Thursday, May 26, 2005

'Champions League' Win Leaves Authorities Red Faced

English football club Liverpool won UEFA's so-called Champions League competition last night - the highest honour a league club can achieve. The victory, in a penalty shoot-out after a thrilling 3-3 draw with AC Milan, was the fifth time that Liverpool have won Europe's top trophy. They now get to keep a replica of the famous trophy cup in recognition of their achievement.

While the actual trophy - one of the largest major sporting trophy cups - has remained the same, the format of the competition has changed over the years. Liverpool's four previous titles were achieved in a two-leg knockout competition that involved only the league champions of each of the European countries taking part. Under that format, the current holders of the trophy were eligible to compete in the competition the following season. In 1992 UEFA changed the format and name of the competition, launching the misnamed 'Champions League'. This competition involved not just the domestic league champions from each country, but also the runners-up and, in the case of the more successful countries, the third and even fourth-placed teams. This entry of non-champions, along with the introduction of group stages, helped ensure that the bigger, more popular and more televisually appealing teams were given more chances to qualify and progress. These moves have helped contribute to the current problem faced by organisers UEFA and by the English FA - the new champions are not eligible to defend their title next season. The reason for this is that the top four teams in the English Premiership qualify for the next season's 'Champions' League competition, and Liverpool finished fifth. UEFA say that the decision to allow the top four league teams to enter the 'Champions' League is up to the national authority, in England's case the FA. The FA say that the rules for selection were decided at the start of the season, and they cannot change them now to allow the real European champions, Liverpool, to take part in the so-called Champions League. This embarassing situation has arisen due to the authorities' tinkering with the format of the competition in a bid to satisfy the powerful big clubs and television companies. Unfortunately it has now devalued this showpiece event and award.

Speaking after the victory, Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez said: "It's quite unbelievable to even consider that a side who will play in the European Super Cup as well as the World Club Championship next season should not be allowed back into the Champions League." He continued: "We have won the trophy. It is common sense that the winner should defend the title." Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry said: "I think we have to be given a shot. We are worthy champions and I think that's what the world will say."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Photographers Honoured at Picture Editors' Awards

The 12th annual Picture Editors' Awards were held at London's Guildhall last night, with photographers from the regional and national press and agencies all vying for honours. The event was hosted by the Corporation of London and the awards presented by Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer. The awards seek to recognise and reward excellence in photographic journalism throughout the British Isles. Winners are selected by a ballot of picture editors from the UK and Ireland, and this year's awards were judged from almost 9,000 images submitted from over 1,400 individual entries.

Headline sponsors for the 2005 Picture Editors' Awards include BG Group, Getty Images, Nikon UK and Diageo. BG Group sponsored four awards: Group Photographer of the Year; Group Magazine Photographer of the Year; Group Student Award; and Group News Photographer of the Year. Getty Images sponsored two headline awards, the Regional Photographer of the Year award and the Royal Photographer of the Year award. Nikon UK sponsored five awards: Sports Photographer of the Year; Photographer of the Year - Local Newspapers; Photo-Essay Award; Celebrity Photographer of the Year; and Sports Picture of the Year. Diageo sponsored the Young Photographer of the Year award and also - in a creative fit with the brand - the Guinness Black and White Photographer of the Year award.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Rake of Trophies Awarded for Major Events

It was a bumper weekend of major sporting events in the UK, with the destination of several famous trophies being decided. In England the FA Cup was won by Arsenal after a penalty shoot-out, the first time in the history of this famous competition that the final has been decided on penalties. Penalties were also required to decide the FA Trophy at Villa Park on Sunday. This competition, run by the English FA and sponsored by Carlsberg, is a knock-out competition for non-league clubs in England and Wales. Meanwhile in Scotland the Scottish Premier League, sponsored by Bank of Scotland, was won in dramatic style by Rangers. 2004 winners Celtic were two minutes away from retaining their title before conceding two late goals to hand the title to Glasgow rivals Rangers.

Another title was also decided in Scotland on Sunday when French rugby union side Stade Toulousain won the Heineken Cup at Murrayfield, Edinburgh. The extra-time victory over Stade Francais gave Toulouse their third European title. The Heineken Cup was first contested in the 1995-96 season as the first pan-European club rugby competition. It is operated by ERC (formerly European Rugby Cup Limited) who also run the European Challenge Cup competition.

Over in Ireland the Nissan Irish Open golf competition was won by Welshman Stephen Dodd after a play-off with David Howell. It was Howell's second play-off loss in a week, after he lost to Thomas Bjorn in last week's British Masters. The Irish Open event, hosted at Carton House Golf Club for the first time, was moved to a new date this year in a bid to attract more top level players. This European Tour event was held a week after the British Masters and a week before the PGA Championship is to be hosted by Wentworth in England. The change of date seems to have worked well for the event and shows how hard event organisers have to work to maximise the standing and attractiveness of sporting tournaments and events.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Daytime Emmy Awards Announced

The winners of the Daytime Emmy Awards, the US-based honours for daytime television production, have been announced. The 32nd annual awards were presented at Radio City Music Hall in New York and were televised on CBS. The awards recognise some 58 categories and winners are selected from over 5,000 entries. This year's big winners were Ellen DeGeneres, who won Best Talk Show Host for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which also won Best Talk Show. Long running show Jeopardy! was awarded Best Game Show, the 10th time it has won the award since first screening in the 1960s.

Meanwhile another major awards event is in preparation in the USA. The line-up for the MTV Movie Awards has been announced, with Mariah Carey and Eminem lined up to perform at the June 4 event. The awards, which will be hosted in Los Angeles, will include presentations by Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Hilary Duff, Samuel L. Jackson and Julian McMahon.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Oldest FA Cup Trophy Sold At Auction

The oldest trophy for the FA Cup, one of the best known competitions in football, was sold at auction this week. The silver trophy was presented to the winning team in the English knockout competition between the years 1898 and 1910. It was sold for £420,000 at Christie's in London, a world record amount for football memorabilia. The price, which was actually over £478,000 when sale premiums were added, beat the previous record of £254,000 which was paid for the Jules Rimet World Cup trophy in 1997. The record-breaking trophy is one of four trophies used during the history of the FA Cup competition. The original trophy, used at the beginning of the competition in 1871, was stolen from a shop window and is believed to have been melted down. The 1898 trophy was made as a replacement for the stolen trophy. In 1909 the English Football Association decided to replace the 1898 trophy after holders Manchester United made a replica and the FA realised that it did not hold the copyright in the trophy.

Also on sale at the Christie's football memorabilia auction was the World Cup winner's medal of Alan Ball, which reached a world record price of £140,000 (£164,800 with premium).

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

40th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards

The 40th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards were held this week at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, USA. The event was broadcast live on CBS television. The Academy was founded in 1964 to promote country music in the western 13 states of the US, and held its first music awards show in 1965. Three years later it introduced the signature 'hat' style trophy for its awards, a motif that continues to this day. The 2005 awards were selected by some 3,000 members of the California-based Academy. Among the winners were Kenny Chesney, who won Entertainer of the Year Award, and Keith Urban won Top Male Vocalist and also Best Album. Other honours included Best Video and Best Vocal Event, both of which went to Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss for their duet Whiskley Lullaby.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

End of Season Football Awards Continue

With the end of the 2004-5 football season coming to a finale in Europe, the end-of-season awards continue. In England, the League Managers Association has announced its Manager of the Year awards, with Everton's David Moyes taking the top honour for the second time in three years. The LMA Manager of the Year award is available to a manager from any division who is regarded as having achieved the most success considering the resources available to him. In other awards from the LMA, the Barclays Premiership Manager of the Year award went to Jose Mourinho of champions Chelsea, while Mick McCarthy of Championship winners Sunderland was awarded the Coca Cola Football League Championship Manager of the Year award. Mike Newell of Luton Town and Steve Tilson of Southend United won te League 1 and League 2 Manager of the Year awards respectively. The awards, announced at the LMA annual dinner, also included the LMA Service to Football Award which went to Sir Bobby Robson.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Laureus World Sport Awards 2005

The Laureus World Sport Awards, the 'Oscars of sport', have been announced at a glamorous two day festival in Estoril, Portugal. The awards ceremony is the highlight of two days of sports events which include the Laureus Golf Challenge, the Laureus Beach Festival and the Laureus Regatta. The Laureus honours are determined by the Laureus World Sports Academy, a jury of 40 legendary sportsmen and sportswomen. A global event, the television audience for Laureus TV programming attracts and annual audience of over one billion.

Among the honours for 2005, tennis star Roger Federer won the Laureus WOrld Sportsman of the Year while British double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes wons the women's award. Yachtswomen Ellen MacArthur, holder of the round-the-world sailing record, was crowned Alternative Sportsperson of the Year and Italian racing driver Alessandro Zanardi, who lost both legs in a racing accident in 2001, won the Comeback of the Year award after returning to touring car competition last year.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Organic Industry Awards 2005

The Soil Association, the British group that promotes organic food and farming, has announced the 2005 Organic Industry Awards. The awards, run in association with Natural Products magazine, were announced at the 12th Natural & Organic Products Annual Industry Awards presentation dinner at London's Hammersmith Palais. Among the winners was Gordon Tweddle of Acorn Dairy, who was awarded the Triodos Bank sponsored Organic Business Person of the Year award. Yeo Valley Organic sponsored three retailer awards - Best Home Delivery Retailer, Best Large Store and Best Small Store. These were awarded, respectively, to: Craig Farm Organics (Powys); Eastwoods of Berkhamstead (Herts); and Planet Organic (Fulham). The award for Consumer Education went to TV presenter Dr Gillian McKeith in recognition of the impact of her series 'You Are What You Eat'.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Chelsea Dominate English Football's Awards

As the end of English football's domestic season looms, Barclays Premiership winners Chelsea have dominated the end of seasons awards as much as they did the league competition. Manager Jose Mourinho has been awarded the Barclays Manager of the Year Trophy, goalkeeper Petr Cech won the Golden Glove award and midfielder Frank Lampard won Player of the Year award from sponsors Barclays. The end of seasons awards were selected by the Barclays Panel which includes representatives from the sport's governing bodies as well as the media and supporters. These latest awards follow the Football Writer's Footballer of the Year Award which went to Lampard ahead of his team-mate John Terry. These two players polled a combined 90% of the votes in the Football Writers Association award. Terry himself was awarded the 2005 Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year Award ahead of Lampard and Cech. Other players in contention for the PFA honour were Thierry Henry, Steven Gerrard and Andrew Johnson. The PFA Young Player of the Year award went to Wayne Rooney of Manchester United, while Portsmouth goalkeeper Shaka Hislop was given the PFA Special Merit Award in recognition of his involvement with the 'Show Racism The Red Card' campaign.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Museums & Heritage Awards for Excellence

Britain's National Museums & Heritage Awards for Excellence were announced this week at the Museums and Heritage Show at London's Earls Court Exhibition Centre. The awards are sponsored by The Independent newspaper and Dulux, the paint company that offers a Heritage range of traditional paint colours. The awards seek to recognise the work that goes into creating world-class visitor attractions. The 2005 awards were judged by a panel of industry professionals that included: Sam Mullins, director of the London Transport Museum; Diane Lees, director of the Museum of Childhood in east London; Bernard Donoghue, director of government affairs at Visit Britain; and Greg Chamberlain, editor of New Heritage Magazine.

Among the headline prize winners was Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon, part of the National Railway Museum, which won the award for best Permanent Exhibition. Located in Co. Durham and housing the reserve collection of vehicles of the NRM in York, Locomotion has attracted 93,000 visitors since opening in September 2004. The prize for Project on a Limited Budget went to an exhibition by artist Anthony Gormley at Gloucester Cathedral. The installation, titled Field for the British Isles, comprised some 20,000 miniature clay figures arranged within the cathedral's 14th century cloisters. A total of 12 awards were announced, with other winners including University College London's Petrie Museum, the Discovery Museum in Tyne and Wear and the 'Kids in the Blitz' by Coventry Arts and Heritage. Dulwich Picture Gallery won a public vote as the nation's favourite attraction while the Crossness Engines Trust won the Conservation award.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

English Rugby End of Season Awards

As the winter leagues end their season, English rugby union has been awarding the players of the season. The PRA (Professional Rugby Players Association) has named Martin Corry as the PRA Computacenter Players' Player of the Year. Corry was one of four Leicester Tigers players nominated for an award by the PRA. Teammate Harry Ellis won the PRA Mercedes-Benz Young Player of the Year award at the PRA Gala Dinner at London's Grosvenor House Hotel on Wednesday. The PRA awards also included a Special Merit Award for England rugby union captain Lawrence Dallagio and the Blyth Spirit Award to New Zealand legend Jonah Lomu in recognition of his battle against a serious illness.

The PRA awards follow last week's Zurich Premiership End of Season Awards at Twickenham. Martin Corry was named Zurich Player of the Season 2004/5 at the ceremony while Tigers coach John Wells was awarded 02 Director of Rugby of the Season. The award trophy for Player of the Season was a silver salver. The Landrover Discovery of the Season Award went to fellow Tigers player Ollie Smith while other awards presented included the Gillette M3Power Try of the Season Award, The Times Fair Play Award and the Zurich Champion Award.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Rose d'Or Festival 2005

One of the most prestigious international television awards events, The Rose d'Or, was held in Lucerne, Switzerland, last week. Titling itself the 'festival for entertainment television programming', this week long festival included several charity events, the presentation of the 2005 Rose d'Or Winners, and induction of the most recent members to the xxx Hall of Fame. The Rose d'Or Festival has been running for 45 years and is one of the key business events for the global entertainment television industry. About 40 countries are represented at the Festival. Originally located in Montreux, the event moved to Lucerne in 2004 to accommodate a new-look Festival with additional events and a wider audience appeal.

The big winners in the 2005 Festival were British comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams, who won gold for 'Best Comedy' for their BBC series Little Britain, and individual gold awards for Best Male Comedy Performance. Sir Bob Geldof was presented with the Rose d'Or Charity Award in recognition of his humanitarian work and to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Live Aid. This honour was presented by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte, who is himself a human rights campaigner. Among other highlight awards the Rose d'Or Social Awareness Award was presented to Sesame Workshop of the USA in recognition of programming which has done the most to highlight the issues of AIDS/HIV. The 2005 Festival also hosted, for the first time, the FRAPA Format Awards, which recognised excellence in Game Show Format, Reality Format and Scripted Format.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Sony Radio Academy Awards 2005

The annual Sony Radio Academy Awards 2005 were announced in a ceremony at London's Grosvenor House Hotel last night. The Awards have been running for over 20 years and are regarded as one of the most prestigious radio awards in the UK. They are produced and directed by Zafer Associates, and organised by a committee whose members are selected by the Radio Academy in consultation with Zafer and sponsors Sony UK. The judging panel for 2005 comprised over 100 judges who listened to over 1500 hours of radio programming. The awards can be divided into four main groups of categories: Music & Entertainment Awards; News & Speech Awards; Production Awards; and Station Awards. Within each category (32 in total) there are Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. There were also two special awards this year, the 2004 Award and the Gold Award.

Monday, May 09, 2005

BAFTA Television Craft Awards 2004

The winners of the BAFTA Television Craft Awards for 2004 were announced in a ceremony at London's Dorchester Hotel on Sunday. The Craft Awards were established by BAFTA (the British Academy of Film and Television Arts) in 2000 to recognise the work of behind-the-scenes talent in the television industry. Covering both factual and fictional television, as well as entertainment, the awards recognise excellence in costume design, editing, graphic design, make up & hair design, new directing and writing, music, photography and lighting, production design, sound and visual effects. Special Awards categories are also presented, and these are in the gift of The Academy. This year's Special Award was presented to producer and director Michael Hurll, whose production credits include Blind Date and The Two Ronnies.

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Friday, May 06, 2005

Booker Prize to award 'unsung heroes'

The Man Booker International Prize, the prestigious literary award, is to create a new award to recognise the contribution that translators make in bringing fiction to a worldwide audience. The new award will follow shortly after the announcement of the inaugural Man Booker International Prize in June 2005. The International Prize is worth £60,000 to the winning author, and seeks to recognise a writer for their achievement in fiction. It will be awarded every two years, with the first award to be made in Edinburgh. There are 18 nominees for the International award, and many of these have had their works translated into English. This makes them eligible also for the new translators award, which will be worth £15,000 for the translator. The prize will be awarded to the author, who will then decide how to distribute the prize money if more than one person was involved in the translation.

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Mojo and MTV announce awards nominees

Two major arts awards announced their shortlists this week. Mojo magazine announced the shortlist for its Mojo Honours List awards, which will be announced on June 16th at a ceremony at the Porchester Hall in west London. MTV has revealed the nominations for its MTV Movie Awards, which will be hosted in Los Angeles on June 4th.

The Mojo Honours List awards were established last year to recognise long-established artists who may often be overlooked in more contemporary awards. The headline 'Icon' award leads the list, along with a songwriter award, an inspiration award, and awards for classic album and lifetime achievement. Speaking about the honours, Mojo editor-in-chief Phil Alexander said: "While other awards celebrate the biggest names and the best releases of the preceding year, we believe there's long been a need to properly honour the extraordinary talents of the artists, bands and songwriters whose careers have been responsible for enhancing our rich musical culture."

The MTV Movie Awards, sponsored by the music TV channel, are regarded as more irreverent than other prominent film awards. They recognise the popular box-office hits as well as the critically acclaimed films. Among the categories rewarded are Best Fight Scene, Best Kiss and Best Villian. The award trophies feature a design based on a bucket of popcorn, and are dubbed the 'golden popcorn' awards.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Charlton Win FA Women's Cup

Charlton Athletic won the 2005 FA Women's Cup on Monday after beating Everton 1-0 in the final at Upton Park. It was Charlton's third successive appearance in the Final of this knockout competition, the south London team having been beaten in both the 2003 and 2004 finals. The FA Women's Cup evolved out of the old Women's Football Association Mitre Challenge Trophy, which was first contested in the 1970-71 season. At that time the competition involved teams from Scotland as well as England and Wales. In the 1993-94 season the Football Association's Competition Department took over the administration of the competition and it was renamed the F.A. Women's Challenge Cup. Interest in the Cup, as well as women's football more generally, has increased dramatically since then. In 2000 the AXA-sponsored F.A. Women's Cup was screened live by Sky television and covered on BBC national radio. As well as running the FA Women's Cup, the Football Association also operates the Nationwide Women's Premier League, the Nationwide Women's Premier League Cup, and the FA Women's Shield. The latter is the traditional curtain-opener for the new season and pit the winners of the FA Women's Cup with the winners of the Nationwide Women's Premier League.