British Prime Minister David 'footy' Cameron waded into the Luis Suarez debate, saying the Liverpool striker Luis Suarez sets “the most appalling example” to youngsters. Hear hear!
But his ham-fisted intervention in the world of football is far from being the most cringeworthy or embarrassing sporting act by a politician.
The Rundown lists some of the biggest clangers, although Newcastle fan Tony Blair’s infamous “sat behind the goals watching Jackie Milburn” clanger has since been shown up as an urban myth. Still, the ex-PM does make an appearance here, alongside his buddy George W Bush and successor Gordon Brown.
Obama has an off-day (or two)
Barack Obama is an accomplished basketball player but baseball is not one of his strengths, as you can see from this terrible attempt to pitch the first ball at the Washington Nationals 2010 season opener.
Despite his ability to shoot hoops, it seems Mr Obama does have the occasional off-day. Such as earlier this month, when he managed to shoot just two of 22 free-throw attempts during the White House’s Easter party. Maybe the stress of a rebellious House is taking its toll?
'Manly' Bush the cheerleader
Macho Texan cowboy George ‘Dubya’ Bush has always played up his sporting credentials, at one point being a co-owner of the Texas Rangers. But, while Bush can pitch ball better than Obama, in his youth he was not an adept athlete, channelling his enthusiasm by acting as a cheerleader for his high school and college teams. Manly.
Blair’s bad-hair day
Tony Blair may be cast as a serial liar for the rest of his days by some, but the aforementioned Jackie Milburn gaffe turned out to be a journalist misquoting a radio interview. However this footage of Blair playing head-tennis with former England boss Kevin Keegan is rather embarrassing – not because of any lack of ability, but on account of that terrible, Keegan-esque haircut.
Another former PM, then Chancellor, Gordon Brown backed England to host and win the 2018 World Cup (more on that later). This proved embarrassing for Brown, in part because of his string of awkward attempts to bond with the public, but mostly because he is Scottish. Later he backtracked, claiming "My ideal scenario is that Scotland play England in the final and Scotland win". Too little too late, big man.
London mayor Boris Johnson is renowned for his eccentric manner and outlandish statements, although he often strays into gaffe-territory. Not long before he became mayor, the Conservative MP took part in a charity football match as an English XI of ex-pros and celebrities took on a German equivalent. With England on the wrong end of a beating, Boris charged head-first into an opponent, drawing howls of laughter from both sides and a reputation that perhaps rugby is his sport of preference. Make your own minds up here:
It’s not all bad news for Boris though, as he sinks this flukey basketball trick shot while promoting the sport in London:
Much was made of Angela Merkel’s attempt to bond with Germany’s multi-cultural football team, as it came just after she had criticised the attitude of some immigrants. But The Rundown is not interested in her attempts to currywurst favour. No, all we care about is that somewhat sleazy manner in which she appears to be eyeing Mesut Ozil. What’s Turkish for ‘cougar’?
Vladimir Putin is renowned for his tough-guy image, regularly showing off his judo skills and often hunting, on a horse, bare-chested for the cameras. Grrr. But an awkward attempt to cash in on an Olympic gold medal for Russian judoka Tagir Khaibulaev drew criticism from opponents furious at his government’s crackdown on dissent. Alas the IOC’s strict rules on Olympic footage prevent us from showing this, but here are some photos of the incident.
Cameron cosies up to FIFA cronies
England were desperate to win the right to stage the 2018 World Cup, and were confident of their bid’s ability to compete with the likes of Russia. But, after incurring the wrath of FIFA members following British media coverage of alleged corruption at the beleaguered organisation, government officials – led by that man Cameron – launched a charm offensive that saw them entertain the likes of Sepp Blatter at Number 10, while now-disgraced CONCACAF official Jack Warner was invited for lunch. Maybe a brown paper envelope would have seen England fare better – in the end they got just one vote as FIFA’s delegates made clear their distaste at the country’s free media, instead plumping for the "famously ethical" Russia instead.
I’m oh so wonery (but great at golf, and anyone who says otherwise will be shot)
North Korea’s late, Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il claimed to have carded a 38-under 34 in a golf tournament, including 11 holes in one, making him the greatest player ever to tread North Korea’s only 18-hole course. His 17 bodyguards stood witness to the feat. It was reportedly his first attempt at the sport, and he went on to have an illustrious “career”, regularly hitting four holes-in-one per round.
Brazil president sucks at football
When you think of Brazil and football, images of multiple World Cup winning silky-skilled samba stars doing tricks on beaches immediately spring to mind. Brazil PM Dilma Rousseff dashed those preconceptions with a display of startling ineptitude as she toured the country’s 2014 World Cup stadia. Mrs Rousseff might say she is far too busy implementing social justice to worry about such trivial matters, but – like an Englishman being unable to down a pint – it’s pretty amusing nonetheless. We have a full blog post on that, it was deemed so amusing.
The sports minister who knows nothing about sport
In 2001, Richard Caborn was appointed sports minister but he didn’t seem to know anything about it. The Sheffield United supporter’s knowledge of football is reportedly solid, but after being cornered by Clare Balding he was forced to admit he knew “little or nothing” about Ascot and horse racing, did not realise Martin Johnson was the captain of the British and Irish Lions on their latest tour, and was stumped when asked to name any of the Queen’s Club semi-finalists other than Tim Henman, all of which were major events that week. He couldn’t even name any of Europe’s Ryder Cup side other than Colin Montgomerie – and this from a budding amateur golfer. Still, he put his football expertise to good use as part of England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup. Oh...
Jeremy Hunt’s flying bell
Another UK minister for sport, Jeremy Hunt, also embarrassed himself in a sporting context, although this was more Mr Bean than Jordan. After boring the world with his smug patter, Hunt was asked to wave a bell symbolising the start of the 2012 London Olympics. Unfortunately for him, the bell fell apart, sending shards of metal towards shocked bystanders. As Mr T would say, don’t worry, nobody got hurt, although Hunt’s subsequent gag about “Health and Safety” was cringeworthy to say the least.