Contractual Obligation

I was going to write something a while back on the Cristiano Ronaldo saga at Manchester United. For those of you who aren’t fans of the “Red Devils” or the “Beautiful Game” – so aren’t au fait with the situation – Cristiano Ronaldo is the biggest, brightest, best superstar playing for arguably the biggest, brightest, best club in the world (well they’re European Champions, and back-to-back winners of the world’s best football league). The problem is, Cristiano doesn’t see things this way – he’d rather play for glamour club Real Madrid. Real pay their stars exorbitant wages and don’t really win anything – but they go into massive debt to buy players and mercilessly exploit their image rights to pay the interest. But I digress. Cristiano’s problem is that he signed a five year contract with Manchester United pretty recently. In the murky world of Football politics and contractual law – clubs can sell contracted players for “transfer fees” – essentially the longer the contract the higher the fee the club can receive. In fact, players can move clubs for free at the end of contracts (and sign with new clubs on free transfers in the final year of their contract with the transfer taking place upon expiry). It’s in the best interest of the club to sign players up for long term deals. Wage structures in these contracts often reflect “potential value” rather than actual. So a young player is offered a contract with a lot of zeros because the club wants to keep them for a long time – and if they see a chance to sell their star they get the best possible price.

The integrity of contracts is fundamentally important to the commercial survival of clubs. Some clubs in England survive, financially and competitively, by buying and developing young talent and onselling them to the top clubs at a profit. Sonny Bill Williams decision to disregard his contract with the Bulldogs has brought the contractual argument into the world of Rugby League. His case is distinct from the round ball game, and from Cristiano Ronaldo’s situation – in that he is switching across codes – rather than within a code. League also doesn’t have a transfer fee system, and it has a salary cap – which football (in the literary and global sense) doesn’t.

My take on both situations is that these players are being led astray by greedy “sports agents” – the antithesis to Jerry McGuire. Agents benefit greatly when their charges sign new contracts – they get massive commissions – 10% in the case of Cristiano Ronaldo’s proposed deal. They’re like leeches. They also are the ones that broker the legal side of sport’s contracts – and they advise their clients to sign on when perhaps it’s not in their best interest to do so.

A contract is a contract – and, sports clubs, and governing body such as the NRL – have every right to expect they be honoured. The FIFA (the global football body) President, who nobody really likes, came out and basically said Ronaldo (who is on millions of pounds per year) is essentially being treated as a slave – not particularly helpful (or politically correct) stuff from someone who is meant to be the game’s senior figure. NRL CEO David Gallop has been much more statesmanlike in his handling of the SBW situation. Although Gus Gould gave him a bit of a roasting for pretty much overseeing the death of Rugby League as we know it. I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on what this means for the game.

My friend Ben seems pretty convinced that the NRL needs to shrink (number of clubs) and expand (nationwide) which has been one option suggested by a few people. That’s probably an unfair summary of his argument – but I think he’ll email me to clarify when he’s read this, so I’ll leave it as is.


Monkey Business

This is really the craziest piece of legislation I’ve ever seen. Thanks Peter Singer.

clipped from www.smh.com.au

Don’t make a monkey of human rights

In Spain, a funny thing is happening on the way to the circus
— all the monkeys are disappearing. At least, that is what a
group of legislators on an environmental committee is hoping will
happen, now that the Spanish parliament is considering a resolution
to grant certain human rights to “our non-human brothers” – great
apes, gorillas, bonobos, chimpanzees and orang-utans.

The measure has broad support and, barring the unexpected, is
likely to become law within a year. After enactment, harmful
experimentation on apes, as well as their use for circuses,
television commercials and films, will be prohibited. It will be
legal for the 350 apes in Spanish zoos to stay there, but their
conditions will have to be drastically improved.

With a single stroke, Spain will also become the first country
to acknowledge unequivocally the legal rights of non-humans.

  blog it

Parents can be so cruel

I’m testing out a new “clipping” program that lets you highlight any paragraphs and send them straight to your blog. 

New Zealand has some pretty major issues when it comes to parenting. First smacking was outlawed – and now parents can’t give their kids stupid names. What happened to parental rights?

clipped from www.smh.com.au

A New Zealand judge has ordered a name change for an embarrassed
nine-year-old girl called Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii, a local
newspaper has reported.

Name change for Talula Does The Hula from Hawaii

  blog it

Very useful websites

I have been trawling the internet a little bit today – I’m in limbo on a couple of work related projects and I came across these two sites (well dad pointed me to one of them) – that are possibly the coolest sites on the internet. I can’t believe I hadn’t found them before. 

This one – is a series of step by step instructions to just about everything – from uber geeky through to ultra practical

This one – is mostly geeky but all about improving productivity and functionality of our tech filled lives. There’s also an Australian version

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The problem with this resurrection

Unlike the other more significant resurrection – which is massively more significant, and you should investigate it for yourself… I’m finding it hard to find inspiring topics.
I would happily write about coffee – roasting it, drinking it, tinkering with my massive machine (that incidently is up and running since last mentioned here)… but I don’t think it interests that many of my current readers.
I would happily write about the problems with the Catholic Church and World Youth Day – but that would just be a vehicle for my intolerance.
I would happily write about a Christian response to the “arts” – particularly in the context of the nude photo frenzy recently… but that would be slightly too far in the past to be edgy and current…
I would happily write about the new Batman movie – which I saw last night, which was excellent – but really, there are better film critics out there than me.
I would happily write about how the GST should be used to control inflation rather than interest rates – but I feel grossly unqualified to make the necessary economic arguments.
I would happily write about the Cristiano Ronaldo saga, and what I’d do with the 85 million pounds Manchester United would get for him.
I would happily write about how Manly sit atop the NRL table and are looking pretty good this year… but neither of those topics are all that interesting to anyone but me.
I would happily write about all the topics I could possibly write about but don’t feel inclined to – which I guess I’ve actually done.
I would happily write about how I could have simplified this post by using a colon.

So, in conclusion – I’m looking for inspiration, topic requests, things people like to read about that are consistent with what I like to write about…

I feel like chicken tonight

Just a few posts (and some months) ago I mentioned Heather Mills tireless campaign on behalf of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (why aren't they called PFTETOA?) – well, not to be outdone, everybody's favourite bimbo Pam Anderson has waged in with her own cause du jour – the treatment of chickens by global burger congomerate KFC.

Pam – who has been residing in the Big Brother House as a "celebrity guest" – is going to use her new found fame and reputation to bring the poulty plight of these poor hens to the world stage. It turns out KFC is cruel to chickens… not only that… they actually kill them and fry them in oil. Who'd have thunk it?

"I've been in Australia filming Big Brother House, in which my housemates and I are confined and sealed off from the outside world, much like the chickens who are crammed inside barns for KFC," the letter reads."

I think she meant "crammed inside buns"

Of mice and men

I’ve never read the John Steinbeck novel I stole this title from – but in a piece of fact from the “stranger than fiction” category – this story just has me scratching my head.

New research from Brazil is pushing the boundaries on human fertility. I know this is a major issue for infertile couples – but surely there are boundaries to scientific research – or at least there should be.

“Our data indicate that the mouse can yield human sperm cells,” said Irina Kerkis of the Roger Abdelmassih clinic and research centre in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Science, like the arts – who are in the midst of their own “boundaries” debate, is a wonderful tool for helping people understand the world around us – and for making life better and more comfortable.

This advance – like many others – comes at a cost. What do you do with the family tree following the application of this research? Is it a reverse Stuart Little? Only with the mouse not actually talking? Do you keep, and pamper the mouse for as long as you both shall live in recognition of its unique place in the family structure? I don’t know – and they seem like stupid questions to be asking, on the back of some pretty stupid research.

My problem with science – and its approach to tackling undoubtably serious issues like curing diseases, healing the sick and helping the barren conceive – is that it tries to fight of the inevitable and creates false hopes, and false securities. Nature is by its very nature natural. There is a place for the natural order of things, as a Christian I see this place as coming under God’s authority – and that forms the basis of some of my objections. Stem cell research falls in the same moral boat – it’s great for those who want to preserve life (arguably at the expense of others) but this is fundamentally selfish. Why do we seek to preserve life? If overpopulation is a pressing concern – and it seems to be one for the sustainability lobby sector – shouldn’t we subscribe to the James Bond theory of “live and let die.” Seeking to prolong life by whatever means necessary ultimately cheapens life and is a real life example of the drowning man clutching at straws.

12,000,000 killer bees?

Robyn particularly likes the “200 Killer Wasps” Toyota ad. She laughs every time it’s on.

In a case of life imitating advertising – a truck carrying 12 million “endangered bees” sparked local panic in Ontario when it overturned. Most of the bees were recovered.

Bees play a vital role in US agriculture – and climate change is apparently killing them. According to the first article the US population only took this seriously when they realised Bees were responsible for a large component of their ice cream production.

With Global Warming happening ice cream will no doubt be in increased demand – so more freezers will be purchased, in turn emitting more greenhouse gases. The demise of the honeybee is a viscous viscious cycle.


Tim “I blog once a month, and I vote” Canavan obviously has no patience and ignored the time frame I gave for resurrecting this blog. His comment served as a prompter though – and I do plan to provide some new and interesting content in my inimitable style (although you’re welcome to try copying it Tim). I’m still toying with some ideas. I’d like to actually provide a rationale for reading my blog – not just have it as a forum for my rants and raves.

I probably won’t be as verbose as Mr Canavan, nor will I explore the serious theological issues he discusses – although, again, that is something under consideration – but probably in another context or forum.

I have spent a bit of time reading blogs recently and have decided I most appreciate those that offer actual advice, “how tos” and the like… especially food and coffee blogs – so some new posts will have that flavour. If you have any suggestions for topics I can throw my “investigative journalism” skills at let me know and I’ll probably do it.