News in brief 15 January 2008

14.01.2008

By Play the Game
South Africa selects rugby coach based upon 'transformational' reasons; Antigua and Barbuda to be thrown out of FIFA over disputed expenses form; Supplements even confuse athletes; Seminar - Football and Television: Is it really match of the day?; Sport, Race and Ethnicity: Building a Global Understanding.

World rugby champions South Africa have replaced outgoing coach Jake White with Peter De Villiers. South Africa Rugby Union (SARU) president Orakin Hoskins recognised the appointment was not made on wholly sporting grounds.

“I want to be honest with South Africa and say the appointment did not take into account only rugby reasons,” he said, reports the BBC.
 
“We took into account the issue of transformation in rugby very, very seriously when we took the decision.”

The decision to appoint De Villiers, a black South African who coached South Africa to victory in the 2005 Under-21s world championship, was described by SARU chief executive, Johan Prinsloo, as a historical decision.

“Peter has created history today by becoming the first black person to coach the Springboks. He is a strong leader and a coach with a proven track record. We trust that the rugby fraternity will support him and the team as we embark on an exciting new phase of rugby in South Africa,” said Prinsloo in a SARU press statement.

The favourite for the position was Heyneke Meyer, a white South African, who was the former coach of the Pretoria Bulls, was favourite to take over the position with 77% of players backing him according to a poll held by the South African Rugby Players' Association. De Villiers was in second place with 14% of the vote.

Race and sport have had a chequered past in South Africa. Black players barred from national teams until the fall of apartheid in 1994. Since then, a policy of positive discrimination has taken place in an attempt to bolster a racially diverse representation of players of different races within national teams. This appointment is hoped to increase black participation in the traditionally white-only sport. 

Antigua and Barbuda to be thrown out of FIFA over disputed expenses form
The tiny state of Antigua and Barbuda is on the verge of being ejected from FIFA over an unpaid expenses form, allegedly incurred in relation to work matters by former national football association general secretary, Chet Greene.

Despite being the subject of severe criticism from members of the Antiguan sports community from ministerial level to grassroots clubs, Greene is claiming expenses worth $200,000 from his former employers.

However, he has so far been unable to provide any paperwork to back up his claims. Former work-related expenses incurred by Greene included an air conditioning unit for his home, and a $1000 a week salary to administer the local amateur league on a part time basis.

Nevertheless, this lack of financial evidence should not be enough to prevent Greene from picking up yet another cheque from his former employers, according to Barbados football association president Ronald Jones.

Appointed by FIFA senior vice president Jack Warner to mediate in the dispute, Jones, despite some concerns over the absence of a clear paper trail and audits of the association’s finances, felt Greene was guilty of nothing more than being ‘clumsy’.

As such, the small island nation look set to be blackmailed into paying Greene off or losing their place in FIFA’s family of football, though the basis for excluding them on these grounds remains unclear. The Antigua and Barbuda football association has until 17 January to pay up or be kicked out of FIFA.

To read more about the case, visit www.transparencyinsport.com run by Andrew Jennings, a speaker at Play the Game 2007 in Iceland.

Supplements even confuse athletes
A report published in the online open access publication, Nutrition Journal suggests that even athletes, who should be well informed as to how to stay in peak physical condition, frequently take supplements without realising the potential benefits or side effects.

A research team, led by Andrea Petróczi of the School of Life Sciences at Kingston University, in South West London, UK re-analysed surveys filled in by high performance athletes, representing over thirty different sports, for the 'UK Sport 2005 Drug Free Survey'.

Three-fifths of athletes questioned took nutritional supplements, but the reasons given for taking them did not generally match up to the supplements' actual effects. Not surprisingly, given this result, the team also found that relatively few supplement users appeared to be taking supplements because of medical advice.

High doses of some supplements may damage health or even cause athletes to inadvertently fail drug-screening tests. The researchers suggest that education about the use of nutritional supplements should become a required part of the accreditation process for all sport coaches to minimise this risk. Indeed, previous research has shown that the more information athletes have on supplements, the less likely they are to take them.

"Incongruence regarding nutritional supplements and their effects is alarming," says Petróczi, who spoke at Play the Game 2007 in Iceland. "Athletes seem to take supplements without an understanding of the benefits they can offer, or their side effects, suggesting that supplements may be used by high performing athletes without a clear, coherent plan."

The full article is available from Nutrition Journal by visiting http://www.nutritionj.com/content/6/1/34

Seminar - Football and television: Is it really match of the day? 
To mark the launch of the new Coventry Sporting Conversation series, Coventry University will be hosting a ‘Football and Television’ seminar on 24th January 2008 from 10.00 - 16.00 (Charles Ward Building, Room 152).


Football has become big business over the last decade, with many people attributing massive growth in the sport to the influence of television.

The seminar will therefore address the most pressing issues currently facing football and television and consider issues such as the role of television in the development of the English football, TV rights negotiations, and changing club ownership and television.

Confirmed speakers include: David Conn - journalist and writer, The Guardian; Amanda Farnsworth - Editor, BBC1 Inside Sport; Paul Fletcher - motivational speaker and former Chief Executive, Coventry City; Roger Mosey - Director of BBC Sport; Mel Stein - Sports Agent and Lawyer; Jim White - journalist and writer, The Daily Telegraph.

Admission is free - all welcome. Places can be booked by e-mailing Professor Simon Chadwick: Simon.Chadwick@coventry.ac.uk 

Sport, Race and Ethnicity: Building a Global Understanding
On 26 Dec 1908 in Sydney, Australia, the African-American boxer Jack  Johnson (USA) defeated the ?white' title holder Tommy Burns (Canada), claiming the world heavy-weight championship and effectively breaking  the ?colour bar' in American boxing.


One hundred years later, in  the same city where this momentous event took place, delegates are  invited to discuss ways in which notions of ?race' and ethnicity have  shaped world sport, and continue to do so.

These areas of focus are  conceived broadly, and may thus encompass interrelated themes such as  indigeneity and cultural and linguistic diversity.

Attendees from every part  of the globe and any social background will be made equally welcome.

Keynote speakers: Prof John Hoberman, Univ of Texas at Austin, USA; Prof John Sugden, Univ of Brighton, UK; Dr Kevin Hylton, Leeds Metrop Univ, UK

Preliminary notice of the conference is available here

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