Inside Lines: Home nations still await sign from Blatter

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The Independent Online

Sepp Blatter's autographwas much in demand at Gleneagles yesterday. Not by fans, but by representatives of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at the International FA Board meeting. They want the Fifa president formally to sign a declaration that their World Cup status will not be compromised if they agree to supply players to a Great Britain Olympic football team in 2012. Although Blatter has given verbal assurances he seems coy about putting pen to paper, and according to Howard Wells, the chief executive of the Irish Football Association, "the whole thing is dead in the water". Wells tell us that the matter was not raised yesterday, informally or otherwise, so the impasse continues, despite renewed pressure on the home nation refuseniks from Gordon Brown and the Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham. The British Olympic Association say that come what may a GB team will be fielded in London, if necessary with all English players. Seb Coe is believed to have cheekily "tapped up" Sir Alex Ferguson to manage, but the Scot is too canny to play ball at this stage.

A Beijing hostess must have the mostest

Never mind human rights, some say it is women's rights Olympic organisers should be more mindful of, with the Beijing medal-presentation ceremonies destined to be something of a Miss World pageant. The selection process for hostesses requires that girls should be "pretty, not too fat, have slim thighs and small bottoms". All must be over 5ft 5in and even the width of their eyes will be measured. They will be trained to smile by chomping down on chopsticks held between their teeth. And to think Chairman Mao once dismissed beauty parades as "bourgeois nonsense".

Holyfield says battling Brits are 'real deal'

Ring war veteran Evander Holyfield was among the luminaries up late at today's pre-dawn Haye-Maccarinelli bash, sitting alongside Britain's seven Olympic qualifiers. A former Olympic medallist himself, Holyfield enthuses about Team GB's Beijing prospects, forecasting they will win more than the Americans. "The US system seems to have disintegrated," he says. "Good kids just aren't coming into the sport any more. I was impressed with the way the Brits performed in the world championships in Chicago. They have an excellent programme." By the way, forget talk of Holyfield-Tyson III. It won't happen. The canny old "Real Deal" is simply selling his new book. In suggesting it, he has bitten off even more than Tyson could chew.

MPs not playing the game with players

Those who have sat through countless Parliamentary Select Committee hearings into sport are conscious of how little the inquisitors seem to know of the subject. Perhaps they might learn more if they quizzed those who play it. A recent session on sport's European White Paper ignored a request from the Professional Players' Federation, sport's TUC, to have their views aired. Chairman Brendon Batson has written to the committee, complaining of "a serious omission not to mention the rights of those professionals who earn their living from sport". Point of order, MPs.

Is Scudamore ready to step through transfer window?

There is a growing belief among his fellow sports administrators that the Premier League chief, Richard Scudamore, is so dismayed by the hostile reaction to his 39th Step proposal that he will quit at the end of the season. Having turned down an approach from IMG, could he be tempted to join the Murdoch empire?