Normally I don’t take much interest in sports. The only exception is an occasional snooker match or a tennis match where there is skill and strategy but with enough action to keep things moving..
So last evening I found myself caught up in watching the cliff-hanger Wimbledon match between Andy Murray and Marcos Baghdatis. The thing about tennis, at that level, is that a match can be over quickly or last for hours as each player struggles to gain that all important two game lead. By mid evening the two were neck and neck then Murray pulled ahead, creating a situation that if he could maintain and enlarge that lead to take the next set then the game would be over relatively quickly, but if Baghdatis could pull level it would mean another set.
As the match became more and more exciting, with the audience on the edges of their seats, the realisation struck that the club had an 11pm curfew, so regardless of the situation, irrespective of the state of the game, play would have to halt at 11pm.
My reaction is what the f**k is going on here? We have one of the leading world tennis tournaments, being televised around the world, a nail-biting play situation and everyone is being told that play must stop at 11pm because there is a licence curfew and/or health and safety ruling – I never made sense of which – that would not allow play to continue.
London is trying to sell itself as the leading world city for sports, with Wimbledon leading quickly into the Olympics. We are meant to be a go ahead, lively, modern society. And what’s the message being sent to the world. That we are such a load of children and so under the thumb of authority that the council won’t allow us out at an event after 11pm!
With pubs and clubs a curfew to save the neighbours noise and disturbance on a regular night makes sense, but for a local council to have such control and allow no exceptions for a national flagship event is a completely ridiculous situation.
As for the Wimbledon club, why nobody had the balls to set all the clocks back an hour then dare the council to send in the police or ban next years' event I just don’t know.
Words fail me!