European Athletics Council to Wipe World Records from the History Books @JDE66 @paulajradcliffe @ColinJackson @Steve_Backley #IAAF #Athletics

In 1995, I won the gold medal for the long jump at Borough Sports. This is the big, yearly, borough-wide sports competition with children competing from all local schools. 1995 also saw Jonathan Edwards break the 60 foot barrier in the triple jump. His leap has still not been bested. Edwards was my idol.

As a ten year old, and I say this with no exaggeration at all, that single hop, skip, jump has become one of the fundamental formative moments of my whole childhood and life. A golden memory, a moment where I was forever touched by the magic of sport and the heights that humans can climb.

Yet now, the European Athletics Council have suggested wiping all world records from before 2005. This would rub Edwards’ moment of magic out — as it would many other magnificent achievements, such as Mike Powell’s 1991 long jump world record which has also stood the test of time.

As Edwards has said, he always knew his record would go one day — he just didn’t expect it would be to administrators!

There are many things wrong with this policy. They have all been expertly articulated by many great athletes such as Colin Jackson, Steve Backley, Paula Radcliffe, and Jonathan Edwards: all legendary British athletes who will lose their records due to pen pushers. There’s no point rehashing their arguments — but to say that this proposal, whilst of noble intention, is wrong-headed and will harm the sport in the end.

But on a personal note, I feel like I’m being robbed of precious childhood memories. Athletics was a rare joy in my life, and those golden moments have shaped me. None more so than that magical hop, skip, and jump in Stockholm — something I’d write off as legend, if I hadn’t seen it for myself.

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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6 Nations: 7 Nations #6Nations @The_Six_Nations

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Last year’s Six Nations was won before the final round. And so it really put the case forward for adding bonus points to the series. As you know, that has since happened. Another thought struck me, though. It’s a simple proposal. Tell me what you think.

  • The winner of next year’s Rugby Europe Championship is promoted to a new “Seven Nations” tournament.
  • Teams will then play three home and three away matches in the Seven Nations tournament, thereby making it more balanced.
  • The bottom-placed team in this new Seven Nations will have to play a play-off against the European Championship winner, maybe over two legs or maybe one leg in a neutral place, e.g., Twickenham; if the 7th placer wins, they stay up, if they lose, they go down and are replaced by the European Championship winner.

What are the advantages of this?

  1. There’s even more to play for in the Seven Nations as relegation becomes a factor.
  2. There’s even more to play for in the European Championship as promotion becomes a factor.
  3. It gives the smaller nations a chance to break into the big-time and thereby develop Rugby in those countries by playing against the top European sides.
  4. Teams do not automatically go up/down, and so we don’t have yo-yoing. Particularly, relegation is often seen an effective punishment for Italy — or would be for Georgia in an expanded Seven Nations format. The play-off means that the bottom team, probably now Georgia, will have to prove they are better than the Euro champ. Furthermore, Italy are unlikely to finish seventh any time soon, and thus are unlikely to be relegated.

Honestly, I think this, along with the new Bonus Points system, would mean perfection for Europe’s/the Northern Hemisphere’s premier tournament.

© 2016-2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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6 Nations: Bonus Points? #Rugby #6Nations

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I wrote this post on the 19th March 2016. Never got round to posting it! But glad to see I was right. I post it now for interest’s sake — and to clear the massive amount of post “drafts” I have pending!

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I reckon it’s time for the Six Nations to introduce bonus points. This year [2016] was first ever when the winner (swing low, sweet chhariot! ;-D) won before last round of fixtures. Although I’m surprised that hasn’t happened before; with only four or five nations, it’s easy to see how things can go to the last round, but the more teams then the less chance of this happening. Maybe the tournament needs freshening up.

Bear in mind that, under a Bonus Point system, it is technically possible for the team that wins a grand slam to not win the championship:

Team A: 5 wins x 4 points = 20 pts

Team B: 4 wins with bonus point = 20 pts, and Bonus Points for tries scored and losing by less than seven = 2 = 22pts!

Unlikely, but mathematically possible. Maybe they can fix that with some kind of bonus points per team beaten.

[Note, they have brought in BPs and said that anyone completing the Gram Slam will get additional Bonus Points]

© 2016-2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Football World Cup and Olympics Host Nation Idea

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The 2016 Rio Olympics are a shambles. The stadiums aren’t ready, people are dying. It’s a joke. Sounds eerily familiar, though, doesn’t it? Step forward, Qatar 2022! There have even been rumblings that Qatar could be stripped of the World Cup (although that won’t happen, of course). Now Russia has been banned from the 2016 Olympics for endemic, state-sponsored doping — yet Russia will host the next football world cup in 2018!

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The ancient Panathenaic Stadium in Greece.

It’s clear that the two biggest sporting events in the world, the Olympics and the Football World Cup, have become a joke. Given the cultural, political, and economic importance of these two events, things need to be fundamentally addressed. The whole bidding process was always open to corruption. After all, if one side has something (the event) that the other side desperately wants to host, then the risk of corruption is ever-present. But now the bribes and cheating have gone well beyond having lunch and a selfie with Wills and Becks.

So how can we fix the in-built risk of corruption involved in the host nation bidding systems? Here’s a suggestion.

  1. Let any nation put forward a bid, but only those nations that already have adequate infrastructure at the time of placing their bid will be considered. If that means every other World Cup or Olympic Games is held in England, France, or Germany, so be it.
  2. Do away with bidding altogether: the nations that put their name forward (above) are put into a hat; the name pulled out of the hat hosts the tournament. The only proviso: nations cannot go into the hat if they hosted the last games (So no London 2012, London 2016, London 2020, and so on).

Or we could just go back to the original idea of the Modern Olympics: host every single Olympic Games in Greece, in the Panathenaic Stadium. Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics; England, the birthplace of football: you know who should host every World Cup!

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://vipmedia.globalnews.ca/2014/03/putin-sochi-march-8.jpg?w=672&h=448&crop=1

image of the Panathenaic Stadium from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panathenaic_Stadium

Euro 2016: The Review

UEFA_Euro_2016_Logo_svgBack in 2007, I scoffed at Euro 2012 being awarded to Ukraine and Poland. I mean, they didn’t have the infrastructure. And Ukraine at least was full of violent ultras. I kept scoffing right up until kick-off. How wrong I was. It turned out that Euro 2012 was the best Euros I have seen in my life. Who can forget the high-scoring matches (4-1, 3-2, 3-1, 4-0, 3-2, 4-2) including the 4-0 final victory by Spain or Spain being the first nation to retain the Henri Delaunay trophy?

It perfected the format. It felt that the Euros had finally come of age.

So I was disgusted that Euro 2016 would expand to 24 teams. I said it would water down the tournament. Third place teams qualifying for the next round? This is as ridiculous as the bloated farce that the Europa League and the Champions League have become. Sure, there are more “countries” than ever in Europe including latterly the likes of Gibraltar, so an expanded format makes sense on the face of it. But of course it’s all about money, not giving a fair chance to all nations. A 24 team tournament always seemed a step too far.

I was delighted to be proven wrong about 2012; I am disappointed to be proven right by 2016. What a turgid affair these Euros were.

Firstly, the idea that a team finishing third in a group should go onto lift the trophy, when they would have been eliminated in every other instantiation of the competition in history, is not the stuff of fairy stories; it’s straight up ridiculous. No offence to Portugal, but drawing all three of your group matches is not what inspires my dreams. Indeed, of Portugal’s seven matches, they only won one in the 90 minutes — their semi-final against Wales!

Portugal’s win exemplified the tournament as a whole; it was a boring win in a boring, lifeless competition. I could barely stay awake during the final.

UEFA talk about how their new format gave us the gems of Wales and Iceland. And it’s true; Wales and Iceland were pretty much the only good things about the tournament. But in all fairness, Wales and Iceland both came second in their qualifying groups and would have ended up qualifying even if there were only sixteen teams in the finals. Indeed, Northern Ireland, another minnow, topped their qualifying group.

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Who *didn’t* qualify for Euro 2016??

The ridiculousness of the current format is exemplified by this graphic: blues qualified, yellows didn’t.

We might as well just go whole hog, dispense with the qualifying campaign, and divide the 53 teams into groups of four (perhaps with an initial pre-qualifying round for the lowest six ranked nations so as to make it an even 48*, or else add another side for 54). Then run it more-or-less like the Champions League. Perhaps with a second group round.

Sounds stupid, but why not?

They’re already moving away from the host nation format with Euro 2020 which will be hosted across Europe. Why not just carry it on. The whole thing can be a bloated, never-ending, money-making mess exhibition of football at its purest! If UEFA cared about football, there would be sixteen teams in the finals. At a stretch, twenty teams. If we’re really pushing it out, second and third placed teams could play-off (in a 16 or 20 team format) leading to another round before the quarters. But 24 teams? Third place teams going through on draws. No way.

Congratulations to Portugal, but nobody is going to remember this tournament.

*This would also gives us the mini-comp “Champion of the Minnows”, where the likes of San Marino and Gibraltar would duke it out to qualify at all

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

images from Wikipedia

#WhoAreYa – Which 5-a-side character are you?

Who among our team of ten 5-a-side legends are you most like? Are you the hard man assassin? Or someone completely different. Take the quiz and find out which character you are!

Source: #WhoAreYa – Which 5-a-side character are you?

Introduce Sin Bins in Football #SoccerSinBin @FA @FIFAcom @UEFAcom

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In Rugby they have this great thing called the “sin bin”. If you get a yellow card, you are sent off for ten minutes. I think this must be introduced into association football. ASAP.

First, there’s too much nonsense in football nowadays. Players just gob off to the ref and act like proper plonkers on a minutely basis. The Laws of the Game give referees the power to give out yellow and/or red cards for unsporting behaviour or dissent. But refs seldom do.

LAW 12
… A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he commits any of the following seven offences:
* unsporting behaviour
* dissent by word or action
* persistent infringement of the Laws of the Games …
A player … is sent off if he commits any of the following seven offences:
* using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures

But second, even if refs did book every wally, like, whatevz. A yellow card does nothing. What’s that gonna discourage? Send those players off for ten or fifteen minutes, on the other hand… Might learn ’em good. Might straighten out football a bit.

FOOTBALL. SIN BIN. YES.

#SoccerSinBin

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://b.smimg.net/13/35/liverpool-manchester-united_4.jpg

Fairy Rugby @rugbyworldcup @rugbyworldcup #RWC2015

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Chess is a great game, perhaps impossible to improve upon. Yet chess players will sometimes decide to mix things up, just for fun, by playing to different rules. They might introduce new pieces, or new powers for current pieces, or even change the point of the game. This is called “fairy chess”.

Likewise, Rugby Union is a wonderful game, perhaps impossible to improve upon. But, just for fun, here’s a few rules that you might want to muck around with. So without further ado, I present to you the somewhat unfortunately named “Fairy Rugby Union”.

  1. All rules are the same as in Rugby Union, except where stated below.
  2. Scrums are great, but they also slow the game down. Replace with free kick for the team which would’ve had the put in.
  3. Line outs are great, but like scrums take up time. Replace them with a throw in (under-arm or two-handed overhead) which can be in any direction. Which leads me on to…
  4. Forward passes are allowed. The lack of forward passing renders Rugby unintelligible to people from largely non-Rugby-playing nations (in my humble experience). Which also leads to…
  5. No knock-ons.
  6. The offside rule, just like the forward pass rule, is unintelligble to many from largely non-Rugby-playing nations. Do away with offside altogether.
  7. Now that tries will be relatively easy to score, change the ratio of points. For example, goals are still worth three, but a try is now two and a conversion five.

And there we are. Have fun!

*dons flame-resistant jacket*

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://i1.wp.com/royal-fans.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/rugby-world-cup-England-2015.jpg

 

Roy Keane: More Evil Than Hitler #roykeane @roy_keane_Esq @ManUtd #mufc

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The year was 2000, and I was 15 years old. I was watching a football match. Some random team against Manchester United. Roy Keane, Man United captain, decided to flip out for no reason, as usual, and get in the referee’s face. Aggressive and with split flying everywhere, screaming at the arbitrator, shoving him, and forehead marching the ref backwards. If he’d done that in the street, he would’ve been knocked on his arse. But this was football, and therefore par for the course.

It might even have been this match that caused me to snap

It might even have been this match that caused me to snap

Witnessing this, something broke inside me. I just couldn’t bear to watch these overgrown children, these arrogant spoilt petulant idiots getting in the face of refs and being twattish anymore.

That was the moment I fell out of love with football. Indeed, it turned me off all sport. It was only in 2006 that I started to get back into sport.

This turning away from sport had rather unfortunate timing, though.

I did not watch the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The only World Cup I have missed since watching my first one, South Africa 1995. The only World Cup England have won.

I did not watch the 2003-04 football season. The one where Arsenal broke history by going through a whole season unbeaten: the so-called “invincibles”, the peak moment in Arsenal FC’s history.

Yes, Roy Keane prompted my sporting crisis and made me miss the greatest moments for my club and country that will ever happen. I can never get those moments back.

And that is why I hate Roy Keane. That is why Roy Keane is more evil than Hitler.

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© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.themag.co.uk/assets/2012/06/roykeane1.jpg
Roy Keane confronting referee image from http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/37996000/jpg/_37996255_keano150.jpg
Ryan Giggs quote image from http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-roy-keane-is-damien-the-devil-incarnate-off-the-film-the-omen-he-s-evil-even-in-training-ryan-giggs-105-2-0239.jpg

Most Offensive Advert Ever? @gareththomas14 @GuinnessGB #madeofmore #RWC2015

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I think I’ve seen the most offensive advert of all time (or, at least, of recent times).

Gareth Thomas, rugby player, stony-faced gives the voiceover, his voice breaking with emotion as emotional music plays.

Everything I went through out there [on the rugby pitch] was nothing compared to the demons inside.

In my darkest hour, I turned to my teammates.

Telling them I was gay, was the toughest thing I’ve ever done.

But when I needed them, they were there for me.

Gareth Thomas emerges from the tunnel onto the rugby pitch, head held high and chest out, walking proudly to face the masses.

Subtitles fade up:

GARETH THOMAS.

Thought he was alone.

Always part of a team.

Fade to black.

Now fade in… a pint of Guinness(!?) and the words Guinness: made of more.

Sorry, but what the f***!?

Gareth Thomas overcame sporting prejudice to say, “I am gay”. Even footballers, who play a much less manly sport, won’t come out. And when they do, it doesn’t end well: just look at Justin Fashanyu.

I’m sorry, but even by advertising’s slack standards, that is a disgusting advert. The struggle and turmoil of one man, the fight for LGBTI rights worldwide in the face of continuing violent opposition. All reduced to flogging Guiness.

What a load of offensive and cynical sh*t. It’s like nothing in this world has any worth anymore. Disgraceful.

See the YouTube version of this post here: https://youtu.be/saiUlN0hKy0

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://sportlockerdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/gareth_face-on.jpeg