If there was ever a day which evidenced the extremes of money in sport, then it was last Monday. Firstly we had the Indian Premier Cricket League auction which saw England's star all-rounder, Ben Stokes, sold for £1.7 million. Perhaps more surprising was Tymal Mills (who?) being sold for £1.4 million, only two years after retiring due to a congenital back condition. On the assumption that he plays in all the seventeen games his team, The Royal Challengers Bangalore, would need to play to win the tournament, Mills will be paid a staggering £3,413 for each ball he bowls. Then at the other end of the finance spectrum, Monday also saw the announcement that UK Sport had rejected the funding appeals from seven sports (including Badminton and Wheelchair Rugby) for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic cycles. To put UK Sport's decision into some context, Stokes and Mills' combined salaries for their up to seven weeks 'work' in India is the same as the £3.1 million funding that Wheelchair Rugby was seeking. To coin Ben Stokes' reaction to his auction price, "that's mental".
The words 'business rates' are usually enough to cause even the most avid Weekly reader to immediately hit the email delete button. However, with just over a month to go until the new rating list comes into force, it feels only right to consider what impact it will have. Starting on a positive note, three quarters of UK businesses will see their rates bill fall from 1st April. The bad news is that for the other 25% their bills will rise, with some London retailers reportedly going to see a whopping 400%. It is no wonder then that this week saw the pressure cranked up on Philip Hammond and Sajid Javid. Given the Treasury is expected to receive a £1bn surplus from business rates revenue and there is only one month to go, it seems highly improbable that any material or satisfactory changes will be made in time. The Chancellor announced on Monday that he was in "listening mode". He can pretty sure that most UK businesses will also be in listening mode when he delivers his Budget on 8th March.
Shrove Tuesday has creped (sorry!) on us again, the one day of the year when it is perfectly acceptable to throw food around the kitchen and load up on as much sugar as we physically can. Although some Weekly readers may not give a toss (sorry!), pancakes are now firmly associated with Shrove Tuesday, the day that marks the day before the start of Lent. If you are the competitive sort, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get your name into the record books, whether it be through pancake racing, pancake tossing or making the biggest pancake possible. The only problem is that the current records will take some beating (sorry!). For example, the record for the highest pancake toss is 9.47 metres, the largest number of pancakes tossed in two minutes is 349, whilst the largest pancake ever made and flipped measured 15 metres wide, 2.5 centimetres deep and weighed 3 tonnes! Flipping madness.