Inside Sport - - EDITOR'S LETTER - Graem Sims Editor­sid­

YOU HAVE to be a bit wor­ried when Sepp Blat­ter ap­proves of his suc­ces­sor’s ap­point­ment in the big chair at FIFA. But there he was, of­fer­ing his im­pri­matur to fel­low Swiss na­tional Gianni In­fantino. “With his ex­pe­ri­ence, his ca­pac­i­ties, his sense of strat­egy and diplo­macy, he has all the qual­i­ties to con­tinue my work and drive FIFA to­wards sta­bil­ity,” he said. Yeah, thanks for that, Sepp. Con­tinue your work? We’d rather he didn’t ...

And you also have to be a bit wor­ried when the new guy’s elec­tion plat­form ba­si­cally con­sisted of promised hand­outs of $5 mil­lion to each of FIFA’s 209 mem­bers. Yes, there is a pro­posed set of re­forms (which we ad­dress else­where in Win­ners And Losers on page 12), but the cash hand­outs hardly in­spired great con­fi­dence that the next chap­ter in the FIFA tale is go­ing to be about any­thing other than nest-feath­er­ing. We shall see.

Over in the ath­let­ics realm, we learn that French au­thor­i­ties are widen­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the cor­rupt world of for­mer IAAF Pres­i­dent Lamine Di­ack to in­clude the vot­ing for host­ing rights to the next two Olympic Games, Rio this year and then in Tokyo in 2020. Noth­ing spe­cific just yet other than tales of ini­tialled en­velopes ... but let’s just hang in there and see ... Di­ack was an IOC rep from 1999 to 2014 – right through an era when we thought the Olympic realm had sorta kinda got its act to­gether and proved that re­form was pos­si­ble and anti-cor­rup­tion mea­sures were ef­fec­tive. Maybe not-so-fast ...

Th­ese are big sto­ries, and there is a real risk here that sports fans are at some stage go­ing to glaze over with scan­dal fa­tigue. We’ll keep our eyes on them, but the games we know and love must go on, which is one rea­son why there is a de­cid­edly “on the pad­dock” flavour to our main fea­tures this is­sue – and a real sense that we’re meet­ing some of sport’s great­est liv­ing “good guys”.

Pa­trick Danger­field is our cover man, whose re­turn to Geelong has only en­hanced his rep­u­ta­tion for in­tegrity. (And What. A. Player.) We com­pare and con­trast golf’s Big Three - Spi­eth, McIl­roy and Day – and dis­cover one great mu­tual ad­mi­ra­tion so­ci­ety of de­cency. We meet the hard­est work­ing goal­keeper in the game, Mat Ryan, who’ll be mind­ing the store dur­ing the Soc­ceroos’ two vi­tal qual­i­fiers on home soil this month. We sit down for a coffee and a chat with lead­ing jockey Hugh Bow­man, and find out what it’s like to win a Cox Plate. And we hang with James Maloney, an NRL star who proves that good things hap­pen to blokes who can see the funny side of sport and not take it as se­ri­ously as oth­ers might. Sport needs more James Maloneys. And Danger­fields. And Ryans. Play on.

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