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Blatter blattereth on while Judah doeth the necessary.

Byline: Alun Rees

Golf's most celebrated underachiever, Greg Norman, opined that Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major titles would remain for ever beyond the reach of Tiger Woods. I hope the Australian is right. Breaking any Jack Nicklaus record should be illegal

SO there'll be no Labrador and chips on the menu at next year's World Cup finals; not if Sepp Blatter has his way. And it's no use consoling yourself with the thought that if Labrador and chips is off a tasty fricassee of Alsatian will go down very nicely instead, for the lord and master of all the world's footballers isn't exactly keen on that, either.

He's been blattering away something wonderful about the dietary customs of co-hosts South Korea; seems determined to take all the fun out of travel, doggone it (that's doggone as in dog gone clear off the menu down the bistro); trying local delicacies is half the pleasure of visiting faraway places with strange-sounding recipes, but blattering Blatter doesn't seem to know that.

The president of Fifa wants the diving done away with as well. Threequarters of the delight of football lies in appreciating the double somersault with triple twist of the real penalty-area artist, but if it's left to Blatter such impressive exhibitions of athleticism are out. What's the matter with Blatter? Why can't he be more like Zab Judah, he of the Biblical name and the evangelistic fervour?

This Judah is a pugilistical performer anxious, so it seems, to promote the cause of brighter boxing; or at least to prolong the festivities for punters who are frequently dismayed when they lash out big bucks to see a large punch-up only to discover that said large punch-up is all over before they've opened their popcorn. So hooray for Judah, who blattereth not: he doeth.

Super-lightweight (though as things turned out he doesn't sound much more than a so-so lightweight) Judah was stopped in the second round by Kostya Tszyu (no, I can't pronounce it, either;

when I try 'er indoors distributes the bless-yous, fearing I'm coming down with some sneeze-generating pestilence) in a world title unification fight. So-so scrapper he may be, but Judah proved himself a super trouper.

Doubtless moved by the plight of punters still wrestling with their popcorn cartons, what Judah doethed was to direct a plea towards referee Jay Nady to allow the jollity to continue. Nady saithed nay.

What Judah doethed next was to taketh the nayer by the throat (though only for emphasis, I'm sure). Still the nayer nayed. Then came the stroke of genius:

Judah inventethed a new sport.

They'll cometh up with a snappier name, but the working title is chucking stools at refs. The report I saw said nothing about the punters' reaction, but my money's on them being delightethed. Nor did it record whether he hit the target, though it's a fair assumption that if he'd dingethed Nady it would have said. So possibly Judah is only a so-so stool-chucker-at-refs as well.

But, by crikey, he deserveth all the credit that goeth as a pioneer. Even Tszyu ("Bless you again" - 'er indoors) seemed impressed. Punisheth him, he saithed - but do not banneth him. Ban him? If punters are assured of lively stool-chucking-at-refs sessions after foreshortened bouts they'll be there with bells on even when Oddly Harrison is on the bill. Pugilistica should haileth and honoureth this trailblazing hero.

Heavyweight Lennox Lewis, well and truly dingethed by Hasim Rahman last time out, continued preparations for another go at his dingether next Saturday by firing manager Frank Maloney. Another Frank (Bruno, once world sliver-of champion) forecast another dingerething;

Lewis, he quothed, had seen better days;

which left me wondering what Bruno could possibly know of better days, since he never had any.

Back in blattering country, what Blatter blatters for is an end to dog-digesting in South Korea. This, he blatterates, is a knock on the nation's image. Oh? I don't recall Blatter blattering similarly about horse-chomping when the World Cup went to France. Besides, he can't have thought his proposal through. South Korea being a spot where a hot dog is a dachshund in a roll, onions optional, it could ruin the economy.

Thousands of dog ranchers, slaughterers, butchers and takeaway operators would be thrown on to the dole. Unconsumed dogs - ingested by the million - would be left with nothing better to do than multiply their numbers; the land would be knee-deep, if not deeper, in uneaten canines before you could turn round. And think of hungry nippers asking mum why they never have sausage dog and mash for dinner any more.

Blatter also had a blatteration at Chelsea, knocked out of the Uefa Cup after several stars were dissuaded by terrorism from flying to Israel for the first leg. Blatter: They should have gone, afraid or not, for they were under contract. The voice of reason: Football contracts rarely stipulate that contractees must be ready to risk their lives.

Whether South Korean man stops biting dog or not, the World Cup finals will start without one major attraction:

Paraguayan goalkeeper and goal-scorer (usually but not exclusively from the spot) Jose Luis Chilavert. A four-game ban for spitting at Brazil's Roberto Carlos rules him out of Paraguay's two remaining qualifiers (they're through, anyway) and the first two matches of the tournament proper.

Spitter Chilavert's spittee may not get to the finals at all. Brazil's 3-1 loss to Bolivia while Ecuador (qualifying for the first time) drew 1-1 with Uruguay means the four-time winners must beat Venezuela this week or face a play-off with Australia. If they mess up there'll be one welcome side-effect at least: it should shut up those clowns who waffle on about Brazilian boy-children all being born soccer geniuses.

Wales striker Craig Bellamy was in the soup again; except that he - along with three team-mates - missed the soup and every other course at a dinner for former Newcastle chairman Sir John Hall during a training break in Marbella. All four were fined and sent home. I've heard o kids punished for not eating their dinners up, but they weren't fined; nor sent home, that being where they were already.

Here's an oddity as odd as a Brazilfree World Cup: the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in baseball's World Series. The Yankees always win; I'm told it's not unknown for chaps to qualify for old-age pensions simply on the strength of remembering the last time they didn't. But diamondbacks being rattlers, if anyone was going to rattle the Yankees the Arizonans were the most likely.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said he'd call for a cease-fire in the Afghan conflict while the Winter Games were in progress in Salt Lake City come February: the usual Olympic truce. It would be just like the human race to stop killing itself for a bit so that skiers and skaters etc can have a good time. There can't be above a zillion and two better reasons to forgo carnage.

Australian captain Steve Waugh was considerably exercised by an ICC plan to put cameras in dressing-rooms as part of cricket's anti-corruption strategy: invasion of privacy, he complained. But he could have spared himself the exercising:

this was the plan that never was. Cameras, said ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, would be deployed only at dressing-room entrances and in the foyers of team hotels.

New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming dropped large hints that it would buck up the Kiwi game no end if the Australians let a couple of regional sides play in their domestic competition. Good luck to him:

Australia have never been over-helpful to their neighbours, waiting until 1945-46 to give them a Test (and even that wasn't recognised as such for a couple of years) and keeping them on tenterhooks for 28 years more to give them another.

Golf's most celebrated underachiever, Greg Norman, opined that Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major titles would remain for ever beyond the reach of Tiger Woods (a dozen adrift but with scads o golfing life left).

I hope the Australian (two majors, a paltry return for a man of his talent) is right. Nothing against Woods, but it's my belief that breaking any Jack Nicklaus record should be illegal.

Here's a peculiar amendment to the blood replacement rule from the International Rugby Board, concerned that chaps are cheating and using the current regulation as a ploy to give star blokes a breather: if the star bloke's not back in 15 minutes the replacement must stay on.

Puzzle: how do you fake bleeding? And did they say 15 minutes? Anyone needing 15 minutes off during an 80-minute game should be in hospital.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 12, 2001
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