Thursday 21 September 2017

Arise Sepp and take your place in the áras

Now that David Norris has been felled by a third-man tackle, it seems that the race to become next President of Ireland is wide open. But nobody has mentioned the one man who last week epitomised everything that has made Irish politics great. It's time to put Sepp Blatter in the áras.

Look at the evidence. Sepp has spent the last week (A) denying that apparently undeniable proof of wrongdoing was anything of the sort. (B) Blaming the media. (C) Blaming the English. (D) Pointing out that he'd been elected by his peers and wasn't going to be forced out by anyone else. (E) Mentioning the many fine things he's done for his constituents since he's been in office and (F) Blaming the media.

Surely this bravura performance must have struck a chord with every Irish person. The Queen might pretend she likes us and Obama might let on that he's descended from one of us but Sepp, defending the indefensible and covering his arse, is one of us. Maybe we could do an exchange and give FIFA an Irish president.

Who? Michael Lowry, Seánie Fitzpatrick, Bertie Ahern, Ivor Callelly . . . there's just so much choice. Alternatively, there should be a tribunal launched into Blatter's reign at FIFA. It could last 14 years, cost hundreds of millions and nail nobody.

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THERE'S a lot to like about RTE Radio, but sadly, their Sunday Sport show is not one of them and last week's offering induced yet another bout of head scratching and pointless shouting at the wireless.

The source of this latest frustration was John Kenny's reporting of the Connacht SFC clash between Mayo and London. It should have been a routine assignment, but with the scores unexpectedly tied at the end of 70 minutes, confusion reigned. "London haven't quite done it," reported Kenny, "but they've lived to fight another day. It's gone to a replay. Will there be extra-time? I think it's gone to a replay but if there is to be extra-time we'll let you know."

It's okay, we knew already. Anyone with a passing interest knew that these early-round championship games all go to extra-time if necessary. Anyone without a passing interest but assigned to work at the game could have checked the fixtures that Croke Park send out every week, marking each one with the legend: 'E.T. if necessary'. The error was compounded later when Kenny informed us that "we were expecting that this would go to a replay, but cost factors came into play . . . so they decided to play 10 minutes of extra-time." That was just nonsense.

We all make mistakes, of course, and for those of us who work in the private sector, too many mistakes will result in a rapid drop in income. The point to be made here is that a publicly-funded body, such as RTE Radio, should deliver a service to its listeners which, at the very least, gets the basics right. Otherwise, what exactly are we paying for?

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ONCE upon a time, runners, as we called them in the last century, were just runners. You wore them playing sports and that was that. Then, in 1985, along came Air Jordans.

Ostensibly a basketball shoe, they soon became a highly-desirable fashion item. But not everyone was a fan and NBA Commissioner David Stern officially barred Michael Jordan from wearing the shoes during games because their red-and-black colour scheme didn't match what the rest of Jordan's Chicago Bulls team-mates were wearing.

Jordan, however, continued to wear them on court, resulting in a fine of $5,000 for each game. This may not sound like much today, but over an 82-game season it added up to $410,000 against Jordan's salary at the time of $630,000. The fines didn't matter to Jordan because Nike paid them. The fuss helped propel sales to unimaginable levels. Proving again that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

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DARRAGH ó Sé, in his Irish Times column, noted that Dubllin's work rate reminded him of Barcelona, while Keith Barr in the Irish Independent, suggested Dublin should be more like Leinster. What we were wondering is why Dublin can't be more like Kerry? Or what about this for an outlandish notion, why can't they be more like Dublin? The Dublin that used to win All-Irelands that is.

Eamonn Sweeney and

Fergus McDonnell

ssport@independent.ie

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