Maximum Impact 14.07.06

CONGRATULATIONS TO those responsible for staging the World Cup. Everyone I know and spoke to, press and public alike, had nothing but praise for the way it was organised and for the friendly, efficient approach of the officials, police and German people. From a PR perspective it was a great triumph for Germany and the perfect example of how to arrange and stage an event of this magnitude.

Massive coverage will be given at the start of the new season to Premiership divers. Zidane's sending off has dominated the media, but the other main talking point was the diving, clearly demonstrated by Ronaldo and many others. As an ardent football fan, I've observed how this activity has increasingly crept into the British game in recent years. So how can it be stopped?

With TV, it's easy to spot at home, though nigh on impossible for the ref. The FA should appoint an official to study this ever-increasing evidence with TV replays. Players should then be punished when shown guilty. Currently those who dive know they have a good chance of getting away with it. The Italians only beat Australia with a blatant dive and look what they went on to achieve. If a player knows it's virtually certain he'll be caught and punished, this deception will be quickly brought under control. With the help of the blanket TV coverage, the FA can stamp this out of the British game.

I HAD a lively, good-natured banter with political journalists when I addressed the Press Gallery lunch at the Commons on Tuesday. In the past 17 years I've averaged one political scandal per year. In the past 12 months there have been two that I've been involved with, Mr Blunkett and Mr Prescott, with potentially a third coming soon.

Almost without exception these scandals originated from those on the same side politically and/or those closest to the person exposed.

Incidentally, we've also got a naughty but nice Royal story which we are deciding whether to stop or break.

MCA has received touching letters from Danny Biddle, Rachel North and other survivors of the 7/7 London bombings for representing them through a multitude of press, radio and media interviews in recent weeks.

Rachel said: "A million thanks to MCA for what you've done to look after us and make sure that what we actually said appeared in the media."

Danny added: "You took all the media pressure away from me and made something I was dreading so very easy."

What is infuriating for Danny is that not once in this past year has anyone from the Home Office had the decency to meet him face to face. Too many questions remain unanswered and the Government's attitude has left many survivors and victims feeling let down.

The fee for this column is donated to the Rhys Daniels Trust

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