While FIFA Fiddles the Planet Burns

First a confession. I am genuinely and unequivocally looking forward to the World Cup in South Africa. I'd be a bigger hypocrite than usual if I tried to deny it. A whole month of football mania slap bang on top of the climax to the current Premier League and UEFA Championships.

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Boom and Bust in Dubai

If there was ever any doubt that the fortunes of professional sport were increasingly tied in to the general fortunes of the world economy, last week's financial news from Dubai should settle those doubts once and for all.

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English Sport: Elitist, snobbish and class ridden

Knocking the LTA has almost become a sport in itself. It's an easy target of course. In reality they are probably no less effective than most of the other governing bodies in this country but they do have considerably more resources at their disposal than most of their sporting colleagues, and that is the rub. Whereas their colleagues can cry poverty the LTA cannot. Criticisms of the LTA come in two main varieties.

 

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Sport: Does It Even Matter? (Editorial)

There are approximately six and a half billion of us humans on planet Earth. Of those, one billion of us go hungry every day with some 14 million children dying every year through lack of food and clean drinking water. That's equivalent to nearly three holocausts every year, or 770 million children who have starved to death since I've

been alive. Of course these figures only include children. The statistics are far more damning if we were to include adults.

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Why Matthew Syed is Wrong, The Times 11/11/09

Matthew Syed has produced a beautifully crafted article on the global dimensions of football, the so called, the beautiful game, but in the process has made a fundamental mistake. Syed writes, When future historians look back at the age of globalisation, it is not the Americanisation of the planet'

s culture that will amaze them most, nor the pervading presence of brands such as Coca Cola and Nike. No, it is the global conquest of football.

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Sporting Polemics: Launch of a controversial website

Sport, as in life, is riddled with contradictions, the most basic being that between the joy of participation and the individual human desire to win.

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Cheating Neanderthals

In the space of just a couple of weeks three articles appeared in the press devoted entirely to the subject of cheating. I should add as a point of clarification, that we are talking both sport and the company boardrooms; the inner citadels of the banking world and the committee rooms of parliament. In short, humans seem to be genetically programmed to lie and cheat if it means we can get one step ahead of our competitors.

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The BNP and Sport

This week the BNP were themselves a type of sport whereby the political class argued bitterly over whether to allow this nasty little fascist grouping to have prime time TV exposure or whether a blanket ban should starve them of publicity.

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LTA Mediocrity

Neil Harman writes in The Times (21/09/09) of the LTA, Mediocrity in leadership, mediocrity in playing strength, mediocrity in coaching, the first murmurs of a grassroots uprising.

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Football Old Farts

We've seen where it leads in the financial world. Light touch regulation, the catch phrase for the Blair/ Brown Labour administration for the past twelve years, has seen the so called Masters of the Universe plunder us mere mortals for all they could, and in the process very nearly bringing the entire rotten edifice crashing to the ground.

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Chelsea Child Poachers

The headlines say it all. Beware Child Poachers, screams the Daily Mail. The day before the same paper was content with the single word, Thieves!

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BLOODGATE

Bloodgate: A Sporting Tale for the 21st Century.

Here is a classic Shakespearean tale of the heroic but fatally flawed protagonist who is destined to fall from grace, set against the backdrop of turbulent and uncertain times.

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Press Report July 09

If July 2009 had a dialectical sporting theme it was that of sporting decency battling against the baser instincts of man; cheating, lying and grubby double dealing.

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Old School Tie, David Conn, Guardian, 8/07/09

A useful piece by David Conn in the Guardian shows how English cricket is still rooted in the public school mentality of the past two centuries. Seven of the current English Ashes squad can boast independent school status and the attempts of the ECB to widen the appeal of cricket are far from certain to succeed. Conn cites Graham Able, a trustee of the cricket Foundation, who as Master of Dulwich College in South London, can boast eight full grass cricket fields which is two more than exist for the whole borough of Southwark where only one state school can offer a grass cricket field for its students. This pattern is repeated across the country where under successive Tory and Labour Governments, schools have been allowed to sell off their playing fields in order to finance the small matter of their educational activities. Conn elaborates, In 2009, cricket, the sport with deep upper class traditions which gave us separate changing rooms for amateur gentlemen and professional players, still illustrates Britain's monumental class divide, between the lavish fields owned by public schools and the comparative threadbare landscape in which 93% of people are educated.

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Lord of the Rings, Andrew Anthony, The Observer, 19/07/09

This was not the first and it definitely will not be the last, but Andrew Anthony has produced a thought provoking assessment of Lord Sebastian Newbold Coe, Knight of the British Empire, twice Olympic 1,5000m winner, former Tory MP and advisor to William Hague, and current Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic Games.

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Cloud of Suspicion, The Guardian, 25/07/09, Anna Kessel

We all like fairytales. They brighten up the all too often grim business of life.

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