Why sports and politics will always merge from the AGM of your local club

Anyone who thinks sports and politics should not be mixed, obviously did not attend the annual general meeting of their local cricket club.

Branch stacking, pork barrels, grand promise. It’s all got.

New bowling machines, upgrades for the clubhouse, fixing wiring in the third net, the price of the ball … there are always people who think they know someone who can source them at a cheap rate.

The phrase “sports and politics should not be mixed” never makes sense. Politics is part of every relationship between two or more people. In the office, at home, in the classroom, in the school yard, you name it, then why would sports be different?

The phrase is often used to refer athletes to their place, such as in 1994 when Cathy Freeman was criticized for proudly displaying an indigenous flag after winning gold at the Commonwealth Games.

When he did so six years after winning the Sydney Olympics, it was hailed as a moment of national pride, a symbol of reunion.

Technically he was violating the charter of the International Olympic Committee, the controversial Rule 50 which prohibits competitors from taking political positions in sports.

Prior to the Tokyo Olympics, athletes were warned in published guidelines about knee-jerk gestures in support of the Black Lives Matters movement.

Scott Morrison at the Cronulla NRL Game in Shark Park, Australia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)

Scott Morrison at the Cronulla NRL Game in Shark Park, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)

One of the principles on which the IOC was founded was “political neutrality”, a respectable goal for a sporting event that follows the ancient Greek tradition of Ikechiria or “Olympic Truss”, which calls on all competitors and countries to advance the world. Peace from a week before the Games.

This is a great ideal but unfortunately it is impossible for sports to be neutral and like any organization, sports organizations have to make decisions that will be politically based or have political influence.

The IOC itself is one of the most political entities on the planet, with its executive board elected to decide around which city has been granted hosting rights.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February between the end of the Beijing Winter Olympics and the start of the Paralympics, the IOC executive board proposed multiple sanctions.

This includes a ban on all athletes and officials from Russia and its military ally Belarus or “where it is not possible for short notice on organizational or legal grounds”, only a national symbol, flag, color or music to allow those individuals to compete as neutral contestants.

At the Beijing Paralympics, the IOC initially ruled that Russian and Belarusian athletes would be banned for violating the Olympic treaty, but then allowed them to compete as neutrals.

Russia's Danil Medvedev celebrates with the championship trophy

(Photo by Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

Wimbledon has followed the IOC’s first option by banning all Russians and Belarusians from next month’s tournament at the All-England club, meaning Daniel Medvedev at No. 2 in the men’s world and Andrei Rublev at No. 8, as well as Anastasia Pavluchenkova at No. 15 in the women’s world. , Are among the players who refrained from competing.

Medvedev, the current US Open champion and Australian Open runners-up, this week described the ban as unfair, while Rublev, who called the Wimbledon ban “unreasonable” after the Ukraine invasion, famously wrote “No War Please” in the camera lens.

Sports organizations are in a “cursed if you do, cursed if not” situation when it comes to such issues.

Even the great Martina Navratilova, who has been protesting against conservative authority for decades, was devastated by Wimbledon’s actions, saying the All England Lawn Tennis Club was allowing politics to ruin the game.

“It’s not a way out,” he said. “And as much as I feel for the Ukrainian players and the Ukrainian people, I think it goes a long way. [the AELTC] I have to go, quite openly. I think that’s the wrong decision.

“It simply came to our notice then. Too bad. I don’t think it’s helpful. I do understand the parties’ bans, of course, but on a personal level, I think it’s wrong. “

Nelson Mandela said that decades of sporting isolation imposed on South Africa during the apartheid regime helped bring and bring institutional racism.

Sport can play its part, but doubts about how much interference is too much will never be resolved – you can’t take your eyes off the heinous work, but if you dig deep enough, you can find skeletons in the toilets of almost every country. In this world.

In an ideal world, governments are responsible for political decisions but the world is far from utopia.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 09: Anthony Albanese watches a round five NRL match between the South Sydney Rabitohas and the St. George Ilawara Dragons at the Acre Stadium in Sydney, Australia on April 09, 2022.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images)

Anthony Albanese watches the South Sydney Rabitohas NRL game at the Acre Stadium in Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images)

Great voting sport

Another area where sports can get itself out of politics would be great but politicians never use it for voting.

In the run-up to this week’s Australian federal election, we are immersed in the view of politicians that one or the other sport is mixing with the great filthy by playing.

A poor child in Tasmania was bulldozed in a photo op soccer match by an unbalanced Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Grade-III dangerous contact that would be difficult for a participant to ever survive.

Luckily the kid was right and even literally, was able to rap about the incident on the Thursday morning show Thursday. He probably would still be the producer if not for cutting an ad break.

Morrison has been widely criticized for frequent visits to Cronula Sharks at sporting events, especially the NRL team in his constituency, but he is not the first politician to use this tactic and he will not be the last.

After Australia won the America’s Cup in 1983, Bob Hawk famously allowed workers to arrive late, wearing a green and gold tracksuit whenever John Howard was not wearing a suit, and Robert Menzies’ fascination with cricket was born annually. Prime Minister’s XI game.

John Howard is batting.  And bats.

John Howard demonstrated his humble cricketing skills in 2005 with Australian and Pakistani soldiers.

A much more offensive part of the way politicians use sports to get votes has recently raised the ugly head of Waringah candidate Katherine Davis by using transgender women participating in women’s sports as a campaign platform.

This is a clear example of wage politics – using a “power rod” issue to divide voters, although this problem affects only one percent of people.

Sydney Morning Herald Columnist Darren Kane wrote an excellent assessment of the situation last week when he said it was impossible for sports, which are traditionally divided into men’s and women’s sections, to come up with a definite solution for 21st century transgender people.

The IOC last November issued its “framework of fairness, inclusion and non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender diversity” which is true in structure, with lots of idealistic goals but very little detail on how sports administrators should address these complex issues. .

It states that the IOC “is not in a position to issue regulations defining eligibility criteria for each sport, discipline or event that is within a completely different national judiciary and sports system” but urges sports organizations to develop a policy approach that respects the rights of each individual. Practice sports without discrimination and that “no athlete has an unfair and unequal advantage”.

This is a complex world where we live and sports are not immune. And it is always going to be involved in politics because politics is everywhere.

Whether we like it or not, sports and politics will always be mixed.

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