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McBurney/Declan Bogue

Pictured Declan Bogue

Date: Thursday 12th April 2012

Location: BT Offices

Credit: Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Copyright: Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Liam McBurney - RAZORPIX


+44 7837 68 57 67

It is time we all had a serious think about money, corruption and sport

Declan Bogue


Helping out: Ryan McCluskey is doing his bit for the South West Acute Hospital

Helping out: Ryan McCluskey is doing his bit for the South West Acute Hospital

Jack Warner

Jack Warner

Helping out: Ryan McCluskey is doing his bit for the South West Acute Hospital

As depressing as the news can be right now, there's something profoundly sickening about the generation of finance.

While the British Government in power learns how to deal with their figurehead incapacitated, the leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has the finger of suspicion jabbing his way. The investment firm of which he holds a 15% share - Somerset Capital Management - are encouraging clients to make hay in these uncertain times, fund manager Mark Asquith writing to them that "History has shown us that super normal returns can be made during this type of environment."

They aren't the only ones at a racket. Over the pond, Donald Trump blunders through his press briefings promoting the anti-malaria medication hydroxychloroquine for treatment of Coronavirus, asking five times on Sunday "What do you have to lose?"

Indeed. It could just be coincidence that Trump owns what the New York Times describes as 'a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.'

The sporting world has hopped on the self-interest carousel. There was Cheltenham, of course, and the line was pushed that there was nothing wrong with mass gatherings at sporting events until the voices of the medical professionals were heard and listened to.

It could be tragic timing for Fifa, but on Tuesday night the US indictment was published into the bidding war/voting for hosting the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

It's best to present note 92 in all its glory: 'Several executive committee members were offered or received bribes in connection with their votes. For example, the defendant Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolás Leoz and Co-Conspirator #1 were offered and received bribe payments in exchange for their vote in favour of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup. In addition, the defendant Jack Warner was promised and received bribe payments totalling $5 million and Rafael Salguero was promised $1 million in exchange for their votes in favour of Russia to host the 2018 World Cup.'

If you keep an eye on these things, none of that will have surprised you. Corruption and global sport have become so intertwined that it barely registers anymore.

Some things matter though, and the reaction of Liverpool supporters to non-playing staff being placed on furlough leave forced change. For a club that was made great through the 'football as a form of socialism' values of Bill Shankly - for further reading, see David Peace's 'Red or Dead' - this provoked outrage and the club owners were forced into reversing their decision.

One thing that has emerged from the coronavirus pandemic is the sudden surplus of time and stillness.

That's not just an abstract notion. With travel, work and leisure gone, seismologists at the British Geological Survey have found that their sensors are twitching less now that human activity has been curtailed. The world is getting quieter.

And in that space, we can reflect on the effect money has. Start with the corroding effect it has on sport and work out from there.

In the months to come, money is likely to become a huge factor for all units of the GAA. Already, the suspension of the National Leagues have hit home. Drill further down and the levies imposed by county board on clubs remain despite clubs not having their revenue streams of club lottery and gates.

In time, sponsorship of competitions and broadcast deals will come under scrutiny.

There is talk of an attendance bonanza for a summer Championship if it is staged, but ticket prices will need a drastic overhaul for that.

Hope comes from the usual sources, taken for granted.

On Twitter, coaches tag each other in posts of them coaching, urging each other to throw a few bob to charities needing support at this time.

The players of the St Brigid's club in Belfast have taken to shaving their heads to raise funds for the HSCNI. The Mayo hurler Cathal Freeman raised an astonishing €55,000 for doing a marathon while soloing a sliotar on a small patch of grass on the University of Limerick campus.

Former Fermanagh captain Ryan McCluskey is staging a series of fitness classes this Saturday in aid of the local South West Acute Hospital.

Hope is alive. People are good.

For some of us, we really are in it together.

Belfast Telegraph