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The Importance of Sport (NEW CONCEPTS)
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Voila.
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8c3_1382461017
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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I think I've just been nutmegged.

(Great dismount by the way.)
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Perhaps both Wile and Mick are right because racism, class-ism, tribalism, aren't particularly important in themselves, they're loose enough to fit various circumstances. Sport demonstrates the binding factor, being on the same team.

Even nationality isn't always the most important criterion (there's often some jiggery-pokery around international selections). Being selected for one's country should be the greatest honour for a player though in fact club takes precedence. Fans have no problem presumably in supporting the national team for a month and then booing the players from the 'wrong' clubs.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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James 'Gaia' Lovelock appears to be on the side of the robots; some way ahead of the rest of the field, as ever. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/30/james-lovelock-robots-taking-over-world.

(And it's just as well Mick took out the anti-university section of the Deserts talk)
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Mick Harper
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One thing everybody is missing in this FIFA business is "Mayor Daley Syndrome". Richard Daley (Senior) was the notoriously corrupt mayor of Chicago from 1955 to 1976. However during that time Chicago was astonishingly successful. It has been much less so since his going.

The question that arises is whether corruption was a small price to pay in order to have a gifted and powerful administrator at the helm. Or, if you like, gifted and powerful administrators are only likely to be attracted to poorly paid environments like local government if they are corrupt.

The same goes for sporting bodies. It is noticeable that when "the British" are in charge (not necessarily actual Britons but people brought up in the patrician/ amateur/ public service tradition) things tend to amble along. But when the movers-and-shakers from outside these cosy confines get control everything starts expanding exponentially. As per FIFA when Joao Havelange took over in 1974 and who then hand-picked Sepp Blatter to succeed him..

The breaking away of the Premier League from the FA in the 1990's was one such recent British sporting example (though it does not seem corruption has ensured). T Dan Smith in the 1960's was an example from local government (when corruption did ensue).
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Mick Harper
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On the same topic, here's a letter I wrote to the Guardian which somewhat astonishingly they chose not to print

Dear Sir
The Prime Minister famously does not know much about football. One thing he probably does know is that we gave football to the world and that therefore we are in some sense its trustee. Given the mess that FIFA is now in, Mr Cameron should announce that Britain is prepared to step in and 'clean up the game' if this is generally accepted by others. As a token of our good intentions, the government will guarantee that there will be no British bid to host any international tournament for, say, the next twenty years.
M J Harper


However I have to concede that I'm probably the only person in the world who even remembers we invented football. The AE point is that we are the only country qualified to do the task if it is considered generally that the matter has to move to government level since we are the only country who could do it with relatively little jealousy from others.

It will be interesting though if the Cameron Clean-Up Football Taskforce takes the 2018 World Cup away from Russia. Will Putin say, "Ah, well they are the trustees of the game after all."
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Just to get my ducks in a row for when the Cabinet Office rings, I shall need to come up with a name to head The Clean-Up Football Commission. This is a tricky appointment because he (yes, I think so) will have to satisfy three qualifying conditions: 1) to have demonstrably clean hands 2) a marked interest in football and 3) a working knowledge of power-politics.

One's first thought was Prince William (despite being a West Ham supporter). However, he fails on the third qualifying condition, though no doubt he would make an excellent Commission figurehead. The second was Greg Dyke, Chairman of the English FA (or rather the FA since it is the exemplar of all national footballing bodies). However his hopeless shooting-from-the-hip during the last few days demonstrates his general flakiness.

No, step forward none other than Alastair Campbell.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Campbell is too much on the dark side. Sir Alex would be ideal except he's quite old, though not as old as Blatter. Trouble is, no-one can understand what he says. Or perhaps that wouldn't matter.
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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David Gill.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Good but too obscure. And is he demonstrably clean? After all he's been a football wheeler for a long time.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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I wrote this before knowledge of Gill's resignation. This gives him clean hands unless it was an exceptionally subtle career-move. The news that Spain and France voted for Blatter means that any Uefa initiative is doomed.

The next big shift will come if a Watergate-style downward spiral begins. Those of you who watch Law and Order will know that the Americans specialise in this technique: each cog gets immunity by identifying the larger wheel it is turning. When the ripples start becoming exponential and especially when Nixon/Blatter gets fingered then an interesting question arises. How do you replace a governing body that is beyond internal reform? That's when we strike with Prince William. Or, as Hatty suggested, David Beckham.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Little Known Sporting Facts No 167

Live pigeon-shooting was once an Olympic sport.
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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Everybody jumping up and down with joy, at the news that Blatter is stepping down (thinking that England will now assume a leading role in the running of world football) should wake up to the fact that this simply opens up the way for that other renowned Anglophobe... Platini.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Yes, Platini is to be devoutly not wished for. Ex-players of course are conspicuously absent in football administration generally, and broadly that is a good thing.

Coincidentally Alastair Campbell turned up on Channel 4 News (vide a Charles Kennedy obit) and also pushed the idea of an English intervention (and scotched it!). Co-coincidentally the aforementioned Sol Campbell (no relation) was being mentioned as a candidate for London Mayor. He would get the black vote and the white liberal vote except ... he's a Tory!
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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No doubt whenever our intrepid Epistemologists are trekking round India, Pakistan, Guatemala, Greater Bongo, whatever and get stopped by the guys in purple uniforms at a mysterious unanticipated roadblock in the middle of nowhere, they heroically never cough up the dosh.

No, our AE folk take a principled stand against corruption and spend the next 10 hours having their papers inspected.

Wile don't mind throwing the locals some change. Providing the corruption is at a reasonable level Wiley always pays.

FIFA are running a world cup not a local superbowl pretending to be a world event.

Of course its corrupt.

You cant put on a world cup without it being corrupt.
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