Inside Lines: New anti-doping unit must pass test

The increasingly impressive Sports Minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, has proved he is no dope with his positive approach to setting up a new independent anti-drugs unit. Even his Tory opposite number, Hugh Robertson, admits Sutcliffe seems to be going the right way about things, noting some "welcome U-turns" on sport by the Government: "We'll have to rewrite our own sports policy now they seem to be pinching ours." Tory peers Seb Coe and Colin Moynihan in their respective Olympic guises have been pushing for Gordon Brown to back the scheme. Sutcliffe tells us he hopes plans for the unit will be in place by next spring, though it won't be operating in time for Beijing. How independent will it really be? Many of UK Sport's existing 20-strong anti-doping team will be involved, though some may have to reapply for their old jobs. Michele Verroken, sacked in 2004 as their boss after speaking out in favour of an independent body, is ideally equipped to head up the new agency. Whether she is even considered will be the first true test of its "independence".

Caborn joins the fight in boxing's corner

Gerry Sutcliffe's predecessor, Richard Caborn, shamefully elbowed by the shabby suits at the FA as a prospective independent chairman, is still in there punching. The 2018 World Cup bid envoy is now president of the Amateur Boxing Association of England, whose inaugural awards dinner takes place in Sheffield tomorrow. He'll be on hand with Amir Khan and Barry McGuigan to present awards in an outstanding year for a sport reaping the benefits of support from himself and Sutcliffe, who fought off the politically correct brigade. Frankie Gavin is a certainty for Boxer of the Year.

Shifting sands on the road to Marrakech

When they get tired of flitting off to their holiday hideaways in Barbados and Dubai, our super-rich footballers may well consider that the next "in" place to splash the cash will be Morocco, less than three hours from the UK by easyJet, or, if you are a Premier Leaguer, private jet. Bridgehouse International are hoping to entice them to a stunning new golf complex in Marrakech that would be posh enough even for Becks. The Samanah Country Club has villas going for a million or more and a course designed by Jack Nicklaus, though curiously they are having trouble with the sand. There's enough of it, being on the edge of the Sahara, but it's the wrong sort, so they are having to import tons ofit from France!

Robson honoured but snub for golden girls

Who will be this year's BBC Sports Personality is still in the balance, but we can reveal that Sir Bobby Robson, the former England manager, again battling cancer, is deservedly to be given the lifetime achievement award. Controversially, Christine Ohuruogu, although banned for most of the year, is a leading candidate for the main award, yet there is no room for worthier world champions Anna Hemmings (canoeing) or Vicky Pendleton (cycling). Omissions we hope colleagues in the Sports Journalists' Association take notice of for their own awards.

Hatton tickets too hot for Posh and the Spice Girls

Whatever the result of that contretemps in Las Vegas in the early hours, Ricky Hatton landed one KO victory. His full-house fight with Floyd Mayweather was the hottest ticket in town, some selling at 15 times face value, leaving Posh and the old Spice Girls with seats available at all prices in their comeback promotion, which was moved down The Strip.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments