BBC BLOGS - Gordon Farquhar

Archives for February 2010

Alchemy in reverse

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Gordon Farquhar | 16:39 UK time, Friday, 26 February 2010

It has often been said, but it's worth repeating, that football isn't a normal business and fans aren't ordinary customers.

There is no other business model outside of sport where, no matter how bad the product, the consumers will keep on buying into it regardless.

That's why they need protecting.

Portsmouth's string of owners and directors have let down their fans, but the supporters have also been let down by the Premier League and the Football Association as well.

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Newton case should give cheats sleepless nights

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Gordon Farquhar | 11:13 UK time, Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The scientists at Kings College Drug Control Centre in London don't seem an emotional lot, but I reckon there was more than a frisson of excitement when, for the first time anywhere in the world, a test for Human Growth Hormone showed up positive.

The drug testers strove for years to come up with a test that works, is reliable and legally watertight. Just before the Athens Olympics in 2004, such a test was signed off and brought into play.

It had limitations. Still does. Its effectiveness is fairly limited over time. Not quite as bad as having to take the sample when the needle's just come out of the skin, but not far off.

To catch someone, you'd have to test them within a couple of days of them taking HGH. That meant those abusing it could calculate the odds. Anyway, up until 24 November last year, everyone who's taken it has got away with it, apart from those stupid enough to be caught with it in the pockets of their tracksuit bottoms.

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Premier League play-off plan could have legs

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Gordon Farquhar | 15:24 UK time, Monday, 15 February 2010

There have been some interesting things bobbing about in the Premier League think tank. "Game 39" might be semi-submerged now, but the contents have been given another stir and floating to the top, along with several others, has come Champions League fourth-place play-offs. Not a snappy title, but it might get a bit of traction.

Let's just add the health warning at this point. This is an idea, a discussion point, something for the clubs to consider. Nothing could be introduced for at least three years, because the TV deal's all mapped out. But it has been properly looked into, its possible implications modelled by statisticians and presented to the members.

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