Ched Evans should be allowed to play football again.   Leave a comment

Featured imageCan I firstly point out that Evans is a vile human being, an unrepentant rapist and if he was offered a contract by my football club I would consider my position as a trustee. However his crime does not preclude him from resuming a career in professional football.

There will be those who contend that his crime rules out any return to a normal life. Those arguing that might point out that his victim has to live with what happened for ever and that there are some crimes so heinous that no return to anything approaching a normal life should be viable. There are crimes of that nature and they are reflected in life sentences- either whole life custodial terms where no release is likely or in life sentences where a licence is imposed.

Evans’ sentence was somewhat short of a life sentence and fell somewhere in the correct range for the offence of which he was convicted; he has served the custodial part of the sentence. Opinions that Evans’ sentence was insufficient or that jail terms are generally too light have no place when considering the footballer’s future. Any criminal who is released has to have the chance of rehabilitation.

Evans’ sentence is too long to ever be spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act but that doesn’t mean it should be a bar to his employment. He is not a candidate for standard rehabilitation schemes as you would hope that his, serious, offence should be a one-off and he comes out with money and a stable social circle. However one of the roles of the criminal justice system is to offer a second chance to offenders, particularly those who offend once or are not persistent criminals. Evans, having served the custodial part of his sentence deserves this chance.

Should Ched Evans be permitted to resume a career in football? There is nothing in the law to stop it. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act gives a clue with details of occupations and roles where even minor offences will not be spent. Some point out that a conviction would rule out Evans working as a teacher, a doctor or a solicitor. This is true but I guess none of those professions are his chosen career path. There are other crimes, even where the sentence is minor, that would rule out an immediate return to many jobs, these would include many dishonesty offences where the occupation involved a position of trust or handling money. Interesting offenders cannot rely on their crimes being spent when seeking employment with football clubs but only as stewards!

Many criminals, even some serious one, have returned to football. These include a number who have killed while committing driving offences, many who have assaulted people including sexually and even armed robbers. Those who have caused death by dangerous driving are well documented however it might be said each as expressed remorse whether you think that remorse in genuine or not. It has to be said that Evans has only apologised for drunken infidelity rather than the rape for which he was convicted.

If he returns to football Evans will not be in an occupation where his offending represents a danger. Football players represent clubs because they are good at the game not as role models. Because they chose football over schooling many players are badly educated. I always enjoy sending players to literacy events at primary schools as many of them can improve their reading by working with the pupils! Clearly Evans will be excluded from much of the community work at any club and I expect that commercial partners will not be queuing-up to use him. Footballers are role models by accident rather than design. Asking a young adult who earns more in a week than some earn in a year to be a community figure-head is always difficult.

Evans’ occupation is professional footballer. With a training regime it is probably that he can resume a career where he might be paid approaching fifty-thousand pounds a month. The law cannot stop that. However for all that Evans is an athlete, his business is entertainment and the bottom-line is selling tickets and commercial endorsements. If he were a soap star his acting skills would not be diminished by his offending. If he were a chart artist then his singing voice might be retained while in prison. If he were a TV presenter then his abilities would not disappear with a spell in chokey. In all these case I would expect his earning ability to vanish if he raped someone.

In the wider entertainment industry there would be little to attract businesses to Evans. In football some clubs might consider whether they might get an international standard player on the cheap. Will the uproar and bad-will be balanced against improved results and the revenue that brings? Most clubs would rule out employing him on moral ground but clearly at least one is considering his options. The public has to show that the commercial risk is too great.

I actually support allowing Ched Evans to train in the same way as I would expect a joiner to brush up on their carpentry skills or a car mechanic to become familiar with new car models. What I do not want to see is an unrepentant rapist stepping back into a highly paid profession as if his crime was only a minor personal inconvenience!

Ched Evans should be allowed to play football again but I sincerely hope no one offers that opportunity.

Posted November 15, 2014 by dalekpete in Uncategorized

Help kick ball-boys out of football   Leave a comment

Chesterfield-20130122-00610Eden Hazard was guilty of violent conduct in the match against Swansea and was rightly sent off.  It doesn’t matter what Charlie Morgan did as the player clearly interfered with the ball-boy which is a sanctionable offence.  I am surprised that any can defend the Chelsea player.

I won’t suggest that the Swansea City ball-boy acted entirely properly; I see it is reported that he has apologised for his part in the incident,  However Hazard must know that in football you have to sometimes endure that which is unfair; the defence of provocation is never a successful one.  Had Morgan spat at Hazard, struck him or impugned his Belgian nationality it would not be a defence to striking him.

Some feel the fall and subsequent reaction to the kick were exaggerated.  There might be something in this view but we seem to be in a football culture where making the most of any touch or infringement is the norm.  That said the bottom line is that you don’t touch the ball-boys!  There is precedent for bans when players have pushed those kids fielding the balls so there is no excuse.

My view on Morgan and his colleagues is that they had no interests in returning the ball with any haste.  However in most cases having a ball-boy makes the game quicker than not having one despite that in all stadia where all sides are occupied there is no need for the pitch side assistants.

If there are delays because of the conduct of the ball-boys that is for the match officials to assess.  It is possible- even probably, that sluggish ball-boys might prevent the losing team from taking quick restarts when they are chasing the game but in this case it was actually a Swansea restart.  The ball-boy in question seems to have reacted slowly to the ball going out for a goal-kick.  He then got between the Chelsea player and the ball when Hazard wanted to move it to the goal area.  Morgan then fell on the ball when the player touched him resulting in Hazard kicking the ball from under him.

The contact with the ball-boy was enough to penalise Hazard, his kicking at the ball under Morgan made it an automatic dismissal.  Had the ball-boy been a defending player who shielded the ball and fell under contact then it is likely that Hazard’s kick would have been a sending-off issue with the ball out of play.

In retrospect what the Chelsea player should have done was just make sure that Chris Foy noted the delay and added on time.  That added time is an issue in football and the lack of understanding of the rules and inconsistent application might be one of the reasons Hazard over-reacted.

The laws of the game say:

  • Many stoppages in play are entirely natural (e.G. Throw-ins, goal kicks). An allowance is to be made only when these delays are excessive.
  • The fourth official indicates the minimum additional time decided by the referee at the end of the final minute of each period of play.
  • The announcement of the additional time does not indicate the exact amount of time left in the match. The time may be increased if the referee considers it appropriate but never reduced.

In terms of checking the time played the referee never actually stops his watch.  He usually communicates with his senior assistant or fourth official if he is adding time.  Normally there will be no time added for the natural stoppages in the game but he will note when a physio comes onto the pitch, where there are unnatural breaks or where there is time-wasting.

In terms of the latter, if it is a player then his first option is to caution the player involved.  For instances where the crowd or even ball-boys delay the game then it is down to the officials to add time on.  Where a substitution is not instant (it is after all part of the game) or where there is a goal celebration that is prolonged then time will be added.  Thirty seconds is a rule of thumb and is probably correct  where the leading team finds the withdrawn player as far from the bench as is conceivable- if it is the losing team and the player runs off then the process will not take that long.

The time signalled by the fourth official will always be a “minimum” figure.  If the referee determines two minutes 50 seconds then it will be indicated as two minutes.  You couldn’t have the game ending before the added time has elapsed.  With delays and time-wasting becoming more common towards the end of the game then it is always possible that there will be added time on the added-time!  If any team questions that added time the fourth official will have noted the significant stoppages.

In the case of the Swansea match I guess that potentially the actions of the ball-boy would have meant a delay of a few seconds.  Had Hazard waved his arms and complained then he might actually have caused a few seconds more to be added to the stoppages for what seemed to be futile efforts by his team.  In pushing and kicking the ball-boy the player was sent-off and deserved that sanction.

Posted January 24, 2013 by dalekpete in football, Uncategorized

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Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God… #2   Leave a comment

100_0070Ring, Ring.  Ring, Ring. Ring…

“Is that Father O’Hare?”

“It is about that wedding, I left a message.”

“Yes that’s right, Paul Miller.”

“No I am not a member of your Church, I am not a member of any church.”

“No, not a Catholic, I don’t believe in any of that shit.”

“Why in church?  Well it is traditional.  I wouldn’t have my future spouse’s lot there either if it was my decision but the whole family and church service seem to be the norm.”

“Well there are other churches but we really wanted to get married in yours…”

“Because it is perfect for the photos and very close the country house hotel we are using for the reception.”

“I don’t know about beliefs or faith, we only want to hire the building.  We don’t want any of the mumbo-jumbo!”

“Well you can come as long as you bring the fancy garb, there is usually a bloke in a dress to host it.”

“Look we only want it for an hour, a bit less if we lose those dirgeful songs.  We can bring our own Robbie Williams CDs.”

“Come-on we don’t even want a speech from you!  Just the ‘repeat after me’ and ‘You may now kiss…’”

“Look it is about the only way you will ever get a full house, someone has to pay your wages, those six people and a dog on Sundays don’t!”

“Just take the money and you can go back to “accepting penitence” from young choirboys…”

“Jesus Christ, how much?”

“That is almost as much as for the centre-pieces at the hotel!”

“In that case I’ll take-it!  August 6th it is then.”

“Thank you, Father.  Just one more thing, does that magic book of yours do ‘I now pronounce you husband and husband?’ ”

Greeting   Leave a comment

santa sebFrom me (the wisher) to you (hereinafter called the wishee). Please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the  bogus religious persuasion of your choice, or preferably secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

Further my wish for a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2013, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects whose contributions to society have helped make Britain great, (not to imply that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is necessarily greater than any other country or nation), and having regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or dietary preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that-

This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal

This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wisher are acknowledged.

This greeting implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes.

This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.

This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.

The wisher warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher

Any references in this greeting to “the Lord”, “Father Christmas”, “Our Saviour”, or any other festive figures, are on the understanding that they are fictitious and so shall not imply any endorsement of them in respect of this greeting, and all proprietary rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged.

The gays stopped my cream cakes…   4 comments

I don’t think gay couples should be married in church; then I think it is a bad idea for any Chesterfield-20120521-00035couple to get married in such a ridiculous institution!

It doesn’t matter one bit whether a couple is of the same gender when deciding if they can marry.  The Civil Partnership offers most of the equivalent benefits but anything short of full marriage is discrimination.   What makes people happy without hurting others is what counts.

I am pleased that a Conservative administration that just a few years ago passed the draconian legislation under the Local Government Act is now championing equality for gay relationships.  The infamous clause 28 of that 1988 Act stated that no local authority should “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”  Now Cameron seems to be fighting the bigots in his own party to force equality through.

It looked for a while that churches and religious institutions would not be considered in the forthcoming legislation.  However by not legislating specifically it might mean that superstitious groupings who do not want to allow all loving couples to avail themselves of the facilities might find themselves under pressure from Human Rights interventions.

Now if the those with big buildings who believe in sky fairies don’t want to include certain people in their silly games then I suggest that any sensible prospective brides and brides or grooms and grooms keep well clear.  As far as I know all that Yeshua/Jesus  thought on the subject was that a wedding needed wine and he wasn’t going to pay for it!

Some married theists think that allowing gays to marry somehow undermines their own relationships.  I am not sure how such a positive step should change what they get out of their own loving partnerships; they should just not stop others having the same opportunity.

I have even heard some suggest that allowing same-sex marriages in their churches has some effect on them as worshippers.  I have a suggestion- if you don’t like the idea of two men or two women marrying then don’t go to the wedding!  I am sure the happy couple will be even happier not to have you there.

The church my family is associated with have Weight Watchers there on a Monday night.  This has no real consequence for my family or any of the religious attendees.  It does not mean that by osmosis that they cannot eat cream cakes or gorge on bacon.

I hope that gay couples will soon be able to marry.  I don’t care whether this means they can wed in church as for most it is a nice setting rather than a commitment to any superstition.  I also hope they can still eat cream cakes!

Why I am a Spanish speaking Muslim who supports Brazil   Leave a comment

You might know I am a football fan.  The national team I support is England.  My football following siblings also support England as do almost all my friends.  I do have a colleague who looks firstly for the Scotland result and a bare handful of friends with allegiance to other nations.  For example I play football with two who support Italy.

I think it is an amazing coincidence that all of my family and practically all of my friends follow the same team as me.  It must be a statistically anomaly.

Now I wouldn’t claim England are the best team in the world.  They are consistently in the top ten nations and usually make the knock-out stages of the global competitions.  However if I were to make a logical choice I perhaps currently ought to support Spain whose results are better and who certainly play a much more attractive style of play.  If I was looking throughout my lifetime then Brazil with three World Cup wins would be my best choice to follow.

Why then do I support England?  Basically it is an accident of birth, the same reason as everyone I know.  I was born and brought up bang in the middle of England; this means I support England in every sport.  Had I been born in Spain I would support the current World Cup holders.  If my place of birth had been Rio de Janeiro then I would be following the most successful international team.   My friends who follow different teams were either born in those countries or have a family heritage linked to them.

Of course had I been born in Spain my first language would be Spanish and in Brazil, Portuguese.  This would have been another factor determined by my birthplace and culture.  It would have no basis in logic.  I am probably best sticking to English as the international language of commerce and of the internet.  However a case might be made for Spanish or Mandarin as useful additions

All of my family and most of my friends were brought up Christian.  All of those I know that came from that tradition that worship do so in the Christian Church.  I don’t think I know any practising Jews but all those I know who are Muslim or follow the South Asian religions are first or second generation immigrants to the United Kingdom.  They are rather like my “Italian” friends in that respect..

With a true statistical spread a quarter of my family would follow Islam; none of my family is a Muslim.  However had my birth been in Pakistan or parts of the Middle-East there is every chance that every one of my family would be Muslim.  There is no logic to it at all,  While a small number of the religious start to follow a faith other than the one they were born into it is rare.  Almost every religious person follows the faith of the culture they wre born into.  No god selects them as special people, their faith is as much an accident of birth as their language or national football team!

So logically we should all support Spain.  We should speak and write in English with a smattering of Spanish and Mandarin.  And of course if we are being totally rational we should worship no gods at all.

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God…   1 comment

Ring, Ring.  Ring, Ring. Ring…

“Is that Father O’Hare?”

“It is about that wedding, I left a message.”

“Yes that’s right.”

“No I am not a member of your Church, I am not a member of any church.”

“No, not a Catholic, I don’t believe in any of that shit.”

“Why in church?  Well it is traditional.  I wouldn’t have her mother there either if it was my decision but Mother of the Bride, church service seem to be the norm.”

“Well there are other churches but we really wanted to get married in yours…”

“Because it is perfect for the photos and very close the country house hotel we are using for the reception.”

“I don’t know about beliefs or faith, we only want to hire the building.  We don’t want any of the mumbo-jumbo!”

“Well you can come as long as you bring the fancy garb, there is usually a bloke in a dress to host it.”

“Look we only want it for an hour, a bit less if we lose those dirgeful songs.  We can bring our own Robbie Williams CDs.”

“Come-on we don’t even want a speech from you!  Just the ‘repeat after me’ and ‘you may now kiss the Bride.’”

“Look it is about the only way you will ever get a full house, someone has to pay your wages, those six people and a dog on Sundays don’t!”

“Just take the money and you can go back to “accepting penitence” from young choirboys…”

“Jesus Christ, how much?”

“That is almost as much as for the centre-pieces at the hotel!”

“Take-it!  August 6th then.”

“Thank you, Father.”

Posted November 11, 2012 by dalekpete in atheism, Scepticism

Tagged with , , , , ,

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