Spot the balls

The madness begins. Lovely piece by Emine Saner in today’s Guardian. It seems that England’s spoilsport manager Fabio Capello has limited the access his players will have to their wives and girlfriends to one day after each game, with further restrictions should the team progress.

“There is a historic element that has become a kind of mythology in sport,” says Greg Whyte, professor of applied sport and exercise science at Liverpool John Moores University. “The Ancient Greeks believed that sex was detrimental in the build up to the Olympics – that it sapped energy, lowered test-osterone and reduced aggression. But research runs counter to this. There have been a few studies on sex before sport and they have shown it has no effect on performance. However, sleep quality is crucial in terms of performance and sex can enhance sleep, so therefore it may enhance performance.” Unless it’s preventing them getting any sleep.

But it seems that not all teams are facing a sex ban. Argentina’s team doctor Donato Villani was reported in the Sun (where else?) last week as saying:

“Sex is a normal part of social life and is not a problem. The disadvantages are when it is with someone who is not a stable partner or when the player should be resting.” It is very important, he notes, that “the action should not reverberate in the legs of the players.”

Quite so. I’m depressed about this. One of the most entertaining aspects of the last World Cup was the spectacle of the England Wags wandering like a cloud through a host of upmarket shopping malls.