America’s soccer confederation, Conmebol, and a suspect in a huge corruption scandal at the heart of the world soccer’s governing body FIFA.

Leoz, 86, has been under house arrest in the Paraguayan capital, Asunción, since June 1, reports Reuters.

“We have received the documentation from the U.S. embassy and have forwarded it to the Supreme Court,” Juana Núñez, the ministry’s liaison with Paraguay’s justice system, told Reuters. Núñez added that there was no deadline for when authorities must decide on the extradition request.

U.S. prosecutors have indicted 14 soccer officials, including Leoz, as well as businessmen and marketing executives on charges of bribery, racketeering and money laundering.

Leoz was president of Conmebol from 1986 to 2013 and was a former member of FIFA’s executive committee. He was not in Geneva in May when seven FIFA executives were arrested by Swiss police, although he was later detained by Paraguayan authorities.

Leoz has maintained his innocence.

[Reuters]

TIME Soccer

New York Red Bulls Crush English Soccer Giants

Asmir Begovic
Peter Foley—EPA Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic practices before the start of the International Champions Cup friendly soccer match between the New York Red Bulls and English Premier League side Chelsea FC at Red Bulls Stadium in Harrison, N.J., on July 22, 2015.

The final score was 4-2

The New York Red Bulls pulled a stunning victory over English soccer champs Chelsea in the International Champions Cup Wednesday.

With a final score of 4-2, the Red Bulls didn’t take the lead until the 69th minute with a goal by 16-year-old Tyler Adams, the Guardian reports. The American team scored 4 goals in 45 minutes against Chelsea’s new goalie Asmir Begovic in his first appearance with the team.

Incredibly, Chelsea, the Premier League Champions, lost against the Red Bull’s reserve team while its starters rested.

“It was an incredible result for us as a club,” said Red Bulls’ coach Jesse Marsch. “Tyler is finishing high school and is with the Under-17 national team. He is very alert and not afraid. He has a very big future.”

The Red Bulls will play the Portuguese club Benfica Sunday night; Chelsea will play Paris Saint-Germain Saturday night.

Read next: How to Solve the Gender Wage Gap in International Soccer

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TIME society

How to Solve the Gender Wage Gap in International Soccer

The usual go-to explanation of the huge disparities—supply and demand—seems to fall a little short

As I watched the Women’s World Cup final recently with my family, my 11-year-old son, who plays on a local soccer team, remarked that he was amazed at how quickly and how often the U.S. team scored.

“Seriously, Dad, teams don’t just score like that in soccer.”

Of course, he was right. The match set a record for most combined goals scored in a FIFA final for either men or women.

It’s that level of action and excitement that made the game the most-watched soccer event in U.S. history.

The Nielsen overnight rating for the women’s final was 15.2, with more than 25.4 million viewers in the U.S. By comparison, the men’s final last year received a 9.1 Nielsen rating, with 17.3 million viewers. (That US viewers had skin in the game in the women’s final tells only part of the story, but more on that and global viewership later.)

Shortly after the game, however, some took to Twitter to point out a less favorable disparity:

This is a shockingly huge pay gap, and looks even worse when considering that the US men’s team, which lost in the first round last year, earned US$9 million for their efforts.

The usual go-to explanation of such disparities, “it’s all supply and demand,” seems to fall a little short given that the demand (people watching the game) was actually greater for the women’s team than for that of the winning German men’s team, at least in terms of US viewership. But, in fact, this explanation does help in understanding why the gap exists. It also suggests a solution: increase demand.

Where do other sports stand?

The pay gap between the women’s team and men’s team for the FIFA World Cup Finals is significant. The male-female ratio for the payout is 17.5 (men’s pay divided by women’s). That is, men earn $17.50 for every $1 earned by women for winning the championship game. For comparison, see the chart below showing wages and prize money for men versus women for the sports in which men and women have equal or similar representation.

The FIFA ratio is considerably greater than those for the U.S. and British Open golf tournaments, though not quite as large as that of professional basketball – the average NBA player earn 65 times as much as a woman in the WNBA. Tennis, notably, has been awarding men and women equal prize money for years. Wimbledon became the last Grand Slam to do so in 2007.

Where sports revenue comes from

So why are women tennis players paid the same as male players at Wimbledon but not for the FIFA World Cup? The difference comes down to how the sports generate revenue, which does not primarily come from ticket sales, as some believe.

Basketball is a case in point. Walking through the revenue model for an NBA team relative to a WNBA team is revealing. The average NBA team generates 25% to 30% of its total revenue from ticket sales. The lion’s share of revenue comes from local and national broadcast rights. (Here’s a link to the New Jersey Nets’ profit and loss statement – very revealing.)

The current NBA television deal, which provides networks the right to broadcast games during the regular season and gives specific networks rights to broadcast different rounds in the playoffs, is around $930 million, or approximately $31 million per team. Local television deals can add another $25 to $30 million.

The Los Angeles Lakers, for example, reaped $122 million in 2013 selling their local broadcasting rights (and are set to earn much more in coming years), while other marquee teams typically earn $30 million to $40 million.

By contrast, the WNBA in 2012 signed an extension on its national broadcast deal in the amount of $12 million per year (about $1 million per team).

If the local broadcast deal for a WNBA team is similar to its national deal (as is the case with the men), then a women’s team likely generates about $2 million per year in broadcast rights, compared with more than $55 million in the NBA.

The revenue gap makes some sense when considering that the average attendance for a NBA game is 17,000, compared with 7,500 per WNBA game, and that the men play 41 home games a year, compared with 17 for women. In this case, the demand and supply explanation works very well. There is clearly greater demand for NBA games than for WNBA games, and, as a result, revenues are significantly higher, as are the salaries.

Tennis v. soccer

Tennis is a less complex beast. The men and the women (at major tournaments) are playing at the same venue, the broadcasters are purchasing a bundle of programming that includes both men’s and women’s matches, and tickets are priced according to the round in the tournament, the location of the match (marquee matches are played in the premier court relative to the surrounding courts) and the seats within the stadium.

The revenue generated by the tournament is a function of both men and women, so women deserve an equal share. And women have had a terrific advocate in Billie Jean King, who started pushing for equality in tennis nearly four decades ago.

The Women’s World Cup, unfortunately, looks much more like basketball than tennis. FIFA releases annual reports of its financials – income and expenses relating to promoting and running various FIFA events.

Looking back at 2011 (the last time the women played in the World Cup), FIFA reported television revenue of $550 million, of which $537 million was from presales for the 2014 Men’s World Cup. The remaining $13 million in television revenue was generated from the sale of broadcast rights to a variety of FIFA events, including (presumably) the 2011 Women’s World Cup.

If these types of revenue disparities persisted through the 2014 and 2015 Men’s and Women’s World Cups, the television revenues for the 2015 women’s event was a fraction of the $1 billion plus taken in for the 2014 Brazil games. So one could conclude that the payments to the men’s and women’s teams should be proportional to the revenue generated from the individual events.

This might be a good assumption, except that FIFA spends money on events and promotion of soccer throughout the world that have no chance of paying for themselves. And, if we think about an investment or impact, the Women’s World Cup obviously had a nice reach – the final out-drew the men’s final, at least in the U.S.

It is unclear, however, whether the viewership for the Women’s World Cup was larger than that of the men’s outside of the U.S. (FIFA prepares a television audience outreach document after the World Cup; here is the one from 2010).

Americans had good reason to watch their home team compete in the final, and in a similar time zone no less. We can make a few comparisons with the numbers that have been released from other countries.

The television viewership in Canada for the host team’s game against Switzerland in the round of 16 tallied 2.8 million viewers. That compares with 16.7 million in France who watched its men’s team compete against Switzerland in a group stage game in 2014. France’s population is roughly twice that of Canada, yet viewership was more than six times higher.

So perhaps on a global scale, the supply and demand argument works after all. The women were popular in the U.S., but that is only a very small part of the global market (weak market demand will have downward pressure on prices).

FIFA needs to look ahead

FIFA’s reaction to the underpayment controversy was to suggest that the women haven’t earned a bigger paycheck because the women’s tournament has not run as long as the men’s.

That is really a rubbish argument. I have yet to hear a corporate chief financial officer tell a new worker that she or he can’t be paid their value because the job hasn’t been around long enough – if this were true, most chief technology officers would be earning less than the mailroom staff.

Ultimately I believe FIFA is thinking about this all wrong. The organization should be thinking about this as an investment, an avenue to increase participation in women’s soccer across the globe and a mechanism to propel equality between men and women. Consider the impact that FIFA could have if it spent the time and resources promoting the women’s game with the same intensity it uses for the men’s game. Sports is a powerful vehicle for social change.

Although in the past the women’s tournament generated less money for FiFA than the men’s, no business or sports empire can live in the past and expect to be relevant in the future.

Sporting goods companies know this. To continue to survive and make profit, they think ahead and bet their financial futures on promising young athletes who have not proven themselves. And the companies in turn use their power to guarantee (as much as they can guarantee) a return on investment. Under Armour did a deal with the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry before he helped them win the NBA Championship.

The same argument goes for women’s soccer. In the 2015 FIFA World Cup, women’s soccer proved itself. It likely won’t be long before their earning power rivals the men as their popularity grows.

It’s easy to make an argument about the social justice of equal pay. But if that’s not enough for FIFA, the group would do well to simply think ahead, pursue its self-interest and follow the age-old mantra: “Don’t be stupid.”

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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