A recurring duty in my list of ‘to dos’ in my capacity as Sports Editor – sometimes delegated to others at times of extremis, I admit – is to sweep the internet in a search for sports stories of potential interest to Rusters, with particular regard to three headings:
Regular visitors to this organ will be aware of our ‘issues of special interest’ under which heading we campaign – firstly and generally – in the cause of promoting equality; ‘level playing fields’ in all forms of sports competition; ‘common sense’ as a guiding principle in administering matters to do with athletes either undergoing gender transition and/or seeking to self-identify as belonging to a new gender in circumstances where the intrinsic characteristics of their previous one might give them an unfair advantage; and (lastly) integrity, integrity, integrity.
Simultaneously, of course, we campaign with equal vigour AGAINST a small number of issues and/or conflicting interests that tend to complicate and/or hamper the good that sport and its accompanying benefits can provide to the human race right around the globe.
Step forward under this heading, in no particular order: the use of performing-enhancing drugs, banned or otherwise; corruption in any form within national and international sporting bodies, including instances of state-controlled programmes including deliberate cheating; any cabal of “First Nation” countries in any global sport – or indeed any sport with aspirations to become one – which deliberately hinders worldwide development and progress by refusing (in “Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas” style) to relinquish or share its “top table” status’; big business interests that muddy or interfere with the highest standards of quality sports administration; and any systematic horse-trading and/or “block voting” by rich and/or dictator-controlled countries which results in ridiculous and/or questionable awards of ‘host nation’ status for global sporting festival, tournaments or events.
Ongoing arguments and discussions such as “Which is best – attending sporting matches or events in person … or watching them live on television?” and “If they had met in the ring at the height of their respective careers, would Muhammad Ali have beaten iconic British heavyweight hero John L. Gardner?”
Here’s one that I spotted overnight which could have long-term consequences, as far as I could tell mentioned only briefly in one other newspaper – The Daily Telegraph, whose pay-wall prevents me accessing its report – but is covered extensively in a major article by Nick Harris, Edmund Willison and Rob Draper published on the website of the – DAILY MAIL