Saturday 17 March 2018

Kevin Myers: Anti-racist competition enters darker waters

Kevin Myers

BASIL D'Oliveira had a perfect sense of timing: as a batsman, his late cuts and his drives to cover were the sweetest essays in synchrony.

His was a royally serene presence on the cricket pitch, almost like Henry V amongst his troops the night before Agincourt. That there could have ever been an international row about his "race" shows what dark and incomprehensible times we've left behind (notwithstanding matters in Naas, which I might come to later this week). And Basil D'Oliveira timed his departure just as a new international row erupted over race, this time over the words from that sleazy buffoon, the FIFA Chairman Sepp Blatter.

Now, even sleazy buffoons can get it right sometimes. Asked on CNN whether racism on the soccer pitch was a problem, he replied: "I would deny it. There is no racism. There is maybe one of the players towards another -- he has a word or a gesture, which is not the correct one. But the one who is affected by that, he should say that this is a game. We are in a game and at the end of the game, we should shake hands, and this can happen, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination."

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