Business Diary: UKTI rubs salt into World Cup wound

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The Independent Online

Shame on UK Trade & Investment. We know you have a job to do, guys, but the ink is barely dry on Fifa's inexplicable decision to hand the World Cup to Russia rather than England. It is surely just a little early to be calling for UK firms to start thinking about investing in football?

UKTI reckons the sports sector in the Gulf could be worth as much as $100bn (£63.5bn) by 2022, when, thanks to an equally baffling Fifa decision, Qatar will host the World Cup. As a result, on Friday morning it began urging companies to target related opportunities.

Spare us all from Gio, please

On the plus side, such is the inexplicable popularity of Gio Compario, the opera-singing frontman for price comparison site, that his Christmas single may keep the eventual winner of The X Factor off the top spot in the charts. Still, has it really come to this? For those who worry about the commercialisation of Christmas, the creation of an advertising campaign singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town is surely going to be just about the final straw.

Raise your mug to the unions

Who says the trades unions'influence is on the wane? A survey from the Labour Research Department suggests they may be the only thing standing between you and some nasty inflation in the canteen at work. Where the in-house union has some involvement in the running of thecanteen, the average price of a cup of tea is just 37p, says the LRD. But where there is no union involvement, the figure shoots up to 60p. Drink enough tea and you might even make a profit on your union subs.

Bet on Lord Young to bounce back

Now that Lord Young has excused himself from Government following that unfortunate foot-in-mouth incident, he should have a bit of extra time on his hands for more lucrative engagements.

He is to be the guest of honour at the Jewish Business Awards lunch in the new year, it was announced last week, and will no doubt be plotting a return to the after-dinner speaking scene.

Some people, as he might well observe, have never had it so good.