Money was allowed to run some sports but not others.
Today, in perusing the CBC web page I was confronted with three separate articles that bluntly demonstrated the reach of that money, now even into amateur sport. These articles make me think those administrators 100 years ago were right, money does have a corrupting influence - but mostly on the administrators!
First, FIFA, the governing body for soccer is considering changing the traditional summer date for the next World Cup of soccer to a winter date. Why? To avoid the heat in Qatar. Qatar?! Playing soccer in 40+C temperatures in the summer? Who made that ridiculous decision? FIFA, of course. A group of administrators widely accepted as the most corrupt in sport ("they make the IOC look like a bunch of schoolboys"). Qatar has lots of money to "sway" opinion. Soon after the vote to award Qatar with the World Cup five of the 24 voting officials suspiciously retired.
Anyway, money seems to have created a situation where either the soccer players risk heat exhaustion or every other pro soccer league in the world has to disrupt their season to accommodate a winter World Cup in Qatar. Ludicrous.
Whose best interests are being served here?
The next article was about, of course, the Olympics. The IOC is changing their rule that says individual athletes cannot allow their image to be used for advertising in the month leading up to the Olympics, to protect the official Olympic sponsors. The athletes often have their own contracts with corporations that pay them a lot of money, money they often survive on. However, The IOC rule barred them from this advertising leading up to a Games on the threat of disqualification. Seems the IOC wanted all the sponsorship money for themselves at the expense of the athletes. Easy to see where their priorities lay.
Now the athletes' individual sponsorships can continue, but it took years of lobbying on the athlete's part to get this rule partially changed.
Finally, there's LeBron James. Junior. The 10 year old son. Seems college coaches and corporations are already hounding this kid as a "meal ticket". He's 10. Dad is upset, "Let him be a kid".
Again, what's best for the athlete, being a kid, is superceded by bigger interests. Luckily Dad doesn't need the money, so he can fight back. But what about some poor inner city youth. Does that 10 year old need all this harassment?
For the monied interests it seems to be a free-for-all. Where are the rules?
Money in sport is a difficult question. Sport can generate billions of dollars. The athletes should get their fair share. But what is the fair share the corporate interests should get? Or the sport governing bodies?
Money has corrupted sport, there is no question. Hockey players don't want to play as many as 109 games a year. But they have to. Tennis players nurse chronic injuries because of the hectic schedule they have to play. I'm sure the basketball and hockey pros would be happier without all the "thunka thunka thunka" music at every timeout and the incessant commercial timeouts during games. They just want to focus on the game.
The sport "purists" won in the Athletic Wars of 1907-09 in Canada, and banished the corrupting effects of money from amateur sport. But today's newspaper taught me that the money ultimately won. Yes, there's money for the athletes, but there seems to be a growing level of corruption and moral ineptitude on the part of the administrators and corporate interests.
Too bad. Maybe they were right 100 years ago.