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Arsene Wenger will seeks talks with Roy Hodgson over Jack Wilshere"s use in England"s end-of-season friendlies

EXCLUSIVE: Wenger's friendly fire! Arsenal boss wants showdown talks with England manager Hodgson over Wilshere's use

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

23:00 GMT, 20 March 2013

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UPDATED:

02:00 GMT, 21 March 2013

Arsene Wenger will seek talks with England manager Roy Hodgson over his use of Jack Wilshere during the end-of-season internationals.

England face the Republic of Ireland on May 29 – 10 days after Arsenal’s final game of the season against Newcastle – before travelling to Rio de Janeiro to face Brazil on June 6.

Both games are friendlies and Arsenal manager Wenger is keen to liaise with Hodgson and the FA to establish a clear plan of how his midfielder should be utilised.

Sidelined: Jack Wilshere hasn't played since suffering an ankle knock in the north London derby

Sidelined: Jack Wilshere hasn't played since suffering an ankle knock in the north London derby

Engine: Wilshere is already a key man for England despite playing for the national side just seven times

Engine: Wilshere is already a key man for England despite playing for the national side just seven times

Wenger was disappointed Wilshere played the full 90 minutes of the 2-1 friendly win over Brazil in February and, understandably, wants to avoid a similar scenario during the summer internationals.

Despite 17 months out with foot and ankle problems, Wilshere has been Arsenal’s best performer this season but Wenger wants Hodgson to go easy during the end-of-season international period, given Wilshere will have featured in what is likely to be an intense race for a top-four spot.

Wenger also wants Wilshere to have maximum rest ahead of next season, which looks set to be one of the most important in the Frenchman’s long tenure at Arsenal.

Wilshere is already showing signs of this season catching up with him. He is currently on the sidelines with an ankle injury picked up in the 2-1 defeat by Tottenham on March 3.

Wenger sent him on a mid-season break to Dubai to aid his recovery from the injury but the trip was also designed to recharge his batteries after a tiring 28-game season. Arsenal hope Wilshere will be able to return to first-team action for the visit of Reading on March 30 but it is more likely the 21-year-old will make his return against West Bromwich Albion on April 6 or Norwich seven days later.

Wenger faces more problems after Wojciech Szczesny’s father accused the manager of making his son a scapegoat and claimed Arsenal ‘played’ with the keeper’s fitness last season.

Szczesny, 22, was dropped for Arsenal’s
Champions League match against Bayern Munich last week after Wenger said
he had been mentally affected by his form, casting doubt over his
future.

Talks: Arsene Wenger will seek clarification from Roy Hodgson on Wilshere's role in friendlies

Talks: Arsene Wenger will seek clarification from Roy Hodgson on Wilshere's role in friendlies

Benched: Wojciech Szczesny's (right) dad Maciej criticised the Arsenal boss

Benched: Wojciech Szczesny's (right) dad Maciej criticised the Arsenal boss

His father, Maciej, who also played for Poland, told Polish newspaper Przeglad Sportowy: ‘Wenger already started to look for the scapegoat. It is not the way the boss should behave. Wojciech has had two serious injuries. He played with one in April and May (last year). He shouldn’t have agreed to play that time, but the coach insisted.

‘Wenger was playing with the young man’s good health and Wojciech agreed foolishly.

‘In my opinion Mr Wenger messed up a lot in April and May.

‘Then in August there was a foot (ankle) injury, after which he played almost instantly. After seven weeks out Wojciech trained for just seven days and played. How on earth can he be on his highest form’

Szczesny Snr added: ‘This last period has not been successful, however, I think my son can be the No 1 goalkeeper over 10 years. He just needs to come back to form.’

VIDEO: Interview with Arsenal and England star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Olympic Cycling programme could have three events added to it

Cycling shake up could see three more events added for Rio Olympics

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Changing times: Laura Trott won the omnium at London 2012 but the event could be removed in an event shake up

The 2016 Olympic Games cycling programme could be extended after the International Cycling Union agreed to make a proposal for the addition of three events.

The Olympic track programme was radically altered between the Games of Beijing 2008 and London 2012 to create gender parity, but saw traditional endurance disciplines marginalised in favour of the multi-event omnium.

It has been suggested another overhaul could see the omnium – the women's event in London was won by Britain's Laura Trott – removed for Rio, but the UCI made no reference to this at its meeting ahead of the Cyclo-Cross World Championships in Louisville.

Instead the UCI will bid for points races, which featured in Beijing, to return, plus an extension to the BMX and mountain bike programmes which in London 2012 featured one discipline.

A statement from the UCI management committee read: 'With regards to the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro (BRA), the management committee expressed its support for a proposal to be made to the International Olympic Committee for the addition to the cycling programme of a points race and BMX freestyle and mountain bike eliminator events for both men and women.'

Seven sports launch bid for the 2020 Olympic Games

2020 Vision: Wakeboarding, squash and roller sports among those vying for Olympic place

fade into the distance, the minds of the planet's elite sportsmen and women turn to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

But for some, their eyes are even further down the line, in 2020, where one place on the roster is up for grabs.

Seven sporting federations – with one more to enter the race – have travelled to Lausanne in order to make their case for inclusion before the International Olympic Committee. The decision is due in September.

Cable wakeboarding is seeking a spot in the 2020 Olympics

Hopeful: Cable wakeboarding is just one sport seeking a spot in the 2020 Olympics

The choice will be made with seven factors in mind. The history and tradition of the sport is considered, along with how popular, expensive and universal it is. Development of the International Federation, image and athletes’ health are also taken into account.

There are two martial arts forms for the IOC to choose from. One is called Wushu, and is what most of us would generally call Kung-Fu. Anyone who has admired the moves of Jet Li in films such as The Forbidden Kingdom and Romeo Must Die will want to see this sport take its place in the Olympics.

Unfortunately for action movie lovers, the full contact fighting discipline – called Sanda – is not making a bid. The discipline proposed is Taolu, the form discipline, which includes the use of weapons such as spears and swords.

While Asia is commonly assumed to be where martial arts flourish, world champions have come from all over the globe.

The form discipline of Wushu is seeking an Olympic place

Performance: The form discipline of Wushu, known as Taolu, is bidding for a place rather than the combat form

Karate is also bidding for a place. This will see athletes face each other in combat on the mat, or Tatami, and will be just as spectacular to watch as Wushu.

Opponents will have to punch, kick and sweep their way to victory, and will face some fierce competition with Karate being one of the most popular martial arts in the world.

Athletes must aim for any area above the belt apart from the neck down in their attack, and are scored on the basis of their form, attitude, awareness and timing.

Opponents in Karate can only strike each other above the belt, but not on the neck

Battle: Opponents in Karate can only strike each other above the belt, but not on the neck

Softball and baseball have both been included in the Games before, but neither featured on the 2012 programme. They have launched a joint bid to re-instate Arena softball, which will be played indoors.

Unfortunately the sport has lacked sparkle in the past because of a lack of professional talent, and there is unlikely to be any change there, since Major League Baseball has been reluctant to put their season on hold for the Olympics.

You might expect that America were top dogs in previous Olympics, but in actual fact that last gold medal in softball went to Japan, while the baseball gold went to South Korea.

Both baseball and softball have featured in the Olympic Games before but were dropped for 2012

Dropped: Both baseball and softball have featured in the Olympic Games before but were dropped for 2012

Roller sports would certainly be a refreshing addition to the Games, and the Federation International de Roller Sports (FIRS) are hoping that will be the case.

Competing over distances of 300m up to 15km, inline speed skating would add another race to the Olympic roster, and would certainly be a crowd-pleaser.

Britain has a strong history in the sport, though its last World Champion was John Folley in 1969, who won the 10,000m. They will have stiff competition if they want to excel in 2020.

Britain's last roller skating champion was John Folley in 1969

Tough competition: The last time Britain had a World Champion was in 1969

Squash is certainly popular when it comes to exercise in the general population, and there are hopes that it will be third time lucky in the sport’s Olympic bid.

It’s brutally tiring, and very high-speed, making it a great spectator sport. After having failed in their previous bids, organisers have concentrated on making it as commercial and TV-friendly as possible, with glow-in-the-dark courts and Hawk-Eye.

The Brits actually have a good chance of doing well here, with Nick Matthew ranked second in the world and James Willstrop ranked third. England took six medals home from the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Nick Matthew and James Willstrop are ranked second and third in the world

British hopefuls: Nick Matthew (right) and James Willstrop are ranked second and third in the world

Sport Climbing is another discipline trying to gain recognition. Unlike traditional climbing, ‘bolts’ or ‘anchors’ are fixed into the walls, meaning that as climbers go, they can secure themselves, removing the fear of falling.

The routes up the wall are tricky to say the least, but the freedom of not having to concentrate fully on safety means that the climbers can focus all of their energy and agility on moving upwards, rather than securing themselves.

Needless to say, countries gifted with mountainous landscapes tend to do well in this arena, but there have been champions from all over the world, and Molly Thompson-Simpson, a 15-year-old Londoner, should be on track for a medal if the sport succeeds in its bid.

The use of anchors on the wall allows sport climbers to focus on moving up rather than staying secured

Danger free: The use of anchors on the wall allows sport climbers to focus on moving up rather than staying secured

The final sport in the running is cable wakeboarding, which will use overhead cable machines to tow up to nine riders at the same time.

There is no wake, as there would be in the traditional form where riders are towed by a boat, but the same tricks can be performed by just flexing the cable.

Great Britain is one of the frontrunners in this variation, with Kirsteen Mitchell already a World Champion.

Laura Williamson: Farewell to Plucky Brit syndrome, and good riddance

Farewell to the 'Plucky Brit' syndrome… and good riddance

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UPDATED:

23:22 GMT, 23 December 2012

With all the hoo-hah over the Olympic and Paralympic sports that missed out on funding for the next four years, one very significant detail seems to have been overlooked.

As UK Sport announced a record 347million investment in British sport last week, they also revealed an ambitious target to beat 2012’s haul of 65 Olympic medals and 120 Paralympic medals in Rio de Janeiro.

We have just experienced the most incredible year of British sport and now we want to get even better That should surely be celebrated.

Golden year: UK Sport a investing record amount into sporting excellence in Britain in 2013

Golden year: UK Sport a investing record amount into sporting excellence in Britain in 2013

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

So too should UK Sport’s ‘no compromise’ approach to funding the British Olympic and Paralympic team. The organisation will only support genuine medal prospects, meaning some Olympians and Paralympians have been cast out in the cold.

The basketball, handball and wrestling squads, for example, which will not receive a penny unless they can show they’ve bucked their ideas up at their annual review.

Harsh Yes, certainly. But fair Definitely. This is sport we are talking about here. It isn’t reality television. It is brutal and it hurts like hell if you lose. That is why it’s such a delicious feeling to win.

And British sport is about winning these days, after all.

We’re being fanciful if we think we still exist in a sporting utopia in which every contest ends with the schmaltzy climax of a Disney film and the nice guys always get the gold. Elite level sport is not a pastime, it’s a profession. It’s about British Cycling’s much-applauded ‘marginal gains’ and a pragmatic, analytical pursuit of success.

In the past it has too often seemed our athletes have achieved success in spite of the system, but now it is because of it.

I feel for the people who missed out. I know how hard the women’s indoor volleyball team have worked and seen the strides the men’s basketball team have made.

I was upset when I realised I had broken the news to a goalball athlete on Twitter that the men’s team would not be receiving any future funding.

There was a long conversation with the father of a table tennis player who felt badly let down and confused as to the next step, having spent the last decade looking for bargain budget flights to far-flung corners of Europe so his son could try to win peanuts in prize money.

These athletes have every right to feel slighted and disappointed; to wonder about the next step in their careers. But they should not be surprised.

Benefits: British Cycling's approach to success has been a shining example to other sports

Benefits: British Cycling's approach to success has been a shining example to other sports

Their governing bodies have let them down if they thought it would be any other way.

Many of them experienced London 2012 purely because we were the host nation and their chances of making it to Rio are remote, to put it kindly.

We were utterly abysmal at most team
disciplines at London 2012, don’t forget. Why should UK Sport divert
cash from the sports that did deliver to allow people to spend another
four years chasing an impossible dream

It is far better to cut our losses and
concentrate on helping the next generation to build an Olympic
legacy, hence the 493m of money that Sport England will invest in
grassroots sport over the next four years.

Olympic table tennis, for instance,
had all of its elite level funding cut on Tuesday, yet its governing
body still claimed the ‘future for English table tennis is assured’
after a sport played regularly by almost 100,000 people received a 20
per cent increase in support for building participation.

Be inspired: Luol Deng is the stand-out star in a Team GB basketball team soundly beaten at the Games

Be inspired: Luol Deng is the stand-out star in a Team GB basketball team soundly beaten at the Games

This is not about class, as some have tried to make out. Cutting basketball’s elite level funding for the next four years will make little difference to the inner city kids who are basketball’s primary target audience. There is still potentially 6.75m of funding to come from Sport England for their benefit, including 1.54m to support young, emerging talent.

I realise these future stars need to see a pathway to success and have role models to follow, but I fail to see how watching a British basketball team getting regularly hammered would have more influence than a teenager seeing Luol Deng do his thing for the Chicago Bulls.

Neither do I automatically buy the claims about all the ‘sacrifices’ people made to reach London 2012, either. They could have been working from nine until five in a dead-end job they hated instead of pursuing their dream of being a full-time athlete.

The ‘Plucky Brit’ – eternally hopeless but emotionally heart-warming – has, thankfully, been consigned to history.

The UK Sport formula works. Elite level British sport is no longer about making up the numbers and celebrating getting to finals. We want to be on top of the podium now, thank you very much. It may be a brutal approach but it is also brilliant.

Transition: Gary Neville showed Laura behind the scenes at Monday Night Football

Transition: Gary Neville showed Laura behind the scenes at Monday Night Football

…AND THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN DOING THIS WEEK

Spent the day behind the scenes at Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football. Interested to see Gary Neville agonise over whether to call Reading 'naive' during their 5-2 defeat by Arsenal. He thought it reflected badly on the manager, Brian McDermott, which was not his intention, deciding to highlight Nicky Shorey's 'poor' game instead.

Small steps

At UK Sport's funding announcement on Tuesday there were three female executives alongside Sports Minister Hugh Robertson. On the same day, UK Athletics announced Jenni Banks as their new wheelchair racing coach, reporting to Paralympics head coach Paula Dunn. Small steps…

Taking the mic
Sitting behind the dug-out during Tottenham’s dull draw against Stoke I noticed fourth official Stuart Attwell taking off his microphone when speaking to the managers. Did he not want the man in the middle to hear

Performance of the week

Double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin and her horse Valegro ended a remarkable 2012 with dressage victory at the World Cup freestyle event at London’s Olympia. They scored 87.975 per cent, which is rather good.

Martine Wright and Olympic Games legacy extinguished by funding cuts to sitting volleyball, says Lisa Wainwright

Funding cut to sitting volleyball has wiped out legacy of 7/7 survivor Wright and the Games, claims sport's chief Wainwright

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UPDATED:

22:38 GMT, 18 December 2012

UK Sport's decision not to fund sitting volleyball for the next Paralympic cycle has 'extinguished' any legacy left by London 2012 and the likes of 7/7 bombings survivor Martine Wright, according to Volleyball England's Lisa Wainwright.

The UK's high performance sports agency today announced how a record pot of 347million would be distributed in the run-up to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

It has been decided sitting volleyball will not be getting a chunk of the pie, just two days after Wright was honoured at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

Waste of time: Lisa Wainwright indicated that the legacy forged by the Games and Martine Wright (pictured) was being wasted

Waste of time: Lisa Wainwright indicated that the legacy forged by the Games and Martine Wright (pictured) was being wasted

Wright, a sitting volleyball player who lost both legs in the 2005 attacks on London, gave a moving speech at the ExCeL on Sunday as winner of the Helen Rollason Award for 'outstanding achievement in the face of adversity', but Wainwright believes any legacy left from London 2012 has now disappeared.

'Today's funding announcement is so disappointing for all the athletes, staff and the sitting volleyball programme who have made such significant progress given their previous funding of less than 5k each for all training, competition and support,' she said.

'The investment requested from UK Sport was less than 500k per year per squad over the next four years.

'Everyone will have seen the impact sitting volleyball can have on people with the winner of the BBC's Helen Rollason Award, Martine Wright a survivor of the 7/7 London bombings.

Furious: Lisa Wainwright says the sport will need to refocus now

Furious: Lisa Wainwright says the sport will need to refocus now

'When we speak of legacy remember this day, the flame has well and truly been extinguished.

'The sport will now refocus over the new year and start the process of looking for additional funding from sponsors and donors.

'As ever, we remain focused on increasing the awareness of the sport at all levels. We thank all the players, coaches and support staff that have supported the programmes and look forward to working with them in the future.'

Only yesterday things had looked much rosier for the sport after Sport England announced its volleyball funding.

Following that announcement, Wright took to Twitter to say: 'Great news 5 million for grassroots volleyball which is fab, sitting volleyball back on the map where it counts! Decision Tom 4 elite level.'

PARALYMPIC FUNDING: 2013-2017

Winners

Adaptive rowing 3.5million (up from 2.3million) – one medal in London (hit target)

Boccia 3m (up from 2.3m) – one medal (hit target)

Disability athletics 10.7m (up from 6.7m) – 29 medals (hit target)

Disability sailing 2.8m (up from 1.7m) – two medals (hit target)

Disability shooting 3.3m (up from 2.1m) – three medals (surpassed target)

Disability table tennis 2.7m (up from 1.7m) – four medals (hit target)

Five-a-side football 1.3m – n/a

Goalball 1m women only (up from 0.5m) – no medals (hit performance target)

Judo (visually impaired)* 2m (up from 1.3m) – two medals (hit target)

Para-canoe* 2.3m – n/a

Para-cycling 6.7m (up from 4.2m) – 22 medals (hit target)

Para-equestrian dressage 3.8m (3.6m) – 11 medals (surpassed target)

Para-triathlon* 2.2m – N/A

Wheelchair basketball 5.4m (up from 4.5m) – no medals (missed target)

Wheelchair rugby 3m (up from 2.4m) – no medals (hit performance target)

Wheelchair tennis 1.9m (up from 0.8m) – two medals (hit target)

Losers

Disability archery 2m (down from 2.1m) – two medals (missed target)

Disability swimming 10.4m (down from 11.8m) – 39 medals (missed target)

Powerlifting 0.8m (down from 1.1m) – one medal (hit target)

Sitting volleyball – zero funding (down from 0.8m) – no medals (missed performance target)

Wheelchair fencing – zero funding (down from 0.6m) – no medals (missed performance target)

*denotes one-year award, with indicative four-year figure

Olympic and Paralympic funding for Rio 2016 gets 11% increase on London 2012

Roll on Rio: Olympic and Paralympic funding for 2016 to get 11 per cent increase on 2012
UK sport announce record pot of 347million18 sports had their funding increase, five had cuts
Boxing biggest winner with 44.5% increaseCycling, athletics, rowing and gymnastics all have funding increases
Swimming, volleyball, archery, judo and badminton all have cuts

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UPDATED:

17:27 GMT, 18 December 2012

funding

Most of Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic sports were celebrating the announcement of funding rises for the next four years but several sports, including swimming, basketball, volleyball and handball, are paying the price for failure with severe cuts to their income.

UK Sport announced a record pot of 347m to be distributed in the run-up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games with cycling, rowing, boxing, athletics and gymnastics among those given increases.

It is a different story for those
sports that did not meet their performance targets in London including
swimming, whose funding is cut to 21.4m from 25.1m, volleyball (down
to 400,000 from 3.5m), plus basketball, handball, wrestling and table
tennis, which miss out on funding altogether.

UK
Sport’s target is for Britain to be even more successful in Rio than in
London, where the teams won 65 medals in the Olympics and 120 in the
Paralympics.

The funding
body’s chief executive Liz Nicholl said: 'We want to be the first nation
in recent history to be more successful in the Olympics and Paralympics
post-hosting.'

UK Sport’s chairman Sue Campbell admitted some sports would be devastated by the news.

She added however: 'It isn’t about being popular it’s about making tough decisions about where public money goes.'

The
biggest increase of any Olympic sport goes to boxing, a 44% increase,
to 13.8m, though 9.55m is conditional on sport sorting out some
internal issues.

Cycling is
up to 30.6m from 26.3m, athletics has a 1.7m increase to 26.8m,
rowing up from 27.3m to 32.6m, and gymnastics up from 10.8m to
14.5m.

Investment in Paralympic sport also rises dramatically, up 43% on London 2012.

Increase: Nicola Adams won one of GB boxing's three gold medals in London and the sport has enjoyed the largest funding growth

Increase: Nicola Adams won one of GB boxing's three gold medals in London and the sport has enjoyed the largest funding growth

Dominant: Britain's cyclists won seven out of a possible 10 gold medals in the Velodrome as well as Wiggins's time trial win

Dominant: Britain's cyclists won seven out of a possible 10 gold medals in the Velodrome as well as Wiggins's time trial win

Artistic: The British gymnastics team won four medals and 15-year-old Rebecca Tunney also gave a good performance

Artistic: The British gymnastics team won four medals and 15-year-old Rebecca Tunney also gave a good performance

Disappointing: Michael Jamieson's 200m breaststroke silver was as good as it got for Britain's swimmers who endured a difficult Olympics

Disappointing: Michael Jamieson's 200m breaststroke silver was as good as it got for Britain's swimmers who endured a difficult Olympics

England plan 2014 World Cup base close to Copacabana beach

Hodgson choice is Rio base for World Cup – providing they qualify for Brazil

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UPDATED:

22:49 GMT, 4 December 2012

England are planning for a World Cup in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain, and close to Copacabana beach, after Roy Hodgson’s fact-finding trip to Brazil.

There is work for Hodgson’s team to do on the pitch to reach the World Cup finals in 2014 but, if they qualify, they want to be based at the heart of the party in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil base: Roy Hodgson is planning to base England near the Copacabana beach for the 2014 World Cup - should they qualify

Brazil base: Roy Hodgson is planning to base England near the Copacabana beach for the 2014 World Cup – should they qualify

The England manager has examined and approved the facilities at the Physical Education School in the wealthy neighbourhood of Urca near Sugarloaf Mountain, but must wait for the local organising committee to finalise the details.

Training grounds will be paired with hotels by the organisers and FIFA are expected to pounce on Rio’s swankiest pads for their own executives.

Meanwhile, England must acquire a few more qualifying points, starting with away games in San Marino and Montenegro in March, before they can plan too far ahead.

Carly Booth trying to end golf"s old school traditions

Booth and Co aim to end golf's old school traditions

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UPDATED:

23:56 GMT, 2 December 2012

Carly Booth is a 20-year-old Scottish golfer who is third on the European Ladies’ Tour order of merit, having earned around 130,000 in prize money and won two tournaments in 2012.

We spoke on the phone last week, as Booth was playing in the Hero Women’s Indian Open, and talk turned to the future of the women’s game.

After all, golf will be an Olympic sport — for men and women — in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, one in four regular golfers in Europe are female and prize money on the European Ladies’ Tour has risen 7,700 per cent in three decades.

Success: Carly Booth celebrates winning the Scottish Open earlier this year

Success: Carly Booth celebrates winning the Scottish Open earlier this year

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Laura Williamson: Dangerous message that strong isn't sexy for women
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Laura Williamson: Wit is the only way to counter football's vile chants
04/11/12

Laura Williamson: After Twenty20 World Cup we must now start taking women's cricket seriously
07/10/12

Laura Williamson: Don't use women's sport just to plug a gap, please Auntie…
23/09/12

Laura Williamson: Thanks to our Ellie, 'normal' has been redefined
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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

But, despite the guff on the R&A’s website about golf being the game of ‘honesty, integrity and courtesy’, Booth is not allowed to be a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. ‘Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden’: isn’t that how it goes Although, silly me, that’s an old wives’ tale.

The Augusta National Golf Club admitted two female members last year but Muirfield, which will host the 2013 Open, is still a male-only organisation — ‘although ladies can play as guests or visitors every day of the week’. There is also a ‘small’ ladies’ locker room. How thoughtful of them.

‘Some courses will always have that old school tradition,’ said Booth. ‘But Augusta even had two lady members, so I’m sure they will change.

‘It’s not just Muirfield. Lots of places have separate male and female clubhouses. I don’t see why. It just isn’t right.’

There are ladies-only clubs as well, of course, but they will not host one of the greatest tournaments in sport. That is why we should get our knickers in a twist over this one: not because it’s the whim of a private club or because male golfers particularly care, but because it suggests, once again, that sportswomen are second-class citizens.

It’s against this backdrop that Booth took up the game, looking up to Annika Sorenstam but immersing herself in the men’s game and playing, even as a junior, with men ‘because there weren’t any girls to play with’. Things, however, are improving all the time.

‘The ladies’ game is definitely developing,’ says Booth. ‘There are so many lady golfers now. It’s things like how we dress; trying to get out there.

‘We want as much support as we can in the future so hopefully we can have more sponsorship, tournaments and money.’

Mission: Booth hopes to help bring an end to the male dominance of golf

Mission: Booth hopes to help bring an end to the male dominance of golf

Wait a minute: ‘How we dress’ Booth
is a beautiful young woman and I understand her desire to wear what she
wants to work (Ian Poulter has made a very nice sideline out of it), but
the phrase instantly jarred. Why should that matter ‘I make an effort
to look nice,’ she replies. ‘Match your shoes with your earrings,
something like that. You dress nice, you putt nice.

‘It all helps to make it more appealing. It might help to get more younger girls involved in the game, too.’

More appealing to whom, I wonder. Sex sells, but it does not always lead to a long-term commitment. Saying female athletes must be ‘feminine’ — in the stereotypical sense of the word — is a dangerous game.

But then I cannot help but smile at the idea of a lady golfer one day strolling into the clubhouse at Muirfield head to toe in pink, a fully-fledged member of the old boys’ club. Just because she wants to — and just because she can. And that’s the ultimate aim, after all.

Sky Sports HD has live coverage of the Dubai Ladies Masters between December 6-8 as part of the year-round schedule of women’s golf.

Tweet of the week

Former Australia international David Campese on the Sydney Morning
Herald’s new female rugby writer. ‘Why does the smh get a girl to write
about rugby….now we have someone who has no idea about the game!’ he
wrote, before deleting his tweet. It just shows you the danger of making
assumptions. Anyone would think he was a bloke who always thought he
was right and did not have a clue about journalism.

Main man: Bradley Wiggins

Main man: Bradley Wiggins

This is what I've been doing this week

Watching A Year in Yellow, a documentary about Bradley Wiggins’ last 12 months. I struggled with the claims that he is a staunchly private individual (delivered, with apparently no hint of irony, while being filmed in his garden shed or at his nan’s house), but it was impossible not to warm to him. Great Britain’s head cycling coach, Shane Sutton, was the star of the show.

Listening to a podcast of London 2012: What Now a BBC Radio 5 Live show about how athletes deal with the comedown after an Olympic Games. It was fascinating. Whether athletes’ dedication to their sport produces glory or devastation, what happens next Either way, they must be impossible to live with.

Pleased to see Nicola Adams included on the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The ‘personality’ bit seems to stand for the athlete who conjured up a moment that was the most personal to you and Adams’ history-making fight was right up there for me. So were David Weir’s four Paralympic golds, which totally transformed my view on disability sport.

Performance of the week

The men’s thrilling win at Twickenham on Saturday was a wonderful warm-up but England’s women then went on to complete a 3-0 series win against New Zealand with a 32-23 victory. Stop thinking ‘but it’s only the women’ and read that again: a 3-0 series win against the world champions, New Zealand. That is phenomenal.

Sir Bobby Charlton: My weekly goalscoring chats with Wayne Rooney

VIDEO: Revealed – Sir Bobby Charlton’s weekly goalscoring chats with Rooney… I tell him not to worry about placement but just batter the bloody ball

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UPDATED:

16:24 GMT, 29 November 2012

Sir Bobby Charlton is looking forward to the day when Wayne Rooney overtakes him as England's all-time leading goalscorer.

Charlton has held that record for 42 years and has seen many try but all fail in their attempts to supplant him in the annals of the national game.

The icon of Manchester United and the greatest England midfield player says: 'Wayne would be the ideal young man to pull off this achievement.

United front: Sir Bobby Charlton (left) has regular chats with Wayne Rooney (right) about scoring goals

United front: Sir Bobby Charlton (left) has regular chats with Wayne Rooney (right) about scoring goals

Talking a good game: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell speaks to Sir Bobby Charlton at Old Trafford

Talking a good game: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell speaks to Sir Bobby Charlton at Old Trafford

'I would welcome him doing it and I don't say that simply because he's a United player.'

Charlton was speaking in an interview I filmed with him at Old Trafford for the Soccerex convention in Rio de Janeiro as part of the build-up to the 2014 World Cup.

It prefaced a fascinating retrospective of the major moments in football history which involve several of the great 1970s Brazil team, led by captain Carlos Alberto.

Charlton's record has withstood the best efforts of Gary Lineker, who came within one fluffed penalty of equalling Sir Bobby's 49 goals for his country, and what seemed at one time to be an inevitable succession by Michael Owen until injuries took their toll.

Sir Booby is more comfortable with Rooney's impending anointment now that the 27-year-old has reached 32 goals in 78 caps.

He explains: 'Wayne is a very nice young man. He is also respectful of the game and he appreciates its history.

Spot on: Charlton wants Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney to break his 40-year record as England's greatest goalscorer

Spot on: Charlton wants United striker Wayne Rooney to break his record as England's greatest goalscorer

Spot on: Charlton wants United striker Wayne Rooney to break his record as England's greatest goalscorer

'I have the opportunity to chat with him on pretty much a weekly basis and he's a good listener. We talked about scoring goals from long-range and I told him not to worry about exact placement but to keep a mental picture in his mind of where that rectangle is – and to batter the bloody ball.

'In the next United game after that conversation, which happened to be at Hull, he did just that and it flew in.

'People might find it strange but I see a lot of myself in Wayne. He just can't wait to get out on the pitch. He's one of those guys who simply loves
playing football. He's also extremely proud of playing for England and especially the occasions when he's captained his country.

'For him the moment he led out the team he was in paradise.'

One of the greats: Sir Bobby Charlton raises the Jules Rimet trophy in the air following England's 4-2 victory after extra time over West Germany in the World Cup Final at Wembley in 1966

One of the greats: Sir Bobby Charlton raises the Jules Rimet trophy in the air following England's 4-2 victory after extra time over West Germany in the World Cup Final at Wembley in 1966, and below playing for United

Sharp shooter: Charlton in action for Manchester United during his glory years

Sharp shooter: Charlton in action for Manchester United during his glory years

Charlton also revealed that in the 1966 World Cup final he was asked by manager Sir Alf Ramsey to stifle his natural instincts and mark the then-teenage Franz Beckenbauer against West Germany at Wembley.

It has been well documented that Ramsey's substitution of Charlton four years later released Beckenbauer to inspire the quarter-final comeback which ended England's defence of the World Cup.

But Charlton says: 'Alf told me in '66 that they had this young man Beckenbauer who could do impulsive things that might be decisive and he needed me to shut him out of the game. I thought “blow me, this is my chance to show myself in a World Cup final”, but if he said that this would win the trophy for England, I would do it.

'The odd thing was that Franz had been told to mark me, so we had the strange situation where were rarely more than a couple of yards apart and in a game of such magnitude, neither of us really participated in the World Cup final.'

Charlton also revealed that Antonio Rattin, the Argentina captain who was considered the villain of 1966 when he was sent off against England in the quarter-final, has remained a good friend.

Sir Bobby says: 'He calls me at home on the telephone immediately prior to every World Cup so that we can talk about what happened between us and what will happen in the latest finals.'

NOW WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW…

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Bebeto"s son gets first Brazil under 20 call-up

Bebeto's boy still rocks! Mattheus a step closer to emulating legend father with Brazil Under 20 call-up

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UPDATED:

10:54 GMT, 14 November 2012

It was an iconic moment in World Cup history, since replicated by goalscorers on park pitches the world over.

Bebeto had just fired Brazil two-up in their USA '94 quarter-final against Holland and celebrated with a carefully-choreographed cradle-rocking routine with teammates Romario and Mazinho in honour of his new-born son Mattheus.

Now, 18 years later and all grown up, that baby is a step closer to emulating the achievements of his legendary father after receiving his first Brazil Under 20 call-up.

Iconic moment: Mazinho, Bebeto and Romario rock the cradle in celebration after Bebeto's goal against Holland in the 1994 World Cup quarter-final

Iconic moment: Mazinho, Bebeto and Romario rock the cradle in celebration after Bebeto's goal against Holland in the 1994 World Cup quarter-final

Quick strides: Mattheus (right) has already played for his father's club Flamengo and is now being recognised at international level

Quick strides: Mattheus (right) has already played for his father's club Flamengo and is now being recognised at international level

Mattheus, by all accounts a prolific scorer, has worked his way through the youth ranks at Bebeto's old club Flamengo and now looks set for international recognition too.

The youngster made his debut for the Rio club in February this year in a 0-0 draw with Olaria, as his proud father watched on from the stands.

Bebeto, 47, is now a politician, having been voted onto the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro as a Democratic Labour candidate at the 2010 elections.

Nice moves: And on the evidence of this celebration, he has great celebration routines like his dad

Nice moves: And on the evidence of this celebration, he has great celebration routines like his dad

Mattheus said at the time of his club debut: 'I talk to my father all the time, because he had a great career and is an ideal example for me to follow.

'He has helped give me peace of mind by telling me not worry about expectations and just to concentrate on doing my best.'

And with this latest milestone, it seems he's a step closer to meeting those expectations.

VIDEO: Bebeto's iconic cradle celebration