The future of Sport England seems uncertain following the enforced departure of chairman Derek Mapp, a lifelong Labour supporter who now admits to doubts about the way they are running the country, and sport. Multi-millionaire Mapp, 57, clashed with Culture Secretary James Purnell, who wanted him to shift the quango's focus away from physical activity and fitness to more traditional areas of participation. Mapp had already shown he was his own man, angering the Government by labelling the diversion of Lottery funds to the 2012 Olympics as "a cut too far". He says: "Purnell has completely underestimated how much these changes are going to affect those who make a difference by helping to keep kids off the street. He is an arrogant young man who doesn't reflect what I thought this Government was trying to do. I was one of the few people prepared to take on the rich barons of sport, but it seems Purnell prefers to listen to those who have a different agenda." The ultra-ambitious Purnell has instituted a review of Sport England's role. If ithas one.
Athletes could face one-off Olympics ban
Following the anticipated clearance by the British Olympic Association for Christine Ohuruogu to compete in Beijing, there will be a review of the body's sieve-like blanket Olympic ban. What could replace it is a bar on any athlete guilty of a drugs-related offence from the following Olympics only, rather than all Games, a move which would surely have the approval of the IOC as it would be less contentious. There is also likely to be a renewed call for a sporting ombudsman and a new independent doping authority, both of which we hear the PM is considering.
Greavsie gets medal but misses the cash
Jimmy Greaves is among the supporting cast who will now receive, belatedly, a medal for their part in the 1966 World Cup victory, but he jokingly reckons he would rather have an index-linked cheque from Roman Abramovich for back pay during his days at Stamford Bridge. "Frank Lampard pays out more to the bloke who cleans his Bentley than I got in my weekly wage packet when I was banging in 30-plus goals for Chelsea," sighs Greavsie. Even so, he tells us he got more satisfaction from playing for 20 a week than today's millionaire galacticos could hope for. It was "a proper man's game then". His reflections in Norman Giller's 'Footballing Fifties' (JR Books, 16.99) are a timely reminder of dayswhen football was rich in other ways.
10 million for Hatton, bonanza for bookies
Once the bruises and pay-per-view cash have been counted, Ricky Hatton could be richer by 10 million after next weekend's world title fight. That is also the figure bookmakers William Hill reckon will be gambled on the outcome, which makes Hatton v Mayweather the biggest betting fight since Lewis v Tyson. Hatton's odds have been trimmed to6-4, with Floyd Mayweather 8-15 favourite. Hatton is 7-2 second favourite for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, which could depend on the telephone vote on the day, with Christine Ohuruogu controversially shortlisted.
Dishy Des dishes out festive boxes as 'Setanta Claus'
Setanta, the new kids on the box they launched their 24-hour sports news channel last week are making good use of television talisman Des Lynam. After his pie-selling ad, he appeared last night as Father Christmas doling out Freeview boxes. Presumably he had a Setanta Claus in his contract. Panto next year, Des?