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kabloemski

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Question re sports teams with a specific vocation
« on: October 31, 2012, 13:31 »
Has the topic of teams with a specific vocation been discussed on the forum in the past? This tweet made me think "@friebos: Shame but always inevitable that Euskaltel would have to ditch all Basque policy. Athletic Bilbao did it, Real Sociedad, Yorkshire cricket.."
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  • Hey, Bart! Your epidermis is showing!

    kabloemski

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    Feeling a bit political today... I had a bit of a discussion with my brother regarding this today - he's been an Inter Milan fan since 1987, and mentioned that he specifically liked their policy of inclusivity (Internazionale) as opposed to that which AC seemed to have for years.

    I'm not quite sure how I feel about it, to be honest. Saw this tweet today:

    "@AlvarRios: @friebos here's the sports philosophy of Athletic Club: second paragraph,the grey one. http://t.co/7vwTq6pq"

    And then a brief Google search resulted in the following
    http://inrng.com/2012/10/the-end-of-euskadi/

     "@inrng:
    Quote
    the end of euskadi With new sponsorship secured for several years, a plan in place and fresh management the future of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team is secure.

    Yet in order to survive the team is changing so much that its identity and attitude could be gone. A team famous for its attacking style could now end up with the soul of a spreadsheet and the spirit of a rulebook.


    Over the years the Basque team has been visible and it’s not just the bright jerseys. Often in a breakaways, the team’s riders have animated many a race. Whilst Samuel Sanchez and Igor Anton have been bigger names, the squad has always been one of the most modest in financial terms and has had to take risks to win, placing men in breakaways has been a routine strategy. This year Ag2r went the longest without a win but last year it was Euskaltel-Euskadi. Over the years wins have been slim. Here is the chart for how many wins they have taken each year:



    The team also had a clear identity. Again it’s not just the orange kit. In a world where teams represent laminate flooring or bottled gas, this team had a regional vocation as the team only recruited riders from the Basque region, or at least those with close connections. A proud and wealthy part of Spain – complete with violent secessionists too – the Basque region has a strong tradition of cycling and is one of the hotbeds of Spanish cycling. The team arose out of this twin tradition: regional identity and cycling popularity. First created in 1994 it has been sponsored by Basque firms like Orbea bikes and Euskaltel, a local telecoms firm as well as a fan-based subscription system plus funding from the Basque regional government.

    It couldn’t last forever. Teams with a specific vocation often seem unsustainable, whether it was the vegetarian Linda McCartney team or the diabetic Team Type 1 squad which is scaling back its ambitions for the years ahead. It’s time to quote di Lampedusa’s famous line from Il Gattopardo:

    “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change“

    In order to stay in the top tier of teams the team is having to change its ways. Gone is the policy of regional recruitment as the team hires riders from well beyond the reason. In some ways this is fine, few employers are allowed to hire on the basis of an accident of birth; imagine if, say, Apple only hired Californians. The shake-up means the team has secured €40 million in sponsorship for the next four years, impressive given the economic crisis in Spain. But it can no longer rely solely on local recruitment, the team is now signing foreigners. It marks a big change in what was once the de facto team for the Basque region and for some, an aspiring Basque nation. New joiners like Russia’s Sacha Serebreyakov will be in for a shock.

    But this is only one change. Now the team is following the recruitment-by-spreadsheet policy deftly used by Ag2r last year and hiring riders for their points haul. Take Ricardo Mestre, a Portuguese rider who won his home tour in 2011. It’s a big race but Mestre is 30 and not had many other wins, he is no talent to develop. Instead he comes with points. A deal wasn’t signed but the team tried to hire Oscar Freire on the deal where he could still enjoy retirement, all whilst lending his UCI points to the team.

    The dash for points is not too surprising, the team have spent the latter half of the season trying to hunt down points and in a way if they get relegated we could trace the moment back to Liège-Bastogne-Liège when Igor Anton fell in the neutral start and broke his collarbone, ending a crucial chance to score points in the spring and early summer.

    Now recruitment is being directed towards foreigners with points rather than Basque riders with attitude. Amets Txurruka was told he wouldn’t get a contract so he’s joining Spanish team Caja Rural, the kind of rider you’d think the team would hold on to. And the worry is that hiring riders for their past points doesn’t do any good. See how Ag2r fared this year with just four wins all season and now they’ve executed a total change by hiring exciting riders like Domenico Pozzovivo and Carlos Betancur who, even if they might not fit in, provide fireworks. Indeed new team manager Igor González de Galdeano says hunting foreigners for their points is a temporary solution, telling Biciclismo the signing of non-Basques “is nothing more than a transitional phase” and that they could revert if the local talent comes through.


    Basque in the glory
    Finally a note to say the changes are to the pro team. The underlying Fundación Euskadi will continue to support Basque cycling, fulfilling the role it has done for the past 20 years.

    Conclusion
    Never the strongest team, Euskaltel-Euskadi compensated with hi-viz kit and long-range attacks. But there’s only so much this could achieve, without a sprinter wins have been scarce and they’ve been especially reliant on Samuel Sanchez for success. The result? They’re fighting Saxo Bank to avoid relegation from the UCI World Tour. Like a hot air balloon where the passengers are cutting loose the ballast sacks to stay up in the air, Euskaltel-Euskadi is jettisoning its identity to stay in the sport. Or if not throwing it away, diluting it.

    The team has always been changing. It ditched the Basque flag for the orange colours of sponsor Euskaltel but the plans for 2013 mark a fundamental change. We should salute the innovation shown by management and sponsors to keep the team going, happily the squad’s financial problems appear to be behind them. And also recruitment based on birthplace is a form of discrimination that, if not outrageous, can be questioned. But it’s time to mark the passage of an old way and observe how a traditional team is trying to stay afloat in an era of rising team budgets. Maybe this is not the end of the Euskadi spirit in pro cycling but we have seen the final year of the old format."

    Sammy (who I used to LOVE) Sanchez' recent comments about USADA witnesses not being credible since they were non-European smacks of xenophobia and really left a bad taste in my mouth. I dunno, I guess some feedback would we welcome :-)
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  • « Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 14:36 by Dim, Reason: added quotes to IR article. »

    ram

    About the counties, all counties had a residency law for many years. Yorkshire continued it till the nineties where players born in Yorkshire, but not necessarily Yorkshiremen were eligible to play for the county. One of the examples being Craig White. They wouldn't have signed Michael Vaughan had the rule been in place.

    KS Ranjitsinhji was the first Indian to play in England for a county team. He resided for a few years in Sussex before finally becoming eligible for them and even that wasn't without its problems.

    It's noble, but not sustainable in the current sporting establishment. And about the Basque, I've got no flipping clue to be honest, we've got bigger unique identities and badder separatist elements to worry about than them.
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  • cj2002

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    I think this is a really interesting conundrum, and one which you see in other sports as well.

    In Rugby Union, both the English and Welsh RFUs have imposed selection restrictions which effectively isolate any English or Welsh player plying his trade outside of his home country (and a number of extremely talented individuals have chosen France for a number of reasons - including financial).

    Meanwhile in an attempt to stall the dilution of domestic talent pools, Football's authorities have imposed selection requirements, whereby a proportion of a team's squad must be "home-grown" for a number of years.

    What is interesting in these situations, and Euskaltel's, is that this flies in the face of European employment law (you said you were feeling political  ;)). Freedom of movement across the EU is set-up that EU citizens have equal right to work in any member state. Which means that it could potentially be argued that forbidding non-Basque/non-English players/riders, or requiring a proportion of one nationality and thereby restricting choice of employees, is in breach of European law and it is good that any cyclist who is good enough (ignoring the UCI points system for a moment) can join a team in the top tier of world cycling.

    From a sentimental standpoint, though, it is sad. Pro-cycling, unlike most other sports, doesn't have a real local connection. In England, and across Europe, every town however small has a football team, and people will tend to have a soft-spot for their local team. I regularly shun the 20,000 spectators at Harlequins to join the 800 at my local rugby club. So for the Basque "nation", to have a team which represents the area and the people must have been great. The question would be, I suppose, which is more important...

    Would you - as a Basque - rather have a team that is entirely made up of Basque riders, but in the ProConti ranks and without invitations to the biggest races, or one where the sponsors and staff are predominantly Basque, but who are guaranteed a spot in the big leagues by being a little more flexible?

    PS - correct me if I'm wrong, ram, but doesn't English cricket still have a restriction on the number of foreign players in a team? Until fairly recently, there was only 1 foreigner allowed in each county, I think...
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  • He shook his head sadly and told me that endemic drug use had compelled him to give up a promising career. "Even one small local race, prize was a salami, and I see doping!" - Tim Moore: Gironimo (Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy)

    Dim

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    PS - correct me if I'm wrong, ram, but doesn't English cricket still have a restriction on the number of foreign players in a team? Until fairly recently, there was only 1 foreigner allowed in each county, I think...

    Pretty sure english cricket still has that restriction.

    British rugby does is division 1 and division 2, but not in three i dont think. Dont know what it is, just remember from talking to an overseas player for Exeter that they have limits.

    Theres two reasons for the restrictions, and different sports have different reasons. Theres restrictions to protect the developement of the sport within the country, for instance the premier league and homegrown players, protecting the development of british youngesters, although it also as well protects other leagues by meaning rich leagues just cant raid entire countries of strong players, and then theres the identity side of it used by Euskaltel.

    I personally dont have a problem with Euskaltel hiring non basque riders, but I do think they should be careful about who they hire. they should be riders who fit in the ethos of basque riding, immerse themselves totally in the culture of the team. I wouldnt want to see them signing Cavendish, Renshaw, and Henderson just to ensure world tour points.
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  • kabloemski

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    Thanks cj :-) Tricky one, I'll have to mull it all over some more.
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  • ram

    PS - correct me if I'm wrong, ram, but doesn't English cricket still have a restriction on the number of foreign players in a team? Until fairly recently, there was only 1 foreigner allowed in each county, I think...
    Difference being, at the turn of the 20th century any foreign player had to reside in said county for a few years to be eligible. Now there is a limit of 1 overseas player at any given time in county championship cricket and 2 over the course of the CC season (not including T20). This does not include Kolpak players (see Kolpak ruling and extrapolate it to South Africans or anyone with EU heritage).
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  • kabloemski

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    Thanks, Ram :-) Ranji's the book you recommended, hey?
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  • kabloemski

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    Quote from: ram link=topic=1374.msg1#msg1 date=1351693584 about the Basque..we got bigger unique identities and badder separatist elements to worry about than them.
    [/quote

    Yeah, I agree. The timing was just interesting cos my bro & I chatted about Inter and Athletic earlier, and then that Friebos tweet appeared on my TL, made me wonder.
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  • kabloemski

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    Hmmm, my phone just went app-sh*t not sure what happened there :-D #reversi
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  • kabloemski

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    Thanks, Dim! Yeah, I always kinda liked the 'Basqueness' of Euskatel myself. Anyway, lots cool info, guys, thanks :-D
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  • ram

    Thanks, Ram :-) Ranji's the book you recommended, hey?
    Yeah, but this part is well known. Not a secret as them were the rules.
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  • Zam

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    Feeling a bit political today... I had a bit of a discussion with my brother regarding this today - he's been an Inter Milan fan since 1987, and mentioned that he specifically liked their policy of inclusivity (Internazionale) as opposed to that which AC seemed to have for years.

    I'm not quite sure how I feel about it, to be honest. Saw this tweet today:

    "@AlvarRios: @friebos here's the sports philosophy of Athletic Club: second paragraph,the grey one. http://t.co/7vwTq6pq"

    And then a brief Google search resulted in the following
    http://inrng.com/2012/10/the-end-of-euskadi/

     "@inrng:
    Sammy (who I used to LOVE) Sanchez' recent comments about USADA witnesses not being credible since they were non-European smacks of xenophobia and really left a bad taste in my mouth. I dunno, I guess some feedback would we welcome :-)

    First thing first  Why would you support a milan club?  :p Palermo is where football is at and we have a colourful chairman who talks alot of sh*t ;D
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  • kabloemski

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    Yeah, but this part is well known. Not a secret as them were the rules.

    ? Not sure what you mean.
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  • kabloemski

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    First thing first  Why would you support a milan club?  :p Palermo is where football is at and we have a colourful chairman who talks alot of sh*t ;D

    :-D You're welcome to ask him, he's @SportswaveAndre on twitter.
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  • kabloemski

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    Yeah, but this part is well known. Not a secret as them were the rules.

    You mean everybody knows the rules? I don't.
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  • Zam

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    Okay, tell him i am following him... By the way Kablo or K Lo   ;D you should learn to laugh properly  :P
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  • kabloemski

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    I would love to but seems the Tapatalk app (I'm on iPhone at the mo) doesn't have emoticon function - is that what you mean..
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  • Zam

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    Yesm emoticons.
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  • kabloemski

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    I just tweeted Dave, he said to type them as :-D etc.. Bummer :-(
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  • kabloemski

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    First thing first  Why would you support a milan club?  :p Palermo is where football is at and we have a colourful chairman who talks alot of sh*t ;D

    PS I passed your message on...
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  • froome19

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    Annoyed about the English cricket rule, means that they get battered by other teams in the CL because the IPL teams are allowed more foreigners etc. also makes for more entertainment = more interest = more money = more investment..

    At least the IPL teams are equally rubbish atm..
    And some teams (aka. Lancs  :fp) do not even have the money to fill their quota of overseas players, County cricket is certainly a very different kettle of fish, as the money being passed around does not really allow for the sort of expansion that would facilitate an invasion of overseas players..

    And of course the premier league have introduced a similar system with its rules about teams having to have a minimum amount of homegrown players (or what qualifies for homegrown  ::)) in their teams, does not really effect most of the teams at the moment though, Chelsea were in trouble for a time if I recall though..

    Also Russian football leagues if I am not mistaken also have a restriction (I believe of 5/4 players) from overseas.. so highlights Anzhi's random spending as pointless..

    Now why dont the ECB see it that way? ::)
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  • RIP Keith

    ram

    Cos the CL means sweet flip all. There are no real Indian or Aussie teams. Even if you win, whether the prize money will make it to the club is another question. COuldn't give an arse about that tournament if Yorkshire won every match by 10 wickets or 100 runs if they didn't get promoted to division 1 simply because of 'CSK' and Sydney Sixer and not Tamil Nadu and NSW.

    It's not quite as simple as investment, entertainment and money. Don't have to go too far back to understand what I'm saying. Remember the bad old days when England were sh*te, sh*te beyond Zimbabwe, in the 90s. THere weren't many rules on counties then and the likes of Waqar, Wasim, Donald, Lara, Slats, all the best players played the CC. What happened? ECB coffers were empty, and it basically took Sky to bail them out completely to the place of rude health the ECB is in. ECB's money comes from the England cricket team. The county teams' money comes from the CC, not the Twenty20 cup, and as far as that goes their priority seems nailed on on the face of it. But this is discounting Kolpak and every team has to whore out monumentally to Kolpak.

    How many foreigners will you actually see in Indian domestic cricket or Australian or South African? None in the Ranji trophy, don't think there are any in the Sheffield Shield and can't remember any in the Currie cup either, as of now. Who was the last overseas player to play Ranji cricket? Was supposed to be Jermaine Lawson but that fell through

    As for Lancs, it's your own fault for building the ugly red block and turning the pitch. Those are expenses that will take years to recoup. And next year, they might want to look to sign a batsman instead of having a team of 7 bowlers.
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  • Arb

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    Redbacks are captained by the chucka, ram.

    Cricket it's a bit different as there is a development role to play, from the clubs to the first class level much of it should be about finding and developing the talent in that area.

    Euskaltel not so much, honestly I don't feel sorry for them. Orbea is more important.
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  • ram

    Oh yeah, I got confused in that SA were not a FC team ;)
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