The game is up for those drugs cheats hiding under the protective skirts of sports bodies who decline to reveal their identities even though thay have failed dope tests. As from next year they will be named and shamed. New regulations introduced by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) will be implemented here by UK Sport, the government-backed authority responsible for promoting drugs-free sport. This means there can be no cover-ups or legal loopholes whereby the guilty need not be identified if their governing bodies choose not to do so. Unless there are specific medical reasons why tests have been positive - such as the discovery of testicular cancer - from next spring names will be posted on the Wada website and published in UK Sport's quarterly review of tests conducted. "The Wada code makes it clear that there should be public disclosure," says Michele Verroken, UK Sport's director of anti-doping." We believe this will end unnecessary speculation and that the majority of athetes, those who do not take drugs, will welcome the move to show that there is now no hiding place for those who do." Penalties for non-compliance could include withdrawal of funding from offending sports bodies and a possible banishment from the Olympic Games. Verroken also warns that non-co-operation by sports bodies here could harm the London Olympic bid. "If we have a number of sports who do not comply, that might be seen by the IOC as a reason not to award the Games to London." UK Sport's latest report reveals that seven doping cases "have yet to reach a satisfactory conclusion". Verroken is shortly to meet new FA chief Mark Palios to discuss the game's hitherto reluctance to name cheats and impose stiffer punishments.
Campbell rumour has London bid in a spin
First it was Cherie Blair who was being shamelessly touted as the Boadicea of London's Olympics, now we hear that her hubby's about-to-walk sidekick Alastair Campbell is being targeted as the man to sell it to the world. True, Campbell is a sports fan and may well be asking "Gissa job" very soon, but Olympics spinmeister? Surely not? The IOC jury is likely to be even less impressed by his credibility in view of his role in recent events than they would by the podium presence of Posh and Becks. Surely those orchestrating the bid should heed the warning of the new shadow sports minister, ex-Olympian Lord Colin Moynihan, who thinks it is already bedevilled by too much spin. "As Jacques Rogge told the Prime Minister, it is about substance, not show and I am worried that not enough is being done right now on the substance of the bid. We are already a long way behind." Pertinent question: Why was Moynihan never considered for the bid leadership, despite an ideal background of sport, business and politics?
Worrying trend of sport's baby-snatchers
He's barely out of nappies but such is the talent of a three-year-old basketball prodigy from Missouri that sportswear giants Reebok have already signed him up. Virtually the first words little Mark Walker has uttered have been in a commercial. "I am Reebok," he declares into the camera after scoring baskets from 10 metres out using a full-sized basket and adult-sized hoops. Reebok unveiled their new discovery on the day rivals Nike celebrated the signing of an $138m boot deal by another basketball babe, LeBron James. But at least he's 18. So fierce is the competition to snare 'em young that Reebok's website invites parents to send in details of their kids' sporting talents, even if they can't walk yet. Scary or what?
Lennox Lewis, who is rapidly becoming a bit of an old grouch, has done himself no favours within the fight game by declaring that he can't wait to walk away from "this dirty business". Manchester's Ricky Hatton is among fellow pros who dispute the world champion's slur on the profession.
"It really surprises me," says the WBU light-welterweight champion. "Boxing has put food on the table for him. Would he say the money he has earned from it is dirty money? OK, there are things in boxing, like most sports, that sometimes get you down but why bite the hand that has fed you so well? I guess some people are like that." Like Lewis's last opponent, Vitali Klitschko, Hatton has recovered well from surgery on an horrendous eye wound and doubtless will sell out his hometown MEN Arena again on 27 September. He tells me: "I'm still in love with boxing. It has given me a great life. I don't know what I'd do without it. I was never going be a brain surgeon or anything like that but it has been good to me, and for me." Listening Lennox?
Wimbledon may be over for this year but play continues on the courts of the All England Club where the movie "Wimbledon" is being filmed.
All pretty authentic, too, with players abusing rackets, and umpires calling "out" though the one shout you won't hear is "New balls, please". In fact, no balls at all, as the actors' tennis skills are so ropey that they are just hitting air shots for the ball to be added digitally later. We also hear that the makers are so short of extras that cardboard cut-outs are being used to make up the numbers. It seems rather cruel to suggest it, but surely if it is dummies they want they are in plentiful supply among the ranks of Britain's national squads, who also seem to have some trouble hitting the ball.
I don't think God has finished with me yet, although I know He might speak to me at any time. Triple-jump champion Jonathan Edwards suggests that at 37 only divine intervention can prevent further leaps of faith in Paris and Athens... I have flown economy and haven't had a problem with it. It is good discipline. Budget-conscious chairman Peter Hill-Wood on why Arsenal's superstars had to sit at the back on their pre-season jaunt to Austria... I'm just looking forward to going to the other world. A faded Mike Tyson reckons he's tired of life.Reuse content