Grassroots Football | Budget Business Rates Reform? | Pasta Day

‘No deal’. And for once we are not referring to Brexit! Instead, the withdrawal by Shahid Khan this week of his £600 million offer to buy Wembley Stadium. After weeks of growing concerns from various members that the FA had no clear delivery system to improve grassroots football across the country (which was, of course, the ultimate aim of selling Wembley), the Fulham and Jacksonville Jaguars owner reluctantly pulled the plug. Ever since the news broke in April that Wembley was for sale, the nation (well talkSPORT listeners anyway) have debated its merit. But, whether the price was right or not, it does seem like a missed opportunity to tackle the state of grassroots facilities in this country. The stats are alarming. For example, 17% of matches (one in six or 50,000) were called off last season due to the poor quality of available pitches. There are only 888 artificial ‘3G’ pitches registered in the UK. Germany has 3,375. The number of 11-a-side boys’ teams fell by 3,500 between 2012 and 2016. If these issues aren’t tackled, and fast, results like England’s 3-2 victory over Spain on Monday night will become even rarer than they already are!

Monday, 29 October 2018. A week tomorrow. Budget day. So, what is going to be in that little red briefcase that might impact on the UK property industry? We’ve already heard the Government’s intentions to scrap the cap on what councils can borrow to build homes. The Prime Minister has also recently suggested there would be a new 3% stamp duty surcharge for home buyers who are not tax residents in the UK. And, in more potentially good news for first-time buyers, the Chancellor is believed to be considering a capital gains tax break for landlords who sell their properties to their long-term tenants. But what about any measures to assist the ailing retail sector? Might Mr Hammond finally reform the UK business rates system, particularly given that the total bill for next year’s rates is going up by £728 million! This 2.4% increase was calculated after the publication on Wednesday of the inflation figure for September, a figure which is used to determine next April’s business rates rise. Will the Chancellor be brave enough to introduce a so-called ‘Amazon tax’ on the internet giants to try to level the playing field? Watch this space. There have been 100,000 retail redundancies over the past three years, with 50,000 redundancies this year alone. Doing nothing doesn’t really sound like an option for Mr Hammond, does it?

World Pasta Day has been celebrated on 25 October every year since 1998 and so ahead of Thursday’s ‘celebrations’, The Weekly thought it would only be right to share six random facts about this favoured staple. For example, did you know that:

1. Pasta was first made in China, not Italy, way back in 500 BC? 
2. There are more than 600 different shapes of pasta produced throughout the world?
3. Each year, the world produces about 13.5 million tons of pasta, of which 3.3 million tons is from Italy?
The International Pasta Organisation, yes there is such a thing, claims that if Italians ate their average yearly amount of pasta in spaghetti shape, they would eat approximately 600 million kilometres of spaghetti — enough noodles to wrap around the planet 15,000 times?
4. The average pasta serving size is 480% larger than what’s recommended?
5. The world's largest lasagne on record is a 25 metre by 2.5 metre behemoth baked in Poland? It required 2,500 kg of pasta, 800 kg of mince, 500 litres of tomato sauce and 400 kg of cheese!
6. The world record for the largest bowl of spaghetti was set in March 2010 when a restaurant just outside Los Angeles successfully filled a swimming pool with more than 13,780 pounds of pasta?