Wallabies unafraid: NZ coach
All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen said that the Wallabies no longer fear the All Blacks and probably don’t even respect them, but that won’t be New Zealand’s motivation when the teams meet in a Tri-Nations rugby match on Saturday. Australia has been bullish this week about the chances of its talented young team beating New Zealand in New Zealand for the first time in 11 years and at Auckland’s Eden Park — venue for this year’s World Cup final — for the first time since 1986. Australian selector David Nucifora said because most of the current Wallabies are young and new to international rugby, they are unaffected by hoodoos or history. Nucifora said young Wallabies were more likely to be excited by the challenge of playing New Zealand than daunted.
Commuters told to innovate
The British government is urging London residents to “travel differently” during next year’s Olympics to avoid traffic chaos. An additional 3 million trips are expected to be made on London’s public transport system on Aug. 3 next year, the first day of athletics competition and one of the busiest travel days of the games. That’s on top of the regular 12 million journeys a day on public transport. The government wants commuters to change their travel habits to ease the congestion. British Transport Secretary Norman Baker says: “It’s time to oil the creaking bike, dig out the walking boots, work out how to use the video conferencing equipment, and fire up the laptop gathering dust at the back of the cupboard.”
Extremists a worry again
The head of British soccer’s anti-racism body warns that extremists are trying to infiltrate the game again, citing the massacre in Norway as a wake-up call. Kick It Out chairman Herman Ouseley says extremists are “trying to get back into football ... [and] trying to win over the minds of young, vulnerable people.” He says “events in Norway over the last week reminds us that the hatred ... exists not far from our shores.” Confessed Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik says he carried out last month’s twin attacks, which killed 77 people, to launch a revolution against a Europe spoiled by Muslim immigration. House of Lords member Ouseley said: “Believe you me, there are people like that living among us in the UK and organizations that are very hateful.”
Venezuela, FIFA in dispute
Venezuela is on collision course with world soccer governing body FIFA and the International Olympic Commission after its parliament approved a controversial sports law that threatens the autonomy of its sports federations. The bill passed by the national assembly on Tuesday would allow the country’s athletes to vote for officials in their federations, while setting up a “sports justice commission” that could undermine the Venezuelan Football Federation (FVF). The law, which still needs Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s approval, would also establish a sports development fund that would slap a 1 percent tax on companies that post annual profits exceeding 1.5 million Venezuelan bolivars (US$350,000). “The law could be considered a direct interference by the government in affairs that are exclusive to the FVF,” FIFA warned in a statement last week. Venezuela’s sports minister Hector Rodriguez has further fanned the flames, dismissing the statement as “lies.”