As a lover of sport I have always found it remarkable that it is often used to as a way of creating leverage through the influence politics has on these situations.
The three most recent incidents are:
- the visa row in Dubai, when two Israeli tennis players were denied entry because of where they came from. In this case, due to some fairly heavy international pressure and fairly obvious financial threatening, the Dubai authorities relented allowing the second of the two banned players to enter.
- The second tennis incident is the David Cup match in Malmo that was played behind closed doors,without any spectators from either side (Sweden or Israel), under the guise of security considerations. In the background to this decision there seems to have been some political influence, rather than pure security based concerns. In this case it does not seem to have worked out for the Swedes as they lost the tie.
- Finally and far more seriously was the terrorist attack in Pakistan on the Sri Lankan cricket team. This is an outrageous crime, which will create potential long term damage to cricket in general and Pakistan in particular.
Perhaps it is naive to believe that we can keep sport and international politics separate, but we must hope that this remains the case. otherwise it will be a signal that there is very little left in our lives not tainted by the wider political environment.