Sports

Philanthropy – good for business

Posted on February 5, 2013. Filed under: Sports |

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While some football clubs across the world scurried around to hastily finalise deals ahead of the January 31 transfer deadline, others calmly waited until near the end of the day to make probably the biggest announcement of that transfer window – Paris St. Germain (PSG) announcing the signing of David Beckham.

This occurrence was more than just a signing, I think it was a brilliant business move with charitable benefits; let me put it in context…

PSG is a club which is already doling loads of cash on its high-priced players. Their roster includes Brazilians Thiago Sliva and Alex, Argentinians Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Patore and Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Why would any team in 2013 want to sign a 37-year-old midfielder half-way through a football season? You do it when that midfielder has sold literally hundreds of thousands of jerseys bearing his name regardless of the teams he’s signed for. There’s only one man which fits such a description – David Robert Joseph Beckham.

PSG organised a press conference which got tremendous exposure towards the last few hours of the January transfer window and it was broadcast live on the internet.

Beckham’s signing was revealed to the world from Paris a few days after training with Arsenal under the guise of “keeping fit”, how laughable.

Just remember though that he has been without a club since leaving the LA Galaxy after winning his second straight MLS Cup in December and PSG have been interested in him since 2011.

Beckham announced he would be donating all of his wages, approx. £150,000 per week, for the duration of his brief five-month contract to a Parisian children’s charity.

It’s a wonderful gesture and one you don’t see many athletes ever doing. Beckham ahs won the love and adoration of fans the world around and the cities where he’s plied his trade – Manchester, Madrid, Los Angeles and Milan. This charitable move ensures he does the same in Paris whether he shines on the pitch.

“I don’t see that it’s a short-term contract. It might be a short-term project for me playing, but there’s a lot happening at this club with these owners. I might have only signed until the end of the season, but I consider myself to be part of the future of this club: in helping this club to grow and the French league to grow, and to help this club become one of the biggest powerhouses in football.”

This to me suggests that he’ll sell tens of thousands (or more) of shirts and maybe move on to become a PSG administrator. 19 (XIX) Entertainment (his agents) will reveal that in due course I’m sure.

One thing is sure, the charity beneficiaries wil benefit and at this rate my guess us that he’ll probably end up more popular than the Eiffel Tower.

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Kicking and screaming: Workplace ‘Hazard’ for ball boys

Posted on January 25, 2013. Filed under: Sports |

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There’s been much public debate since the incident involving Belgian international and Chelsea midfielder and a Swansea City ball boy.

Some contend that the red card shown to Hazard was ‘extreme’, suggesting that the referee should have exercised better judgement/discretion in making such a decision.

However, the FA said on Friday, January 25 that the red card constituted an “insufficient” punishment for the offence.

An FA statement said: “The FA has charged Chelsea’s Eden Hazard following his side’s League Cup semi-final at Swansea on January 23, 2013. It is alleged that Hazard’s behaviour in relation to a Swansea ball boy, for which the player was dismissed in the 78th minute, constituted violent conduct whereby the standard punishment that would otherwise apply was clearly insufficient.”

It continued: “The player has until 6pm (1800GMT) on Tuesday, January 29, to respond to the charge.”

Hazard was already set to serve an automatic three-match ban for the red card in Wednesday’s semi-final second leg at the Liberty Stadium, where a goalless draw left the Blues out in the cold on a 2-0 aggregate defeat.

The FA’s statement seems somewhat harsh given that both the ball boy and Hazard met with each other and apologised for their actions.

Could the FA’s apparent stance be stemming from the fact that the ball boy, Charlie Morgan, is the son of Swansea City’s biggest shareholder? I’m just thinking out loud here.

This unfortunate turn of events came in to being all from something which ought not to have happened in the first place.

I’ve heard no mention made of sanctions for Morgan or the Swansea City Club. Are they not culpable too? Ball boys should discharge their duties with the same degree of professionalism as the officials and players. Where that professional display is breached then sanctions should follow.

Truth is that ball boys sometimes delay the game by a few seconds. That’s just the game. If it gets out of hand, a player should alert the game officials. The referee can warn the ball boy or request that he be replaced.

The ref can add on more time if it really gets out of control. Kicking at him is foolish, unsporting and warrants a red card. Sure Morgan was obviously time-wasting but how much time do you really think was lost before Hazard lost his temper? Less than a minute.

Lesson: Sport requires discipline and a display of high professionalism by all involved on and off the field of play.

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Signing of the season

Posted on January 14, 2013. Filed under: Sports |

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Robin Van Persie with Man. United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson

I spent the morning of Sunday, January 13, 2013 lamenting Liverpool’s 2-1 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford. I questioned why Brendan Rogers didn’t start the new signing Daniel Sturridge, but that’s the topic for a different blog.

Today is January 14, 2013 and as I pen this piece Manchester United FC currently enjoys a 7-point lead in atop the Barclay’s Premier League in England. Their closest threat comes from their “noisy neighbours” and current Premier League champions Manchester City.

While there are other contributing factors, United’s position in first place is primarily due to one Dutchman who moved from Arsenal to sign with them this season – Robin Van Persie (RVP).

RVP has scored 10 goals in his last 10 appearances for the Red Devils and 20 goals overall in 26 appearances in all competitions. His move from the Gunners has been described by some as “the signing of the season” and I couldn’t agree more, here’s a quick history of the move…

On August 17, 2012 Van Persie transferred to Manchester United for an initial £22.5 million, with an additional £1.5 million to follow if United won a Premier League or Champions League title within the next four years. He signed a four-year contract, keeping him at the club until June 2016.

Since then a few things have happened, among them Arsenal has struggled to find consistent good form. The Gunners currently occupy 6th place in the Barclay’s Premier League and remain in the FA Cup and UEFA Champions’ League.

Oh how Arsene Wenger’s men could use his talent… Oh how happy Sir Alex Ferguson is with his newly acquired ‘Dutch Talisman’.

Arsenal via Wenger, has developed the unenviable reputation for signing talented players for relatively small transfer fees, keeping them on board for a few years while developing them and then just selling them (or facilitating a situation which results in them want to leave at contract’s end or before).

Manchester United through Sir Alex Ferguson has been much more prudent with his signings and this season, not for the first time, it is bearing fruit.

Let this be a lesson to managers locally and globally to exercise wisdom in the discharge of their duties; you are more than managers, you are Human Resource Managers.

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Lakers for the win, to hell with Laker-haters

Posted on February 10, 2011. Filed under: Sports |

Let me start off by giving a shout out to every reader who actually has a team in the NBA which they support, even if it’s the Cleveland Cavaliers (Cavs contested the NBA finals in 2007).

To those of you “wagonists” who hop around from team to team or just hate on 1 team or 1 player, grow a brain!

Anyhow, let me move on.

I recently commented on a friend’s Facebook status where he was disrespecting the Lakers. This was Thursday, February 3 when the Lakers lost 89-88 to the Spurs courtesy of an Antonio McDyess ‘buzzer’ tip-in.

These guys went on about how the current Laker team is overrated and really isn’t worth shit. That very same night Greg Popovich, the Spurs Head Coach, said on ESPN, “the Lakers are the best team in the league…”

TV analysts agree the LA Lakers is the team to beat because they are built for the playoffs. If  any other team harbours championship dreams they had better be prepared to go through LA.  A 3-peat is eminent.

I hope for the sake of the haters, the history books will add footnotes or appendices for their commentary and snide remarks.

It amuses me how conveniently Laker-haters agree with analysts; but intentionally go deaf as soon as the same analysts sing Laker “praises”.

Moving on…

One of the Laker-hater arguments is that the first 3-peat was against weak teams, namely the Nets in ’02, 76ers in ’01 and Pacers in 2000.

The NBA FINAL is contested by the best Eastern Conference team and the best Western Conference team. It’s sad that you would disrespect  any team that gets to the NBA FINAL by citing lack of talent or calling them weak. They were weak enough to defeat all the other teams in their respective conference.

Then Laker-haters went on to disrespect Kobe. Now it’s one thing if you don’t like Kobe as an individual, he’s a cocky bastard. However, there’s no way you can disrespect his record breaking performances. His stats speak for themselves. Kobe’s stats already qualify him for Hall of Fame induction, but let me move on.

To the haters, remember basketball is a team sport. Transfers and player signings happen every year. A team is allowed to bid for players who they believe will give them the best chance at winning the title.

Team sport, remember? So Kobe or Phil Jackson doesn’t win titles by themselves; its the LAKERS that win titles. This  is why even the men on the bench who get few minutes on the court receive a championship ring.

1 player doesn’t make a team win titles, not even MJ. He had a supporting cast: Pippen, Kerr, Kukoc, Rodman among others all had to contribute to allow the Bulls to dominate in their day.

There is no team in the NBA at this point that can defeat the Lakers in a 7 game series, not even the Celtics and believe me, they come pretty damn close.

So here’s my prediction : Lakers v. Spurs for the Western Conference Championships (if we don’t knock them out lower in the playoffs). On that matter though, most NBA Champions are the teams who had the best regular season records, Spurs are now 43 – 8. There have been notable exceptions especially in recent years, so I’m not too worried.

Lakers v. Celtics NBA Finals … Lakers win AGAIN! (by the way you can see the Lakers at the Celtics tonight Feb. 10 at 8pm ET)

God bless u and good night, lol

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