There are a lot of high running tensions in play at present. There is the Gaza, which has been going on since I was there in 1982 and there is the downing of MH17, which is now becoming an increasingly political hot potato involving the Russians.
Yesterday, Nick Clegg called for stripping Russia from the world cup 2018 (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/27/nick-clegg-russia-world-cup-2018-stripped-mh17-ukraine). I do not think I can presently agree with this. Yes, there are issues that need to be answered, yet, there is enough evidence to clearly state that Russian separatists, not the Russian army shot the plane down. The last group might not be innocent, yet for this we need actual evidence, which is currently (for now) not available.
David Cameron seems to be in agreement with me (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jul/27/david-cameron-russia-2018-world-cup-ukraine).
In my case there is another reason. If we are to resolve any issues, then we need to make sure that diplomats get as many options as they can to smooth things over. In three years the issues of MH17 will have been passed, yet what lies around the corner? There is not a person in the world who can give us any answer in that regard, nor should they have to. If we want options, than we need to look no further than the Olympics, especially the ‘original’ ones (you know, the ones you might have seen in 776 BC).
In those days, there was an important side to these groups of people, who were always bickering with each other using swords and spears. It was stated “During the Olympic Games, a truce, or ekecheiria was observed. Three runners, known as spondophoroi were sent from Elis to the participant cities at each set of games to announce the beginning of the truce. During this period, armies were forbidden from entering Olympia, wars were suspended, and legal disputes and the use of the death penalty were forbidden“.
It was a stroke of genius! This was a time when certain officials could off the books meet and possibly broker solutions in a way where the ego and reputation of a person was not on the line. It was a time when some people could meet and possibly longer lasting truces could be held. Even today, when the emotions run high, we need to make certain that such an option remains.
This brings me to the second part in this, which is only casually linked. It was my blog of March 19th 2014 called ‘Any sport implies corruption!‘ where I looked at some of the issues regarding the accusation of corruption by Qatar in getting the World cup 2022. There were a few views that caused me to question whether there was actual corruption, or was this a push by big business to replace Qatar for revenue reasons? What is ‘more likely than not’ is the question in this case!
Last week the Guardian gave us additional information (at http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jul/21/ethics-investigation-private-fifa-michael-garcia), in the article, where it states: “Former attorney expected to deliver evidence by end of July“. It is now the end of July and we see the quote “Garcia’s report will go directly to FIFA’s ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckhart, who is not expected to make any rulings until August or September“, so there will; be another delay in finding out the truth.
Moreover, I feel at present that after that another delay will come as certain people could be offered high income positions in other places before the news comes out. Will that happen? I do not know, what I do know is that the allegations have gone on for way too long and the additional delays, whilst we see more and more press on this should anger us all beyond belief. Big Business made a try and as such they hopefully failed. Of course we will not know until the rulings are made, but I remain adamant in my view! I demand the disclosure of names and participants in these events. In addition, the quote “Shortly before the World Cup in Brazil, Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper reported that some of the ‘millions of documents’ it had seen linked payments by former FIFA executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam to officials to win backing for Qatar’s World Cup bid” (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/25/us-soccer-fifa-qatar-idUSKBN0FU1M720140725), I could not get the Sunday times link as people need to pay for it and it cannot be fully shown, yet the quote is seen at CNN (at http://edition.cnn.com/2014/06/02/sport/football/football-qatar-world-cup-sunday-times/) which states: “We’ve seen millions of documents that prove without a shadow of doubt that corruption was involved. There is clear evidence linking payments to people who have influence over the decision of who hosted the World Cup“.
I think we should DEMAND the display of these documents. If there is corruption, we are entitled to see it, on the other hand, if we accept that it is more likely than not that an industry that misses out on millions of dollars are behind the accusations, then we are allowed to see that as well. In that regard, if the Royal commission would prefer not to be the laughing stock regarding the press, then in my view, it should have only one response to the quote from the Sunday Times, when it is proven wrong. The Sunday Times is to cease all operations for no less than 6 months, all staff to be paid during this time, no online activities and no revenue based activities. Subscribers get an automatic 6 months extension.
Is that too harsh?
The claims here, the claims in regards to MH-370 that were made by the Telegraph, none of it founded and no actual evidence ever presented.
Why is this such a big deal?
As the Olympics evolved, the base need for honest and open competition is what allows for differences to be settled. The concept of the Olympics was also continued in other events, like the World Cup Soccer and the Commonwealth Games. These events go beyond the events on the field. It allows for trade discussions, diplomacy and other conversations that have larger impact, in some cases none of them an option in an official capacity. This is why I disagree with Nick Clegg on this.
Even now, I have been adamant about the need for President Vladimir Putin to speak out harshly against these separatists since the first day it happened. It is likely that he relied on the wrong advisers (as I see it), but to cut off options of diplomacy is NEVER EVER a good idea. Even now, we see news (at http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/07/27/vladimir-putin-facing-multi-million-dollar-lawsuit-for-aiding-separatists-who-shot-down-mh17-lawyers-say/) where the headline “Vladimir Putin facing multi-million dollar lawsuit for aiding separatists who shot down MH17, lawyers say“.
How is this even realistic?
Is there ACTUAL evidence that Putin did directly support in the act that resulted in the downing of MH17? Yes, I agree there are issues with the hardware the separatists have and I mentioned that the first day, whilst the press were all about the ’emotional stories’ (which is not journalistic out of place). The facts are there and they need to be answered, but that lawsuit is a joke. Consider the fact that Osama Bin Laden was a product of the CIA, trained to some extend and funded to a larger extent. Was President George W. Bush, Senator Charles Wilson or many others ever sued for 9/11? Both premises are equally ridiculous. I see them all as meagre attempts from certain individuals to claim income and/or visibility from where ever they can.
So, why this switch?
If any of these issues are to ever be resolved we need to keep one open path, one path no one messes with to remain. We need sports to remain to be about sports, so that those attending (not those who participate), to divert the conversation to non-sport matters. If we can keep peace through an innocent informal conversation, then by all means let us do that. Preferably without a group of bloody Murdoch’s miscreants making claims without producing the actual evidence trying to divert games towards a better ‘big business’ marketable environment. My reasoning here is twofold. First the quote as “We’ve seen millions of documents that prove without a shadow of doubt that corruption was involved”. Were these people really that stupid? The one true rule here is that if it isn’t written down, it does not exist, would people state ‘in writing’ such events (people who should be a lot more intelligent than I am), or is it just a bluff? You see, evidence (or not) did the press not have clear, distinct and utter responsibility to produce and print this evidence? The people who have been hiding behind every sleaze report with pictures stating ‘the people have a right to know’, now suddenly they hide behind innuendo and silence? That is part of the picture I have a problem with.
The old reasons are now clearly in focus.
Sport should be about sport and sport alone. The people in the field are all about that what they excel in and as such, it might be the only true entertaining excitement left to us. This atmosphere will always allow for officials who are admiring their team. What was more endearing, more powerful and more sportive then seeing the Royal Dutch family amongst the Dutch, all in Orange, cheering for their team! What a massive adrenaline jolt it must have been for those players to hear their own royal family cheer for them! Is anything more amazing in sports? Is there a chance that his royal highness, King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands shook hands with an official from another nation, perhaps starting a conversation? The fact that Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin were there for the match and had a conversation can only be a good thing for all kinds of reasons in the long run.
We seem to forget these old reasons. We get the sports, but foremost, we get the commercials and we get clobbered to death by sponsors with their trinkets, foods and drinks. That last part is the part too many are catering to. The bringers of news (especially in paper forms) are at least one third advertisements. Income is dwindling here and papers are more and more about keeping their (possible) advertisers happy. Even though these politicians can hold talks anywhere, allowing them to hold onto as many as informal places as possible is a given need. So, as such, for now, I feel that Moscow 2018 should continue.
If not, then Moscow should have never won the bid in the first place.