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Everything posted by arwebb

  1. I can only think of two new stadia that would be likely to come into the mix at this point - the redeveloped Casement Park in Belfast and the proposed new stadium for Aberdeen, though I have seen reports in the last couple of days suggesting Manchester United are considering a number of options for Old Trafford including a full rebuild. I guess the old plan for expanding Home Park in Plymouth could also come into play. Certainly I would want Belfast and Aberdeen included.
  2. I think it's a fairly natural assumption to see the UK and Ireland bid as favourites right now. It seems reasonable not to take the Russian application seriously at the moment for the reasons that we're, sadly, all too familiar. But I certainly would not dismiss the Turkish application. After going to such a core nation as Germany for 2024, I can well imagine the idea of going to a new frontier for the tournament being a strong emotional pull when it comes to the crunch. Now, I liked the idea of a broader UK and Ireland bid in the context of the 2030 World Cup and I think it can work for Euro 2028 too, as long as the tournament expands to 32 teams as currently seems likely. My only concern is that it ends up being some kind of England-plus bid, rather than being a bid that is genuinely accessible to people right across these islands.
  3. Reading through this thread really hammers home the unprecedented nature of the sporting response to the events of the past week. As Rob mentioned in another thread, apartheid South Africa is the precedent in this area. But the boycott of that nation was established over a period of years and frequently undermined in certain strategically important spheres, principally cricket and rugby union. Russia and Belarus have become pariah states in days and their fate is a richly deserved one. I note that Russia is seeking to challenge its football ban and its expulsion from the Winter Paralympics at CAS and I suspect there will be cases, as happened with South Africa, where individuals are still able to compete on the global stage. But that should not deflect us from the truly seismic nature of what has occurred.
  4. On Friday night, I attended a vigil in my local town, where the colours of the Ukrainian flag are being projected onto public buildings every night this week as a gesture of solidarity with the people there who are currently under attack. Among those present was a Ukrainian national, who has lived in our area for the past 18 years and has family near Kyiv. It was my task to interview her and that interview was one of the most emotional I've ever done. One line from what she said will probably stay with me longer than any other. It was: "It's really difficult not knowing what tomorrow will bring." It's hard to think of a moment for that nation and its people when those words have been more apt than they are right now. Like I'm sure most people are, I'm worried about what could still happen to the Ukrainian people. But it seems to me that this is already a massive miscalculation on the part of the Kremlin. It appears clear that they have already encountered far more substantial resistance than they ever expected to and that issue is being exacerbated by the extent of international support for Ukraine. Not only that, but Russia is now well on the way to the status of international pariah that Putin's regime has frankly deserved for years. Whatever the outcome of this war militarily, the broader consequences for Russia are likely to be far-reaching and long-lasting.
  5. Although the prospect of a fourth successive Games (and a sixth in seven) being staged in either the UK or Australia doesn't exactly fill me with joy, I'm more encouraged by the prospect of a Victoria-wide Games than simply going back to Melbourne. A state or region-wide plan seems to me to give the Commonwealth Games more chance of survival in the longer term.
  6. I don't have a problem in principle with Spain and Portugal being UEFA's preferred bid for 2030. It's a better option than what we've got for 2026 for a start. But if the governing bodies say they want one thing and then do the opposite, you can't blame people for being cynical, particularly given past conduct.
  7. Interesting story this evening. The Times: Britain and Ireland set to bid for 2028 European Championship instead of 2030 World Cup To summarise, British officials have apparently been advised that Spain and Portugal are frontrunners for 2030 and if we go for Euro 2028 we have an "excellent chance" of winning it, with Italy the frontrunners for Euro 2032.
  8. In New York (which I didn't know until now). The story of the game is here. http://www.sportskeeda.com/cricket/usa-vs-canada-1844-first-international-cricket-match I can't see it and I doubt anyone in cricket can either. I suspect this is a means of laying the groundwork so they can get in for Brisbane.
  9. Getafe maybe, but if I remember what I've been told by my Madrid-based friend previously and correctly, they don't tend to get particularly high attendances. It may be that Atleti has to be persuaded to stomach it, even if the thought of them running out for home games at the Bernabeu seems something of a stretch.
  10. Given the first known international cricket match was between the United States and Canada, Los Angeles wouldn't be as inappropriate a place for Olympic cricket as one might think.
  11. Exactly how I read it as well. Would love to see the Games there.
  12. Simple - what was your stand-out moment of these Olympics and why? For me, it was seeing the Georgian weightlifter Lasha Talakhadze break his own world records in winning gold by the proverbial country mile. Not because it was necessarily the best performance of the Games or because I was ignoring broader issues in that sport, but because it reminded me of what the Olympics actually mean to me. As I've said elsewhere, I had real doubts about whether the Games should have gone ahead at all, but watching Talakhadze took me back to being the fascinated nine-year-old who saw weightlifting for the first time late at night during the Barcelona Games of 1992. When it's easy, as a not so young person now, to get grumpy about sports being in the Olympics that I'm not sure should be, that was a timely reminder that you never know what will have inspired people of all ages over these past two weeks.
  13. Better to be in the National League with new ownership than in the Football League with the previous regime still in control. I'm busy that weekend so won't be there but I just hope the toilet facilities are more stable than when I previously visited.
  14. If it were to happen, and I can't see it happening, then it surely has to be at a different time of the year to this. Starting endurance events at 6am local time to avoid the worst of the heat and humidity surely has to be some sort of clue and, if it isn't, then the 1964 Games being in October has to be. I'm hopeful it won't be as much of an issue in Brisbane in 2032 but I'm not confident.
  15. It seems almost unfair to rate the Tokyo Olympics in comparison to any other host city given the circumstances that we all know about and which no other host city has ever had to deal with before, so I'm not going to try. Instead, I think the onus is on all of us to doff our collective hats to Tokyo and Japan for staging a Games like no other and one the likes of which I hope we won't see again. From a British perspective, the Games have been quite magnificent once again. To match our medal total from London and only be a couple short of our Rio total is remarkable and with so many fourth place finishes plus a lot of young talent, one cannot help but get excited for the next cycle. Roll on Paris. I expect the Eurostar will be busy.
  16. That we are. And it's a much bigger pool than dear old Eric had to negotiate.
  17. The problem with that comparison is that I currently fear we will never finish the race.
  18. Alexander Stadium is intended to have a temporary 40,000 capacity for the Commonwealth Games next year, with permanent capacity of 18,000 (compared to around 12,000 pre-Games) afterwards. That would make it the biggest dedicated athletics stadium in Britain and, given that a lower stadium capacity doesn't seem to have done Brisbane any harm, it offers a good base from which one could potentially work going forward. I don't think anyone is talking about Manchester United leaving Old Trafford, although I remember talking to one United fan at a game some years ago who said he felt they should have done so a long time ago. The issue, as people like Gary Neville have suggested, is whether or not the stadium now offers the kind of spectator experience that it should do for a club of United's stature. I've visited many of the top clubs' grounds in England and I won't be rushing back to Old Trafford any time soon.
  19. Still no firm news nearly a week on but, reading between the lines, I'd say this looks like a step towards postponing until next year. Rugby League World Cup: Organisers admit 'significant challenges threaten' event Not sure how many of our Australia and New Zealand-based members follow rugby league, but I'm interested in their take on the withdrawal in particular. I know players' groups aren't happy and there have been calls for the tournament to go ahead regardless. But, having bought tickets for games involving Australia and New Zealand, as well as England, I can't see myself going if those teams aren't there.
  20. I don't think it's ever been seen as a realistic possibility and it seems unlikely now, mainly for political reasons. It seems highly likely that there will be a clash between the Scottish and UK administrations over the next few years on the question of independence and, in that context, I can't see them working together as they would have to do to support an Olympic bid financially and politically. If the political will was there, though, Scotland would start from a pretty strong base as many venues are already in place from Glasgow 2014. Anyone fancy Olympic golf at St Andrews?
  21. If London wants to bid again, it should do so alone in my mind. With the 2012 facilities in place, it would make no sense to take other events around the country for the sake of it. If you want other parts of the country to bid, then you've got to let them come up with their own solutions.
  22. It's just about 2.45 Tuesday morning as I write this. I arrived home just over three hours ago from a few days away. I haven't yet been to bed and am on the sofa watching the swimming. Think I've got my Olympic enthusiasm back.
  23. This is the really thorny issue for any Manchester or northern England proposal to get to grips with if a bid has a chance of coming off. With the experiences that West Ham have had playing in London's Olympic Stadium, I can well imagine fans of both Manchester City and Manchester United not being enthusiastic about the potential for a running track in the Etihad or Old Trafford for the long term. Yet, what might appear to be the most practical solution, sticking a load of temporary seating on the current athletics stadium (essentially the warm-up track from the 2002 Commonwealth Games) doesn't really do the job either. What might, and I stress the word 'might', provide a solution is the rivalry between those two clubs. In the last year or so, there have been noises in the media about the condition of Old Trafford compared to other Premier League venues, while I believe City still have aspirations to raise capacity at the Etihad to above 60,000. So I think it is conceivable, bearing in mind we're looking at an event 15 years in the future at the earliest, that one or other of the clubs could be encouraged to get involved in that way.
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