Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's Your Turn to Bowl Now, Blair

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's Your Turn to Bowl Now, Blair

Article excerpt

Byline: By Simon Rushworth

First the Ashes. Now the resurrection. After a summer in which England have wrested the world's most famous urn from Australia and forced the Olympics from France it is time for the nation's political grandees to thrust sport back to the forefront of everything which is great about Britain.

Sport deserves a glorious revival. Our national teams demand top billing. And if Tony Blair and his colleagues truly value the power of sport, then it is time to back that belief with significant funding.

The Government has always talked a good game. High profile support of London's 2012 bid helped sway a close IOC vote in the capital's favour.

Blair and his colleagues are never backward in coming forward when the opportunity to bask in the reflected glory of sporting success presents itself.

Only yesterday the Prime Minister told The Journal of his continued commitment to developing sport as a tool for encouraging socioeconomic change at home and abroad.

All well and good. But the time for talking is over. With the Olympics as its focus, it is imperative Blair's Government builds a sporting legacy worthy of a passionate nation during the next seven years.

Michael Vaughan and his victorious colleagues have united communities divided by colour and creed and demonstrated to the world that a country shaken to its core by this summer's London bombings can find solace, pride and renewed spirit through sport.

Cricket has crossed over into territories once viewed as the sole preserve of football; a season of Ashes excess has even helped to disguise the shortcomings of our national game.

But if football is undergoing a crisis of confidence at every level ( England's indifference, falling Premiership gates and a propensity for tabloid scandal blighting an industry in transition ( its troubles cannot be allowed to detract from sport's enduring power. Scattering the Ashes effect should be top of Tony's in-tray this Tuesday morning. …

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