Monday, April 28, 2008
Suffice to say that the appeals committee in question has made itself look very foolish, and the precedent is a poor one. The punishment handed down was excessive, but the convenient splitting of the ban into pre- and post-Olympic periods is laughable.
It is, however, consistent with the massive and undue importance afforded the Olympics by Australia at large. The Olympic obsession is fuelled largely by the media, but governing bodies are not immune...and have a tendency to make bad law out of hard cases as a result.
What, after all, has been behind the extraordinary and misguided sympathy expressed for Nick D'Arcy? None other than the idée fixe that not appearing at the Olympic Games is a life-destroying blow for an athlete.
With the steady growth of public interest in football in Australia, more attention will probably be paid to the fortunes of the Olyroos than at previous Games. Pleasing in a way, but of course Graham Arnold's charges will find it extremely hard to emerge with a medal...unlike many other Australian competitors, who enjoy such generous government funding in sports which few other nations take particularly seriously.
The availability of Vukovic will no doubt help, but it frankly defies both logic and common sense.
Disregarding everything about this for the moment and going back to the basic fact that Vukovic struck the referee (even if it was just a bitch slap, I can't believe that he was allowed to play any form of Football for the foreseeable future.
I think he should be ashamed of himself and elect to self-impose a ban from football.
Plus he is just scum off the freeway.
Hit - nail - head.
I read somewhere that while the Olympics are the second most watched sporting event in the world (not the first, as many in the media claim here - that first position goes to the World Cup), Football is still the most watched sport in the Olympics.
Football unfortunately suffers the same perception as athletics in Australia. Some sport fans and journos ask themselves why we can't replicate the same success we have in swimming to the athletic field.
That is because swimming (not to mention other sports such as equestrian events etc.) is a sport that only rich nations can afford. The infrastructure in building pools everywhere and maintaining them is a bit of a luxury in countries where you may not even have reliable water supplies for people.
But athletics, like football are sports that anyone can have a go with very little infrastructure and costs. That is why there are so many nations competing in athletics and football and being good at it.
But I'm surprised that FIFA or the IOC would have nothing to say about the selective ban -- our domestic refs are good enough to be protected from a violent player while he is rehabilitated, but Olympic refs are fair game.
About D'Arcy: not sure if there's been much sympathy for him, I thought it was largely the other way round. But I was really looking forward to some American giving him some quiet niggle before a race, and seeing him lose control of the temper that no-one has seen fit to bother teaching him to hold, and biffing his opponent in front of a world audience. That would have left some egg on the faces of those demanding he get a fair go. I would have been delighted.
Guido: This doesn't necessarily have to be a negative thing. It goes to show that we as Australian's generally wont accept 2nd best when it comes to the sporting field. Football can only benefit in years to come if we have high expectations of ourself which we do.
Clear message from the AOC here is you can slap an official during a game but not anyone when you're out drinking.