From ballot box to 18-yard box

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Our support for referenda and other ballot-boxery notwithstanding, it appears Euro '96 might have the spin-off benefit of offering an alternative dispute-resolution procedure - the penalty shoot-out. What Wednesday night proved is that it is possible to distill several months' training and preparation into 10 minutes of one-on-one passion and anguish, with a clear victor at the end but honour held high.

Now, why not turn that on the postal strike? Or the annual London tube strike? Or Scottish devolution? An end to wars and elections; just straight penalties. Perhaps sport has something to offer the real world, after all.

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