On Friday when the Premier League decided to take its ball home, effectively sentencing Setanta to death, the FA did little to hide its displeasure.
Archives for June 2009
Three days before the first Ashes Test, Shane Warne will be leading his Rajasthan Royals side in a Twenty20 charity match against Middlesex at Lord's.
Surely his fingers will be itching to bowl on what promises to be a slow turner at Cardiff where he would be lethal?
Warne says not, although I suspect that the temptation to rip off his tie and jacket and jump from the commentary box on to the field and say, "Ricky, next over mate", could be huge.
What is undoubtedly true, and quite a turn up for the books, is that one of the greatest spinners in the history of the game now acknowledges that England may have the upper hand in spin during this Ashes series.
If you wanted to know what sports politics is like then the place to be on Wednesday was the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
The museum may be dedicated to the exploits of some of the greatest sportsmen the world has ever seen but on Wednesday this was more like Blackpool or Brighton during the party conference season. Except that is for its setting by the glistening Lake Leman, with the Alps across the water. Far more bewitching than anything Blackpool or Brighton can provide, and the whole event demonstrated that even in these recessionary times the Olympics remain a great draw. So much so that many of the world's top cities, for all their economic problems, are spending millions to get the 2016 Games.
At the Olympic Museum wherever you turned there were sports administrators playing politicians and not a few real-life politicians taking time off from coping with the recession to show their mastery of sports.
Nevertheless, the impact of the worldwide economic downturn may explain why the IOC is changing one of the major planks of its policy and allowing pay channels the opportunity to bid for the right to screen the Summer and Winter Games from 2014 onwards.
Olympic officials in suits meeting behind closed doors can never generate the sort of excitement as a single tweak of a Usain Bolt muscle, but keep an eye on the meetings beginning on Monday in Lausanne.
While they will not produce any binding decisions they could tell us a lot about the likely shape of the movement over the next decade, including the chances of a first British member of the IOC executive board since the 1950s.
The most crucial meeting is the one on Wednesday when the four cities bidding for the 2016 Games - Rio, Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid - make closed door presentations to IOC members at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
The Ronaldo deal is a classic case of pragmatism meeting populism.
Pragmatism on the part of Manchester United, and populism on that of Real - though Madrid's plan will also be laced with hard-headed projections of the number of shirts Ronaldo and Kaka will be able to sell for the Spanish club.
Returning president Florentino Perez's search for new Galacticos is clearly driven by the desire to avenge the humiliation inflicted on Real by Barcelona this season, but the merchandising aspect should not be ignored.
Back in 2003, when another United Galactico Beckham went to the Bernabeu, Real earned US$600m in sale of shirts and other merchandising, increasing profits by 137% in the four seasons Beckham was there.
I do not wish to be too hard on Setanta or sound like General Hindsight who always wins every battle, but the simple truth is that the Irish satellite channel mistakenly thought that Sky's uniquely successful sports formula could easily be replicated.
The fact is Sky's model was not laid out in blueprint at its Isleworth headquarters in west London but evolved over time, often more by accident than design and helped by a very special set of circumstances that are unlikely to recur.
Cricket's World Cups have often proved to be revolutionary, producing totally unexpected changes in the game.
So, back in 1979, Sri Lanka beating India in a World Cup match at Old Trafford led to Sri Lanka's admission as a Test nation. Similarly, Zimbabwe's case for Test status received a massive boost when in 1983 they famously beat Australia.
Perhaps the greatest cricket revolution triggered by the World Cup was India winning the tournament in 1983. Until then the Indians were supposed to be wedded to Test cricket. Every pundit was convinced that even if all five days produced tedious cricket, Indians would flock to the grounds. And Indian cricket administrators proudly boasted how one-day cricket was not for them.
None of the other captains leading teams in the World Cup were tongue-tied. But Ashraful was and what is more at first it looked like a terrible snub to one of the minnows of world cricket.
After Ponting and Smith had given their thoughts to Gabby, we waited for Ashraful to be quizzed. Instead she just thanked him for coming and he trooped off the stage.