Top Ten iSportconnect Discussions of 2012

January 2, 2013

By Edward Rangsi

The discussion forums allow iSportconnect members to seek opinions, share their thoughts and gain insight from their peers on all the latest issues in sports business. This year we’ve enjoyed many thought-provoking debates on a wide range of topics from spot fixing in cricket to Premier League Chairman, Sir Dave Richards’ controversial sense of humour. Here are our top ten discussions of 2012…


What implications will the Westfield case have on the domestic and international game? – January

In light of the jailing of the three Pakistan cricketers for match-fixing last year, the integrity of cricket came under further questioning when Ex Essex cricketer Mervyn Westfield admitted to a spot betting charge. There is nothing like controversy to fuel the debate.

Top Quote: Ken Jacobs OAM, Director, Cricket Without Borders: “It is very difficult to believe he acted alone and the latest revelations re Danish Kaniera must add some strength to this belief. It is easy to be critical of the ICC as many have but their powers at this stage are still very limited.”


Are Adidas right to axe Liverpool?- January

Liverpool Football Club’s meteoric drop in performance on the field during the last few years has had many consequences, one being adidas’ refusal to renew their sponsorship. Fortunately, Warrior Sports stepped in with a record-breaking offer, but which brand made the correct decision? After all, it is still Liverpool FC- a club that still means something in the football world.


Top Quote: Alastair Marks, Head of Rugby Growth, RFU: “This is about more than value and the Fenway Sports Group is consistent in doing things a little differently. It’s a huge media buy for Warrior to make a big statement to the market that they have arrived. There may also be a bigger eye on the Asian markets here too as Liverpool are still huge in that territory. Personally, I feel it’s a bit of a gamble on Liverpool’s stock continuing to rise with the potential of them getting back to the level of some of their former glories.”


Why are there so few black managers in UK football?- February

Football has frustratingly been plagued by racism and despite the numerous initiatives implemented by various organisations and governing bodies, the issue seems determined to rear its ugly head, whether it’s on the pitch or in the stands. Naturally, the lack of black managers in UK football hasn’t gone unnoticed…

Top Quote: Phillip Gibbs, Sports Barrister, KCH Garden Square: “The managerial merry go round is self-perpetuating, same old ‘names’ being touted around. Clubs not prepared to take risks.”


Will Brazil be fully prepared for 2014? – March

Another episode in the soap opera that is Brazil’s relationship with FIFA aired out in public when Jerome Valcke, Secretary General of football’s governing body pubically expressed his discontent about the country’s preparation for the 2014 World Cup, claiming that the organisers needed a “kick up the basckside”. Were those words justified?

Top Quote: Renato Geribello de Carvalho, Marketing Consultant, Ponto E Marketing: “Corruption aside from all ends of the deal, from FIFA, CBF and the Brazilian Government, it seems the world cup in Brazil have become a political power struggle to define who the boss is.”


America’s Cup On Network Television!- March

Despite the reluctance of many in the sailing world for the sport to become mainstream, common sense means that a sport needs to appeal to the masses in order to stay afloat. The most recognised saliing event being picked by network television is a massive step in the right direction.

Top Quote: Richard Worth: former Chairman, Americas Cup: “The significance is enormous. Where sailing has been difficult to commit to for primary broadcasters, the new style of coverage is absolutely transformational, and the start times are far more reliable. The America’s Cup events are easy to follow, intensely watchable, and opening the door to a much broader range of viewership. The idea that this is Formula One on the water is not fanciful.”


Taxi for Sir Dave!- March

Sir Dave Richards ill-advised, albeit tongue in cheek, remarks relating to alcohol and Qatar made for rather embarrassing headlines in the media. Thankfully, he fell into a hotel water feature later that evening to take some of the heat away from his comments.

Top Quote: Ben Wells, former Marketing Director, Chelsea Football Club: “And we wonder why the rest of the world doesn’t like us?”

The Softer Side of Corporate Sponsorship- May

In a one-off initiative, Liverpool FC replaced the branding of Standard Chartered with a new ‘Seeing is Believing’ logo on their shirts for their final 2011/2012 English Premier League game against Chelsea at Anfield. Is this the way forward for corporate sponsors to show their softer side and to better engage with the club’s fans?

Top Quote: Pippa Collett, Vice-Chairman, European Sponsorship Association: “On the one hand I applaud any sponsor who looks to use their assets to promote good causes. However, without engagement, preferably over the long term, it could be seen that this was more an exercise in internal back-slapping than in first steps towards generating significant charitable support.”

Windsurfing out, Sailing next?- May

ISAF’s very peculiar and unpopular decision to withdraw windsurfing from the Rio 2016 programme discipline caused outrage and confusion amongst the sailing ranks. The International Olympic Committee demands that all sports be commercially viable, opening questions surrounding the future of Olympic sailing.

Top Quote: Sally Kettle, first woman to row the Atlantic TWICE: “The issue is accessibility. If the Olympics is a showcase for sporting achievement but no one is watching it, due to the rigours of broadcast or the fact that on screen or out in the field it’s just down right dull, then perhaps it is time to move on? Wind surfing being an obvious victim.”


Congratulations to Sir Craig Reedie, the new Vice-President of the IOC – July

The iSportconnect discussion board is not solely about debating the latest sport business topics and sharing successful practices, it is also a place to congratulate a fellow colleague or friend when their hard work pays off.

Top Quotes: Philippe Blanchard, former Director, IOC: “From the bottom of my hearts, all my congratulations for this great recognition, on the eve of London 2012. I really appreciated your insights, your sense of humour and your relentless patience. I do hope our paths will cross again.”

Paul Vaughan, former CEO, England 2015: “Sir Craig, who I have known for many years, has worked tirelessly for the BOA and the Olympic movement for many years and deserves the recognition this position brings. Many congratulations.”


Sir Craig Reedie to head 2020 Olympics Evaluation Commission – September

It’s been a busy year for Sir Craig. Having worked tirelessly to bring the Olympics to London, is there a better and more qualified candidate to choose where the next destination for the multisport event? No.

Top Quotes: Dr Wu, President, AIBA: “I am convinced that he will serve the development of the sport in the best possible way.”

Thierry Sprunger, former CFO, IOC: “He has always made the necessary effort to have a clear understanding of the subject matter, the risks and the priorities and more importantly, his management style is all inclusive giving each member of the team the opportunity to give their opinion.”


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