Matters of moment, November 1995

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Drawing distinctions

It has been a tragic month for sport in general. Boxer Jimmy Murray succumbed to injuries sustained in a bout in Glasgow. Brazilian teenager Marco Campos perished after an accident during the FIA Formula 3000 finale at Magny-Cours.

In the first instance, the usual cries of ‘ban boxing’ arose within hours, and boxing’s defenders – as is their wont – immediately pointed out that if boxing were to be banned, then so should sports such as motor racing.

Much as we sympathise with those who are simply trying to promote the interests of the business which gives them a living, we simply cannot accept that such comparisons are in any way valid.

And why has nobody yet jumped to motor racing’s defence?

It has not been pointed out in public, for instance, that there are rather obvious differences between the two sports. In motor racing, injuries are an occupational hazard. In boxing, the whole point of the contest is to render your opponent unconscious.

We are not about to make a value judgment on boxing. Those who participate know the risks, as do those who climb rocks, race cars or ski fast down mountains.

Our concern is simply that motor racing should not be drawn into any such debate. In order to defuse any such possibility, it is high time for the RACMSA, or even, preferably, the FIA, to point out to the world at large that while the consequences of motor racing can sometimes prove to be as tragic as those of boxing, the two sports do not, in any way, shape or form share the same basic intents.

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