Sport

A callous disregard for kids' humanity

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The world of football has been thrown into turmoil by revelations of historic child abuse involving thousands of children at numerous professional clubs in England and Scotland. Police forces across Britain have launched criminal investigations into hundreds of incidents. Over 80 people are under investigation.

Since when is sex testing fair?

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Among all the coverage of this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, perhaps the biggest media furore was around the athlete Caster Semenya.

Caster Semenya is a South African runner who won the women’s 800 metres. The mainstream media is divided. Many reports have speculated on whether she is “really a woman” or questioned whether it is “fair” for her to compete alongside other women.

Sport for all isn't part of the Olympic dream

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The Olympics saw some fantastic sport. The performances of Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Almaz Ayana on the track were awe inspiring. Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps in the pool were completely dominant. In the velodrome Laura Trott was untouchable (again), while Nicola Adams boxed with grace and power.

But the Olympics are so full of the contradictions of capitalism that it leaves me conflicted.

Kick sexism out of football

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Last month saw yet another football crisis. Former England international and Sunderland player Adam Johnson was found guilty of grooming and engaging in sexual activity with a child.

Johnson had groomed the young girl via social media, exchanging over 830 WhatsApp messages with her. He admitted grooming and kissing the under-aged girl before the trial but after a court case he was additionally found guilty of sexual activity with a child. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment.

Qatar: pulled back into line

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One of the many casualties of the end of the Arab Spring is the Gulf state of Qatar, a country that up till recently had seemed best placed to emerge as a leading power in the new post-revolutionary Arab world.

Its main allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have turned on the island kingdom, withdrawing their ambassadors and hinting that the gas rich monarchy would be expelled from the powerful bloc.

Recent reports appear to indicate that Qatar is recanting its support for the Arab Spring, and reining back its sponsorship of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sport: capitalism at play

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Can Marxism help us make sense of sport? Paul Blackledge mines Tony Collins's Sport in Capitalist Society and Michael Lavalette's collection Capitalism and Sport for some answers.

If the Winter Olympics in Sochi, London 2012, and the World Cup in Brazil prove nothing else, they confirm that sport and politics go together like a horse and carriage - and those who argue otherwise are at best illiterate or more likely ideological.

How socialists should respond to these events is also clear enough - no amount of grand spectacle could ever justify Russia's homophobia or Brazil's social cleansing. And for all its brilliance, the opening ceremony at London 2012 didn't justify the £11 billion spent on the games in a period of austerity.

Sporting addiction

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A string of drugs scandals have highlighted the contradictions of sport under capitalism.

For those of us interested in sport the last 18 months have witnessed a steady stream of stories about drug-taking, blood manipulation and "cheating" (or doping) in sport.

The list is startlingly long. Champion athletes Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, tennis player Marin Cilic and Australian cyclist Stuart O'Grady were just some of the high profile athletes identified as "dopers".

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