Trying to salvage Conor Benn against Chris Eubank Jr was indefensible… but football is real cesspit ahead of boxing

    WHEN the story broke that Conor Benn’s failed drug test had been covered up and his fight with Chris Eubank Jr should  go ahead, there was an outbreak of media hysteria.

    A few of my more illustrious sportswriting colleagues claimed boxing is the  cesspit of sport, lower than a snake’s belly, and should be banned.

    Boxing's sordid saga of attempting to keep the Chris Eubank Jr vs Conor Benn on still leaves a sour taste in the mouth

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    Boxing’s sordid saga of attempting to keep the Chris Eubank Jr vs Conor Benn on still leaves a sour taste in the mouthCredit: Getty
    Football has its own league of shame, including ex-Fifa chief Sepp Blatter and former Uefa president Michel Platini being banned for eight years

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    Football has its own league of shame, including ex-Fifa chief Sepp Blatter and former Uefa president Michel Platini being banned for eight yearsCredit: AFP

    Those who desperately tried to salvage the Benn-Eubank clash were dangerously wrong and their actions indefensible.

    Along with former world champions Barry McGuigan, Carl Frampton, Tony Bellew and many others, I believe any fighter caught taking performance-enhancing drugs ought to be banned for life.

    But when it comes to dope scandals, the Noble Art comes way down the pecking order compared to other sports.

    So many track and field athletes have been found to have been popping pills, it is a  wonder the Olympics aren’t sponsored by Boots.

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    Drug-taking is rife in cycling, rugby, swimming and weightlifting. In horseracing, it’s arguable as to who ingests the most dope — the horses or the jockeys.

    You would have thought the wholesome sport of gymnastics, with its emphasis on youth, would be squeaky-clean.

    Yet it has a horrendous history of girls being mentally, physically and sexually abused.

    On Tuesday it was revealed 37 former gymnasts — including Olympians — are seeking financial compensation for alleged physical and emotional abuse.

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    Even cricket doesn’t escape censure as it has been seriously tainted by ball-tampering, match-fixing, betting scams and racism.

    But when it comes to sin and sleaze, it makes me wonder if football’s ancestral home must be either Sodom or Gomorrah.

    Premier League players have been discovered indulging in the kind of vile X-rated sexual behaviour that would make a pornographer blush.

    Some have become club managers and respected TV pundits since they were guilty of hiding cameras to film sex acts with women — and these are  men who are hero-worshipped by kids.

    Others have got their kicks by dogging — having sex with strangers in car parks. Quite a few have faced rape charges.

    The game is riddled with racism — on and off the field.

    And violence is never far from the surface. It has been reported 380 bans had been issued for players and coaches for attacking match officials at amateur matches.

    is there anyone outside Newcastle proud of the fact they are now owned by Saudis?

    Last Saturday the Merseyside Youth Football League cancelled all fixtures because of “multiple incidents of inappropriate and threatening behaviour”.

    Bribery and corruption are not unknown among those who run the game — Sepp Blatter, president of ruling body Fifa and Michel Platini, president of Uefa, were each banned for eight years for a conflict of interest.

    There have been so many question marks over next month’s World Cup taking place in Qatar — a country with an appalling human rights record.

    And is there anyone outside Newcastle proud of the fact they are now owned by Saudis?

    But perhaps by far the most infamous entries on football’s crime sheet are the dozens of cases over many years of sexual abuse inflicted on youth players by their coaches at several of this country’s most famous clubs.

    By the end of last year, 16 coaches had been charged with historical sexual abuse offences against boys — 14 were convicted and 11 were jailed.

    Boxing a cesspit sport? I rest my case, M’lud.

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