Inside Lines: FA chief under fire for keeping Oz-bound baroness on board
Sunday 27 September 2009
Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe's annoyance with the Football Association over their feet-dragging in implementing the Burns Report reforms, and his threat to chop £25 million in funding, is bound to create tension between him and Lord Triesman at the next meeting of England's 2018 World Cup bid board, on which both sit. However, this is not the only flak likely to be flying in the direction of the FA chairman. His stubborn disinclination to drop fellow Labour peer Baroness Amos from the bid team now that she is to become Britain's High Commissioner in Australia is irritating other board members: not least two men who actually know something about winning bids, Lord Coe and Sir Keith Mills, principal architects of 2012. The presence of the Guyana-born Valerie Amos, 55, has always been contentious – she has no known football interest other than occasionally watching Spurs, but Triesman seems determined to keep her in his team, even in absentia, when such as Garth Crooks and Heather Rabbatts (the former Millwall chair) surely could provide a more effective black presence. So should she quit? Well, baronesses don't seem the resigning sort. Whether Amos will continue to pocket her £35,000 honorarium is unclear – apparently she, Triesman and Lord Mawhinney are the only ones among the nine board members who do so. All three are, or have been, politicians.
Reedie set for promotion
The vote for host city of the 2016 Olympics is not the only poll that will be keenly contested in Copenhagen this week. Sir Craig Reedie, who also played a major part in London's 2012 success, is a contender for election to the executive board of the International Olympic Committee, a position which would make him the most influential Briton in world sport. Although he failed narrowly last time, the popular and experienced Glaswegian, 68, has a better chance now of securing one of the two available places because of the pending Games in London and his closeness to the Locog chair, Seb Coe. Says Reedie, an IOC member since 1994: "I think I know a bit about the Olympic movement now and it would be a real honour to end my career on the IOC board and help London deliver a great Games." In the ballot for the 2016 venue the three British IOC members (Reedie, Princess Anne and Paralympic chief Sir Philip Craven) are likely to back Chicago over Rio, Tokyo and Madrid.
Audley's final hand
Tragedies continue to beset boxing. Last week there was the suicide of Ireland's apparently depressed Olympic star Darren Sutherland, and now Friday's heavyweight Prizefighter tournament has been hit by the withdrawal of Michael Sprott after his sister threw herself in front of a train in Berkshire. Sprott, who had already beaten favourite Audley Harrison, is said to be devastated. His absence leaves the Last Chance Saloon door open again for the 37-year-old Harrison, for the guile he showed in the amateur game in winning Olympic gold should benefit him over the three-round bouts on a night worth £32,000 to the winner. But British champ Danny Williams, who is seeded to meet Harrison in the final at London's Excel Arena, is another pro nemesis. These days Harrison spends most of his time at the poker tables in Las Vegas, but if he plays the wrong cards again this time, it really is goodnight Aud.
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