The Football Association has raised in excess of pounds 1.6m over the past five years from the Charity Shield at Wembley. Football-related charities are the main beneficiaries, including The FA Benevolent Fund, The FA Youth Trust, The FA National Sports Centre Trust, The Footballers' Further Education and Vocational Training Society and the Referees' Association Benevolent Fund, who between them have received a total of over pounds 600,000 in that period.
Charities that support football at all levels, such as the St John Ambulance Brigade and the British Red Cross, are also major recipients. Many other charities, such as Macmillan Nurses and Cheshire Homes, have also been beneficiaries over the years. - Graham Kelly, Chief Executive, Football Association, London W2.
I wrote to the FA on this matter last season and was told that, of the income from the 1991 match, just over 30 per cent was distributed to charitable organisations. Of the rest, Wembley actually receive more (32 per cent) 'by way of ground rental'. Each club gets 15 per cent while a further 2.5 per cent is paid into a pool which is then shared among the county associations. - Nigel Grant, Liverpool.
Can anyone explain why there are so many good-looking rugby union players, while first-class cricketers are almost always decidedly plain?
I would suggest this is the wrong way round. The nature of rugby does not lend itself to good-looking players. If you spend the majority of your time with your face at the level of someone's boots or under a pile of heaving heavyweight bodies, you can hardly look like Miss World. I mean no offence but Gareth Chilcott, Brian Moore, Wade Dooley, Phil Cairns, Fran Cotton, Roger Uttley and Walter Little are no oil paintings. On the other hand, there seems to me to be an endless list of good-looking first-class cricketers. The new captain of England, Martin Bicknell, Mark Ramprakash, Allan Lamb, Brendon Julian, Imran Khan, Mark Nicholas and Allan Donald to name but a few. - Elizabeth Normand, London N1.
As long as there are women who continue to ask questions like this, we cannot expect to be taken seriously as individuals, as sportswomen or as sports fans. - Noimot Salako, Grays, Essex.
In football you can block a possible scorer with a foul which allows you to form a defensive wall in front of the attacking side's free-kick. Is football the only sport in which you gain a legitimate advantage by committing a foul?
Probably so. Far worse is football's crazy law that rewards a team for preventing a certain goal by handling on the goal-line. The cheats turn a 100 per cent certain goal into a less than 80 per cent probable goal.
I have recorded the last 300 penalty-kicks seen in televised games or extended highlights. Of these, 69 kicks (23 per cent) were missed. - Lawrence Sutton, Orpington, Kent.
What is the quickest reply to a goal?
In a Sunday league match in 1990, my team, the Red Lion Withington, kicked off into a strong wind, and in our first attack were awarded a penalty, which was converted. The opposition restarted play by touching the ball and then launching a huge kick towards our goal. The ball caught the wind and 21 of the 22 players on the pitch turned to follow the trajectory. Our goalkeeper was unfortunately kneeling down tying his laces (the game was only two minutes old). Despite our cries, he could only watch as the ball flew over his head into the roof of the net. - David Tasker, Withington, Manchester.
How much faster do swimmers swim by shaving off their body hair?
The speed of a swimmer is determined by the balance between propulsive force from the arms and legs and the drag force of the water. This drag may be divided into three components: form drag, due to the shape of the body; wave-making drag; and skin friction drag, due to friction on the body surface. It is the last of these which could be affected by 'shaving down'. At the speed of a top swimmer, skin friction drag is negligible so the effect of shaving must be very small, possibly thousandths of a second or less. It does, however, make one feel very good in the water so swimmers do it just before racing to give a psychological boost. - Geoff Thwaites, sports technology consultant (and former Olympic swimmer), Cambridge.
What is the highest score draw in a British league or cup match?
In the 1929-30 season, in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup, Dulwich Hamlet drew at home with Wealdstone 7-7. In 148,000-plus Football League and 50,000 FA Cup results we have found nothing to match or better it. - Ray Spiller, Association of Football Statisticians, Essex.
Which Premiership or Football League team can boast the highest number of locally born players?
It is hardly likely to be Torquay United, who are on the way to having a side made up entirely of West Midlanders. Against Walsall this season half Torquay's squad were born within a dozen miles of their opponent's ground: Matthew Lowe (Birmingham), Scott Colcombe (West Bromwich), Darren Moore (Birmingham), Chris Curran (Birmingham), Adrian Foster (Kidderminster), David Byng (Meriden) and Duane Darby (Birmingham). Absentees from the squad included Richard Hancox (Stourbridge), Matthew Gardener (Birmingham), Scott Stamps (Edgbaston) and Mark Sale, a foreigner from Burton-on-Trent. Seven have come through Torquay's youth policy thanks to the Midlands contacts of the chief scout, John James. The most successful product has been Lee Sharpe (Halesowen). - Nick House, Taunton.
In swimming it is rare to see a non- white competitor in any international competition. Why?
Black swimmers tend not to reach world standard because of their increased bone density. This results in a lower centre of gravity and loss of buoyancy. The swimmer has to expend a greater amount of energy to remain afloat, so high speeds are more difficult. - Dr David O Evans, Aberdeen.
Has any cricketer been on the field of play for an entire first-class match?
It is important to ignore matches ruined by rain: for instance the entire Pakistan team could claim to have been on the field throughout the second Test at Lord's in 1987. The first true occasion was in Pakistan's second official Test match, against India at Lucknow in October 1952. Nazar Mohammad, opening the batting for Pakistan, scored 124 not out and his side enjoyed an innings victory. England had to wait until July 1958, when C A Milton achieved this on his debut, against New Zealand at Headingley. There have been numerous other examples, including David Lloyd and John Edrich for England, the latest Test instance being Shoaib Mohammad's ever-present effort in 1990 for Pakistan v New Zealand. - David Balcombe, Northwood, Middlesex.
Perhaps the most notable occurrence in a match which lasted the full playing time was in 1911. C J B Wood opened the batting for Leicestershire against Yorkshire and carried his bat for 107 not out and 117 not out in totals of 309 and 296, so becoming the first batsman to achieve the feat. Yorkshire won the game, scoring 334 and 272 for 5, and stumps were drawn at 5.30pm on the last day. - Dai Jones, Cardiff.
Most recently, John Stephenson, of Essex, against Somerset in May 1992. Stephenson scored 113 not out and 159 not out. Essex lost. - Rob Marshall, Danbury, Essex.
Why is the 'anchor leg' of a relay so called? - Stewart Walker, Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire.
Why do the County Championship tables always have a team's final position in the previous season printed in brackets by them? This does not happen in rugby and football, why is it important in cricket? - Michael O'Hare, Harrow-on-the-Hill.
At a recent race at Donington Park the Mercedes team was sponsored by Berlin 2000. The cars and transporters were covered with the signatures of German sports stars who were supporting the Olympic bid. A few non-Germans such as John McEnroe, who was born there, had also added their names. Among them were the signatures of Ian Woosnam and Bernard Gallacher. Can anyone explain what German connections they have that would lead them to support Berlin's bid rather than Manchester's? - Syd Wall, Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire.
Has any hard evidence emerged that Fifa, in an attempt to appease American television, does genuinely intend to introduce increased goal sizes, time- outs and four-quarter matches? - Michael Dwyer, Brighton.
How much faster does a 100 metre runner race from a crouched position using blocks than from a standing start? When were blocks introduced? - Andrew Cabrinovic, London W10.
How does the seeding system for European football competitions work? - Ian Nicol, Manchester United Supporters' Club Swiss Branch, Zurich.
When Aston Villa met Everton in October 1991 they had seven black players - McGrath, Yorke, Regis, Atkinson, Daley, Blake and Small. Has any league team fielded as many black players, or more? - M. Crick, Chipping Norton.
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