Half-baked politicians allowing Iceland’s footballers to swan into London via Copenhagen despite the Denmark travel ban shows they have learned nothing from the Covid debacles at Cheltenham and Anfield
- The UK has imposed a ban on non-UK citizens coming from Denmark
- But an exemption was made for Iceland to travel to London via Copenhagen.
- This was to enable England to strut their stuff in a dead rubber of a match
- They must have forgotten the repercussions of the Cheltenham Festival
We have been subjected this week to an act of almost criminal hypocrisy by this adolescent government as it tries to disguise its incompetence at running the country by jumping on the bandwagon of football’s popularity.
No sooner had the Secretary of State for (ill) Health Matt Hancock rung the midnight alarm bells to embargo visitors from coronavirus-mink contaminated Denmark than an exemption was made for Iceland’s football team to swan into London via Copenhagen.
This was to enable England to strut their stuff at Wembley against distracted and demoralised opponents in an utterly meaningless dead rubber of a match between two teams already eliminated from Europe’s nonsensical Nations Cup.
Iceland were allowed to travel to London from Denmark this week despite a travel ban
The choice of venue for Wednesday night’s totally worthless 4-0 stroll was pathetically excused on the grounds that it saved the FA from having to choose between forfeiting the tie – thus leaving England looking even more forlorn near the foot of that final table – or coughing up the cost of relocating the match to either Germany or Albania.
So never mind, then, how many of our citizens may have been infected by our guests as they passed through lockdown city.
How soon our leaders forgot the super-spreader boost given to the Covid pandemic by their allowing to go ahead the Cheltenham Festival in all its Guinness-fuelled throngs as well as Liverpool’s Champions League game against a team from a virus-ravaged quarter of Spain in a packed Anfield.
All while our old folk were being inhumanely exposed to contamination and left dying in the lonely isolation of their care homes.
A big screen advising visitors on social distancing at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night
The only saving grace this time is that spectators were not admitted to the stadium. Although they might very well have been had the Prime Minister’s reckless haste towards beckoning back the fans not been halted temporarily by this second national lockdown. Yet while any damage may have been limited, the risk was a disgrace.
Not that Boris Johnson intends being deterred for long. Talks have resumed for supporters to be readmitted to Premier League grounds. A thousand at a time. And no later than January apparently, even though lockdown three is highly likely to be imposed for the month after Christmas.
The people love their football, you see. So do I. Although not to the extent of being blind to the attempt by half-baked politicians to use sport to distract us from their shambolic ruining of millions of lives by the tyrannical imposition of draconian restrictions which achieve no long-term purpose.
It’s not only football. Some populists you may never have heard of, yet who hold vague office, are all over the premature campaign to knight Lewis Hamilton after his equalling of Michael Schumacher’s seven world drivers’ championships.
More than 250,000 people attended the four days of the Cheltenham Festival in March
Unexpectedly, but most welcome, a blinding shaft of insight lights up a corner of Whitehall. It comes with a realisation that it is more measured and prudent to let such honours wait for sportsmen and women until they retire. Theirs are relatively short careers, after all. So why the rush, until the full merit of their exploits can be assessed?
Maybe somebody, somewhere learned from knighting Bradley Wiggins too soon. That it would have made the bestowing even more fulfilling for Andy Murray had it come a year or two from now, after he hangs up his racquet for good.
Or what a mistake it would have been to elevate David Beckham before he made known his foul-mouthed opinion of the mandarins who make these appointments.
Hamilton is talking a much better game amid all the speculation. Perhaps maturity begets modesty. He is sensible enough to know that his knighthood will come in due course, his legitimate tax status in Monaco notwithstanding. And that his reward will taste all the sweeter after he has surpassed Schumacher’s record and taken a back seat in Formula 1.
Atletico fans were allowed to travel from the virus-hit Madrid to Liverpool in March
Tiger Woods shoots double figures on the 156-yard twelfth at Augusta National. The most treacherously beautiful par three golf hole in the world.
So it’s a par ten for Tiger. And it’s a par twelve for me. And who knows how many next time for Beefy Bryson deChambeau, who marched into the home of The Masters declaring that historic 72 par course to be a par 67 for him…..and barely made the cut.