Inside Lines: Lord Coe shows some like it hot by stoking up Qatar debate

 

Fifa and Sepp Blatter may believe they have taken the heat out of the situation by delaying any decision on a seasonal switch for the 2022 World Cup until next year but the controversy over whether hot countries like Qatar should host major sports events in high summer rages on and now extends beyond football.

The Gulf state's capital, Doha, is mounting a strong bid to stage the Olympic Games two years later and their right to do so is firmly backed by London 2012 chief Lord Coe. "We can't sit any longer saying that countries prepared to invest in sport, both spiritually and in terms of infrastructure, are in some way banned or we make it impossible for them to deliver high-quality sporting events, " he said. "We should be encouraging it."

The British Olympic Association's chairman, speaking on a recent visit to Doha, added: "If you are going to build a global capacity in sport you are going to confront challenges. Some will be climatic, political or social. The great thing about sport is that it always manages to bridgehead change. If we said 20 years ago that Rio would host the Olympics or South Africa the World Cup, few would have believed it. But that's how sport works and that's a good thing."

Doha has already bid unsuccessfully for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics and Qatar's Olympic Committee confirmed to us that they will do so "again and will keep on bidding until we win".

Traditionally, the Olympics, like the World Cup, take place in summer months but can be more flexible. Tokyo 1964 and Mexico City 1968 were both held in October because of the climate; similarly Sydney 2000 and Seoul 1988 started in mid-September.

Astaire dances on

In their heyday football icon Jimmy Hill and boxing mastermind Mickey Duff were two of the sharpest tacks I have encountered, both helping revolutionise their respective sports. So how desperately sad that Hill, 85, and Duff, 84, are in now in care homes suffering from Alzheimer's.

However, one contemporary waltzes on. Jarvis Astaire, the entrepreneur and sports impresario, is 90 today, an occasion marked by a Variety Club lunch at London's Claridge's.

Astaire, who played tennis regularly until recently, is someone for whom the word ubiquitous might have been invented. He wore many hats, as a boxing manager, agent and promoter, deputy chair of Wembley and chair of the Greyhound Racing Association. For more than 30 years he was one of the most influential string-pullers in British sport and one of the country's most successful businessmen, a director of more than 20 companies and, in the 1960s, pioneered closed-circuit and pay-per-view television. He also managed showbiz stars such as Dustin Hoffman.

A millionaire, he is something of a paradox considering that, politically, he has always been a committed socialist of the Old Labour school. Some years ago he found himself sat at a Guildhall lunch next to the titled wife of an eminent company chairman and spent most of the time espousing the Labour cause. Later, they waited outside for their cars and Astaire's Bentley purred up. "Mr Astaire!" exclaimed the high Tory lady, "How do you reconcile this with the socialist doctrine you've been preaching at me throughout lunch?" "Nothing's too good for the workers, madam," smiled Astaire, hopping into the passenger seat as his chauffeur opened the door.

Happy birthday, Jarvis.

Tyson's salad days

New promoter Mike Tyson, who is currently involved in a heated punch-up with the United States Amateur Boxing Association who have accused him of poaching several of their top boxers being groomed for the Rio Olympics, has become a vegetarian. Which must be music to Evander Holyfield's ear.

a.hubbard@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exciting position has risen for a Customer ...

Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

Recruitment Genius: Fundraising Manager / Income Generation Coach

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A smart software company locate...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project