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Paying James Hird in advance for 2014

My interest in sport is, well, about  less than Zero but I do find some of the machinations and politics of various  codes rather amusing for the passions that they invoke. The rather neat way that Essendon have managed to find a way to keep James Hird in grocery money while he is suspended during 2014 would have to get a very big tick for ingenuity though:

A FIERCE dispute between the AFL and Essendon over whether James Hird could be paid while suspended has meekly ended in farce, with the league endorsing a contrived arrangement in which the banned coach will receive his entire salary for next year before Christmas. The extraordinary capitulation by the AFL, which came a day after league chief executive Andrew Demetriou threatened to withhold regular funding from Essendon until it stopped paying Hird, came as the club was preparing to take the league to court. Having sworn to "go to my grave" with the knowledge that Essendon was not paying Hird, Mr Demetriou has now accepted the club will pay Hird his salary as stipulated by his three-year coaching contract. Under the terms agreed to last night, next year's salary will be paid this year. In a joint statement, the AFL and Essendon said: "The AFL has accepted the Essendon Football Club's position that James will not be paid in 2014 and equally the AFL have accepted that the Essendon Football Club has the right to make payments to James Hird in the 2013 year as it sees fit."


In a joint statement, the AFL and Essendon said: “The AFL has accepted the Essendon Football Club’s position that James will not be paid in 2014 and equally the AFL have accepted that the Essendon Football Club has the right to make payments to James Hird in the 2013 year as it sees fit.”

Sir Humphrey Appleby would be beaming with absolute approval at this bit of nonsense. Personally I think that it proves for once and all that there is no sportsmanship once the  spivs and lawyers get involved with sport.

Cheers Comrades

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You can bet on it, but advertising gambling is bad for us

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Does gambling improve sport?

I’m not a gambling man by any stretch of the imagination, heck I don’t even buy lottery tickets but I am no wowser either I don’t care if other people want to have a flutter on the ponies or any other competition. On top of that I am lightning fast on the channel change button if I find sport on the TV. None the less I do have an opinion about the current issue of advertising by bookies during sports broadcasts. I just think that the infusion of gambling to be utterly pernicious and that makes me in agreement with Julia Gillard (oh the humanity!) but I am inclined to think that a total ban on the broadcast  advertising of  bookmaking would be the most socially beneficial regulation.

Cheers Comrades

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Assange, asylum, pizzas, AFL and boat people

This is becoming a Friday habit. For the 2nd week in a row I bring you a re-post of my weekly Alpine Opinion AFL footy tips or, more correctly, its totally football-irrelevant intro. This time it’s about one of Iain’s favourite blokes, Julian Assange. Again, I’ve left out the actual tips, although I’ll just mention that St Kilda will beat the living Christ out of Geelong in tonight’s do-or-die battle:

Domino’s or Eagle Boys?

Despite Ecuador granting Wikileaks’ Julian Assange political asylum, the British government seems determined to take him into custody, even if it means they break all the diplomatic norms and storm the embassy to arrest him.

But is he still there?

Some of the protesters say put him in a diplomatic pouch; others do not even think Mr Assange is inside.

“There was a pizza guy that came to deliver a pizza with his helmet on, he went inside the embassy and then he came back out, hopefully Assange changed clothes with that pizza guy, put that helmet on and went off on the bike,” one protester said.

Um … that’s wishful thinking.

Somehow I don’t think this is going to end very well for Assange. It’s a pretty tense situation and you have to wonder about the whole process of extraditing him to Sweden to answer those clearly trumped-up sex allegations. If that’s all that there is to it (and clearly it’s not) then why is England going to so much trouble over this one person? Surely they’ve got bigger fish to fry than Julian Assange.

(I also have it on good authority that Tony Abbott has asked Ecuador  to take our boat people in the event he becomes Prime Minister. He calls it ‘The Central American solution’)

Silly sports

If kite surfing is to be an Olympic sport I’d like to see it done Richard Branson style.

I haven’t put a new post up here at Chez Hall for a while but I think this one’s worth a run. It’s a re-post from my weekly AFL ‘expert’ footy tips (syndicated world-wide and followed by 10 million Indians & Pakistanis). For Iain’s benefit I won’t include the actual football tips:

The good news is that windsurfing is finally to be dumped as an Olympic sport at the Rio Games in 2016 …. The bad news is that it’s to be replaced by the equally stupid ‘sport’ of kite surfing! I mean, really, these pursuits are just summer pass times – fads enjoyed by beachgoers that’ll quickly pass. They’re just silly, pseudo ‘sports’ that should never be included in the Olympics, much like: synchronised swimming, BMX, handball (seriously, that’s a game played in school yards) & trampolining. So what’s next, paragliding and hang gliding? How about bungee jumping? I give up.

There you go, Iain – maybe next time (when they’re in Raunchy Rio) you’ll start to take an interest in the Olympics.

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BIG NEWS !!!! – Barry Hall decides not to do something

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The Age has put up its entry for the Walkely awards category of non-news story of the year.

I cannot believe that such a prominent newspaper as The Age has dedicated so much broadsheet and cyberspace to this non-story, that ex-AFL biffo man Barry Hall has decided not to pursue a boxing career because he can’t be bothered doing the training. It’s all too hard.

I should add that this non-event was also one of the lead stories on this morning’s ABC Radio National News – I kid you not, I nearly spilt my coffee when I heard the earth-shattering announcement.

Since when is someone’s decision not to do something a news story? It’s not like this changes or means anything to the average Joe in the street. Life will go on pretty much as normal, I suspect, although it might give the obsessed Twitter nerds something else to tweet about. You know, with a #barryhallwontbox hash tag or something like that.

So …….. I wonder what else Big Bazza has decided not to do recently that might also be worthy of such broad media coverage? Like:

  • Barry Hall decides not to go to the pub and get pissed tonight
  • Barry Hall decides not to take ecstasy or cocaine
  • Barry Hall decides not to expose himself in downtown Pitt Street, Sydney

And why stop there? Why limit the news coverage of such non-decisions to ex-sportspeople and/or B-grade celebrities? I want to see and read about what the little man has decided not to do.

Why not cover these news stories too?:

  • Ray Dixon decides not to turn professional (mature age) golfer
  • Iain Hall decides not to shave his beard he started growing 30 years ago
  • Leon Bertrand decides not to restart his blog

OR:

  • Jo Chandler decides not to admit her secret Internet identity

I mean … these are big stories. Are there any I’ve missed?

Soccer’s shame

No other game in the world provokes such violence.

I have reproduced this post concerning the Egyptian soccer riot from my home blog, Alpine Opinion. I reckon it’s got nothing to do with the political situation in Egypt and is just typical of the game of soccer (that should raise some eyebrows – or fists):

While some people try to explain the appalling soccer match riot in Egypt that resulted in 74 deaths and over 1,000 injured as politically motivated and connected to the recent overthrow of President Mubarak , I don’t buy that.

It’s just another clear example of how soccer fans are the most violent sports spectators in the world. Consider this ABC report on how the riot is believed to have started and remember that there is a history of intense rivalry between the two Egyptian clubs and among their supporters:

Witnesses said fighting began after Al Ahly fans unfurled banners insulting Port Said and one ran on to the pitch carrying an iron bar at the end of the match.

Al-Masry fans reacted by pouring onto the pitch and attacking Ahly players before turning to the terraces to attack rival supporters, including “ultra” Al Ahly fans who played a leading role in Egypt’s revolution last year.

The Muslim Brotherhood blamed the clashes on supporters of fallen president Hosni Mubarak, and came as the country struggles with a wave of incidents linked to poor security.

That clearly suggests the riot was instigated by football-related emotions (out of control emotions) and that the so-called political aspect was a secondary factor. The Muslim Brotherhood’s claim appears politically motivated, as you’d expect. After all, they want to run the country and they’ll latch on to this to promote their cause. Yeah, riding to power on the back of tragedy.

Getting back to soccer and the reasons for all this violence among the crowds, I once wrote elsewhere – tongue in cheek – that it can be attributed to the boring nature of the game and lack of goal scoring, causing rival fans to focus more on each other than the action (or lack of) on the field. Some pretty appalling refereeing decisions don’t help either. I think there’s some validity in that, although how do you explain the absence of such extreme violence at cricket matches that can be equally boring spectacles? Well, that’s because the vast majority of spectators at a Cricket Test match tend to be from the host nation, so there isn’t the same crowd rivalry in play. All you’ll get at a cricket game is a bit of drunken yobbo behaviour but I don’t recall there ever being a riot resulting in deaths in all the long history of the game.

In Australia too, there have been incidents of riotous crowd behaviour at soccer games, although not to the extent we’ve seen elsewhere. Last year, Victoria’s Assistant Police Commissioner described soccer fans as “the worst behaved” following some ugly incidents between the supporters at a game in Melbourne involving flares and punch ups. Contrast that to Aussie Rules – the worst behaviour you’ll see at an AFL game is the odd obnoxious loud mouth, a bit of indecent language and occasionally (very rarely in fact) an assault. Not that any of that is acceptable but, compared to soccer, AFL is a very fan-friendly game. And, let’s face it, the game itself is just so much more entertaining, exciting and interesting. I mean, there are no 0-0 results at the footy!

Wow, that will get the soccer fans out there fired up, I’m sure. It has before. They’re a precious lot, the supporters of the so-called beautiful game. And an angry lot. Obviously. Last time I said something like that I was vilified all over the place as an “AFL Bogan”. But that’s certainly a case of the pot calling a white cup “black”.

There is just no doubt that the game of soccer brings out the very worst in those who go to watch it. Or maybe those who watch it are just among the very worst? I dunno, but if you don’t believe what I’m saying here, have a look at this long list the ABC has compiled chronicling the deaths, violence & destruction at soccer games played all over the world:

May 1964, Peru
During an Olympic qualifying match between Peru and Argentina, the referee disallows a Peruvian goal just minutes from the final whistle. The move sparks protests from fans, which turn into riots after Argentina wins the match. The violence kills 318 people and injures more than 500.

January 1971, Scotland
Barriers on a stairway collapse as fans are leaving a match between Rangers and Celtic in Glasgow, causing a massive pile-up of fans. The accident kills 66 people, including many children, with bodies stacked as deep as six feet.

October 1982, Russia
Fans are crushed as they leave a UEFA Cup tie between Moscow Spartak and Dutch side HFC Haarlem at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow. Officials from the former Soviet Union do not disclose the tragedy for years. When they do, they give an official death toll of 66, although the number could be as high as 340.

May 1985, England
At least 56 people are killed and more than 200 injured when fire broke out in the stands at Bradford.

May 1985, Belgium
Thirty-five fans, mostly Italians, die in rioting before the European Cup final between Italy’s Juventus and English club Liverpool at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels.

March 1988, Nepal
A hailstorm erupts as 30,000 fans watch a match between Nepalese and Bangladeshi teams. At least 93 people are killed and 100 more injured when fans attempt to flee from the hail.

April 1989, England
In Britain’s worst sporting disaster, 96 people are killed and hundreds injured after a crowd surge crushes packed fans against barriers at the English FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield. Many die while standing up and the pitch becomes a makeshift field hospital.

January 1991, South Africa
Forty-two people are killed in a stampede during a preseason game in the mining town of Orkney between the Kaizer Chiefs and the Orlando Pirates. The incident was sparked by a Pirates fan who attacked Chiefs supporters in the crowd with a knife.

May 1992, France
Before the kick-off of a French Cup game between Bastia and Olympique Marseille in Corsica, a stand of the Furiani stadium collapses, killing 18 people and injuring about 2,400.

October 1996, Guatemala
Around 80 people are killed and more than 100 injured as an avalanche of fans tumbles down seats and a flight of stairs at a World Cup qualifying match between Guatemala and Costa Rica in Guatemala City. Fake tickets had reportedly attracted far more people to the stadium than it could hold.

April 2001, South Africa
At least 43 people are crushed to death when soccer fans try to force their way into Johannesburg’s huge Ellis Park stadium midway through a top South African league match.

May 2001, Ghana
At the end of a match between Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko, police fire tear gas at fans who were tearing up seats. Tens of thousands of people rush to get out, and 126 people are killed in the chaos. It remains one of Africa’s worst soccer disasters.

March 2009, Ivory Coast
At least 19 people are killed during a stampede at Abidjan’s Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium before a World Cup soccer qualifying match against Malawi.

February 2012, Egypt
Fans riot at the end of a match in the city of Port Said when the local team al-Masry beat Al Ahli, one of Egypt’s most successful clubs, 3-1. At least 73 people are killed and hundreds more injured.

Says it all. No other sport in the world can ‘boast’ such a record. Not rugby, not cricket, not AFL, not NFL, not cycling, not boxing and not even at the Olympics (well, not in the Olympic stadium, I do remember Munich).

Soccer fans … hang your heads in shame.

The AFL Grand Final 2011

Collingwood v Geelong

   

The battle of the uglies

As promised, I bring you this preview of the biggest real football event of the year – the AFL Grand Final. We’re not talking about any girl’s game like Soccer here. And we’re not talking about that game of thugs played by short-necked, overweight, meathead, knuckle-grazing neanderthals in NSW & Queensland, known as Rugby League. No, this is Aussie Rules, our national game. We invented it. Or maybe the aborigines did but then again, how bloody Australian does that make it? If you don’t follow and support AFL then you are not fit to be called Australian – it’s off to Nauru for you … with no benefits!

Getting down to business and the main event, this year sees the clash of two teams that have dominated the season like never before. I don’t know why the other 15 teams even bothered to turn up because Collingwood & Geelong have both been practically unbeatable … although Geelong has beaten Collingwood in both their clashes, the latest being an absolute walloping in the final round just before the finals. Some people say the result didn’t mean much as both sides were already set in the #1 and #2 positions and the Round 24 game couldn’t change that. Those people would be mainly Collingwood supporters though.

Which brings me to the first reason why I think that Geelong will win: BETTER FORM.

There are other reasons why I think the Cats will prevail and deny the Pies (short for Magpies) the glory of winning back-to-back Premierships. Actually, I could say right here that I don’t really give a shit who wins and leave it at that but I’ll carry on.

Another reason for picking Geelong is the really dumb deal Collingwood have done to sack their very experienced and successful coach Mick Malthouse immediately after the game – win or lose – and replace him with ex-player Nathan Buckley who has never coached before.

How f*cking motivated do you think Malthouse will be to do the right thing and get his side up? He might even plan to lose just so he can stick it up Collingwood President Eddie Mc Guire, who forced Malthouse to sign this terminal contract two years ago, “or else …”.

Then again, Geelong is already coached by a rookie, ex-Brisbane Lions hit-man Chris Scott. However, this is a group of players who actually coach themselves and only need their official coach to not get in their way, which is exactly what the previous one did too – i.e. nothing – and they won two flags under him. 

If you doubt what I’m saying just look at Scott’s identical twin Brad, who has been the coach of North Melbourne for the past two years, a side without a lot of talent and, consequently, without a lot of success. Chris and Brad are so identical they’re almost the same person, yet Geelong is firing but North is not. This supports my theory that Geelong players are so experienced, talented and motivated that the only purpose their coach serves is to carry the oranges onto the field at 3/4 time and show up to the press conferences after the game. Scott does that very well.

So my prediction is for a Geelong win and quite an emphatic one, in fact I reckon it’ll be all but over by quarter time.

But I don’t know if I’d be any happier about Geelong winning than I would be if Collingwood somehow got up. It’s hard to like either team and …. as for their supporters:

    

 See what I mean about ugly?

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Soccer ain’t “footy”

It’s the eve of the AFL footy finals and what do we find? Yes, Soccer in Australia – which ironically calls itself ‘The A League’ – is launching its latest advertising campaign designed to lure Aussies away from real football, with this uninspiring black & white video under the laughable slogan “We are football”:


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Look, I have nothing against the round-ball game and I reckon it’s a good idea to have a safe alternative so wimps and mummy boys can pretend that they are footy players too. But give-me-a-break, Soccer, in this country at least, is a 3rd-rate sport that lives so much in the shadows of Aussie Rules that it doesn’t even have the guts to run its season over the same time of year.

With the A-League season start now held back until October, soccer chiefs believe they can generate far greater interest. They will then rely on the quality of the “product” to persuade more fans to become repeat spectators or television viewers.

There is also a deliberate policy to try to rally the estimated 2.5 million serious soccer fans in the country behind the local competition, or at least take an interest in it as the first steps towards converting a massive participation base into paying customers. A source close to the campaign said the choice of “We are football” was designed with this in mind.

The only reason soccer has any popularity at all in Australia is because over summer there are no alternative “football” games to watch. That and the fact the Socceroos have made the last two FIFA World Cups in 2006 & 2010. But even those achievements have failed to inspire Aussies to regard soccer as anything but an amusing diversion.

Soccer is just a bloody boring game with more action in the crowds than on the field. In fact violence at soccer games is far worse than at any other sport and there are good reasons for that, as SockPuppet (i.e. yours truly) wrote under the post “Soccer the beautiful game my arse” :

Look I do not like to state the bloody obvious but it is pretty bloody obvious to me that there are 3 main reasons why soccer crowds are the worst behaved:

1. Boredom: In what other game in the world can you have a 0 – 0 result? There is not a lot of action out there on the pitch and when and if someone kicks a goal its like “how the hell did that happen?” and the crowd goes nuts.

2. Prissy poofy rules: In soccer you can not even touch your opponent. That’s because it’s played by a bunch of metrosexual Beckham types who are not real men. This lack of contact and violence on the field means the supporters have to take their frustrations out on the opposition supporters. And they do.

3. Migrants: There I have said it. Lets face it, Soccer is a game that is enjoyed by violent people from violent countries. So what else would you expect? How many times have we seen Serbs & Croatian fans belting the shit out of each other? And Greeks and Macedonians? Imagine if we let the Jews & Arabs play each other – there would be war in Melbourne. They should keep their differences back in their homelands and not bring their arguments over here.

Stuff Soccer and bring on the AFL. There is no crowd violence at an AFL game. Unless it’s a Collingwood one and Collingwood loses. Then we are in big trouble.

Says it all. Oh, and go Saints.
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