Mystery deepens on Draper switch


Last updated at 09:49 07 July 2006

Lawn tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper's appointment continues to cause controversy even as he goes through the process of making his entire 120-plus workforce reapply for their jobs next week.

There is conflict between the LTA and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport over who, if anybody, had authorised in advance Draper's switch from Sport England to the top job in British tennis. Draper arrived at the LTA from Sport England in April without the post having been advertised or any kind of tender process having taken place following the departure of John Crowther.

During his time at Sport England, Draper had authorised a £9.3million grant for grass-roots development to the fabulously-rich LTA, who receive around £30m from the All England Club every year.

DCMS officials made enquiries afterwards but were told the LTA had satisfied their corporate governance procedures in their move for Draper.

The LTA camp now insist that Sue Street, permanent secretary at the DCMS, had discussed Draper's LTA job selection and the grant with both Sport England chairman Patrick Carter and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell before Draper's arrival at Queen's Club.

It is also alleged that Street had left other officials at the DCMS in the dark about the high-level summit on Draper's job switch.

The picture now becomes even murkier because the DCMS say neither Jowell nor Street approved or even knew about Draper's appointment in advance.

Andre Agassi has donated the outfit and shoes he wore for his final match at the Championships, against Rafael Nadal on Centre Court last Saturday, to the All England Club museum, where it will be put on display after the tournament.

The controversy over the agency qualifications of Andrew Murray's representative Patricio Apey has not gone away.

Rivals' claims — fiercely disputed by Apey — that he is an unlicensed football operator are supported by the fact that his name is neither on the official FIFA list alphabetically nor does it appear as one of the Chilean representatives.

Seeing red over Green

Allan Green, the Five Live commentator who polarises opinion like no other, has seen his popularity among the station's staff working at Wimbledon hit a new low.

Green's commentary on the France v Portugal World Cup semi-final was briefly interrupted to inform listeners that No 18 seed Marcos Baghdatis had defeated Lleyton Hewitt to reach the semi-finals in one of the upsets of the tournament. Green's ironic response — 'I won't be able to sleep now' — infuriated his colleagues who felt he was dismissing Wimbledon as an irritating irrelevance.

Green was on safer territory when he described Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo in the same match as 'an annoying little prat'.

Wimbledon is never the same without some sort of sexual shenanigans taking place there and this week's lost property ledger included a sex aid, complete with extra batteries, that was left wrapped in a sock in the gentlemen's toilets on Court No 1.

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