A popular winner

Sebastian Vettel. Youngest ever F1 pole sitter. Youngest ever F1 race winner — and a popular one at that. It is an amazing result for the team that were once Minardi. As a Minardi fan, the last time I can remember enjoying a race result was Minardi’s points at the shambolic 2005 US Grand Prix — this by far tops that.

Greek sprinter who missed Athens dope test to sue IOC president

One of two Greek sprinters who missed a pre-Games dope test in 2004 and was subsequently droped, Katerina Thanou, is threatening to personally sue IOC President Jacques Rogge if he bans her from the Beijing Games.

According to BBC Sport, Thanou’s lawyer has threatened that legal action would be pursued if Dr Rogge threw Thanou out of Beijing — despite him having the right to do so following her agreement to give up accreditation at a disciplinary hearing over the 2004 matter.

Now, Thanou’s lawyer, in a letter to the IOC, claims that any attempt to ban Thanou from Beijing would constitute “an abuse of power and discrimination against an athlete who has qualified successfully according to the rules and it will breach the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Oh please, get a life. Thanou knew what she was doing and what she would face. Rogge has the right to ban her and Thanou should have been given a life ban, like Dwain Chambers.

On a separate issue, Thanou is also threatening to sue the IOC if Marion Jones’ gold medal from the Sydney Games in 2000 is not awarded to her by Monday. The IOC obviously has good reason to be wary of awarding her that medal. However, on this case, Thanou should be awarded it unless there’s definite proof she was in violation of any rules in 2000.

Curt Schilling faces possibly-career-ending surgery

News this Friday evening (morning U.S. time) that the Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Curt Schilling will undergo surgery on Monday to repair a damaged shoulder which could cost him his career.

Two World Series rings with the Red Sox, including the famous one in 2004 with the bloody sock; 216 wins and over 3,100 strikeouts in his career. What a guy. I desperately hope to see him back on the mound next year.

MLB.com writer Ian Browne’s report quotes GM Theo Epstein as saying:

When he had to really start to let it go in bullpens, he hurt and he really wasn’t able to let it go. He was examined by [Red Sox medical director] Dr. [Thomas] Gill and at this point, it seems like the best alternative is just to go ahead and let him have surgery, that this path was not going to let him get back on the mound for us this year.

We weren’t banking on a full season from him. We had originally approached him about sort of a half-season or a third-season plan and that wasn’t something he was interested in. He thought he was capable of pitching a whole season. As it turns out, we didn’t get anything from him.

In the back of our minds, we hoped, ‘Hey, maybe this guy will come back and really provide a big boost for us given everything that he’s done in the postseason.’ We’d never bet against Curt Schilling. But we always knew that this was a possibility. Something was wrong with his shoulder and we don’t know how it happened.

It happened over the offseason, and I think the most appropriate treatment is what our doctors recommended — the conservative route — strengthen it, see if he can get back. A lot of guys do get back on the mound and pitch effectively just by strengthening their shoulder, and at 41 years old, it just wasn’t able to happen.

Max Mosley must go

The president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Max Mosley, today survived a vote of confidence in his leadership after a sex scandal rocked the world of motorsport earlier this year. A British tabloid charged that Mosley, the son of former British Union of Fascists leader Sir Oswald Mosley, held a sex orgy — with Nazi connotations — with four German prostitutes.

Once the story broke, comments critical of Mosley (and the tabloid, to be fair) came in very quickly, especially from the German and Israelis, as well as major Formula One teams and sponsors. Former F1 world champions Sir Jackie Stewart and Damon Hill have both spoken out against Mosley, as has long-time friend and F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone.

However, at a vote today at FIA headquarters in Paris, Mosley survived the vote with 103 votes in his favour. A group of dissenters — led by American FIA member group the American Automobile Association and including the Japanese, French, Spanish and Europe’s largest automobile organisation the German ADAC — have now threatened to split from the FIA, which is an unprecedented threat and could cause serious doubts over the future of competitive motorsport.

Robert Darbelnet, the AAA’s president, told reporters that “one of the potential ramifications is the division or a split way from the organisation that might in fact provide an opportunity for like-minded clubs to find a representative body in a different form”.

Consensus appears to be that despite him winning the vote, his reputation and that of the FIA’s has been tarnished to the extent that Mosley should go, despite his insistence that he will stay on until the end of his term.

I had the privilege to speak to Sir Jackie Stewart earlier this year. While this issue had not yet come up then, a few questions I asked him got me answers that I felt were strongly held beliefs of his. And so I do think that Sir Jackie, and others, continue to believe Mosley must go. They need to continue the pressure on Mosley and the FIA. The 50 or so associations that voted against Mosley must continue to apply similar pressure of the possibility of a breakaway grouping of associations.

In fact, the ADAC has already suspended all links with the FIA, describing the result that kept Mosley in power “[regretful] and [incredulous]”. This is not good for the future of the sport. Surely Max Mosley is not short-sighted and self-inflated enough to believe that his staying on can in any way benefit motor sport.

He should graciously accept the confidence placed in him by the 103 associations but acknowledge the 50 or so other associations who do not want to see him continue. He should also know by now that many of the political elite in countries F1 visits no longer welcome him — Bahrain’s rulers withdrew an invitation to him earlier this year. Surely he should know it is improbable for him to stay on as FIA president, and neither will it do him or the FIA or the sport any good.

Max Mosley MUST go.

Rangers fans’ behaviour following UEFA Cup final

I may be a Liverpool fan, but when it comes to the game north of the border, despite Liverpool’s close ties to Celtic, I am partial towards the blue half of Glasgow. What occurred last night following the 2-0 loss to Zenit St. Petersburg in the UEFA Cup final in Manchester was unacceptable.

Some Rangers fans — it is important to stress that a majority of Rangers fans were not involved — behaved rowdily, drunkenly, and unprofessionally, dragging the club’s name into mud. A pack of 200 fans allegedly chased police officers — who needed to call in police dogs — and one officer was badly injured in the violence.

Rangers, credit to them, have come out and condemned the behaviour of these fans — who cannot be called that. UEFA has praised the city of Manchester’s handling of the event and subsequent trouble. I cannot beg to disagree. A number of MSPs — from both Scottish Labour and Scottish Conservatives — have called for an inquiry into the use of police force.

It seems as though this was necessary for the officers to protect themselves.

Rangers will go back to Glasgow defeated. They will also go back to Glasgow with shame on their name thanks to these idiotic people who rampaged through Manchester. If Rangers can identify any of these fans it would be in the club’s best interest to ban them from Ibrox Park to serve as a warning to the rest of their travelling support not to misbehave at such a big event.

On a related note, Celtic legend Tommy Burns passed away today at 51 after losing a battle to cancer. Condolences to his family and Celtic during this difficult period.

Chelsea through, we’re out?!!

I feel like punching the ref.

The ref gave every major decision to Chelsea after the disallowed goal. We should’ve had a penalty when Drogba brought Hyypia down in the first minute of the second half of extra time.

Just what was Benitez thinking taking Torres off?! Just what?!

Drogba — what a cheat! Went down after 30 seconds!

Cardiff approved for UEFA Cup

The Football Association have approved Welsh Championship side Cardiff City to represent England in the UEFA Cup next season should they win the FA Cup (or lose it, assuming Portsmouth finish sixth or worse in the league).

Furthermore, the FA have announced that the Welsh national anthem, Land of My Fathers (Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau), will be played prior to the match.

What absolute tosh.

It’s the ENGLISH FA Cup final, not the WELSH. Play only the English anthem and let only English clubs in. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Cardiff KNEW this situation might arise when they chose to stay within the English league system with regards to European qualification, and should suck it up and accept it.

As for the anthem, even a supporters’ club has voiced its opinion that the Welsh antehm should not be played. It’s ridiculous to hear an anthem of a different country at a cup final for England. Next thing you know they’ll be saying play the anthems of the countries of all the players taking part in the final.