David Parkin on why sustainability is rubbish and looking for a bit of HUSH

IF there is one thing the powers that be in sport always do, it is exactly what they want.

And that’s because at the heart of every major decision in sport, money talks.

Well, it shouts so loudly that it drowns out any other voices to the point they are not heard.

Like common sense for instance.

The European football championships start today.

Delayed by 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic, the tournament has 24 teams, 51 matches and 11 host cities stretching across the continent, separated by 3,000 miles.

With the disruption and cancellation of so much sport over the last 14 months, fans are even more excited than usual ahead of this footballing jamboree called Euro 2020.

Yes, that’s right.

I know we are currently almost halfway through 2021 but the organisers, UEFA, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to keep the name of the tournament due to be played last summer.

I don’t know why.

Couldn’t they be bothered to change the logo?

Surely a graphic artist with a box of crayons could have come up with a clever alternative logo.

Certainly sentiment cannot have played a part in sticking with the original name of Euro 2020.

I don’t know anyone who looks back on 2020 with particularly fond memories.

A month after it decided on a year-long delay to the tournament in March last year, UEFA announced that the tournament would not be renamed after lengthy discussions with their partners who decided that it wasn’t worth creating more waste by producing more branded material to reflect the fact the tournament is happening in 2021 – not 2020.

“This decision allows UEFA to keep the original vision of the tournament, which was set to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the European Football Championship (1960–2020)”, a statement from UEFA said.

“It will furthermore serve as a reminder of how the whole football family came together to respond to the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, and of the difficult times that Europe, and the world, had to go through in 2020.

“This choice is in line with UEFA’s commitment to make UEFA EURO 2020 sustainable and not to generate additional amounts of waste.”

“A lot of branded material had already been produced by the time of the tournament’s postponement. A name change for the event would have meant the destruction and reproduction of such items.”


If you believe that excuse, you’ll believe anything.

I struggle to buy the “sustainability” argument from an organisation whose top brass will be jetting across Europe over the next month swilling champagne and troughing canapes while their coffers are swelled by sponsorship money from global corporations and over-priced tickets flogged to football fans.

If you want a cock-eyed view of the world then have a look through football’s lens.

Does keeping 2020 in the title really illustrate how the “whole football family” came together to respond to Covid-19?

I’ve seen very little evidence of how those at the top of football care about those further down the pyramid.

Like the supporters for example.

Or those playing grassroots football on school fields and recreation grounds across the continent.

When it comes to operating as a family, football’s authorities could teach the Corleones a thing or two.

I think it is more about UEFA delivering their commitment to their sponsors while also being hellbent on celebrating the 60th anniversary of its European tournament, even if it is doing that in the 61st year.

None of this should detract from the hope that the tournament is a resounding success with free-flowing football played in front of fans for the first time in many months.

When it comes to sustainability, the football authorities have it nailed.

Us fans will continue to watch matches even though the costs are rising.

And those at the top of football will continue to make even more money.

Now that’s really sustainable.


HAVE you heard about the new VIP club in Leeds called HUSH?

I doubt it, because the new venue, which only has capacity for 70 people, opened last month with 100 exclusive gold membership cards given to a carefully handpicked selection of Leeds glitterati, including sportspeople, TV personalities and influencers.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t one of them.

This new venue is in Hirst’s Yard above Mook bar and next to the Dollhouse.

In fact, I think it was the bar where Suits and Vinyl used to hold their events.

That was the brainchild of Dave Jones of Reward Finance and Simon Palmer of Garbutt + Elliott where members of the Yorkshire finance and legal community turned up with their favourite records at a Leeds bar.

I went a few times and quite enjoyed myself, despite not being able to claim I am a music aficionado.

In fact, the last record I bought was Sinitta’s So Macho.

I had the 12-inch version.

Leave it missus.

Suits and Vinyl wasn’t only a place to learn about music and make contacts in the Leeds business community.

One law firm used to encourage their trainees to attend.

The thinking was that if they could negotiate a room full of boozed up financiers and accountants, then handling high-level business deals would be child’s play.

Anyway, after that little bit of reminiscence, back to HUSH.

The intimate new bar is described as having a “modern backdrop with hints of opulence and glamour”, after a £100,000 refurbishment.

It offers members private booths, table service and a private dancefloor.

The venue also operates a no social media policy to ensure “what happens in Hush, stays in Hush”.

I can already see two problems.

The first is that there is no track record for a private club to succeed in Leeds.

Remember Teatro?

That was the VIP venue launched by former Leeds United footballer Lee Chapman and his actress wife Lesley Ash.

Despite their sporting and showbiz connections and the fact that Leeds United were flying high in the Premier League, the venue lasted just a year before it went into liquidation.

Twenty years ago they also promised the cash-rich upwardly mobile of Leeds a place to rub shoulders with the glitterati where mobile phones and cameras were not welcome.

It didn’t work then and I’m not sure it will work now.

And the second reason I don’t think it will work is that today’s young people thrive on being seen on social media.

Surely if you prevent them taking selfies and being seen out in glamorous locations (OK, HUSH is a bar down a back alley in Leeds, but bear with me) then the place will be less rather than more appealing to them?

Just in case I do receive my exclusive black membership card for HUSH, I’m ready, willing and able to make a personal appearance to help it launch with a bang.

I’ll even take my So Macho record with me.

It’s not the original, just the seven inch version.

Have a great weekend.

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