Inside Lines: Pots and kettles: Why slippery Sepp Blatter will be smirking today
Sunday 03 July 2011
Buried beneath the mound of Murray mania and Haye hysteria was a news item which no doubt brought a smirk to the faces of Sepp Blatter and his erstwhile sidekick Jack Warner.
John Scott, the Englishman who was running the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, resigned after admitting accepting "gifts and hospitality" from a potential supplier to the next biggest event to be held in the UK outside the London Olympics. It is understood he accepted tax advice worth thousands of pounds. This is deeply embarrassing for British sport, as Scott is a senior administrative figure, having been international director of the government agency UK Sport and heavily involved in the anti-drugs programme before joining Glasgow 2014 as its £180,000-a-year chief executive in 2008. He was a senior sports adviser to the Government and his son Giles is a sailing gold- medal prospect for 2012. Rumours have been rife about "sweeteners" being offered to Games officials and politicians have accused organisers of the £524m Games – two thirds of which is funded by the Scottish Government – of a cover-up. Scott, 59, whom I have known for many years, acknowledges "an error of judgement" and, unlike those involved in the Fifa scandals, has immediately fallen on his sword. But this won't stop Blatter and Co murmuring smugly about pots, kettles and a juicy spot of British sleaze, especially at a time when yet another Premier League club's foreign owner – Birmingham City's Carson Yeung – has been arrested in his homeland, on suspicion of serious financial wrongdoing.
Tessa serves an ace
Last week we reported how most youngsters couldn't give a damn about tennis, according to a survey. "Not up here," Gordon Brownlee of Scotland's Giffnock club informs us. "We have over 150 mini players and a similar number of juniors, and try our best to promote tennis at all levels. Our coaches go into schools and we have brought many kids from mini and juniors to winning senior players. Hopefully we will discover another Andy Murray." That is also the aim of that redoubtable Olympian Tessa Sanderson, who works tirelessly to inspire young athletes in London's East End through her Foundation and this weekend has launched a tennis academy in the Olympic heartland, in partnership with the Dutch Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek. She says: "Richard knows what it takes to get to the top in tennis. Working with him and his team of elite coaches will not only help the Olympic legacy but hopefully unearth some stars of the future." Lawn Tennis Association, please note.
Running riot in Athens
The Brits are on the rampage in Athens. In the Panathinaiko Stadium, home of the first modern Olympics, GB's Special Olympians, mainly youngsters with learning difficulties, have amassed 267 medals in the first five days of the global Summer Games, including 46 golds. All without Government funding, a situation highlighted here. The good news is that the Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson, tells us this is now being reviewed by Sport England. Fingers crossed.
Meantime, in Greenwich...
A taste of things to come: the clatter of horses' hooves, the crack of pistols and the chuntering of aggrieved residents will be in the air as Greenwich Park, the most controversial Olympic venue, hosts two 2012 test events this week. Tomorrow sees Britain's equestrians take on riders from 23 countries and next weekend 72 modern pentathletes from 20 nations will take part in the World Cup, with showjumping and the new biathlon-style combined running and shooting at Greenwich and fencing and swimming at Crystal Palace. Brits usually do well in these sports but can they win the locals over? Greenwich Council has distributed 4,500 tickets to schools, colleges and residents in the hope that they might.
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