It was and will be the least surprising headline ‘scoop’ of the year, Qatar bribed officials to win their bid for the 2022 World Cup. The only surprising part of the tale being that such a vast paper trail exists of the money. I always thought bribes are supposed to be discreet. Isn’t this how the right to host sports events are won? When an undemocratic country are bidding, the potential for interference in the process is both too tempting and too easy for it not to degenerate into grubby handshakes and proverbial brown paper envelopes.
On October 21st 2012, Savita Halappanavar, a 31 year old dentist, devoted wife and expecting mother presented herself to the University Hospital Galway with severe back pain. Doctors found her to be miscarrying and after a day of unbearable pain, Savita began requesting that the pregnancy be terminated on the grounds of risk to her own life. Medical staff refused,telling her and her husband “this is a Catholic country”. She died in agony of septicaemia exactly a week after entering the hospital for treatment.
‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.‘ Bill Shankly, 1981.
As medics attempted to resuscitate Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba out on the turf of White Hart Lane, fans of both sides were faced with one of those moments they genuinely dislike. It was one of those moments that forced them to admit that they are humans first, sports fans second and that Shankly’s assessment, witty as it is, simply doesn’t hold true. Today, as sportsmen and football fans of all allegiances continue to show their support for Muamba, Australian football fans of all colours are united in mourning the loss of one of the most colourful and inspirational characters to grace their sport, or indeed any sport. On the 20th of March 2012, Dublin born AFL legend Jim Stynes passed away.