Monthly Archives: October 2014

How the US blockade of Cuba affects sports and culture

“Cuban sports, acknowledged in the rest of the world for the mark it has left on a number of events in all categories, also faces many roadblocks for its development and consolidation.”

The annual Terry Fox Run in Cuba is the largest in the world.

The annual Terry Fox Run in Cuba is the largest in the world.

Today the United Nations General Assembly is voting for the 23rd consecutive year on Cuba’s Resolution 68/8 against the U.S. blockade of the island republic entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.” Each year the resolution has passed with an increasing majority. In this post, we are providing information about the effects of this criminal blockade in the sphere of sports and culture. Continue reading

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Athletes join campaign against Ebola

MADRID.— Legendary athletes such as Jamaican, Usain Bolt, Carl Lewis from the US, Ukrainian, Sergey Bubka and Swede Pernilla Wiberg have joined a campaign launched by the World Olympians Association (WOA) to raise funds for the fight against Ebola.

The former sprinter from Sierra Leone, Francis Edwin Dove, member of the presidential commission entrusted with curbing the spread of the disease in his country, appealed to the WOA to collaborate on fundraising, in coordination with other organizations such as Oxfam.

The six-time Olympic medalist Usain Bolt has donated a signed pair of his shoes to be auctioned. The WOA has appealed to “the 100,000 members of the Olympic community,” to get involved.

“Together we can make a difference”, Edwin stated on launching the campaign. (EFE)

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FIFA: Qatar’s World Cup ‘slaves’

Inhuman abuse and exploitation of migrant workers preparing emirate stadia for the 2022 World Cup, an “exclusive” from the London Guardian. Keep in mind that Qatar is one of the Persian Gulf despotisms that is a client state of American imperialism. Qatar hosts the huge Al-Udeid Air Base, headquarters for US air operations in the region and the directing centre of the air war in Syria and Iraq. It has been one of the leading funders of the terrorist forces aiming to subvert the sovereign government of Syria. Furthermore,  the English Football Association itself spent £21m bidding for the 2018 World Cup, which went to Russia.

By PETE PATTISSON

Link to video: Qatar: the migrant workers forced to work for no pay in World Cup host country

The Guardian (Sept 25, 2013) – DOZENS of Nepalese migrant labourers have died in Qatar in recent weeks and thousands more are enduring appalling labour abuses, a Guardian investigation has found, raising serious questions about Qatar’s preparations to host the 2022 World Cup.

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Grassroots football: withering numbers

According to an informative report by ANDY HUNTER in the London Guardian, over 100,000 people have walked away from grassroots football in England since April 2012. The participation rate in English football has declined by almost ten per cent. The withering decline is mainly due to the neo-liberal, anti-social agenda pursued by the Cameron and Blair governments, who have slashed funding and put sport at the mercy of corporate profiteering. “Leisure facilities are cut and cut and cut.” Small youth teams and young people are being priced out of playing organised football. If you haven’t got a pitch, there is no choice. The Premier League, the richest professional sports league in the world, is but a facade that covers up the destruction of people’s sport. Amateur sport is portrayed as a charity (tax-deductible!), rather than a basic right of the people and essential to health. – Tony Seed

• In pictures: grassroots football on Merseyside

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Ethics: Turning balls into strikes with subtlest of motions and cheating into a science

US professional sports has raised cheating – the conscious violation of the laws of the game – into a system, as the following article by AP published earlier this year on baseball catchers demonstrates by negative example. Of their ability to frame a ball thrown outside the strike zone as a strike, AP comments, “Technically, it is an attempt to cheat, an ingrained and artful baseball deception as old as the neighbourhood play at second base.” 

The basic approach promoted is American pragmatism – any means to the end, the end justifies the means, winning is everything / the only thing, and everything goes. Success becomes the criteria of the private sport empires to discard basic norms of modern sport such as a level playing field. Such concepts as “selling the catch” (baseball, football) and “the good foul” or even “the good hard foul” (basketball) have become official and introduced into the everyday vocabulary of competition to degrade the culture of sport, athletes and humanity. It is little wonder that hooligan behaviour is rampant and the “major leagues” are mired in an unprecedented moral crisis.– Tony Seed

Rays catcher Jose Molina is considered the gold standard for framing pitches, which can help bring several extra wins | Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Rays catcher Jose Molina is considered the gold standard for framing pitches, which can help bring several extra wins | Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

AP (March 22) WASHINGTON — It was a crucial pitch in a game in the early 1990s. A fastball. Away.

When the ball hit Randy Knorr’s mitt, Knorr, a Toronto Blue Jays catcher, moved it back over the strike zone.

The umpire called it a ball.

“Fifty thousand fans in the stands are booing,” Knorr said. “I knew it was a ball. I was just trying to bring it back over. And he smacked me in the back of the head and said: ‘Don’t ever do that to me again. You know that was a ball, and now you made everybody in the stadium think it was a strike.’ ”

At that moment, at least, Knorr was no Jose Molina. Continue reading

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‘Cinderella’ Palestinian soccer team qualifies for Asian Cup

Argentine soccer icon Diego Armando Maradona is reportedly in negotiations to coach the Palestinian soccer team ahead of the AFC Asian Cup tournament in Australia in 2015. Maradona has expressed  support for the Palestinians in the past. When he was still coaching in UAE, he told reporters "I am the number one fan of the Palestinian people. I respect them and sympathize with them," according to Ynet. He even promised the Palestinian football team to visit Palestine, and said, "I support this nation’s cause, since I grew up on struggle and standing against injustice.” (Maradona (C) plays the ball during the inter-religious 'match for peace' soccer game in Rome's Olympic Stadium, September 1, 2014 | AFP)

Argentine soccer icon Diego Armando Maradona is reportedly in negotiations to coach the Palestinian soccer team ahead of the AFC Asian Cup tournament in Australia in 2015. Maradona has expressed support for the Palestinians in the past. When he was still coaching in UAE, he told reporters “I am the number one fan of the Palestinian people. I respect them and sympathize with them,” according to Ynet.
He even promised the Palestinian football team to visit Palestine, and said, “I support this nation’s cause, since I grew up on struggle and standing against injustice.” (Maradona (C) plays the ball during the inter-religious ‘match for peace’ soccer game in Rome’s Olympic Stadium, September 1, 2014 | AFP)

The Palestinian national team, decimated by Israeli murders and detention of its players, has jumped to 85th in the FIFA rankings, its highest in history, compared to Canada’s dismal ranking at 122.

MANILA, Philippines (8 Sept) – The Palestinian soccer team was the Cinderella story of the sporting world following its against-the-odds victory in the Asian Football Confederation’s Challenge Cup in May. It wasn’t just that it won its first ever international piece of silverware. Or that it did so without conceding a goal in all five matches in The Maldives. Continue reading

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The space between the wicket: Reviewing Fire in Babylon

By Usman Mushtaq, with files from Ajay Parasram

(Oct. 3) – Fire in Babylon captures the athletic adrenaline, island music, and anti-colonial ecstasy surrounding the incredible rise of the West Indian national cricket team.

The film is a highly entertaining 2010 British documentary film about the West Indies cricket team of the 1970s and 1980s. Fire in Babylon does justice to the symbolic importance of cricket in building regional esteem in the early period of independence in the Caribbean. Continue reading

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