THE MEDIA is too keen to jump on the bandwagon but doesn’t want to look at, “the bits in-between” when reporting on corruption in Sport, that’s according to BBC Sport reporter Matt Slater, who was who was spotted reporting at today’s Play the Game session by CU Today writes Greg Keane.
Speaking exclusively to CUtoday, Slater said: “I think the media gets very excited when there’s a big headline positive test.”
He added: “I think what the media doesn’t do is the bits in-between- what’s actually going on out there, is sport cleaner or dirtier than it was, are the cheats getting away with it and are the cheats always going to be ahead of the testers. So yes the bigger (corruption issues are reported), no in terms of the constant assessment of what’s going on.”
Slater, who was especially interested to hear the General Director of WADA David Howman’s views this morning, felt authorities were too scared to uncover sporting professionals for commercial reasons and kept up a pretend that cheating only happened in the eastern world.
“Looking back to the 70s and 80s, coming out of the Cold War, it’s absolutely clear there was an ‘I don’t want to know’ approach to this. They were the bad guys (the east), the west were the good guys. We weren’t the good really, we were all at it,” said Slater.
“You had that sense that you don’t want to look too closely because we might find something that will upset everybody”.
Slater continued: “And it wasn’t just on a national or international level. These guys were hero’s, they sold lots of trainers- the sponsors, the sport, the broadcasters- there was a sense of burying your head in the sand”
Slater, the 2008 SJA Internet Sport Writer of the year, wouldn’t like to see British sprinter Dwain Chambers, who was found guilty of a serious doping offence in 2003, represent Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic games but would like to see him compete more regularly for Britain at the Worlds, European or the upcoming Golden League event held in Paris next month.
“I take quite a legalistic approach to Chambers and the Olympics. Do I think that he should be prosecuted and prevented from following his chosen career? No, he’s served his two year sanction.”
“I think it’s a restraint of trade, you can’t keep punishing people”, Slater said.
The Spanish doping investigation in 2006, Operation Puerto, in which cases were brought forward of Spanish stars from sports such as football and tennis using drugs, would be something Slater would love to get the opportunity to look into further. The operation ran into all kinds of legal difficulties and the evidence that was gained was thrown out of court.
Slater said: “They only announced half of what they had (findings) and that was all the cyclists. The doctor involved said that the cyclists were only a small part of his client list, so there’s potentially a great story there”
Slater also stated his shock at Manchester United’s Christiano Ronaldo’s impending £80m move to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Slater concluded: “Real Madrid’s finances are incredibly murky but ultimately (Madrid president Florentino Perez) he’s following that Galacticos model. He’s saying you speculate to accumulate. You make a big noise by signing someone like Ronaldo and Kaka and recoup that in shirt sales, advertising and the profile you get around the world.”