Edition number 13; dateline 15 February 2008

The Olympic Ideal: the prequel
The news that Steven Spielberg has withdrawn his support for the Beijing Olympics has jogged Sideliner’s conscience and, somewhat belatedly and with a slight suggestion of bandwagon-jumping, we are proud to announce that none of the staff of this column will be attending the event. We might watch some of it on the television, of course, but only to support our boys and girls in their hunt for silver, the best we can manage given that the Chinese government have already determined that they will be having all the gold medals, thank you, and have mustered all the necessary sports science, coaching gurus and secret policemen that they need to make their dream a reality.

The Olympic Ideal: return of the Dwain
One good thing about Beijing is that a certain British drugs cheat will not be sullying the British vest and further diminishing the image of the sport of athletics. Despite the best efforts of their joint chief executives, Niels de Vos, UK Athletics has been forced to include a convicted and unabashed cheat in their team for some competition or other in Spain next month. Amusingly the commercial arm of the same organisation, Fast Track, has refused to invite the same chemically enhanced athlete to play out with them at a sure-to-be-under-attended event in Brum this weekend. And if readers detect a lack of sympathy for our colleagues in that once purest of sporting endeavours ‘track and field’, bear in mind that after decades of pre-eminence this sport has slipped to a position almost of ridicule through its own venality, hubris and double standards.

The NASD Ideal: tyros on tour
Older readers will remember when a clarion voice could occasionally be heard speaking out on behalf of the sports development profession in the UK like a voice in the wilderness. Though only small and short-lived, the National Association for Sports Development (NASD) did a lot of good things, including the development of what very nearly became an industry standard workshop for people coming into the sector. And lo and behold, after a year or more of untrained tyros blundering about the ‘sports development landscape’ (copyright Sport England?), what do we spy on the calendar in March but the self-same title being banged out in Birmingham by Derbyshire-based consultancy, KAM Limited. Hot on the trail of a story, we bearded KAM director Andrew Adkins in his den. He told us, “It’s the same programme as previously delivered through NASD’s networks, originally written by David Haskins on behalf of Sport England and delivered in every English region as well as Northern Ireland. Our MD, Kay Adkins, was part of the NASD national faculty of tutors and we have been lucky enough the recruit former NASD lynchpin Mick Owen to deliver on 4 and 5 March. We are working in partnership with Birmingham City Council in this instance to bring the product back to market and we would like to return this invaluable resource to the sector. The two days provide an unparalleled opportunity for new to the business sports development professionals working in any context to gain new skills, learn how their industry works and critically form a network of colleagues in the same boat as themselves.” KAM is taking bookings and providing further information on 0845 0941366.

Neither big nor clever
News elsewhere in this edition of The Leisure Review [It’s on the news page. Ed] includes the Department for Children, Schools and Families’ plan to increase the ease with which the teaching profession can arrange school trips. Those of us with memories of the mayhem such trips provoked among the student body will sympathise with their teaching colleagues as they face the prospect of dealing with days out that make Please Sir! look like Swan Lake. Nerves will not have been soothed by comment on the benefits of taking coach loads of teenagers into the great outdoors from RoSPA chief exec, Tom Mullarkey. Arf!

Someone’s got to do it
If you are one of the more than 10,000 readers who open The Leisure Review on a Friday afternoon spare a thought today (15 February) for Julia Bracewell OBE and Dougie Donnelly who are both clearing their desks following what Lib Dem MSP Margaret Smith has called “a ridiculous piece of political manoeuvring”. Bracewell and Donnelly were respectively chair of SportScotland and the Scottish Institute of Sport, the two bodies merged by the new SNP government at the start of the year. At the time many hailed the compromise as a climb down for the minority administration who had declared war on quangos in their election manifesto, citing SportScotland as one of the first that would be put up against the wall when the revolution came. However, when push came to shove the newbies to national management were forced to “review their position” and it would appear that in a fit of “total vindictiveness” (Ms Smith again) they have axed both organisations’ chairs. How things might pan out for SportScotland going forward is revealed in the CV of Ian Beattie who was raised to the post of vice chair so that he could take over in this latest of SportScotland’s interregnums. It seems he is a “chartered accountant and chief operating officer of Lindsays Solicitors” who has held down a number of posts in the financial sector. Well someone has to count the beans or we wouldn’t know how many we had.


Row Z
The view from the back of the stand


last edition


other news

contact Row Z

an independent view for the leisure industry








about us

contact us