Enjoy. And if you live in Hounslow or Southall, have fun listening to the fireworks and car horns.
There have been many theories surrounding the reason why England lost the bid to host the world cup, from Russian bribes to journalistic scrutiny. The Daily Mail however has taken a different line. it seems that a multi-cultural video presented by the bid team could have put delegates off. The article’s headline on the main page reads:
So did this multicultural bid cost us the world cup?
This article goes onto to snidely remark that the bid team was portraying England as “so multicultural, so diverse.” If the writer had limited his criticism to the lack of English scenes (as opposed to scenes from other countries) in the video, then the argument might have some validity. But the repeated references to multiculturalism, diversity and the “ethnically diverse figures” in the article mean that the focus is more on the supposed downside of highlighting diversity and multiculturalism. To judge from the highly rated comments it seems other people interpreted it that way too:
The video is total rubbish, no doubt about it. Once again, an example of how we are too scared to celebrate our national identity for fear that the PC brigade will come along and moan that there are not enough different cultures and minorities represented. But I highly doubt the video cost us the bid, the entire process stinks of corruption.- 1031 likes
Completely agree with this article. It makes me feel sick to the stomach when we have this ‘multicultural’ rubbish rubbed in our faces. We should stick to traditional values and celebrate our heritage.- 761 likes
England’s bid to host the 2018 football world cup suffered a set back yesterday after a BBC Panorama investigation into corruption accused a number of senior FIFA figures of receiving bribes from ISL years ago when the company was bidding for broadcast rights. This may or may not be a good thing from an economic point of view: the costs of hosting are unclear as there will be the costs of upgrading stadia (especially as FIFA dislike English stadiums as they are nestled into towns so cannot provide the space for sponsors’ boards); FIFA also take a large share of the profits, and pay little tax on them. Other economic factors (such as transport) play a part too.
Leaving aside economics though, what was disappointing was the reaction of senior England figures to the Panorama programme. David Cameron, amongst others, rushed to mollify the FIFA executives accused of corruption (several of whom have been convicted of past offences), as if the BBC were the ones in the wrong. How embarrassing, and what a message to send out to those who look to the world cup to promote ‘legacies’.
For those who don’t know Pakistan’s Aisam ul Haq Qureishi reached the final of the men’s double and mixed doubles at the US Open tennis. This post contains my reflections on his achievements and compares his story to that of Mohammad Amir, the Pakistani cricketer currently suspended for his role in the alleged ‘spot-fixing’ scandal.
Pakistani cricketers are often seen as players blessed with talents from the Gods. Like footballers in this country, when they are successful they are put on a pedestal, and when as recently they perform poorly and disgrace themselves, they are vilified.
One of the players implicated in the spot fixing scandal is the young fast bowler Mohammad Amir. His story is remarkable and one which resonates throughout the world. As a boy he was once delayed to getting to practice because of a Taliban blockade. Despite his humble background and the many obstacles in his path, he became the most exciting talent in the game. Then, as if part of a Shakesparean tragedy, it appears he succumbed to the temptation of money, leading to his downfall.
Aisam ul Haq Qureishi’s story is not Mohammad Amir’s story. His mother was Pakistan’s number 1 tennis player, his grandfather was a top tennis player and his father is a successful businessman. His world is not Mohammad Amir’s world. Playing tennis growing up he would have been served by the ball boys seen at the elite private clubs throughout Pakistan.Continue Reading...
Indo-Pak relations have soured once again after the Indian Premier League’s auction of cricket players failed to produce a single bid for a Pakistani cricketer. This was in spite of the fact that Pakistan can boast some of the world’s top cricketers. One IPL grandee claimed it was because they were unsure whether or not they could get visas for Pakistan players. Yet surely the Indian government could have confirmed or denied this before the auction? More plausible was the reason given by an unnamed source:
But another franchise official â€“ who said there had been no formal ban by the Indian authorities â€“ told the Hindustan Times: “The IPL is a commercial proposition, owned by businessmen and no one wanted to risk upsetting the government.”
Is if this true, then it is wrong-headed on a number of levels. Apart from the sporting angle, diplomatically it is also foolish, as it has antagonised Pakistan for no reason. Sport can be a divider (see Egypt and Algeria), but more often than not it brings them a bit closer (‘soft diplomacy’). I can’t see the rationale behind it.
Last month the Swiss football team won the U-17 world cup, the first time the country has won a world championship at any level. In the new issue of World Soccer, Brian Homewood points out (in an article not available online) that around half the squad are the children of immigrants and asylum seekers. All were born in the country, but twelve still hold dual nationality, and their parents come from countries as varied as Tunisia, the Congo, Bosnia and Ghana. The senior national team also contains the children of immigrants from places like Kosovo (Valeri Behrami), and Switzerland has punched above its weight in youth competitions for the last few years.
Looks like those ‘black sheep’ came in handy after all:
Jai sent me this nice little snippet about South Asians in Italy who have established a cricket club, and are having a ground built for them by Brescia’s deputy mayor, who is a member of the Northern League (the party that wants to sink boats carrying illegal immigrants):
“Brescia’s cricketers have not had it easy. They have been barred from the city’s parks because residents complained they were being peppered with cricket balls. Now, that has changed, says Safder Mahfooz – president of Pakistan Sports Club Brescia…
Brescia is not spoilt for open spaces – and getting hit by a fast-moving cricket ball can hurt. There is more – Mr Rolfi announces that the council has just agreed to build a permanent cricket ground on the edge of town.
“I want to see more Italian kids take it up,” he adds. “Cricket can help build links between the Italian and immigrant communities – and help us avoid some of the problems we’ve seen in the past.”"
Large-scale fighting within a stadium made an unwelcome return to English football yesterday. A number of supporters were injured as fights broke out between West Ham and Millwall fans.
Fighting between fans has never disappeared, but for the last twenty years or so there hasn’t been much fighting within stadiums (thanks to better policing, stewarding and CCTV). Is this the return of an unwelcome tradition? I doubt it. West Ham and Millwall fans (or rather some of them) are notoriously violent, and this was a derby match, which hadn’t taken place for some time. A few other clubs (Leeds, Cardiff) also have seen violence in recent years, but I suspect (and hope) yesterday’s fighting will be the exception.
This is a guest post by Sarah as part of Speaker’s Corner Sundays.
Iâ€™m a very big fan of snooker, and will be watching this yearâ€™s World Championship, which runs from April 18th until May 4th, with great excitement.
This morning, I went looking for TV timings and discovered the Snooker Scene Magazine Blog, where a snooker journalist called Dave H reports that professional player Rory McLeod will make history during the tournament by becoming the first black player ever to compete at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, which has been the tournamentâ€™s home for over 25 years. He goes on to say that “Snooker is not an elitist sport. Anyone can join a club and start playing.”Continue Reading...
With the Indian Premier League (IPL) now relocating abroad (probably to South Africa) as a result of clashing with the Indian elections, one wonders whether it is viable in the long term. Not because there isn’t an appetite for cricket in India, nor a dislike of the Twenty Twenty format, but because something so artifical really needed more time to put down its roots in India. The whole tournament wasn’t the result of organic growth (local clubs playing one another), rather the imposition of clubs, and players, on particular cities. While the cricket is fast-paced, and plenty will watch it on TV, will the franchises (an ugly word to British sporting ears) ever win over local fans?
This is a guest post by Sarah
The Paralympic Games 2008 ended today. This is easily the most prestigious event in amateur DisAbility sport, but you wouldnâ€™t know it unless you think it. Mainstream media* coverage and publicity were both extremely limited, and the time difference between China and the UK just isnâ€™t a good enough excuse for me.
The Games started on the 6th of September this year. Hopes were high that the event would lead China to improve disabled access, as well as mainstream attitudes to disability. As usual, however, questions were raised about whether this positive development would actually last after the Games were over. Itâ€™s too early to answer this question yet, but I, for one, sincerely hope that this will last.Continue Reading...
Andy Gilmour has written a good piece, after I asked him, about the whole question of whether Britain has been ‘buying medals’ just because it has good sporting facilities. He rightly lays into the Tax Payers Alliance sort of stupid thinking, which I’m very pleased about.
More TPA stupidity here today about public sector pay.
There’s a thought provoking piece in The Times today about how striking gold at the Olympics maybe far more representative of how much money you spend rather your country’s athletic talent:
It is striking that Britain’s medal success generally comes in sports that are not merely expensive but that are also so unpopular that athletes cannot earn enough from prize-money and endorsements to support themselves. Success in these sports – such as rowing, sailing and track cycling – can essentially be bought by siphoning off money from the public purse and handing it to the athletes who are then able to train like professionals.
Indeed, it is a cause for self-congratulation rather than discomfiture in the sporting community that the improved success of British athletes in recent years has been achieved by outspending many of our rivals. That is not to take anything away from the athletes, who are hard-working and talented. It is merely to say that success in sport – like in the agricultural market – is easier when it receives huge state subsidies.
How does the Government get away with this raid on the public purse? By claiming that Olympic success inspires grassroots participation, which, in turn, has a benign long-term impact on the public finances. It is an argument with everything on its side except evidence. The reality is that elite success has no sustained impact on participation, and, even if it did, the fiscal effects would be ambiguous.
Well that’s one way to spend tax payers money. I expect a massive campaign from the Tax Payers’ Alliance (with full rightwing blogger backing) any day now…
Two incidents, both despicable:
In a photo that was taken in a pre-Olympics advertisement for a courier company that sponsors the Spanish federation, Pau Gasol and friends, winners of the 2006 FIBA World Championship and a strong medal favorite, posed with their index fingers pulling back the skin by the corner of their eyes.
“It seemed to us to be something appropriate and that it would always be interpreted as an affectionate gesture,” JosÃ© Calderon, the point guard who plays professionally in the N.B.A. for Toronto, wrote on an Internet site. “I want to express that we have great respect for the Orient and its people.”
In a far worse demonstration of contempt, an Iranian swimmer called in sick to his swimming heat to avoid getting into the pool with an Israeli. That was a truly revolting development â€” a flagrant foul that went unpunished.
The Indian Premier League has invited cheerleaders from overseas to add a bit of US-style razzmatazz (read: flesh) to the matches. Two British girls were turned away just before going on stage during a match at Mohali. They were told the crowd don’t want to see black people, only beautiful white girls. The company responsible denies racism and says they will investigate when a formal complaint is made. The two girls did eventually get to perform. [Link]
With the saga of Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascheranoâ€™s sending off for repeated verbal abuse showing no signs of abating, it seems to me that we need to devise a dictionary for those unfamiliar with the language of this frankly baffling league, as people struggle to understand why hurling abuse at the referee on a number of occasions could warrant a yellow card. Submissions are welcome. The guide so far:
1 He is just a passionate player.
Phrase used when a manager is explaining why a player has been sent off for a bad tackle or for verbally abusing the referee.
2 Heâ€™s gone down too easily there. Shameful.
What commentators say when a foreign player dives.
3 Heâ€™s done well to win a penalty for his team.
What commentators say when an English player dives.Continue Reading...
The Indo-Australian cricket row rumbles on. Harbhajan (Indian) allegedly called Andrew (black, Australian) a monkey. Ricky (captain, Australia), went and told on Harbhajan. Result? Pure hilarity. Indians take to the street burning effergies, NDTV carries the story incessantly, while the Indian Cricket board (BCCI) gets in a strop over the idea that an Indian could be called racist, and threatens to go home.Continue Reading...
A feature in this week’s TIME reminded me of a sporting derby that runs deeper than Arsenal vs Spurs, Rangers vs Celtic or Everton vs Liverpool. My grandfather’s brother-in-law used to own East Bengal Football Club but the rest of my family have always been die-hard Mohun Bagan fans, so this is a rivalry I have been raised with.
Mohun Bagan Athletic is in fact Asia’s oldest sporting club and famously were the barefoot real-life Lagaan story in 1911. The club was founded on the 15th of August (later to become an auspicious day) 1889 and from the off was imbued with nationalistic fervour. The sole purpose of the disciplined outfit seemed to be to beat the British at their own game. Twenty two years after their formation, Mohun Bagan lifted the Indian Football Association (IFA) Shield, beating the East Yorkshire Regiment, previously undisputed kings of the Indian League.
The date this feat was accomplished, July 29th, is now ‘Mohun Bagan Day’ in the club calendar and 100 years later Rajiv Gandhi named Mohun Bagan as India’s national club. A postage stamp was brought out to commemorate the united patriotism that resulted from the Indian win over the English club.Continue Reading...
India beat Pakistan in the World Cup final. It was a brilliant match, and both sides should be proud of themselves.
Elated or miserable?
Seeing as it’s Friday, here’s something to cheer you up / make you depressed depending on who you support: Yuvraj Singh’s 6 sixes against England this week.
As they say on the interweb… England got pwned!
Yes, I proudly fail the Tebbit test. Heh.
I cannot imagine what was going through the thick brains of the
Football Association FIFA management when they decided to ban women footballers from wearing the hijab. As the old saying goes: when God was handing out brains, did they miss out?
It is not only discriminatory, with no useful consequence whatsoever than make it more difficult for Muslim women to join the sport, but I bet it will be reversed soon enough when they come to their senses. Why? Because I bet the Indians (once they wake up from their slumber over the impact of this decision) will soon enough point out that it also discriminates against Sikh men from wearing the turban on the pitch. As Osama Saeed points out, the key passage states:
A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery).
How the hell is a hijab dangerous to others? This is typical of orientalist thinking – that world football should only be preserved for those following western cultural norms. If the woman (or the man) is in normal uniform, wearing the hijab or turban should have little impact on play. Dimwits.
[Update: Apologies, I blamed the FA instead of FIFA]
Kiran Matharu, England’s youngest successful golfer, who happens to be female and Asian, has signed a six-figure deal (I’m assuming sponsorship), Urmee Khan finds in an interview for the Guardian. It’s enough to almost make me regret giving up golf when I was young.
In the world of professional golf, Kiran Matharu is an outsider thrice over: young, female and Asian. Late last year she qualified for the Ladies’ European Tour and will be its youngest player when she plays her first match at the beginning of February. She has won the English Ladies’ Amateur Championship, and the Faldo Junior Series, twice; and represented Great Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup. At 17, she is the same age as the international golfing superstar, Michelle Wie, but is already being touted as a better player.
C’mon Urmee, you could have told us more about this deal?
While we’re on the subject, the Sunday Times last weekend had a long article about the lack of Asian players in football. Worth reading for research and background etc.
ENGLAND spin bowler Monty Panesar was racially abused by an Australian cricket fan in a warm-up match ahead of the eagerly anticipated Ashes series, according to a report.
The bearded Sikh was called a “stupid Indian” during a tour match against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday, according to The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
The incident comes after Australian cricket authorities warned fans that “idiots” would not be tolerated at the grounds in the wake of racial abuse hurled at South African players during a tour earlier this year. [The Australian]
1) On Friday 10th November the Memorial Gates Commemorative Committee is holding its fourth annual wreath laying ceremony on Constitution Hill. Led by Baroness Shreela Flather, it pays tribute to the huge contribution made by the five million men and women from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean who volunteered to serve with the British Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars.
2) Saw a little piece today on 17 year old Kiran Matharu becoming the UK’s youngest female golf player with a scratch handicap. She made the news recently too in Dubai, is profiled here and even has her own website already. (As a sidenote my dad had always wanted me to become a professional golf player but I could never see myself doing that).