Tag Archives: drastic

Daley Thompson calls for cycling to be banned from Olympics after Lance Armstrong scandal

Ban cycling from Olympics! British athletics legend Thompson calls for ultimate sanction on a sport mired in shame

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UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 20 October 2012

Banning cycling from future Olympics is the only way to purge the sport – and the Games – from the lingering disgrace of the Lance Armstrong scandal.

That is the drastic action demanded by Britain's double gold-medal winner Daley Thompson, who feels that the Olympic movement itself is suffering through association with certain areas of a sport that have almost become a byword for cheating and drug-taking.

The Games legend admits he has watched Armstrong's fall from grace with 'sadness', not for the disgraced seven times Tour de France winner but for the sport he has tarnished.

Shamed: Daley Thompson believes the scandal surrounding Lance Armstrong (above) has scarred the reputation of cycling

Shamed: Daley Thompson believes the scandal surrounding Lance Armstrong (above) has scarred the reputation of cycling

Keeping up appearances: Lance Armstrong stands onstage during the 15th anniversary celebration for Livestrong, his cancer-fighting charity, and gave an address

Keeping up appearances: Lance Armstrong stands onstage during the 15th anniversary celebration for Livestrong, his cancer-fighting charity, and gave an address

Since the publication of the United States Anti-Doping Agency report just over a week ago, cycling has been in chaos.

Armstrong has lost a string of major
sponsors while Dutch bank Rabobank, who have supported a professional
team since 1990, have withdrawn altogether from the sport.

Thompson knows where he places the blame.

'Armstrong is a cheating b*****d and that's all there is to it,' said Thompson, the Olympic decathlon champion of 1980 and 1984.

'It's a terrible situation for
anyone who cares about sport in its purest sense. It's been warped and
damaged by a cheat.' Thompson's contempt extends to the cycling's
governing body, the UCI.

They have yet to announce their own
sanction on Armstrong, while their honorary president, Hein Verbruggen,
was reported last week as saying that there were 'many stories and
allegations, but not a trace of evidence'.

Verbruggen disputes the context of the quote, although the text message which contained it has since been made public.

Shame game: Lance Armstrong and his team have tainted a sport in which Britain have thrived in

Shame game: Lance Armstrong and his team have tainted a sport in which Britain have thrived in

Rather than concentrate their attention on Armstrong, however, the UCI appear to be engaged in attacking their critics.

They have taken legal action against
journalist Paul Kimmage, who reported that they had covered up positive
tests from Armstrong.

'The governing body are a disgrace,'
added 54-year-old Thompson. 'Suing people who report on the sport, and
put it in the papers Well, this whole subject isn't going to go quietly
away as the evidence mounts up. I hope that he sues them straight back
for what they've done to him.'

Verbruggen, along with UCI president
Pat McQuaid, accepted more than $100,000 (62,474) from Armstrong,
purportedly to pay for a blood analysing machine in the wake of a
positive test, allegedly given in 2001.

According to Dick Pound, the former
head of the World Anti-Doping Association, the UCI's behaviour 'has not
always been what you would hope it to be'.

Thompson, who has long been an
outspoken advocate of drug-free sport, believes that despite the fact
Verbruggen and McQuaid are members of the International Olympic
Committee, that body could provide the shock to the system cycling needs
to clean itself up, starting from the very top.

Ban it! Daley Thompson (right) has called for the sport to be removed from the Olympic programme

Ban it! Daley Thompson (right) has called for the sport to be removed from the Olympic programme

'Armstrong is a cheating b*****d and that's all there is to it. It's a terrible situation for
anyone who cares about sport in its purest sense.'

– Daley Thompson

Were the IOC to threaten to expel
cycling from the Rio Olympics 'unless it can show it has got its house
in order and wants to take the fight against doping seriously', Thompson believes the UCI hierarchy could be forced out.

The sport then, he hopes, could be
placed back in the 'hands of people who actually care about it – the
people who come from the grass roots.'

Thompson added: 'The whole UCI are
clearly not fit for purpose. I don't know if they're allowed to, but it
really is the sort of thing where the IOC should be able to step in and
say, “Hold on a minute. If you want to be a part of our family, you need
to sort things out”.

'I don't know if they have the power
to do that but they should. I know there are links but the Olympics is a
very special thing, it carries a lot of weight and it should use its
influence.

'There should be sanctions against
cycling being a part of the next Olympic Games unless they put their
house in order. I want drug cheats thrown out, never to return.

'I'm not defending them, but we need
to look at how things developed so that they could cheat in the first
place. Sanctions against cheating athletes are essential but they also
need to be applied against seemingly complicit governing bodies.

'I don't think people who take part
in cycling, the competitors and the people at the grass roots who go out
at the weekend on their bikes just for the sheer love of it, feel any
sort of connection or even confidence in the people who run their sport,
and that's terrible.

'The two sides, the governing body
and the competitors have grown so far apart that it has become a
disgrace and it's not fair on cycling. The loser is the very sport
they're meant to be protecting and we should always remember that it's
not the people at the top who own the sport, not the people in the nice
offices and the big, flash hotels.

'It's the cyclists who are looking at the reputation of their sport suffering, and it's not right.'

London 2012 Olympics: Charles van Commenee does not know if Phillips Idowu iis ift

Van Commenee sweats on Radcliffe and Idowu fitness… and admits he nearly ditched triple jumper

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UPDATED:

23:44 GMT, 25 July 2012

UK Athletics head coach Charles van
Commenee admitted on Wednesday he considered
leaving Phillips Idowu out of Great Britain's
Olympic team.

Van Commenee has not spoken with the
injury-hit triple jumper for more than a year
and confessed he has pondered drastic action
during the stand-off.

He said: 'It is undermining
the proper governance of the sport. I don't see it as undermining me but I can see other people may see it that way.

Fit in time Phillips Idowu (centre) opted to stay in London to receive treatment on a hip injury rather than travel to Monte Gordo

Fit in time Phillips Idowu (centre) opted to stay in London to receive treatment on a hip injury rather than travel to Monte Gordo

'I have only one sanction – not to enter
him on the team.

'I thought about it because this situation is not good
for athletics but I have decided not to play that card because of him.

'I can see the point of having that sanction in place. The question was,
“Do I sacrifice a potential gold medal for a transparent policy that
makes the sport run better in the future”.

'I decided to have sympathy
with the athlete and give him a chance to fulfil his dream.'

Mystery
surrounds the extent of Idowu's injury, which affects him from his knee
to his hip.

Medal hope: Idowu - if fit- stands a real chance of winning gold for Team GB in triple jump

Medal hope: Idowu – if fit- stands a real chance of winning gold for Team GB in triple jump

Hit or miss: Idowu faces a races against time to be fit in time for the Games

Hit or miss: Idowu faces a races against time to be fit in time for the Games

The British Olympic Association publicly requested to see
Idowu's medical records on Tuesday, an act which drew anger from the
33-year-old, who has not competed since June and has skipped a Team GB
training camp in Portugal.

Van Commenee also revealed at Team GB's
holding camp in Monte Gordo that he is still uncertain about the fitness
of Paula Radcliffe, the marathon world record-holder who has been
struggling with injuries of her own.

'Phillips is obviously a big
concern but Paula is always a concern,' said the chief coach.

'Paula is
Paula. Will she be fit Can we flip a coin'

Van Commenee also admitted that even Idowu's personal coach, Aston Moore, who is employed
by UK Athletics, does not know the state of his recovery.

'Aston
doesn't know where he is in his recovery,' he said. 'Not in the last
week.

Sanctions: UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee, pictured with Dwayne Chambers (right), has said he will not exclude Idowu from the Games

Sanctions: UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee, pictured with Dwayne Chambers (right), has said he will not exclude Idowu from the Games

Sanctions: UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee, pictured with Dwayne Chambers (right), has said he will not exclude Idowu from the Games

'It is remarkable. He (Aston) is here. He has a job to do here.
Phillips has gone his own route since Eugene (where he was injured on
June 2).

'Phillips decided not to join this camp. It is not a mutual
decision with his coach.

'So I don't know where he is with the injury. I
would have preferred him to be here.

'I
would have preferred it, like I would every athlete, and every other
athlete is here. But at the same time if he believes that this is the
best way to fulfil his dream I will accept that.'

Will he be there Idowu has featured in numerous advertising campaigns ahead of the Games

Will he be there Idowu has featured in numerous advertising campaigns ahead of the Games

Van Commenee, who
appeared to be enjoying a more cordial relationship with Dwain Chambers,
added: 'I have a mix of frustration and sympathy (for Idowu);
frustration because he is not here which would be the best possible
place, but sympathy because he is not in the best possible position
himself.'

Van Commenee's claim came on the day when the BOA showed their
muscle by de-selecting one of the team's athletes, marathon runner Dave
Webb.

Webb was picked on the basis of his performance at last year's
World Championships but has failed to prove his fitness.

Yamile Aldama,
Tiffany Porter and Greg Rutherford, who were struggling with injuries at
the time of the Diamond League meet at Crystal Palace this month, are
now fully fit.

But there are new concerns over javelin thrower Goldie
Sayers and hurdler Andy Pozzi, who are having treatment in Portugal.

50/50: Paula Radcliffe could finally win a gold medal at the Olympic Games in London

50/50: Paula Radcliffe could finally win a gold medal at the Olympic Games in London

Frank Warren wants Lord Coe as new British Boxing Board of Control chief

Warren calls for Coe to run British boxing in latest swipe at board of control

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UPDATED:

08:04 GMT, 16 July 2012

Promoter Frank Warren has called for Lord Coe to be appointed as the new president and chairman of the British Boxing Board of Control.

Warren is unhappy with how the BBBofC is being run under Charles Giles and would like to see London 2012 chairman Coe, a former steward with the organisation, step in.

The BBBofC refused to sanction Saturday's fight between David Haye and Dereck Chisora after the brawl which erupted in Munich between the two fighters.

Call for change: Frank Warren believes Lord Coe would be the perfect candidate to lead the British Boxing Board of Control

Call for change: Frank Warren believes Lord Coe would be the perfect candidate to lead the British Boxing Board of Control

In an open letter in The Sun, Warren wrote: 'I wish to put my annoyance – after 32 years as a licence holder – on record at the way boxing is run here.

'The current leadership is killing boxing and I, and other upset licence holders, want drastic changes so we can drag the Board of Control out of the dark ages.

In demand: London 2012 chief Lord Coe

In demand: London 2012 chief Lord Coe

'I am calling for Charlie Giles, the president and chairman, to be replaced.

'The outstanding candidate for the role is Lord Coe, a previous steward, who has done such a marvellous job organising the Olympics.'

The BBBofC's stance over Saturday's fight, which was won by Haye, meant Warren went through the Luxembourg Boxing Federation (FLB) for licensing.

And he is pondering doing the same again when he promotes another high-profile fight, the WBO lightweight bout between belt-holder Ricky Burns and Kevin Mitchell, in September.

'I'm actually debating it,' Warren told City AM. 'I'm actually thinking about where to go with [Mitchell versus Burns].

'We did save money [using the FLB]. Their sanctioning fees are nowhere near [the same as the BBBofC's], and it opened my eyes.

'I thought “wow, I've never thought about this side of it”. And the boxers also saved money as far as sanctioning fees are concerned, so it makes you wonder.'

Euro 2012: Nicklas Bendtner fined 80k and banned by UEFA after showing pants

Pants joker Bendtner banned and fined 80k (that's 64,000 more than Porto faced for racism against Balotelli)

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UPDATED:

14:58 GMT, 18 June 2012

Nicklas Bendtner has been fined an astonishing 100,000 euros (80,000) and banned for one competitive international fixture for displaying sponsored underwear during Denmark's game against Portugal.

The Danish striker pulled up his shirt to reveal 'Paddy Power' branded underwear on June 13 in Lviv and the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body has taken drastic action against him.

His ban will apply for Denmark's next 2014 World Cup qualifying match, if the 24-year-old does not appeal – he has three days to do so after the written decision is sent to him.

Display: Nicklas Bendtner pulled up his shirt to reveal Paddy Power pants

Display: Nicklas Bendtner pulled up his shirt to reveal Paddy Power pants

When Porto fans racially abused
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli in the Europa League last
season, they were only made to pay 16,700.

Other fines for racism include Spain in 2004 (45,000), Serbia in 2007 (16,500) and Croatia in 2008 (10,000).

Denmark lost the game 3-2 and were dumped out of the tournament when they lost to Germany on Sunday and this will add insult to injury for the striker.

Huge fine: Bendtner will pay far more than Porto were docked for racism

Huge fine: Bendtner will pay far more than Porto were docked for racism

Bendtner's huge fine is almost as much as Russia were docked when their fans attacked stewards during their match against Poland.

UEFA took 96,000 from them for the violence which occured in the stadium, making the size of Bendtner's fine look bizarre.

In a separate fine, Russia were earlier docked 24,000 for fans' misbehaviour, including displaying illicit banners in the stadium, while Croatia paid 20,000 for 'spectator incidents', including letting off dangerous fireworks and throwing missiles, as well as a pitch invasion by a supporter.

Added to the 8,000 fine Germany received for their fans throwing things onto the pitch and the 4,000 Portugal coughed up for delaying the second half of their match against the Germans, it equals 56,000 – 24,000 less than Bendtner must pay.

Paddy Power said in a statement: 'We are appalled with the severity of Nicklas Bendtner’s fine for displaying Paddy Power on the waistband of his lucky underpants recently.

'This is a hysterical and deeply cynical move by UEFA dictated by pure commercialism and is a far greater penalty than recent UEFA fines for far more serious incidents.

'We will be contacting Mr Bendtner to offer him our full support for his appeal.

'On the back of today’s news Paddy Power have slashed the odds from 12/1 to 6/1 on UEFA landing another player with a six figure fine for displaying Paddy Power lucky underpants during the remainder of Euro 2012.'

Euro 2012 email button

When questioned about his underwear, Bendtner, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, said: 'It is just a pair of lucky boxer shorts that I used in the first game as well and have used before the tournament.

'I didn't know I was breaking any rules but I am aware of that now.'

One possible reason the fine is so high is because UEFA want to protect the interests of their sponsors.

After the incident Lars Berendt, communications director of the Denmark FA, said: 'We have spoken to the player and he will not play in those underpants against Germany on Sunday.

'We have an exclusive deal [with rival betting firm, Ladbrokes] and this is, of course, a breach of it.

'And it's also a breach of UEFA's commercial rules – rules against exposing personal messages.'

Drastic surgery needed to save the nation"s favourite

Drastic surgery needed to save the nation's favourite after deaths overshadow race

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 15 April 2012

The British Horseracing Authority have promised a balanced and comprehensive review of the two horse deaths that scarred the John Smith’s Grand National for the second year running.

But when they have collated the statistics and reviewed the videos, the decisions they must take are to level out the drop on the landing side of fences, notably Becher’s Brook, and reduce the number of runners by up to a quarter.

Traditionalists will blanch at the prospect. Some will accuse me of betrayal of the sport on which I report, but after the deaths of Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised and According To Pete, drastic surgery is necessary.

Tragic: Gold Cup winner Sychronised fell during the Grand National and was later put down

Tragic: Gold Cup winner Sychronised fell during the Grand National and was later put down

The aftermath of Saturday’s race should have been celebration. After four-and-a-half miles and 30 jumps, the John Hales-owned Neptune Collonges, the first grey to win for 51 years, had beaten Sunnyhillboy by the thickness of a cigarette paper under an inspired ride from Daryl Jacob to secure the trainer’s championship for Paul Nicholls.

Back in third, Katie Walsh on Seabass had secured the best ever finish for a female jockey.

But memories of a race that fired my love of the sport are joyless. They are the grief of Synchronised’s trainer Jonjo O’Neill and the grim faces of his owner JP McManus and officials.

On the opening day of the meeting, I wrote about the significant changes undertaken since both Dooney’s Gate and Ornais lost their lives a year ago.

Fatality: According to Pete also died as questions were once again asked about the race's safety

Fatality: According to Pete also died as questions were once again asked about the race's safety

They included beefed-up entry criteria to weed out potential risks as almost 250,000 was spent on a range of welfare measures.

Three fences were altered, including a
five-inch reduction of the drop on the landing side of Becher’s. /04/15/article-0-12987260000005DC-602_634x438.jpg” width=”634″ height=”438″ alt=”Neck and neck: Neptune Collonges (near) and Sunnyhillboy fought out a thrilling finish” class=”blkBorder” />

Neck and neck: Neptune Collonges (near) and Sunnyhillboy fought out a thrilling finish

Both deaths on Saturday were tragic
accidents. Synchronised fell at Becher’s Brook but galloped on riderless
and jumped five fences until the stumble that broke his hind leg.
According To Pete had jumped Becher’s Brook on the second circuit when
he cannoned into the prostrate On His Own and broke a foreleg.

The key objective for the BHA must be to
have fewer fallers. More runners on their feet is the safest option and
it would not detract from the spectacle.

It wouldn’t make the race risk-free but would establish firmer foundations for a defence against those hell bent on its destruction. And it would still be just as exciting if 18 or 20 runners out of a line-up reduced from 40 to 30 crossed the Melling Road with a chance. Most of us who remember the victory of Bobbyjo in 1999 do not reflect on it as a lesser contest — yet only 32 runners lined up.

Success story: Daryl Jacob on Neptune Collonges

Success story: Daryl Jacob on Neptune Collonges

More can be done at Aintree and not just because we are concerned with the cosmetic appearance of the sport that has wider implications for jump racing.

More than 70,000 spectators were at Aintree on Saturday and the same number will be there next year no matter what happens.

But we should want to make changes — want to build on the welfare successes that have been achieved.

I want to be proud of the sport’s biggest day, just as I was of one aspect on Saturday.

A jockey ban for excessive use of the whip for a second successive year would have added to the furore but Jacob and, particularly, Richie McLernon on the tiring runner-up Sunnyhillboy performed with admirable professionalism in pursuit of the prize.

Their actions showed how seriously the current crop of competitors take their responsibilities to their mounts and the historic prize, when it would have been easy for them to recklessly chase victory at all costs.

Aintree and the BHA have shown the same responsibility in the last year. Their decisions now must be brave and bold.

Bradford 12 Leeds 4: Bulls condemn champs to third successive defeat

Bradford 12 Leeds 4: Win bonus for stricken Bulls are champions are defeated again

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UPDATED:

00:22 GMT, 7 April 2012

Bradford chairman Peter Hood will this morning sit at his desk, calculator in hand, and do a final set of sums; by lunchtime he will announce the fate of one of rugby league’s biggest clubs.

For 10 days the Bulls have wrestled with concerns far greater than the local bragging rights this spirited display gave them. Odsal has not rocked like this for years, but it could yet still be to no avail.

Bulls pride: Ben Jeffries is mobbed after scoring his Bradford's second try

Bulls pride: Ben Jeffries is mobbed after scoring his Bradford's second try

In desperation, Bradford have been
asking the public for pledges of support in a bid to meet the first of
two 500,000 payments they need to stay in business. The squad has been
washing cars; past heroes have auctioned off medals and shirts.

Bulls coach Mick Potter said: ‘The
crowd was good tonight and that helps. I’d like to think that everything
is going to be OK, but you never know.’

Over at Odsal: Jamie Langley scores a second-half try

Over at Odsal: Jamie Langley scores a second-half try

That it has come to such drastic
measures only underlines rugby league’s startling lack of financial
muscle. This week Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell has labelled the sport
‘bankrupt’ and Eamonn McManus, his opposite number at St Helens, has
openly challenged the game’s leaders with his belief that a 14-club
Super League is unsustainable.

But last night’s 20,821 crowd
certainly made it hard to envisage a future without the club who were
world champions as recently as 2006, and their spirited display against
current premiers Leeds will give Potter plenty of on-field hope —
provided they can stay afloat.

Emotional win: Bradford players celebrate after Langley's try

Emotional win: Bradford players celebrate after Langley's try

Zak Hardaker’s try gave Leeds a
slender half-time lead, but Bradford slowly strangled their opposition
before landing the killer blows through Jamie Langley and Ben Jeffries.

Even indiscipline could not stop
them, with Olivier Elima’s yellow card and Bryn Hargreaves’s dismissal
still not providing Leeds with enough space to flourish.