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That's Not Cricket!

Entry 1320, on 2011-08-08 at 15:08:31 (Rating 4, News)

There's an old expression which is probably fairly well known in the parts of the world which still have a connection with the old British Empire. That is "that's not cricket!" and it means that something is not fair or not being done according to established rules.

Perhaps a more topical variation on the theme would be "that's not rugby" to describe the situation around the Rugby World Cup which is about to start here in New Zealand.

I like watching a good game of rugby as much as anyone else (well that's probably not literally true because I'm sure there are real rugby fanatics who enjoy it far more than me) but I've got to say I'm already sick of the nonsense which is emerging around the RWC and the actual competition hasn't even started yet!

So what sort of "nonsense" am I talking about? It's mostly to do with the blatant commercialism which has steadily crept into sport. Anyone who reads this blog will know that I don't have a lot of tolerance for corporate greed and I am totally skeptical of the rise of corporations, globalisation, and neo-liberal economics.

But what does this have to do with the RWC? Quite a lot actually. I plan to ignore the whole event as much as possible, just like I ignored that other travesty which passed for news recently: the royal wedding.

OK, so what are my specific objections? There are many but I want to discuss three in particular here which are representative of the overall problem.

First, there is the current issue of the price of All Blacks replica rugby jerseys. These sell in New Zealand for $220, about double he price of the same item in the US. That is bad enough but we know the people who manufacture these items are paid about 60 cents an hour. That is obscene and the silly excuses offered by Adidas just don't hold up to any real scrutiny.

It's an example of the worst in global corporate exploitation and the All Blacks should have nothing to do with it. But they rely on corporate sponsorship to pay their excessive salaries so I suppose they don't have a choice. Well I guess greed and lack of moral values is what business is all about but is it really what we expect from sport?

Second, there is how so many aspects of life in New Zealand have been rearranged for the convenience of this one event. For example the first school term has been extended and the last term reduced. This inconveniences both teachers and students and many think it will lead to inferior learning but apparently that doesn't matter compared with a few big companies making some extra cash from this so-called sporting event.

Extra building has been undertaken, transport has been re-arranged, and numerous other unnecessary projects have resulted from the RWC being run here. Could this extra expenditure not be used elsewhere? The government keeps telling us how little spare cash they have for health and education but apparently that isn't a factor when it comes to subsidising big corporations.

Finally there is the sickening marketing associated with the RWC. Private police forces will be employed to make sure there is no sign of any brands competing with the official sponsors anywhere near the venues. The event and the All Blacks seem to have an official product of every type imaginable. Marketing is a sick pursuit at the best of times (I often call marketing executives "profesional liars") but this has just taken the phenomenon to a whole new level of depravity.

Surveys show a distinct rejection of the RWC by many New Zealanders. Only 37% were looking forward to the games according to one recent survey. In a country where rugby is supposedly so well supported this does show how public acceptance of the modern treatment of sport has dropped.

But when the games start I'm guessing most people will watch at least some of them and it will be hard to avoid them as a topic of conversation. But I still say it's just not cricket!

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Comment 1 (2920) by SBFL on 2011-08-09 at 11:11:20:

Be aware that probably because NZers are so rich relative to the rest of the world we can afford to fork out more for our materialistic desires. You call it an "an example of the worst in global corporate exploitation" but I say boo hoo to those who can't afford what they don't need. Other than that they can just use their consumer purchase choice and buy online.

"The government keeps telling us how little spare cash they have for health and education"..Hmmm, maybe those who complain about the price of a jersey could instead spend that money on....health and education!! Now, there's a thought, people spending money on their own/family health and education. What a crazy idea!

"Extra building has been undertaken..." = local jobs.

"Surveys show a distinct rejection of the RWC by many New Zealanders. Only 37% were looking forward to the games ". This is probably right and another reason why we will never get the games here again. Maybe this is a good thing, maybe not, but I wonder if the same % will think the same in 20+ years when it is even more commercialised and globalised than it is now. We're a pack of whingers and lefties are leading the pack - never satisfied with what they have now.

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Comment 2 (2923) by OJB on 2011-08-09 at 21:56:18:

Are NZers richer than in the US where the jerseys are half the price? It's not so much paying out $220 that annoys me, it's more the fact that Adidas exploit an almost slave workforce in China then sell the item at this price. It really is immoral by any reasonable standard.

Unfortunately $220 doesn't go far paying for health and education. Those services need to be a community deal where the whole country helps pay for them through reasonable taxes organised by the government.

Those extra building jobs might be better utilised somewhere else, like.. ah let me think... Christchurch!

If we never get the games here again (and we probably won't) it will be because we don't have enough population to generate sufficient profit for greedy multinationals. No other reason at all. Whingeing is OK if it is justified. Obviously the left will do the most complaining under the current circumstances just like the right did when Labour were in charge.

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Comment 3 (2926) by SBFL on 2011-08-11 at 09:53:07:

I wonder what the demand for AB jerseys is in the US...and as I said I think its possible to buy AB jerseys online from offshore sites. If the wait for delivery is a problem, then I suggest the whingers reassess their priorities.

"Unfortunately $220 doesn't go far paying for health and education." - maybe not over a year, but surely it is still better spent there than on a AB jersey. For a low income earner it would go reasonably far for some medication, doctors visits, or some extra-curriculum education.

Yep, I am sure Cantabrians would like AMI Stadium/Lancaster Park fixed up. But in other venues I am sure the new work is appreciated by many.

I agree the main issue is our lack of population. But this is a fact and the whingers can zip it (or rather they should enjoy it this one last time). Time zone may be a factor for the advertisers, rather than population. You call them "greedy" but their interest and subsequent payments go a long way for the game, one reason why the bleeding to Rugby League has stopped (and even somewhat been reversed). Even at local club level sponsors have been sought for all memory. I honestly don't see the RWC as a political issue. I recall it was brought here under a Labour administration. Whatever influence they had is appreciated (apparently by only 37%, but also by me! and I don't even live in NZ!).

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Comment 4 (2931) by OJB on 2011-08-11 at 12:49:56:

I believe Adidas is shutting down sales from the internet sites selling to NZ. I don't have much sympathy for people who complain because ether can't afford a jersey. As you said: just don't buy one. What I am concerned about is the corporate greed and immorality of a company who sells an item for that much then pays their employees 60 cents an hour.

Yes Adidas support sport because it's good for their business. More greed. I want them to pay their employees (whether direct or indirect) a reasonable wage. No matter how you look at it these corporates are greedy and immoral.

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