Inside Lines: Bojo in the dojo – at least mayor is putting more fun into Games
Sunday 26 April 2009
Boris Johnson likened it to a visit by the man from Del Monte. Well, the men from Lausanne, they say "Yes". When the International Olympic Committee inspectors called last week they found everything in London's Olympic garden bearing fruit and beginning to ripen nicely. "Astounding," Dennis Oswald, the co-ordination commission chairman, called it. The green shoots of recovery may not be sprouting on the economic front but the good news is that 2012 plans are ahead of schedule and so far on budget – though the bills have yet to start rolling in. London's mayor really seems to have caught the sporting bug. On Tuesday he'll be at the Croydon Judo Club to outline his plans for increasing grass-roots sports participation. Bojo in the dojo! That should be fun, a much-needed commodity he is bringing to a Games already in danger of taking itself rather too seriously. Let's hope he's still around to keep us smiling in 2012.
Keeping a Keane watch
It seems an unlikely union, rebellious Roy Keane and Simon Clegg, the ex-Army officer, luge competitor and latterly chief executive of the British Olympic Association, newly installed in the same post at Ipswich Town FC. Before sorting out Keane's two-year contract Clegg's only previous experience in football has been as a member of the Chelsea Fans' Advisory Board. One hopes he will have a less turbulent ride in his new ball game than a previous incumbent at Portman Road, Howard Wells, who also trans-ferred from a different background of sports administration as the one-time chief executive of UK Sport. Wells quit Ipswich after differences with chairman David Sheepshanks, and subsequently was controversially sacked as chief executive of the Irish FA, whom he is taking to a tribunal. He says he finds Clegg's appointment by club owner and close friend Marcus Evans "curious" and warns: "In these jobs you really need to understand the culture of football."
Warren's Labour love lost
Frank Warren's love affair with what's left of New Labour is, he admits, on the wane. The promoter was incensed by the inability of the Home Office to grant a visa last week to the Germany-based Ukrainian world champion Andreas Kotelnik in time for him to attend a press conference to publicise his 27 June defence against Amir Khan at London's O2. "This Government's attitude to sport pisses me off," he says. "It says it wants to make things easier for overseas sports stars to come here to boost the economy. Yet this guy has fought here three times before and is hardly a threat to national security. It seems the best way to get into Britain these days is to sneak in without a visa and pick up the benefits." Angry Warren enlisted the help of ex-sports minister Richard Caborn, but even he couldn't budge the bureaucrats.
Don't mention the war
One Ukrainain fighter who did manage to get into Britain last week was the charming heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko, whose manager, Bernd Bönte, described his forthcoming showdown in Germany with David Haye as "The biggest fight since the war". We think we know what he meant, but best not mention it to Basil Fawlty, eh?
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