Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Right Decision

To the victor, the spoils. Glasgow will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, after its bid saw off a rival offer from the Nigerian capital Abuja. It's the right decision, on both technical and moral grounds.

There's little doubt Glasgow was the safe option for a Commonwealth that didn't want to take a risk, as Delhi's troubled efforts to put on the 2010 Games veer from crisis to crisis. Many of the venues are already in place, and Scotland will surely put on a memorable show.

But such technical concerns often have less impact than political factors in the murky world of international sport. Africa had virtually been promised these Games, after South Africa agreed not to challenge Melbourne for the 2006 event. Had South Africa decided to bid this time, the result would surely have been different, but it's got the rather bigger prize of the 2010 football World Cup.

So, it was Nigeria that attempted to become the first African host of the Games, and despite the large African contingent in the Commonwealth, it seems the country's atrocious human rights record was one of the main reasons why it failed. Cynics might say both Nigeria and Scotland held dodgy elections this year, but Nigeria's disgraceful treatment of homosexuals and women are just the most well-known of the reasons why it shouldn't be allowed the prestige of hosting such an international occasion. It's an outcome that should be cheered, not just by Glaswegians, but by everyone.

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