Business Diary: Footballers with a social conscience

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The Independent Online

Derby County know a thing or two about chasing lost causes, but full marks to them for supporting a struggling local business. Its players will take to the pitch on Saturday with shirts bearing the slogan "save our rail industry": it's a sign of solidarity with Bombardier workers at the Derby factory who are losing their jobs after the company missed out on a lucrative Government order last month. Manager Nigel Clough is even dedicating his column in the programme to the issue.

Paying for a move into politics

This is a weird one – MF Global, the American broker dealer, has a curious new bond offer coming out in the US. It's a five-year deal paying relatively standard rates of interest, but with a twist – the income you get goes up by a full percentage point if President Obama hires MF's chief executive for some sort of Government job. The CEO in question is Jon Corzine. He's a former Goldman Sachs chief executive and has also served as Governor of New Jersey, so a political appointment wouldn't be a surprise – still this is a very curious way to apply for a job.

Heading for clash of the bookies

Is Betfair hoping the luck of the Irish will give it a shot in the arm? According to bookmaker Bodog, the appointment of Breon Corcoran, currently Paddy Power's chief operating officer, as Betfair's new boss is now close to being a racing certainty. His odds have crashed to evens while his nearest rival – internal candidate Niall Wass, the betting exchange's chief commercial officer – is at 11-2. But don't bet the house on it. Ireland's economy might be shaky but its biggest bookie is wildly successful and it's unlikely to let the man in charge of its online businesses and technology go without a fight.

Another gold medal for Britain

Congratulations to Rebecca Rickwood, a British student who has just beaten allcomers from around the world to the title of "World Champion in Microsoft Excel 2007". That's right – Rebecca is better at using the spreadsheet package than anyone else in the world. Certiport, the education company that sponsors the awards, even flew her to San Diego to pick up the gong. Is it too late to get this recognised as an Olympic sport?