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"Europe or South America – which continent has made the greater impact on the World Cup?"
Date:
May 2010
Venue:
Stamford Bridge
Sponsor:
Pricewaterhouse Coopers

On the panel were:

Mark Pougatch
Radio 5 presenter and journalist
Gabriele Marcotti
Radio 5 presenter and journalist
Ricky Villa
Professional footballer and Coach, World Cup Winner 1978
Neil Barnett
Sports Journalist, TV presenter and Writer
See the stats

Event photos

The debate

The Sport Court took over the Hollins Suite at the famous Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club to discuss “Europe or South America – which continent has made the greater impact on the World Cup?” Mark Pougatch, teamed up with fellow colleague at Radio 5 and journalist to reason the case for Europe, up against Neil Barnett, journalist, writer and host of Chelsea TV, with World Cup winner and football legend Ricky Villa.

The tone and context was set by a film of great World Cup goals and memories. Mark Pougatch opened the debate with an eloquent examination of World Cup semi finals to support his proposition that Europe offers diversity opposed to South America with only two powerhouses Argentina and Brazil.

Spurs legend Ricky Villa charmed us with his whimsy and romance. Sure South America was disorganised he said but in that there was a creativity and desire to entertain. His continent represented the beautiful game.

Gabriel Marcotti argued persuasively that Europe was a melting pot for all the footballing world, the crucible of sophistication to which South America could not aspire.

Neil Barnett argued passionately that Europe was yet to host a great World Cup. In his leather hat swaying in front of the audience as he developed his argument World Cup by World Cup, he cut quite a dash.

At the interval Garth announced the prevote as 61% South America, 30% Europe and 9% abstained. During the debate, the Europeans won the uncommitted but it still finished 60:40 to South America in the final vote. Chairman Crooks carefully summarised each argument and directed the questions and answers from the courtiers. Pele was chosen as the greatest World Cup player of all with Diego Maradona and Bobby Moore joint runners up.

From our viewpoint, that of our hosts PricewaterhouseCoopers and the feedback of our guests our debate was a great success. A big ‘thank you’ to Amy Horrocks and her team at PWC and Patricia Baldeweck at Chelsea-their industry on the night matched by their unflappable good humour. The uniform feedback reference to “excellent” for organisation was well merited.

Finally praise to the facilities and catering of Chelsea who provided the venue for a memorable Sport Court.

The stats

The final votes

South America - 60%

Europe - 40%

Pele was chosen as the greatest World Cup player of all with Diego Maradona and Bobby Moore joint runners up.

South America 60%
Europe 40%
Ricky Villa “ It’s not about statistics, it’s about quality. We play football for people to enjoy! ”
Mark Pougatch “ Nine World Cups each so look at the semi finals. The European Challenge is all about strength and depth. ”

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