February 14, 2013

Horse 1440 - Divine Dynamite Drug Debate

As the drugs and doping crisis engulfing Australia threatens to name and shame clubs, players, trainers, officials and coaches, one name that hasn't been mentioned in all of this is conspicuous by its absence and perhaps a little suspicious due to the timing of his resignation... that being Pope Benedict XVI.

Although as a 14 year old he was forcibly conscripted into the Hitler Youth, he was unenthusiastic and refused to attend many meetings. He saw out the Second World War in an Internment Camp after being taken prisoner as a POW. After the war he moved back to Munich, which is where the trouble really started.
Of course living in Munich, he would have seen the inception of the Bundesliga in 1963 and the rise of Bayern Munich who has subsequently gone on to win 22 national titles and 15 cups including the then  European Cup three times in a row from 1974-1976.

In the mid 00s after being elected to the position of Pope in 2005, Italy mysteriously won the 2006 FIFA World Cup after a penalty shoot-out against France in the final. Fabio Grosso at the time remarked that "divine intervention helped us to play above ourselves". Maybe this should have been seen as a confession that something was amiss.
It should have been obvious in 2007 when Pope Benedict XVI was bought for 770 lakhs rupees (A$1.38m) by the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League but politely declined. There were unconfirmed rumours that he was seen hanging around the clubhouse of the Melbourne Storm last year and we are pretty well much certain that he has enjoyed hooning it up in Lygon Street in the past.

Of course these sorts of scandals take years, sometimes decades to finally come out in the wash. During the 1986 World Cup, Diego Maradona famously in the post-game conference after the Quarter-final against England that his now famous goal was scored "a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God".  It took him until his 2005 autobiography to finally admit that he had cheated.

Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI won't admit immediately to being linked to the 'drugs in sport' crisis but it is curious that he is citing ill-health as the reason for his resignation. It is worth noting though that between 1987-1990, 18 Dutch and Belgian cyclists died suddenly and it was later found that they'd been using EPO. I'm not immediately suggesting that that is what's going on but the timing of Benedict's resignation is curious to say the least.

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