Semenya: a cruel decision

Published on: Wed, 08/05/2019 - 13:12

Steff Farley

An abridged version of this appeared in Solidarity505.

I started in athletics as a 15 year old middle distance runner in 2009, meaning Caster Semenya was incredibly formative to me, serving as a huge inspiration and becoming one of my heroes. I watched the Berlin World Championships, so famous for Usain Bolt’s world record display, but while I greatly admired the best sprinter of all time, it was Caster Semenya that made me fall in love with athletics.

It was recently announced that the IAAF have found evidence that highly elevated levels of testosterone in women is correlated with greater

Lily Parr, a footballing great

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2018 - 09:23

Ruaridh Anderson

Lily Parr (26 April 1905 – 24 May 1978) is a working class LGBT icon and was one of the greatest footballers of all time.

The upheaval of the social order during and after the First World War is well documented, but less known is its profound effect on football. There was a major surge of participation and interest in women’s football when large numbers of working-class women entered the workplace, including munitions factories in which Parr worked during the war.

In those factories in places such as Coventry, women lived in on-site houses and football teams emerged, organised on a factory

LETTER: A terrain of struggle

Published on: Wed, 08/08/2018 - 11:00

Tom Harris

I agreed with much of Omar Raii’s article about the political content of football. I’d like to suggest some friendly amendments to his argument.

Firstly, while he is clearly right that nationalism plays into and feeds off tournaments like the World Cup, I’m not convinced that this is as mechanical a relationship as is sometimes suggested. England’s unexpectedly brilliant performance doesn’t seem to have given any kind of electoral filip for Brexit or the government.

Similarly, despite Emanuel Macron’s embarrassing theatrics at the final, France’s World Cup win has done nothing to bolster his

Football is a sport, and is neither progressive nor reactionary

Published on: Wed, 18/07/2018 - 10:45

Omar Raii

Knowing all the words to an aria by Puccini or being obsessed with the poems of Chaucer are much less likely to invite political analysis onto its possible progressive or reactionary implications than supporting a football team in the World Cup does.

And it would be silly to ignore the at least superficially progressive or inspiring things that come about every four years when a World Cup is on.

This time we saw countries whose football teams have historically been laughing stocks doing incredibly well thanks to their immigrant players — think Belgium or Switzerland.

We saw small countries

Football versus fat-cat developers

Published on: Wed, 14/03/2018 - 12:12

By Phil Grimm

A dispute between Dulwich Hamlet Football Club and the owners of their stadium in south London sharply escalated in the week beginning 5 March.

Property developer Meadow Residential has evicted the club from their Champion Hill ground. A subsidiary of the company also wrote claiming to have trademarked “Dulwich Hamlet”, demanding the club no longer use the name.

Five years ago, US property developers Meadow Residential bought the Champion Hill ground for £5.6 million. They promised that their plans to redevelop the land would include a decent provision of social housing, as well as

Standing together in football

Published on: Wed, 31/01/2018 - 11:23

In 1986, Middlesbrough Football Club was on the verge of being thrown into administration. It was Friday 22 August — the eve of the season, and the gates had been padlocked.

Cleveland Police had advised Middlesbrough that they were unable to play their first home game at their then home ground, Ayresome Park. The Football League stated that if Boro were unable to fulfil this fixture then they would face expulsion from the Football League.

At the eleventh hour, a lifeline was thrown to our club from our neighbours and footballing rivals, Hartlepool United who offered Boro the opportunity to

Cyrille Regis: 1958-2018

Published on: Tue, 16/01/2018 - 19:09

Matthew Thompson

The former footballer Cyrille Regis has died suddenly at the age of 59 after a heart attack.

Cyrille was one of the black players who broke through into the game at the top level in England in the late 70s and early 80’s. They overcame appalling racism which was then, sadly, often regarded by fans and managers alike as just harmless banter, to be brushed off as something “normal” and to be expected.

Cyrille was one of the so-called “Three Degrees” of black players signed by West Bromwich Albion along with the late Laurie Cunningham and Brendan Batson. They were managed for a time by Ron

Hillsborough: police to be prosecuted at last

Published on: Mon, 03/07/2017 - 13:57

Rosalind Robson

Last year, an inquest jury found that David Duckenfield was guilty of “manslaughter by gross negligence” Duckenfield was the police officer in charge of policing the fateful football match at Hillsborough, the ground of Sheffield Wednesday, in 1989. 96 people were crushed to death, and 400 others injured in an overcrowded pen.

Now the Crown Prosecution Service has decided to charge Duckenfield and five other people with criminal offences. The families and friends of those who were killed will finally get to hold at least some in the establishment to account — charges have been brought against

Football abuse: overturning a culture of silence

Published on: Wed, 30/11/2016 - 11:40

Gerry Bates

More than 20 ex-football players have come forward with reports they were sexually abused as children by coaches. The revelations have sparked an investigation by five police forces, as well as an internal investigation by the Football Association. An NSPCC hotline has already received over 100 calls.

The scandal unfolded after former Sheffield United player Andy Woodward waived his anonymity and told the Guardian that he had been abused by coach Barry Bennell while a youth player at Crewe Alexandra. Woodward’s testimony prompted other former players to come forward with allegations against

Bending the rules like Allardyce

Published on: Wed, 05/10/2016 - 10:34

Phil Grimm

Sam Allardyce has been sacked as manager of the England football team. He departs the national side with a 100% win record, although since he was only in post for one match, that’s not saying much.

After 63 days in the job Allardyce was abruptly sacked following a expose in the Daily Telegraph.
Reporters posing as Far Eastern businessmen secretly filmed “Big Sam” over dinner and drinks. In the film, Allardyce negotiates a £400,000 fee to appear as a keynote speaker (he is very adamant that he be “keynote”) at four corporate events in Singapore and Hong Kong. He also mocked his predecessor,

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