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Dublin: 4°C Friday 5 March 2021

Manchester City 'a sportswashing instrument,' and more of the week's best sportswriting

Also featuring a fascinating piece on the unique craft of the hurley maker.

Image: Martin Rickett

1. There are many possible descriptions of the Manchester City project right now, of many different shades, but one of the most accurate is that they are probably the most advanced football club in the world. That doesn’t just apply to their thinking. There’s also their planning.

The Independent’s Miguel Delaney looks at the controversial way in which Man City are being run.

2. Even allowing for progressive youth clubs offering financial aid to the cash-strapped parents of talented girls (a sentence that succinctly captures so much that is wrong), Solo’s assertions are backed up by the facts. More than one in three children playing soccer in America comes from a household with an annual income above $100,000 while just one in 10 are from homes earning less than $25,000.

Writing for The Irish Times, Dave Hannigan looks at how the cost of women’s soccer in the US is excluding various ethnic groups.

3. I was working for The Sunday Press as its chief sports-writer at the time, and part of my working week was to serve up a GAA piece and a general sports article. I was actually interviewing opponents before games – imagine that! No secret police deciding who would be served up to the media… I would pick up the phone, just call someone. Anyone! I went down to Killarney and sat down with Tom Spillane before that semi-final. I went up to Derry and interviewed Dermot McNicholl before an All-Ireland semi-final in 87. Did the same with Jack Sheedy before a Leinster final. Crazy times.

The Irish Examiner’s Tony Leen chats to Liam Hayes on Gaelic football and sportswriting, now and then.

4. The GAA has strict rules regarding sponsorship on equipment and kit – hurleys included.

In the 2003 All-Ireland hurling semi-final Cork’s Seán Ó hAilpín and the Wexford duo Damien Fitzhenry and Paul Codd attracted the association’s ire for using hurls emblazoned with Paddy Power’s logo. They were paid €750 each for their troubles.

Yet while sponsors are off limit, the GAA rules allow hurls to be marked with the stamp of the manufacturer – and there is nothing to stipulate how big that stamp could be.

In theory, the bigger the stamp, the greater exposure a hurley maker would receive – yet this isn’t a tactic used by manufacturers.

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The Irish Times’ Patrick Madden has a fascinating piece on the unique craft of the hurley maker.

5. Was it really only last year that Formula One’s owner, Liberty Media, was making its pious announcement that “grid girls” would no longer be a part of its stewardship of this most woke of all sports? “We feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values,” intoned F1’s managing director of commercial operations back then, “and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.”

The Guardian’s Marina Hyde on Formula One’s dealings with Saudi Arabia.

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