Volume 92, Issue 4

Friday, June 5, 1998

george likes his chicken spicy


End of the world as we know it?

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

It is now official – the Apocalypse is finally upon us.

There was talk earlier this year of the possibility of an asteroid hitting the earth and there is always talk about the end of the world but the British Government did something this week that clearly shows that all is not right in the world we live in.

The problem stems from the exclusion of Paul Gascoigne, known around the soccer world simply as Gazza, from England's World Cup soccer club. Now the decision made by head coach Glenn Hoddle is not the problem but rather all of the hoopla that has surrounded this final roster cut.

Gazza is known in most soccer circles as immensely talented but it had recently been circulated that he had lost his step in the recent times which led to his being dropped from the club.

All appeared normal, as players are cut from rosters every day and although fans can get their two cents in, it is over within a short period of time. Not in Britain I guess.

This week, talks reached as high as British Parliament as to whether or not the decision by Hoddle was the right one. Tony Banks, Britain's Sports Minister, was even quoted in many papers as stating that the matter was of national concern and that many high officials had their fingers crossed that the move was a right one.

The move even invoked a number of public polls in an attempt to see whether or not fans really felt the move was justified. Don't you think the coach would be the best judge of that? He got the job for a reason. Luckily, Brit soccer fans are highly intelligent and all polls supported the coach. However, the question remains Đ why doesn't the government support him? In fact, the real question has to be, how much time does the British government have to waste anyway?

When there is talk in the Middle East of a nuclear war and all the problems in Afghanistan, not to mention the Peace Treaty that was just concluded, how does a parliament find time to talk about soccer? This is ridiculous. Sure soccer brings people together and is the world's most popular sport but not because of its political impact. It is popular because it's cheap to play.

Can you imagine if Jean Chrétien didn't like the way Jose Canseco was being used by the Jays or if Bill Clinton thought Michael Jordan was shooting too much. They wouldn't call up Tim Johnson or Phil Jackson. It's not their responsibility.

Think of this scenario. Glenn Hoddle is coaching a little league baseball team, while Tony Banks and the rest of the British government are watching the game as parents. Get the picture. Stay out of it. They pay Hoddle to coach and the government is elected and paid to serve the people. The day a politician uses promises of improving a national team's chance of winning gold is truly a day government should no longer be needed.

With a World Cup championship comes great prestige but it is not in the government's jurisdiction to overstep their boundaries and make a coach's decision part of the daily House discussion. It is all well and good to cheer on the home team – but know your role as a fan. The world has enough problems to worry about without involving sports as a key tool in international affairs.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998