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arwebb

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arwebb last won the day on September 7 2023

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About arwebb

  • Birthday 10/10/1982

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  1. Terrific race too. Sadly not a profitable one for this punter.
  2. I'm not so sure, mainly because I don't think the CGF has a better option than hoping something will somehow turn up. It's as bad as that. I can't see the Commonwealth Games being a more attractive event to host in a year's time than it is now, thus making a delay to 2027 pointless, and I also can't see how a decision to cancel the 2026 edition at this point (even if that comes with the aim of holding a centenary event in 2030) would be viewed as anything other than the equivalent of signing a final death warrant. Unless a left-field alternative like Qatar can be pulled off, it seems to me that the only hope remaining is some sort of London-based rescue act which probably would not need the same level of UK government support as other parts of the country.
  3. I understand the point and I can't see that they would be either, partly because Villa have planning permission to go ahead with the expansion and the argument being put forward for not proceeding with it by this recently arrived executive who doesn't seem to be endearing himself to Villa fans seems somewhat weak to put it mildly. But I also struggle to see what they can realistically do about it. Even if they wanted to move the games somewhere else, there is no alternative venue of similar size in the region and the option of leaving the entire Midlands region without a host venue seems somewhat excessive.
  4. I would have thought Villa Park would get a last 16 game but, even if the expansion were going ahead, I doubt it would have secured them a quarter-final anyway. If we assume that both semi-finals and the final will be at Wembley, then I would have thought the most likely quarter-final venues would be Cardiff, the Etihad Stadium, Tottenham and either Hampden or Dublin (probably Hampden), with three of them offering bigger capacities than Villa Park. There's also been talk about increasing capacity at the North Stand end of Villa Park for years without anything moving forward.
  5. Quite a lot of media coverage this week speculating about whether the intended Belfast venue for 2028, a redeveloped Casement Park will actually go ahead and what might happen if it doesn't. The Times - Euro 2028 organisers fear Casement Park won’t be ready Publicly, the Irish FA are still talking a good game and it may be that the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive that is widely expected to proceed this weekend can help in that regard. But even if it does go ahead, it's still controversial among Northern Ireland football fans notwithstanding the fact that it's the only game in town in terms of Northern Ireland being able to play tournament games at home in 2028. I really hope that we don't get to the point of games being reallocated but discussion of this sort in the press doesn't bode well.
  6. If it was the Evening Standard reporting this quote rather than this particular site, I would be inclined to take it a lot more seriously. In any event, as much as his main opponent appears to have some weaknesses in terms of policy detail, Mr Khan's immediate issue is to make sure he's still in a job beyond early May.
  7. Not sure if I was the only one checking the calendar before reading this but part of me certainly wondered if April 1 had come round already. I can't imagine anyone doubting the suitability of the Lake Placid track for the job but surely a closer solution is a better one.
  8. I'd suggest that is an absolute certainty. There has certainly been an upswing in visible republican sentiments here in the UK since the late Queen's passing so I can't see why Australia would be any different, particularly with the time that has passed since the debate was at its height. Going back to the 2026 debacle, I've spent the last few days in Yorkshire where there seems to be some discussion (at least in the press) about the possibility of some sort of northern coalition stepping up to host. Yorkshire Post - Could Yorkshire come to Commonwealth Games' rescue? Alistair Brownlee gives his verdict Yorkshire Live - Should Yorkshire and the North bid to host 2026 Commonwealth Games? I can see the theory of spreading it both practically, given the shortage of time to get ready, and politically, both in terms of the huge challenges facing local government at the moment and the potential for this to promote other long-standing policy objectives in the north of England. But do I see it happening? Not really.
  9. Whether Blatter knew it at the time, or only recognised it once he met his own fate, I think he, and we, have to recognise that a World Cup in Saudi Arabia was inevitable one day from the moment Qatar was awarded 2022. We may still have ended up here without that decision being taken but there is no doubt in my mind that the path to this point began on his watch. What is so galling about this decision is how utterly blatant the whole set-up process, particularly the ridiculously convoluted 2030 hosting arrangements and the undue haste for bids to be submitted, appears to have been. Yet for all that one could say about how FIFA seems to be, if anything, worse under Infantino than it ever was under Blatter, the awarding of 2034 to Saudi Arabia just doesn't have the same shock quality to me that the awarding of 2022 to Qatar did. We just don't know what the consequences of this decision will be yet.
  10. The only way I can see it working, certainly for the men's competition, would be to run it on similar lines to football as an age-restricted tournament with a limited number of over-age players allowed in each squad. If it's not, you're going to have three franchise leagues (Major League, the Hundred and the CPL) all being disrupted and I wouldn't want to be the English cricket administrator who had to deal with the knock-on effects of that. Ultimately, though, cricket needs to decide what it wants to be. If it wants to be a truly global sport, then being in the Olympics makes a degree of sense, particularly if it were to become the big prize for T20 in the way it seems to have done for rugby sevens. But if that comes at the cost of losing the heritage of the West Indies as a collective, for example, or the demise of other forms of the game, that will not be a price worth paying for a lot of people.
  11. And if last night's game in Paris deserved to be a final, tonight's spectacle between France and South Africa is every bit as compelling. Whoever wins this, my expectation of England in the semi-final next Saturday is less than zero.
  12. Speaking from a nation where memories of a divisive referendum remain all too fresh, I fear the reason is as simple as that for many.
  13. A wonderful game last night. Ireland will probably rue their start and that missed penalty in the second half but, ultimately, that game has only proven the unfairness of the draw for this tournament. That game deserved to be a final.
  14. I think World Rugby deserve credit for trying to make this tournament fairer than previous ones have been to the lesser nations. Had we had the four and five-day turnarounds that the Tier Two teams have had to put up with before, there would have been even more mismatches than there have been. The performances of Portugal and Uruguay in particular give me cause for optimism if World Rugby puts its money where its mouth is between now and when we get to Australia in four years' time. I understand the reservations about expansion but I'd much rather seen expansion than a pulling up of the drawbridge of the kind we've seen in cricket in recent years. Ultimately, what has to happen is that Tier One nations must play Tier Two ones more frequently. We talk about it at every World Cup and the talk needs to be translated into meaningful action.
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