Inside Lines: If FA overlord wants a first lady, why not Rabbatts?

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The Independent Online

Although the FA chairman, Lord Triesman, is convinced that a strong political influence will be required to capture the 2018 World Cup for England, there is some scepticism at Westminster and Soho Square about his choice of heavy hitters, not least from the shadow sports minister, Hugh Robertson, who accuses the overlord of politically overloading the board from the left. Robertson is certainly not alone in querying the selection of Baroness Amos, the first black woman to sit in the Cabinet and a former colleague of Labour peer Triesman in the Foreign Office. Amos admits she has little knowledge of football, though she does follow cricket. "So what on earth is she doing there?" asks Robertson. Fair question. If Triesman wants a black/female presence to impress Fifa, surely the feisty Millwall chair Heather Rabbatts would be ideal. She is a football person, a business high-flyer and is particularly well placed to tap into expertise from a former Uefa executive who masterminded London 2012's PR campaign, Mike Lee, as she is married to him. Arsenal are believed to be interested in Rabbatts for their vacant chief executive post. Why don't the FA nab her first?

London home from Dome

Who would have thought that the much-maligned Dome would re-emerge as one of the cornerstones of the London Olympics? Reborn as the O2, the one-time white elephant is now one of the most successful big-event venues in the world (it is sold out for the NBA game between the Miami Heat and the New Jersey Nets tonight) and a year from now will host the first real test of London's 2012 facilities. The Olympic bronze medallist Louis Smith will be among the star attractions of the World Gymnastics Championships, and the hope is the crowds will fill the huge arena to demonstrate to the IOC there is British enthusiasm for the Games. Tickets are already on sale as 2012 organisers cannot afford any suggestion of apathy. But with the pommel-horse dexterity of the boy they fondly call "Loopy Lou", and the farewell appearance of Britain's former world champion Beth Tweddle, it is unlikely there will be a dry eye or an empty seat in the house.

Netball on PM's agenda?

Gordon Brown a netball fan as well as supporting Raith Rovers? So it would seem, with England Netball claiming the support of the PM in their bid to get the sport into the Olympics. They will have to join the queue.

Not one for the pot

One of the sponsors of the recent World Tenball Championships – a blend of pool and snooker – in Manila was Alaxan FR, a Filipino headache cure. Competitors were all given a batch in their goody bags. What they didn't know was that it was on the list of banned substances. The winner was England's Darren Appleton. Just as well he didn't get a headache.

Weight off Gavin's mind

None of the three British boxing medallists in Beijing, James DeGale, David Price and Tony Jeffries, will compete in the European Championships in Liverpool next month. It is not just that they are all considering pro offers, but coach Terry Edwards feels they have been too busy enjoying post-Games celebrations to be in shape. But world champion Frankie Gavin, whose weight problems cost him his Olympic appearance, is expected to fly the flag, though he will be moving up to light-welterweight.