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September 08, 2010

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Ray

Yes interesting stuff. As far as John Wright's article goes I think that he has a point. The trouble is how would we determine the age limit and who would enforce such a limit? Boxers do need protecting from themselves at times and the history of the sport is littered with cases of fighters who just would not call it a day and took some terrible beatings as a result. It's not so much a question of fitness Paul as the ability to get your head and hands in the right place at the right time; and that is what can fade almost overnight.
Regarding Pakistan cricket, for Jon Gemmell to point out that sport is a reflection of (or has a dynamic relationship with, Oooo!) the society that produces it put him as a leading contender in stating the bleeding obvious. More interesting I think is the relationship between sport and gambling; and the class nature of that.
Having said all that any analysis of sport from a political perspective is to be welcomed I reckon and I like to think that we contribute a bit to that project ourselves.

Choccy

The idea of an age limit on any sport is rediculous; if you're good enough, you're good enough. Toney's boxing record speaks for itself, his performance in the UFC was nothing short of a joke - he got paid double what Couture got for a fight he'd no chance of winning and apparently didn't veen bother training properly for (ie didn't bother to learn any wrestling or jujitsu).

Rasta

I think boxing would be better if done according to the olympic rules (as I understand them), i.e. some sort of head protection and more points for skill than sheer brutality. It's sad to see people like Muhammad Ali who have been crippled because of the public's blood lust basically. Obviously people do choose to go into that sort of thing "of their own free will", but when sport is one of the few avenues out of lifelong abject poverty for some people, how "free" are their choices?
Basically, it should be more like a martial art and less like Roman gladiators.
As far as corruption, I think "first world" countries are just as corrupt as "third world" ones, just better at hiding it.
Obviously the Pakistani ruling dynasty are scum, just like pretty much every other set of rulers in pretty much every country.

Stumpy

Toney was a disgrace against Couture - he had bigger breasts than most of the girls I have been out with!

On the age question, worth adding Couture is 47, Toney 42.....

Internationalist

I think you are on a pretty sticky wicket here Paul. There is plenty of corruption in other sports in other countries. Wherever there is big money at stake, there is likely to be corruption, and some people will be tempted, even when the sport is highly regulated.

When Mike Gatting took his team to play in apartheid South Africa for shedloads of money, was it corrupt? Depends on your definition of corruption. I would say it was. Was that a reflection of British society? To some extent. Did it mean that British cricket or British society were totally corrupt? No.

However, I have to disagree with Rasta slightly. Unfortunately, the problem is likely to be worse in countries that suffer from bad governance and lack of transparency, and they tend to be the poorer countries.

Internationalist

Also German football, which you might expect to be squeaky clean, was recently rocked by similar gambling scandals involving corrupt players and officials (though admittedly in the lower divisions).

Internationalist

Off topic but hats off to you for taking a stand against the HP Saucers regarding the cancelled Blair book beano at the Tate.

Paul Stott

I think we can say the likes of Mike Gatting had bad politics, that they were racist, perhaps even greedy, but corrupt? As the article argues:

"Corruption is defined by the organisation Transparency International as the misuse of entrusted power for private gain."

I'm not sure that really applies in the Gatting case.

Internationalist

Paul, Transparency International defines corruption in a very specific context, because their job is to stop (for example) politicians syphoning off funds from government projects at the expense of taxpayers.

For a broader definition see for example Merriam Webster:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/corruption

"impairment of moral integrity" - definitely applies to Gatting.

Paul Stott

Indeed, but there is little hidden in such acts - we know that he was playing cricket in apartheid South Africa for money, when the governing body proscribes it.

That is surely different from taking money to play cricket professionally, but at the same time allegedly taking money from a bookmaker to ensure that at certain points in the game you are bowling improperly?

Internationalist

Of course it's different but it is still highly corrupt.

If you recall, Gatting's trip was "sold" on the basis that he and his colleagues would be giving training in black townships. In reality this was a PR stunt to obscure the fact that he was clearly breaking international sporting sanctions against South Africa. That, in my opinion, is corrupt in the sense of morally degenerate.

And just as dishonest as bowling a couple of no-balls in return for money.

Rasta

Semantics aside, the point I was trying to make is that corruption in third world countries (take Guyana for example) is blatant, obvious, in your face, and tends to involve small change - cops shaking you down for whatever cash you got in your wallet, embassy staff running U.S. visas-for-cash rackets, etc. Corruption in first world countries (take U.K. for example) is hidden, behind the scenes, and tends to involve billions, cos the ones doing the scams involving thousands and millions are the ones getting caught, whereas the ones involved in the billion-pound corruption don't get caught - in fact they could be the ones catching the smaller fish and making examples of them to divert attention from themselves.
International criminal cartels are certainly intimately involved with the highest levels of british gov't, financial institutions etc. (not to mention that the british gov't is itself nothing but a legalized criminal cartel).

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