Sports Babble – “Racist Britain” ?!?!

Head of Spanish motorsport Carlos Gracia amazed me yet again, speaking in an interview with Spanish newspaper ‘El Publico’ – “how ironic he found it that a ‘racist’ country such as Britain should be relying on a black driver to win the world championship.” Frankly I find that statement astonishing, I don’t see how race should come into sport at all. Lewis Hamilton is black and it’s a fact that he is the best British driver we have at this time, sport shouldn’t be judged on race, religion or sexual orientation. Gracia claimed that his comments were taken out of context, even so why bring up the race card at all, it has no place in sport, judge Hamilton on his driving skill rather than the colour of his skin. Yes Britain used to be very racist, but now most Britons are very accepting of other cultures, there will always be an element of racism in any country, doesn’t matter where you live in the world. Most people assume racism to be whites against blacks, that’s bollocks it works both ways; just look at the US of A, there are some states that still practice a form or apartheid. Blacks are racist against whites and whites are racist against blacks, but that’s because of hundreds of years of separation, that’s something that the UK has never really had. The UK has had a bad history with slavery and treating blacks badly and as a country in the 21st century we are not proud of that, but we are completely different now as a majority. We are all human beings, why can’t we just get on as people of the world?

In football, England’s fate is no longer in their own hands after being beaten 2 – 1 by Russia in Moscow. There has been a load of controversy about the artificial pitch in Moscow which has been outlawed by governing bodies UEFA and FIFA. The pitch was supposed to be replaced before yesterday’s crunch match with England, but it didn’t happen for some reason or another. But I am not going to blame the pitch although it gave the home team the advantage as they were used to the surface. But that said England’s players are very highly paid professionals; they should be able to adapt to the surface and play the football that they should be capable of. I think the problem is that the team is made up of 11 excellent individual players, but sometimes it seems to me that they are not the super team they should be. They don’t play well as a cohesive unit as soon as they get out of their comfort zone. If the Russians win their two remaining games against Israel and Andorra, they will claim the runner up spot in the group at the expense of England. England will have to pray that Israel can beat Russia then England will still need to beat Croatia at Wembley a few days after to qualify. If England fail to qualify for Euro 2008 then Steve McClaren will be the first England manager since Graham Taylor in 1994 to not qualify for a major tournament and will almost certainly spell the end for McClaren as England manager.

This weekend is a big one for English sport, firstly England face South Africa in the rugby world cup final in Paris Saturday evening. England will be hoping to put their 36 – 0 defeat to the Springboks in the group stages behind them to triumph over South Africa to retain their world title. England will really have to step up to the plate to beat an excellent South African side who have pretty much steam-rolled everyone on their way to the final. But England are a lot tougher now than they were in the group stages, and they really have the passion and the belief they can win the title once again. It’s safe to say the whole country will be behind the team after the last few gritty performances to fight their way to the final. Even if we don’t triumph over the Springboks at least we can say we gave it our best shot and beat Australia in the process, which always gives us Britons great satisfaction, it’s one of those great sporting rivalries in cricket and rugby as German Vs England is in football!

And of course it’s the climax to the Formula One season on Sunday with three drivers in with a shot of winning the world drivers title. The constructors crown has long been decided after McLaren were thrown out of the constructors championship for their part in the spy-gate affair. Lewis Hamilton is still odds on favourite to win the title, but if he slips up that could allow Fernando Alonso to win the title for a third consecutive time, but should Alonso and Hamilton have a coming together, that would allow Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen win the title. I have to say I would rather see Raikkonen win the title than Alonso; I have lost total respect for Alonso this season for his actions during this season. So Hamilton needs to finish no lower than 5th and three points behind Alonso to claim the title, if Alonso wins the race, Hamilton will need 2nd place to still win the world title as Alonso will have more race wins should Hamilton finish 3rd. It’s going to be a nail-biter for the English fans, let’s hope our boy doesn’t disappoint! We’ve been waiting a long time for another British F1 champion, it’s been a long 11 years since the last British world champion, Damon Hill in ’96.

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