Edition number 9; dateline 14 November 2007

Big units for seminar’s opening session
The already stellar line up of speakers at the Scottish Sports Development Conference has been boosted we hear with the recruitment of former Scotland and British Lions rugby international John Beattie. It seems that TLR will be jostling for space in the press room when the first morning sees the platform shared by Stewart Maxwell MSP, minister for communities and sport and Stewart Harris, chief executive of SportScotland. Since the SNP took charge at Holyrood a number of public services have been squeezed and the audience, made up of a cross-section of the sport and leisure community, will doubtless be keen to ask some pointed questions about their own future. Forewarned is forearmed, of course, and the organising group have invited professional broadcaster Beattie, who spoke at the very first event back in 2004, to chair the Q&A session. Mind you, given that he is also a noted controversialist the words ‘fuel’ and ‘fire’ may prove apposite.
Challenging the Culture, Scottish Sports Development Conference, Crieff Hydro Hotel, Perthshire, Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st November 2007. As the ‘official media partner’ for the conference, The Leisure Review is delighted to offer full programme details in pdf format right here.

A world cup in your back yard
Unless your cobbled yard backs on to the M62, the fact that Rugby League is gearing up for a world cup to rival the Union extravaganza that England were cheated out of (see Row Z passim) may have passed you by. Whether you want to let it keep on passing, and possibly give it a kick in the rear to help it on its way, may be determined by the revelation that today (Wednesday 14th) Lebanon are playing Samoa in a qualifier. So far so exotic and proof positive that there is thirteen-a-side life beyond Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain, until you see that this clash of demi-giants is set to occur at Post Office Road in Pontefract, a nice little town just off the M62.

All points south
And while we are on the subject of rugby pushing the geographical envelope, the decision by union outfit Wasps to play their weekend fixture at the Ricoh Stadium in Coventry will only add fuel to professional northerners’ argument that anywhere south of Birmingham can be dismissed as a suburb of London. Quite why London Wasps who play in High Wycombe would schlep to the Ricoh is beyond Sideliner but the work experience lass, who has just completed a college module on marketing, thinks it’s so their PR people can claim to have “Put the TRY in Coventry”.

“The gravy train now standing…”
Row Z’s commitment to supporting the London Olympics throughout the expected storms of pre-2012 criticism, sorely tested when Panorama seemed to accuse Baron Coe et al of profiteering, was very nearly overcome by the bloke building the Olympic park at the unveiling of the new stadium last week. Ian Galloway, chief executive of the ODA’s ‘delivery partner’ CLM, defended the steadily increasing cost of the capital’s jamboree by claiming it was impossible to be precise with figures and anyway: “Every budget is an estimate; that’s what budgets are.” Sideliner checked with the woman who comes in to do the finance at Row Z Towers and was told in no uncertain terms that, contrary to Mr Galloway’s assertion, a budget is: “the total amount of money allocated or needed for a particular purpose”. Sideliner’s patience with the gravy-boat-sailing, band-wagon-jumping consultants is beginning to wear thin – and that’s before we even start to consider Sir Clive Woodward.

2014 and counting
No chance of the 2014 Commonwealth Games running over-budget, of course, given that Glasgow has won the right to stage them. We salute the far-sighted burghers of Scotland’s second city and wish the metropolis well in its efforts to outshine their southern counterparts. Last time Sideliner visited the city for, of all things, an ILAM Conference the friendly, hospitable welcome and the quality of the beer both impressed. It augurs well.

Row Z
The view from the back of the stand


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Scottish Sports Development Conference 2007
Challenging the Culture
The 2007 Scottish Sports Development Conference
Crieff Hydro Hotel
20-21 November

Download the programme and booking form pdf

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