“How many more of our childhood sporting heroes can we now expect to have their names blackened before they can give a proper account of themselves?”
In a hastily convened news conference in Zurich this week Fifa President Sepp Blatter again astonished the world’s media when he announced he was resigning.
Sorry, he’s doing what?
He said it was now time for him to spend more time with his family . . . and of course his shredder.
In other words, he walked out before he was kicked out and I suspect, now that new revelations of bribery and corruption have become an almost daily occurrence, he will need as much time as possible to prepare his defence.
He wasn’t wrong, though, when he said his successor should be picked as soon as possible at an EGM. Because given the amount of executives and officials that are now being arrested or indicted they’d better be quick or there will be no one left to choose from!
But football, as we all know, isn’t the only sport to be tainted by salacious scandal.
This week in a BBC documentary, jaw-dropping allegations were made by a former Great Britain Olympic team doctor Jimmy Ledingham that our great and revered gold medal winning sprinter Allan Wells was a serial doper, and that the flying Scot
may have been flying on something else when he blazed his winning trail throughout the 1970s and ’80s.
These are shocking and damaging allegations which Allan has sprinted off the block to furiously deny, claiming that they are false and malicious rumours that for 20 years have continually resurfaced but never been proved.
Sadly, even if they aren’t true, which I really hope is the case, mud sticks, as they say.
Now one of our greatest ever Scottish athletes is damned if he did and mortally wounded if he didn’t.
People’s favourite Mo Farrah has also been forced on to the back foot to deny any wrongdoing when allegations surfaced that his US-based coach Alberto Salazar (whose name sounds like a dodgy magician) worked a particular magic with his athletes by having them take ‘legal’ testosterone supplements to ‘testoboost’ their performance.
Athletics, swimming, boxing, weightlifting, rugby, football, golf and let’s not forget the recent sport of choice for drug cheats, cycling have all been caught up in scandal, smears or varying levels of corruption.
Infamous drug cheats to have been given the hop, skip and jump over the years by their respective governing authorities include sprinters Ben Johnson and Marion Jones and cyclists Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong, to name but a few.
It has become so endemic and so expected that there is some merit in the argument that we should allow them to take what they want.
It would certainly save a fortune in testing!
Seriously, though, it saddens me as I’m sure it does you that the achievements of champions like Allan Wells are now being ruthlessly scrutinised and brought into question and that they are being treated like criminals before any guilt is proven.
How many more of our childhood sporting heroes can we now expect to have their names blackened before they can give a proper account of themselves?
Indeed should we be looking so far back in time to try and discredit them in the first place?
Why not instead have our sporting bodies looking ahead to make sure that fair, balanced and robust testing procedures are in place and well understood by all our athletes?