Sports Diary
by Patrick O’Connor

YOU might think that British Members of Parliament have enough on their plate at the moment dealing with the phone hacking scandal that has engulfed the country but far from it, some of them want to sort out football.

The House of Commons culture, media and sport committee has suggested that the Football Association tackles financial instability and debt in the game.

Committee chair John Whittingdale MP said: “No one doubts the success of the Premier League in revitalising English football  but it has been accompanied by serious financial problems throughout the football league pyramid.”

“The FA is the organisation for the job, but it has some way to go getting its own house in order before it can tackle the problems in the English game, and address the future,” added Mr Whittingdale.

However, to be fair to the gentlemen who run football, progress at last seems to have been made in one direction.

The Premier League could use goal-line technology as early as the start of the 2012-13 season.

The International Football Association Board will decide next March on whether to approve the system. If they give it the thumbs-up, Fifa boss Sepp Blatter says leagues can then use it from the start of the 2012-13 season if “accurate and affordable.”

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has already said they will adopt the technology as soon as it is allowed.

New Zealand Rugby Union star Jonah Lomu has criticised England’s decision to use an all-black away kit at the World Cup.

New Zealand’s history of playing in all black goes back 127 years and speaking about the England decision, Lomu told BBC Sport: “For me, in some ways you are just disrespecting the legacy of past players. The All Blacks are synonymous with being in all black.”

England will play in black against Argentina but will revert to white for other group games.

“I will find it pretty weird to look across the paddock and see them run out not wearing that famous white uniform,” added Lomu.

Golf caddies are generally ‘unseen’ in major tournaments where all the attention is on the players.

So it was nice to read that Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy defend his caddie JP Fiztgerald during the Irish Open.

Pundit Jay Townsend called McElroy’s course-management after the first round “shocking” and  then endorsed a Tweet which said that McIlroy should hire Tiger Woods’ ex-caddie Steve Williams.

“It was a comment too far, I’ve got to stand up for my caddie,” said McIlroy.

In a reply to Townsend’s Twitter comments, McIlroy replied: “Shut up… you’re a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing!”

For non-league football side Havant and Waterlooville, who play in the Conference South, pre-season preparations reached ‘once in a lifetime’ proportions last week.

For they ended up taking on La Liga side Real Betis in a friendly match, replacing the Spanish club’s intended opponents, Championship outfit Portsmouth, at the last minute.

Portsmouth’s players were stranded in North Carolina, after their plane was hit by a catering lorry at the end of their USA tour.

With the Portsmouth game cancelled and Real Betis desperate for some action, Havant and Waterlooville stepped in to play them at their tiny West Leigh Park ground – and were thrashed 7-0!

Club director Trevor Brock said: “I think we knew they were going to be good but I don’t think we knew how good they were going to be. This team was something else, we did the best we could.”

People often like to say they were present at a major sporting moment, one that will go down in history.

Well, nearly but not quite…

Having just driven 180 homes back home from a holiday in the Lake District on Saturday and walking around our back garden in Nottingham, we heard a huge roar.

It came from the Trent Bridge cricket ground, which is only a few miles away, and was the England supporters saluting Stuart Broad’s hat-trick in the Second Test match against India.

Broad became the 12th Englishman to take a hat-trick in Test cricket and the first since 2008. He is also the first player from any country to take a Test hat-trick against India.

The next time we have visitors I’m going to take them into the garden and proudly announce: “I HEARD Broad’s hat-trick from here!”