2015 – A Look at the Good and Bad for Sport
2015 has been yet another eventful year in sport. The Gryphon looks at who’s had a successful year, and who’s had one to forget.
Good year for:
Footballing teams of the Home Nations
Wales, Ireland, England and Northern Ireland all had impressive qualification campaigns for Euro 2016 and will appear in France next year. Wales came second in their group, beating Belgium in the process. Ireland beat footballing giants Germany in their campaign, and Northern Ireland exceeded expectations to top their group. England won all of their ten games, and striker Wayne Rooney broke England’s goal scoring record, scoring his 50th goal in the qualifying match against Switzerland
Both the men’s and women’s teams made history at the World Championships, with the women’s team winning bronze and the men silver, the first ever world team medals for Great Britain. Max Whitlock then became the first man to win a world gold for GB, winning the pommel horse, adding to his earlier silver medal from the floor. He was nominated for Sports Personality of the Year following this outstanding performance. Ellie Downie also won Young Sports Personality of the Year for her performance in the World Champonships.
Kevin Sinfield and Leeds Rhinos
Leeds won the treble for the first time in their history, winning the Challenge Cup, the Super League Grand Final and the domestic league. Sinfield finished his final season in rugby league captaining the team to this treble. He also came second in Sports Personality of the Year.
Winning Sports Personality of the Year is an obvious sign of a successful year, and Andy Murray deserved this award after another inspiring year as Britain’s best tennis player. As well as getting married and expecting a baby, Murray also led Great Britain to win the Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years.
2015 saw excellent individual performances from athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill and Lizzie Armistead, and team achievements from England’s women’s football and hockey team.
Bad year for…
US federal prosecutors revealed several cases of corruption within FIFA, and arrested seven officials in May. The scandal has been raging on since then, with more arrests and revelations and FIFA’s name spoiled indefinitely. The latest development has been the eight year ban of the President of UEFA, Michel Platini and the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, who still refuses to admit any responsibility for the downfall of the organisation he reigns over.
The world of international athletics has also encountered a stream of scandals this year, with the World Anti-Doping Agency publishing its findings in October after launching a commission into allegations of doping in Russian athletics. The report accused Russia’s anti-doping agency of hiding tests, destroying samples, taking bribes and bullying doping officers and doctors, with athletes suspected of doping participating in the London 2012 Olympics. The International Association of Athletics Federation has also been implicated in the scandal. 2015 has not been a good year for the integrity of international athletics.
2015 also saw the fall from grace of Jose Mourinho and Chelsea. Erratic behaviour from Mourinho and an extremely poor start to the season saw the players turn against the ‘Special One’, with tension rising up inside the club. This was obvious on the pitch, with the Blues losing against teams such as Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Stoke and top players such as Hazard, Fabregas and Costa performing poorly week in week out. Finally, with Chelsea lying in 16th place, 1 point off the relegation zone, Mourinho was finally fired, rounding off a miserable year for the Portuguese manager.
The England Rugby team also had a dismal year, with a disappointing performance in the Rugby World Cup on home soil. England exited in the group stage, losing to rivals Wales and Australia. The fact that England was hosting the tournament worsened the disappointment, especially as the team became only the second host team in history not to qualify for the knockout stage. The aftermath featured public and anonymous criticism of other players and the manager Stuart Lancaster, who left England’s RFU board in November.
Discrimination in sport
Although 2015 was a good year for women’s sport, discrimination such as sexism and homophobia has still lingered this year. Incidents such as the negative response to the video game FIFA 2016 featuring women for the first time, or Eugene Bouchard being asked to ‘twirl’ at the Australian Open show that there is still a long way to go before equality in sport is achieved. Homophobia can also be seen in sport, highlighted by an incident in Australian rugby where David Pocock protested against Jacques Potgieter’s use of homophobic language during a match, who was subsequently fined 20,000 dollars.
Featured image: Evening Times