Carr Zone: IAAF needs to get tougher on cheat situation
The International Association of Athletics Federations is fooling no one, except perhaps its members, when it trumpets the "robustness" of its anti-doping programme.
So far this year, doping bans have been handed out to seven Russian track-and-field medallists from major championships, including four Olympic champions.
But to be seen to be scrupulously fair, the IAAF need to get tough with the Russian Athletics Federation and ensure that meaningful bans be imposed on the cheats. It would be unconscionable if, for example, Sergei Kirdyapkin, who won gold in the London 2012 50km walk, be banned but allowed to retain Olympic medal status. Other athletes are being deprived. In Kirdyapkin's case, Rob Heffernan, who finished fourth.
The back-dating of bans allows the cheats to compete in Rio 2016. Resignations of officials and coaches is not enough. Lifetime bans need to be handed out. Australia's double Olympic silver medallist Jared Tallent, who was deprived of two golds by the dopers, says, "The IAAF hasn't done enough."
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When he missed the cut in Phoenix on Friday, carding a calamitous 82, it was inevitable that Tiger Woods would tumble down the rankings. But for the golf legend, who was No. 1 just nine months ago, to slip out of the Top 50 altogether is shocking in its implications. He may miss the first World Golf Championship at Doral in March.
As he struggles desperately to put his game together, all eyes will be on the seven-time winner at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open this week. Having split from his swing coach Sean Foley last year, Woods has been working with Chris Como.
Attempting to rationalise his dip in form, he says: "I was caught between patterns, the old one and the new one." Rory McIlroy (1), Graeme McDowell (20) and Shane Lowry (44) are all ranked above Woods.
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Like the secondary art market, the economics of football transfers can be fascinating. When Christies sold Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucien Freud 15 months ago they achieved a newsworthy record-breaking price of €125million.
In 2003, when Sporting Lisbon released Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United, the fee was €16 million. Six years later, Man United made a record €106m when Ronaldo went to Real Madrid.
Today, according to his agent Jorge Mendes, having been voted best player in the world for the third time, Ronaldo has a buy-out clause in his contract of €1billion. "If the club decided to sell him tomorrow for €300 million, someone will pay," claims Mendes.