S&C contributor and Pompey Politics Podcast host Ian Morris shares his experience of the lockdown, as someone with diabetes. It’s Day 77 and Ian looks at the return of sports behind closed doors now lockdown has eased.
Monday 1st June, Day 77 of 89.
I bet you there is something more sinister going on.
One of the challenges of the lockdown has been the lack of any live sport. I spent a chunk of the weekend listening to the radio and the replay of last years cricket World Cup, but today sees the return of the first live sport, horse racing behind closed doors and the 13th June will see the resumption of Premier League football.
To be honest I am a fan of neither. I have enjoyed the odd day out at Goodwood, but fell very much out of love with football many years ago. I wouldn’t say I was a Pompey fan but I would look for their results and was pleased when they won, until they had their well publicised fall from grace due to financial troubles that saw them slip out of the Premier League. At this time we were being encouraged to ‘bring a mate to the football’ and pay for their £35 ticket. At the same time one of their players that had been signed on a massive wage was pocketing his £7000 a week to have a kick about in the reserves. This felt morally bankrupt and ended any interest I had in the sport.
So whilst I get that Premier League football is hugely popular, I have wondered what the rush is to get the game back on. Surely it has more cash reserves than any other sport and as we are still being urged to change virtually nothing, then it all feels a bit too soon. In my weekend wanderings on the internet I tripped over an article in The News written back on 19th May by Simon Carter.
It touched on the role of online gambling companies; involvement in sport. I was stunned at their involvement in the ‘beautiful game’. Half of the Premier Leagues shirt sponsors are gambling companies, with two thirds of the second tier clubs being sponsored by purveyors of online opportunities to gamble. I couldn’t find the figures for 2019 but in 2018 the UK wagered £14.4 Billion pounds.
I am a great believer that a person should be free to do with their money as they are wont to do, but there is something about this phenomena which is making me very uncomfortable. When I read that the CEO of Bet365 Denise Coates pocketed £276,500,000 as her annual salary with a few extra millions in share dividends, then for me the game is not looking as beautiful as it should. The more you think about these kinds of numbers, the more unsettling it is. It feels very much like an industry that is helping people to voluntarily rob themselves.
Football and horse racing: bet you they are the top two sports that people gamble on. What odds do you give me?
Don’t miss Ian’s diary each day, keep an eye out for new entries here, along with past editions of the Pompey Politics Podcast. How are you managing the lockdown at the moment? Get in touch with us over on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your experiences and any hints and tips you’re finding helpful right now.