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.
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus, being punished for his deceitfulness, was compelled to roll a boulder uphill for eternity only to watch the rock slide down the slope every time he reached the summit. If you want to similarly creatively chasten an Irish person, you could arrange that they must watch the frantic denouement to Ireland’s 2014 Six Nation’s campaign over and over without ever getting the relief of Steve Walsh’s final whistle.
It’s one of the oddities of sport that high stakes occasions like the one we saw on Saturday in Paris (for the invested viewer anyway) is probably one of the least enjoyable experiences there is. The wait while Walsh tried to find any reason to allow France’s late score in the corner was particularly tortuous. Nerves ruin the experience of actually watching the contest. With that much on the line, it’s all about the pay-off once the right result is secured.
CNN do a round up of three protests in three countries, explaining who’s protesting, what they want, when it began and the latest news from each of the political flashpoints.
There is some irony in this post, but trying to round up three very complex crisis in three very different countries, and break them down into the same categories is a very simplistic view to take. I understand that similar to this post they’re intending to give some base knowledge of the events in each country, however what they’ve ended up giving is a misinformed breakdown; still describing what’s going on in the Ukraine as a “protest” despite it’s escalation in something a lot larger, giving the impression in Venezuela of an Arab Spring type situation when in reality it’s a democratically elected leader running a politically divided country not a medieval despot and Thailand where large scale protests, accompanied by coups, have been ongoing on and off for over a decade. Not to mention that they also forgot to include the protests ongoing in Bosnia.
Ukrainian Protesters Vacate Government Buildings – Reuters
Today protesters in Kiev and other regions of the Ukraine vacated government buildings which they had been occupying for the last two months. The departure from the building was observed by the Swiss ambassador and was agreed upon as the government offered an amnesty, dropping criminal charges against activists. This however is far from the end of the unrest in the country as the occupation of major squares across the country, mainly Independence square in the capital, still have huge tent like occupations, with barricades blocking off many streets. Those protesting are adamant they won’t be coming down anytime soon and have not softened on their ultimate goal of removing Yanukovich from office.
So the postmortem is well under way. Ireland are out of the European Championship and they have been utterly humiliated. Most people seem to accept that whatever players we played, whatever formation we set out and whatever system we used it is the fact that the players aren’t good enough which has scuppered us. In twenty years we have produced only one player that can truly be said to have been world class. The days are gone when the top six English clubs were littered with Irish squad members. People have lamented these facts yet there has been very talk of how it all came to this and what exactly we can do to turn the tide. The story of course centres around the destination we outsource all of our best footballing talent to: England.