Posts in May

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…
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Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…

May 22nd sees the richest game in the history of professional football – the Coca Cola Championship play off between Blackpool and Cardiff. If you combine future television income, potential parachute payments as well as the growth of other revenue, the final is a £90 million match! By comparison, winning the Champions League nets around £30-40 million!  As Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston intimated “The Premier League gives you the opportunity to put yourself in a strong position for ever more… Blackpool are run without debt and run in a sustainable way.” Great point and with the highest paid player earning a mere 6k a week and players taking their training kit home to wash themselves, perhaps we are seeing a new era in the English Premier League if Blackpool gain promotion? Alas we are more likely to see wages skyrocket, the whole timbre of the place change and the winner being immediately relegated. Such is the world of the EPL.

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Taser

Tazered

The recent case of a 17 year old being tazered for invading the playing area at a baseball game in the US has many implications for sporting administrators worldwide.

The duty of care owed by organisers also extends to spectators presumably whether they are law-abiding patrons who remain seated or idiots who invade the ground. With society becoming increasingly litigious by the day perhaps it won’t be too long before we see an admittedly transgressing patron being injured and then suing the stadium owner or event organiser…

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Snookered

So Australia has a brand spanking new world champion. A world snooker champion no less and a lad destined to earn a lucrative living from his sport. Neil Robertson is a far cry from the waistcoated, bespectacled sepia characters of smoke filled snooker halls. Sure he wore a waistcoat (his was borrowed due to a now solved cash flow crisis) but the champions of old would never have sported the sort of haircuts, spoken the same way nor possessed the boyish good looks of the new guard. But there in all the photos is a garish logo on his right breast – the must have accoutrement for any sportsperson alongside the fast car and the glamorous WAG. His logo belongs to a betting agency Betfred. So what? Betting isn’t illegal.  All true but a day or so earlier his fellow snooker player and world number one, John Higgins was up to his neck a bribery controversy that if proven will destroy the sport. Many sports, clubs, teams and individuals have been seduced by the gambling dollar – in the EPl 6 of the top 20 clubs now have their shirts emblazoned with a betting agency sponsor!  In Australia the major sports have arrangements with betting organizations, some clubs are sponsored by them and the Melbourne Storm imbroglio had a gambling link through the wooden spoon market. Snooker is one of those sports that is on the edge. As an individual sport it is surely in the sights of many an illegal gambler and shifty betting syndicate and is hardly helped by the seedy image of it and its near cousin pool. But it’s not just snooker that will feel the ire of nannying self interest groups and over lobbied governments. Tobacco sponsorship was the first sugar daddy cut from the team and is now globally legislated out of the sponsorship of sport. Alcohol is feeling the heat and is already outlawed as a sponsor of sport in France. Gambling will be next.

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