I want to start out by congratulating the England team on their performance on Wednesday against Slovenia. It was a much improved performance and they thoroughly deserved their win.
There is definitely a touch of inevitability about the draw for England from here. Germany next, then a chance of Argentina in the next round. It certainly evokes memories of World Cups past. You always remember where you were for the big games don’t you? I will certainly never forget watching the 1990 semi final on a shaky TV feed whilst stationed abroad in the army, willing that Chris Waddle penalty in!
I was at Wimbledon yesterday for the visit of HM The Queen. She received a fantastically warm welcome and Andy Murray played wonderfully well afterwards. Amidst all the gloom, it sometimes pays to remember just how well we lay on so many major international sports events. Wimbledon really is something special and works so well that it is all too easy to take it for granted.
Next week is another busy one starting with a major announcement about an Olympic and Paralympic-style school sport competition to deliver more competitive sport in schools. I’m a great believer in competition for all, not just for those picked first in the playground and this is what this announcement will be about. It’s good timing because Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week also begins on Monday, and on Tuesday morning I will be visiting a school in Eltham, with the Youth Sports Trust, to meet youngsters playing sport, support this excellent initiative and see first-hand how it is benefitting the students at the grassroots.
During the week, I’ll also be holding meetings on a range of issues including Olympic Lottery funding, London 2012, an update on progress on the Olympic Park and various internal meetings. The end of week is pretty much on hold though, because if England beat Germany, I will be travelling to South Africa on Thursday to support the team in the Quarter Final and meet again with Fifa members to talk about our 2018 bid. It’s important we continue to engage with sport on an international level, and make sure we continue to present our bid in the most thorough and positive way. The week after, the IOC are in town for their vital co-ordination visit – so it is exceptionally busy. We may also be in the semi finals by then………….