Posted: 8/23/2013


     It was almost 50 years ago when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous and historic speech in front of 250,000 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washingon D.C. on 28th August 1963.

     The end of the March on Washingon for Jobs and Freedom was a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement. "What is that Dream, Martin?" cried Mahalia Jackson.  The actual copy is in the hands of retired basketball coach George Ravely to whom he handed it afterwards. It was the subject of a federal court case: Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. v CBS Inc. 70 years after his death, it will be free in the public domain in 2043 AD.

     These days you get very little racial chanting in British stadiums. In the 70s and 80s there were monkey chants and banana throwing, still prevelant in second world countries such as Italy and third world countries further east.  In Russia there is lots of abuse as they defend their stand prior to the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

      If you watched the recent World Athletic Championships in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, you couldn't but notice the attendances. After the packed stadiums at London Olympics 2012 and the Paralympics there were abysmal figures in Moscow. The stadium was downsized from 78,000 to 35,000 and tickets were as low as 2.00 a session but it was rarely one-third full.  We also had lowsy attendances all over Turkey for the FIFA Youth World Cup, despite most tickets free for students. Istanbul is favourite for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, up against Madrid, and Tokyo.

     New government legislation has been brought in to stamp out homophobic chants in Britain. Brighton and Hove Albion fans suffer abuse at 70% of away matches as the town is considered to be  a gay friendly resort. There will be three year banning orders from ALL stadiums for those prosecuted and caught. for this and other hooliganism. Also more penalties for on line mischief. This will include the right to travel overseas including Brazil 2014 and EURO 2016 in France. in 2011-12 season there was a 24% decrease in hooliganism in England & wales at football stadiums. and 2,750 banning orders, down from 3,173.

    Nick Hawkins of the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) commented that more families were retuning to watch football together.

     Nice to see that Stoke City will pay for transport for their fans to all away EPL matches this season. Pity that their progressive owner has made millions on gambling in and out of stadiums. This week a director and managing director of Accrington Stanley, Robert Heys has been banned from all football activities for 27 months and fined 1,000 for betting over 735 times in recent years on football, including betting AGAINST Stanley on many occasions.

     Up in Scotland a Rangers player, 28 year old Ian Black faces serious banning for betting and up to 800,000 in fines. His manager Ally McCoist said yesterday that he scribbled down AT LEAST 100 players and staff that he personally knew who bet on their own clubs on a weekly basis. A fiver here, a tenner there', either in a betting shop, on line or otherwise. In both England and Wales and in and in Scotland, ALL personnel, be it players, officials, directors or anybody employed by member clubs, is specifically banned from all forms of football betting world wide.

      In the last 7 years Black is accused of betting AGAINST the club that he played for at the time; Inverness CT, Hearts and Rangers. Also at least 10 bets on his club winning and 147 wagers on other matches that he was not involved in. He faces a preliminary hearing on September 12th. McCoist asked the Scottish FA for a clarification, but that was rejected and if he was confused it was suggested that he pick up the phone and call the office. William Hill. a well known bookie sponsors the Scottish Cup.

      Yesterday El Salvador suspended 22 players accused of match fixing in domestic and even CONCACAF and FIFA Youth World Cup matches recently.

      What do you make of the appointement of Gareth Southgate as the England U 21 coach at an annual salary of 600.000 for a three year contract plus liberal expenses? He went into management at Middlesborough straight after his illustrious playing career and was a failure. I think he is as BORING AS A PLATE OF GRITS ! 

      Not so long ago he grabbed at an FA advisory role ofter being sacked at the Riverside, to increase his bank balance with little useful endeavour, and probably the first thing he asked the FA after signing his new contract, was how much time he could have off to appear on the TV screen with other boring pundits, and could a professional journalist write a lucretive column for him in his name.?

      Don't forget, but this Sunday the popular series YOU ARE THE REF by Keith Hackett and 'The Master of Motion' Paul Trevillion is back in The Observer for the season. You can also purchase their new paperback YOU ARE THE REF: A GUIDE TO GOOD REFEREEING. More about that later.