Saturday, May 20, 2006

NOT THE RIGHT VIEW

I read the write ups of Ms. Sharda Ugra with interest. But I don’t agree with her views on Asia (India Today, May 15, 2006) getting the chance to host the cricket World Cup in 2011. Her argument is that since cricket is by far the most popular sport in the subcontinent, the event should have gone to some other country where cricket can be popularized.

Ms.Ugra cites events like the football World Cup that have been hosted in South Korea and Japan in 2002 and that South Africa gets the chance to host the same in 2010. It is true that FIFA has tried out to reach countries of Asia and Africa. But let us not forget that the first world cup in football was held in 1938 and only in 2002 the world body decided to take football outside the traditional venues! The same is the case with other sporting events.

It is the money and the popularity that influence such decisions today. Windies gets to host the world cup in 2007. England hosted the first three editions and another in 1999. It is Australia that has hosted only one in 1992. But Australia has so far hosted the Olympic games and the Commonwealth games twice each. Australia has so strong sporting culture and traditions that the average Australian would not be unhappy to lose out this chance.

India now excels in very few sports on a world level. Cricket, even though played only in a handful of countries is the most popular sport. So there is nothing wrong with Asia getting the chance to host another world cup.

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