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The Good, Bad and Ugly ft NZ's Gender-Neutral stadiums, Sami 'USA' Aslam and Marcus Rashford's good fight turned wrong

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November 22's edition of Good, Bad and Ugly

Sportscafe

The Good, Bad and Ugly ft NZ's Gender-Neutral stadiums, Sami 'USA' Aslam and Marcus Rashford's good fight turned wrong

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Siddhant Lazar

11/22/2020

Another week goes by and we come closer towards the end of 2020 but the chaos that the year has left us a lot to talk about in this week’s edition of ‘Good, Bad and Ugly’. From New-Zealand looking to create gender-neutral stadiums, to a press attack on Marcus Rashford but the world keeps spinning.

Good

PFA calls for urgent intervention to reduce heading as link with dementia grows

In 1973 Professor Bill Johnson realised that there was a link between footballers heading the ball and them getting dementia as they grow older. He wasn’t the first one to realise it with an article published the year earlier also citing the same link but it has taken 50 long years with the PFA (Professional Footballer’s Association) looking to make serious changes. This comes in light of Nobby Stiles’ death last month and Bobby Charlton’s diagnoses with dementia which saw an outcry from fans and critics to investigate the link even further.

That has seen the PFA call for “urgent intervention” to reduce heading in training with them looking to conduct even more research in order to help curb the effects of the disease. The statement released by the PFA also confirmed that they will continue to fund research in the area with the FA (Football Association) also set to give them a helping hand. 

New Zealand to invest USD 2 million for gender-neutral upgrades in stadiums

In what comes as great news for not just New Zealand but women’s cricket in general, the NZ government have announced a 2 million package to help make stadiums gender-neutral. The list includes five major stadiums across the country with them looking to do it before the 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup begins. It could see Eden Park, in Auckland, capable of hosting the women’s cricket, rugby and football World Cups in the near future.

This breaks down the barriers between men and women’s crickets but furthermore, it creates a pathway for a catalogue of other countries to respond and do exactly the same. Not only that, by hosting three Women’s World Cups in as many years, it hands New Zealand a chance to put themselves on the world map for women’s sport.

Bad

Percentage of points to determine final WTC standings

In light of serious impacts made by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICC Cricket Committee has opted to make the percentage of points determine the final World Test Championship (WTC) standings. That places the points collected by the teams out of the equation and instead tables them via the percentage of points they’ve won to the total points that they’ve competed for. This essentially makes the WTC a four-way race and beats the basic purpose of what the WTC was supposed to be.

It was supposed to bring relevance and parity to Test cricket but instead, the new points system will do exactly the opposite while reducing the money earned by teams to an even smaller amount. It will also mean that the change in the points system will see the likes of Bangladesh, Pakistan and others struggle to make the WTC because they play a fewer number of games as compared to the others. 

Liverpool’s disparity between their women’s team and their men’s team

Not even ten days ago, Liverpool said goodbye to their legendary training ground Melwood before they unveiled a £50 million behemoth three days later. As training grounds go, it’s the modern equivalent of the Colosseum or arguably one of the greatest modern training grounds that man might ever see. It has sandy spaces, tennis courts, leisure centers and more for the men’s team while their women’s team trains at Tranmere Rover’s ground, 13 miles away.

The Reds’ treatment of their Women’s team during the COVID-19 pandemic shocked the world and it has rattled many now with the creation of training ground that, for now, has a question mark as to whether to women’s side will ever get to use it. There is a significant cultural change underway especially with Liverpool responding to the criticism but by doing this, the Reds have taken things down a few notches.

Ugly

Press attack on Marcus Rashford

It was something many predicted especially after the 23-year-old took on British politics, won and then made them enforce a policy that would ensure that children won’t starve. The same 23-year-old that ran rings around RB Leipzig and then went and did the same around the British government after doing it for months and months. But in doing so, Marcus Rashford painted a target on his back which the Daily Mail then attacked via the fact that striker chooses to spend his salary on his future.

The Mail’s article effectively told the world that “School meals Marcus’s £2m homes empire” and the fact that it comes not even a couple of weeks after the Englishman’s effect on British politics, is a little sketchy for many. While Rashford's response was beyond impressive, poised and dignified beyond all reproach may have shocked many but it also bears an undertone of the fact that Rashford knows, this may not be the last time something like this happens.

Sami Aslam to shift base to the USA after being ignored by Pakistan

Pakistan Test and ODI opener Sami Aslam is set to shift his base to the USA after reports confirmed that the 24-year-old accepted an offer with America’s Major League Cricket T20. This effectively puts an end to his time with Pakistan which makes him yet another talented player lost to a poor system and management. Aslam, who turns 25 next month, has played four ODIs and thirteen Tests for Pakistan but his last foray into the Test squad was nearly two years ago, where he showed signs of talent before being frozen out of the squad.. 

That was despite him being talked about as the country’s next best thing but a struggle to make his country’s squad despite doing well on the domestic stage took a toll on the 24-year-old. Aslam even took to Twitter earlier this month to air his disappointment over not getting picked for Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand in December, which has in turn forced him to take this decision on the back of the low in Pakistan's domestic season. 

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