BBC BLOGS - David Bond

Archives for October 2011

Cricket losing the fight to find cheats

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David Bond | 12:48 UK time, Monday, 31 October 2011

Ever since the Pakistan spot-fixing scandal broke last August, cricket has been coming to terms with the painful reality that it is still vulnerable to corruption.

Today's conclusion of the trial of Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif has not changed that reality. Both men were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat - and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments.

They and Mohammad Amir - who we now know pleaded guilty to the same charges as his team-mates - were all banned by the International Cricket Council for breaking the governing body's anti-corruption code in February.

What the case has done is remind everyone in the starkest way possible that the sport's current measures for tackling the influence of the gambling industry are inadequate.

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Blatter embraces change, but is it enough?

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David Bond | 16:42 UK time, Friday, 21 October 2011

Sepp Blatter insists the reforms announced on Friday mark the start of a new era for Fifa.

By even acknowledging the problems of the past, the men who run world football are at least showing small signs of progress.

Maybe it is too soon to judge but it was impossible not to feel underwhelmed by what Blatter announced.

For almost half an hour he talked about task forces and governance committees that would work towards greater transparency and anti-corruption measures. The date for the delivery of these changes? 2013.

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Blatter faces D-Day as Fifa president

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David Bond | 09:50 UK time, Thursday, 20 October 2011

Zurich

Having overseen the biggest crisis in Fifa's history, Sepp Blatter knows the next two days could well shape his legacy after 13 years at the top of world football.

If Fifa's president produces a series of serious measures which back up the zero-tolerance rhetoric we have been hearing for so long now, there might just be a chance he will be given the credit for cleaning up the discredited organisation.

Fail to deliver on his promises of reform and the damage to Blatter's already-tarnished reputation may be beyond repair.

For many football fans that point has already been reached. They look at the scandals which have engulfed the members of Fifa's executive committee over the last year or so and switch off. "So Fifa is corrupt," people think. Tell us something we don't know.

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Will government really get tough with football?

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David Bond | 14:38 UK time, Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The message to football from the government on Wednesday might look like an ultimatum but the reality is rather less severe.

None of the changes called for in their response to the select committee inquiry on the way football is run are particularly contentious or draconian.

Both the Premier League and the Football Association have responded warmly and that may prompt accusations that, for all the noise made by the MPs' hearings and ministers in recent months, there is still a lack of appetite to really tackle the problems facing the national game.

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Ten months to go, back to the drawing board

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David Bond | 12:39 UK time, Tuesday, 11 October 2011

When I first heard last night there was a chance the Olympic Stadium deal with West Ham could be terminated, I couldn't quite believe what I was being told.

Ten months before the Games and eight months after the decision to choose West Ham and Newham ahead of Tottenham, were ministers, the Mayor of London and Olympic organisers really preparing to go back to the drawing board?

The Olympic Park Legacy Company has maintained throughout this tortuous saga that the original process was not flawed and, despite concerns over the financing and Tottenham's opposition, West Ham's proposal offered the best legacy for the centrepiece of the Olympic Park.

So it is extraordinary that the OPLC board met yesterday and voted to simply rip up the agreement and retain the stadium in public ownership.

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Drug cheats set for Olympics reprieve

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David Bond | 15:49 UK time, Thursday, 6 October 2011

There is no question that the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) is a blow to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its president Jacques Rogge's zero tolerance approach towards doping.

Rogge championed the so-called Osaka rule, which banned athletes from competing in the first Olympics following conviction for drugs offences which carry a ban of at least six months.

On Thursday, that regulation - Rule 45 - was described by a three-man Cas panel as a violation of the IOC's own Olympic statutes and the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) code.

Accordingly, the panel found that Rule 45 was unenforceable. That clears the way for the man who challenged the rule - the American 400m Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt - to defend the title he won in Beijing at next year's Games in London.

Merritt is already running again, having served a 21-month ban for testing positive for a banned steroid.

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Pubs v Premier League

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David Bond | 14:17 UK time, Monday, 3 October 2011

In the 19 years since the formation of the Premier League, the value of the competition's television rights has gone from £304m to a staggering £3.2bn.

It is one of the country's most successful exports and whenever Prime Minister David Cameron goes on trade missions abroad, as he did to Russia last month; he often takes chief executive Richard Scudamore with him as an example of a thriving British business.

And yet on Tuesday the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will deliver a ruling which could deal the League and its lucrative TV rights model a major blow.

Unlikely though it might seem, the case all centres on a Portsmouth pub - the Red, White and Blue - and its landlady, Karen Murphy. She was fined back in 2006 for showing her customers live Premier League matches accessed via a Greek service and illegal decoder.

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