Tha Murray MacLeòid ag ràdh gum bu chòir spòrs aig àrd-ìre barrachd a dhèanamh na tha

Tha na tha a’ dol an-dràsta a’ sealltainn nach urrainn dhaibh-san a tha an sàs ann saoghal spòrs aig àrd-ìre iad fhèin fhalach bho phoileataigs agus gnothaichean an t-saoghail.

South African President Nelson Mandela congratulates the national rugby team captain François Pienaar after victory in the 1995 World Cup final (Picture: Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP via Getty Images)
South African President Nelson Mandela congratulates the national rugby team captain François Pienaar after victory in the 1995 World Cup final (Picture: Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP via Getty Images)

[English-language version below]

Le bhith ag ràdh nach urrainn dhaibh ach smaoineachadh air na tha a’ tachairt air a’ phàirc, tha iad gan cur fhèin ann an droch sholas agus a’ coimhead lag.

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Mar eisimpleir, manaidsearan ball-coise. Seo agad daoine aig a bheil turastalan mòra, a tha a-rèir choltais glic gu leòr airson a bhith beò fo shùil gheur nam meadhanan fad na h-ùine agus a làimhsicheas gillean òga làn mòr-chùis aig a bheil cus airgid.

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Ach, faighnich dhaibh mu ghnothaichean an t-saoghail agus tha cho math dhut faighneachd do phàiste dè a' bhuaidh a bh’ aig Alasdair MacMhaighstir Alasdair air litreachas na Gàidhlig, mar gur e rud gu tur mi-reusanta a bhiodh ann.

Chan eil duine a’ sùileachadh gum bi manaidsearan ball-coise nan òraidichean mìorbhaileach air cùisean an t-saoghail, ach leis cho cudromach ‘s a tha spòrs dha mòran, cha bu chòir dhaibh a bharrachd a bhith a’ teicheadh air falbh bho ghnothaichean tomadach agus duilich, nuair a tha an t-àm freagarrach. Ceart no ceàrr, tha na mìlltean ag èisteachd rim beachdan agus bu chòir dhaibh a’ chumhachd a chleachdadh ann an dòigh nas fheàrr.

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Seall air Eddie Howe, a tha na mhanaidsear air sgioba a’ Chaisteil Nuaidh. Tha airgead gun chiall air a dhol dhan sgioba bho Saudia Arabia. Nuair a chaidh faighneachd dha dè cho ceart ‘s a bha sin nuair a chaidh 81 a chur gu bàs leis an Riaghaltas anns an dùthaich sin, chaidh e balbh.

Bhruidhinn manaidsear Chelsea Thomas Tuchel gu grinn mu cho duilich ‘s a bha an cogadh anns an Ucràin. Ach nuair a thàinig bacaidhean eaconomaigeach air an sgioba agus air Roman Abramovich, cha b’ urrainn dha an uair sin a-rèir choltais càil a ràdh ach na bha a’ tachairt air a’ phàirc.

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‘S dòcha nach eil e buileach cothromach an dithis seo a chàineadh. Tha iad ann an suidheachadh duilich, ged a bha iad ro dheònach an t-airgead a ghabhail. Ach, tha e na comharra air duilgheadas nas fharsainge le spòrs agus gu sònraichte le ball-coise.

Tha dealbh gu math dubh a’ tighinn soilleir air cò às a tha na billeanan a’ tighinn airson an spòrs aig àrd ìre agus bidh gu leòr ag iarraidh seo a ghlanadh an àirde, ged a tha fhios nach tachair càil as aonais cuideam bhon luchd-taice.

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Fhad ‘s a tha ball-coise a' strì len cogais fhèin, ‘s dòcha gum bu chòir dhaibh leasan a ghabhail ann an eachdraidh spòrs, a’ dol air ais gu 1995 nuair a bhuannaich Afraga a Deas Cupa na Cruinne ann an rugbaidh.

Bha an iomhaigh de Francois Pienaar cho cumhachdach – le fhalt bàn is guailnean mòra na shamhla cho làidir air muinntir Afrikaanach – agus grèim aige air a’ chupan còmhla ri Nelson Mandela, le geansaidh nan Sprinkboks air fhèin, geansaidh a tha a’ ciallachadh na h-uimhir dha muinntir geal na dùthcha.

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Bha e na shamhla cho làidir ’s a ghabhas air mar a bha Apartheid air a thighinn gu crìch, gun robh dòchas ùr, aonaichte air nochdadh, ged nach e sin buileach a thachair.

Ach, sheall e gu bheil àite aig spòrs ann am poileataigs agus gum faod e diofar a dhèanamh dha na mìltean agus dha na milleanan a tha a’ leanntainn a’ gheam, ma thig a’ chùmhachd sin a chleachdadh san dòigh cheart, no ma leigeas an t-airgead salach idir dhaibh.

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Fios bhon neach-deasachaidh:

Tapa leibh airson an aithris a tha seo a leughadh. Tha sinn an eismeil ur taic nas motha na bha riamh agus buaidh a’ Choronbhirus air buaidh a thoirt air luchd sanasachd. Mur eil sibh air a dhèanamh mar-tha, ma se ur toil, nach beachdaich sibh taic a chumail ri ar obair-naidheachd earbsach, a tha sinn a’ dearbhadh a tha fìor, le bhith toirt a-mach ballrachd digiteach.

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Recent events have shown that top level sport simply cannot isolate itself from world affairs or politics; a desire to only focus on what happens in the playing arena being deeply flawed and shallow, given what’s unfolding on the edges of Europe.

Take football managers as the prime example. These are individuals who command huge salaries, who are deemed responsible and intelligent enough to cope with the 24-hour glare of the media spotlight and to handle the egos of young men with too much money.

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Yet ask them to comment on world matters and it’s like asking a nine-year-old to explain the intricacies of quantum physics, as if such a thing was an utterly unreasonable request.

No-one expects football managers to pontificate in depth about global affairs, but given the degree to which sport plays a role in society – football in particular – neither should they be allowed to abdicate responsibility. Rightly or wrongly their words and actions resonate with thousands.

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In the case of Eddie Howe, the manager of Newcastle, a club bankrolled by huge investment from Saudi Arabia, he point-blank refused to be drawn on questions on the ethics of where the club’s money comes from, after the oil state executed 81 individuals.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel spoke movingly at first about being unable to comprehend the horrors of war, yet as sanctions were placed on the club, due its Russian owner Roman Abramovich’s links to Putin, all of sudden he wasn’t able to express an opinion beyond what player should be chosen to kick a ball.

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It may be unfair to highlight these two individuals as they are clearly in awkward situations – though they seem happy enough to take the money – but it does point to a wider problem surrounding sport, and football in particular.

At the moment there are huge negative connotations about the origins of all the billions swirling about at the top level and clearly there will be demands for it to clean up its act, though without fan pressure it’s doubtful that will happen to any great degree.

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But as football wrestles with its existential soul, maybe they should take a lesson from a moment in sporting history, back in 1995 when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup on home soil.

The defining image of the tournament was Francois Pienner – with his striking blond hair and broad shoulders, the physical epitome of an Afrikaner – holding the William Webb Ellis trophy in an embrace with Nelson Mandela, proudly wearing a Springbok shirt, the ultimate emblem of white South Africa.

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It was as powerful an image as you can imagine on the ending of Apartheid and the possibility of new, unified beginnings, even if the reality has yet to live up to the hope.

What it does show, however, is that sport and politics can and absolutely should mix and, deployed properly, can provide a positive example to its millions of devotees, if only all that dirty money would allow it to.

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