Chris Green MP: Politics and sport should not mix
The rugby league world cup has now come to an end and Australia, a great sporting nation, did remarkably well.
They won both the men’s and the women’s final at Old Trafford on Saturday, but England secured a victory in Manchester Central for the wheelchair competition.
Everyone can be proud of the quality of the performances and the spirit in which the games were played and anticipate the sport getting a boost in support around the country.
I rarely talk or write about sport but, with so many international competitions going on at the moment, I think now is a good time.
I know that some politicians use sport as a device to humanise themselves, but I believe that there is too much politics and too many politicians in sport.
One of the great things about the rugby world cup is that it was all about inspiring sport rather than dismal politics.
By contrast, the football world cup seems only to be about politics at the moment.
Admittedly, listening to BBC Radio 4 to hear about sport skews the coverage, but surely the BBC ought to be able to just talk about the abilities of our sports men and women without immersing themselves in politics in every moment.
Listening to the BBC this morning, I am none the wiser about England’s prospects of success or which teams to look out for.
There was a series of discussions about footballers kneeling down in a manner that became popular after the death of George Floyd and also about the LGBTQ+ agenda.
George Floyd was a convicted armed robber who, during one of his crimes, pointed his gun at the stomach of a pregnant woman and threatened to kill her unborn baby if she did not do as she was told.
If the England footballers and football leadership cared about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer + people, then why are they even in Qatar for a game in the first place?
Most of these things are illegal in Qatar. Apparently, the England captain was going to wear an arm band to connect himself with these causes but was threatened with a yellow card so ditched it, those causes and his moral position all at the same time.
I do not think that politics and sport should mix, though many politicians want to use games for their own self-serving purposes.
We increasingly see former footballers take up political causes as enthusiastically as they take money from the Qatari Government.
They become ambassadors for values they normally claim to oppose but it is okay because their bank account is filling up nicely.
There is something weird about former footballers using their position to virtue signal but it is just as weird for anyone to listen to them.
Someone being a reasonable defender is not a natural stepping stone to being a respected philosopher.
From the Olympics during the Cold War to playing football today, sport should be about bringing people together rather than being a political opportunity.