27 AUGUST 1927, Page 13


Every athletic association in Britain is agog over the decision of the Olympic Council to allow amateur players at next year's Olympic meeting at Amsterdam to receive money for " broken time." We have this extraordinary position that the Olympic Council, set up to universalize the amateur spirit, has become, in the eyes at least of many British football players and rowing men and athletes, a devil's advocate, an agent for the pseudo-amateur. Personally I think the original Olympic idea was a mistake. In some countries there are no professionals, because professionalism does not pay. In others professionalism, as in English cricket, comes near to being a noble profession. I mean that the " pro " (for example, among writers, Mr. A. E. Knight, author of The Complete Cricketer) is or may be a pillar of the sporting spirit, a Sarah Battle who stands for " a clean hearth and the rigour of the game." It was not perhaps impossible to arrange an inter- national meeting where the whole distinction should be wiped clean out and the best. man be allowed to win, whatever his social standing or method of making a livelihood. As things are, there is no equivalence of amateurism at the Olympic Games. But that is a wider question. In the immediate reference it is sufficient to say that the decision of the Olympic Council does not square with British definitions in two of the most British sports—Rugb football and rowing ; or rather less emphatically in Association football and athletics proper ; nor with the original idea of the revived games.