Ireland and France are paired in one of the four European playoffs for a 2010 World Cup berth.
I'm keen to find out what's going on, so I've been poking around the Web sites of Ireland's leading newspapers, looking for what they have ... and not seeing much.
So, I then went to France's well-known sports newspaper, "L'Equipe." And it has some news about the upcoming matches -- at Ireland on Nov. 14, in Paris on Nov. 18.
The problem being ... it's in French. Which I don't actually speak.
Anyway, there appears to be issues about TV rights for showing these matches. Which will create a lot of consternation on both sides of the English Channel ... if it doesn't work out. It may not be shown, is what I take. And the issue appears to be the second leg. Showing it back to England and Ireland, that is.
Anyway, some of you might find it amusing to see the French text ... and then the English translation through "translate.google.com
Here are the two versions.
"Décidément, rien n'est simple pour la diffusion du barrage entre la France et l'Irlande des 14 et 18 novembre. Pour le match aller en Irlande, M6 avait acquis les droits de retransmission au nez et à la barbe de TF1 en négociant en direct avec une petite agence outre-Manche pour 5 millions d'euros. Selon Le Parisien, mercredi, c'est au tour de la FFF de faire monter les enchères pour la diffusion en Grande-Bretagne du match retour.
"Selon le journal, la Fédération, propriétaire des droits de diffusion des Bleus à domicile, a mis à prix la rencontre du Stade de France à 1,5 millions d'euros. Problème, les offres cumulées du bouquet payant Sky et de la chaîne nationale irlandaise RTE atteignent pour l'instant à peine 600.000 euros. Si la FFF n'assouplit pas sa position, les Britanniques seront privés du match retour... et la Fédération d'une rentrée d'argent non négligeable."
OK, and now the "translate.google.com" translation.
"Really, nothing is simple for the dissemination of the dam between France and Ireland on 14 and 18 November. For the first leg in Ireland, M6 had acquired the broadcasting rights to the nose and beard of TF1 by negotiating directly with a small agency for the Channel 5 million euros. According to Le Parisien on Wednesday, it was the turn of the FFF to raise the stakes for distribution in Britain's second leg.
"The newspaper said the Federation, which owns the broadcasting rights of the Blues at home, put a price on the encounter at the Stade de France 1.5 million. Problem, offers the combined Sky pay-TV bouquet and the Irish national broadcaster RTE reach for now just 600,000 euros. If the FFF does not relax its position, the British will be deprived of leg ... and the Federation of money coming significant."
Clearly, that "nose and beard" thing is a French idiom. It seems to have to do with somebody stealing the rights from under the nose of somebody else.
Anyway, the point of this whole exercise is to demonstrate how difficult it is to gather information on a global sport when it is reported in so many languages. In this case, only French and English.
One of the four playoffs is between Greece and Ukraine. I don't even want to go there. Yes, it would all be Greek to me. Except for the part that would be Russian.