This is our truth, tell us yours
The Commonwealth Games opening ceremony passed off with barely a flutter of interest outside the narrow world of people with nothing better to do on a Wednesday night.
Missing from it was Fred Evans. Fred was a contender for a gold medal, a boxer who is good at what he does, and a shining example of the professionalization of amateur boxing. In times gone by Fred would probably have been a professional by now, on the weary treadmill of trying to sell tickets for cards he’s fighting on, trying to get title fights or meaningful matches that might make more of himself than another moving punchbag for the title contenders with the big promoters and the big reputations. Instead he’s a funded amateur, able to work his way through the system and garner medals for his governing body.
Now, it’s tempting to compare what has happened to Fred to the way in which Ched Evans is even now preparing to return to football.
It’s tempting, but I’m going to steer away from it because there are other reasons to be concerned about the treatment of Fred Evans.
Apparently Evans, the welterweight who finished as runner-up at London 2012, has been denied the chance to compete for gold in Glasgow following a controversial decision by the Home Office and Commonwealth officials.
Now, I’ve no problem with event organizers deciding who they want in their event, and I wish football would show similar courage in the case of Ched Evans, but what has it got to do with the Home Office?According to a mealy mouthed apologist for the organizers
Every athlete is subject to the background checks that are conducted throughout the accreditation process.
“That’s made very clear up front and it was exactly the same process that was used in London 2012. We need to comply with UK-wide regulations.
Now, Evans conviction does not show him in a good light. However, in 2012 the GB London Olympics team included Anthony Joshua, who had prior convictions for possessing drugs with intent to supply. Two other boxers in the 2012 GB team had prior convictions. So there is a taint over Evans exclusion, a taint that the organizers seem keen to share with the Home Office.
The question remains, , if, as Davd Cameron says, politics and sport should never mix, why is the Home Office being accused of being involved in excluding one boxer from the games, when it allowed others into previous events with worse convictions? And why, too, is it taking no part in the row over whether Ched Evans should ever play professional football again?