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Signoff: David Taylor

IT HAS BEEN an exciting time for sports fans everywhere, what with the Fifa World Cup Final in Berlin, the men's singles final at Wimbledon and the ETwA London Open tiddlywinks tournament at University College, London, all in the same weekend.

I don't know whether it's the ad renaline rush of spor t ing excellence or what, but I tell you I'm all fired up now about the huge construction opportunity that is the 2012 Olympics.

I was listening to someone talking on the radio about this and they were talking about the last Olympics, in Athens. We all smirked about the lazy Greeks and their slap-dash approach to stadium building didn't we? But by God , they pulled it off - and good luck to them.

But this fellow wasn't talking up the British construction industry. Far from it. He was saying how useless our construction industry was and that, if Wembley was anything to go by, it would all end in tears. Silly bugger. Of course Wembley isn't anything to go by - it's the Australians building that, not the Brits.

ACTUALLY, you have to admit that Wembley is a bit of an embarrassment. Sport, like any other sector of the entertainment business, is all about bums on seats. And at Wembley, bums there are none - with the except ion of those actually building it.

I always thought that 'getting bums on seats' meant establishing a revenue stream - which of course it does.

Only at Wembley, though, can the absence of bums bring even more heartbreak.

In this case, bumlessness has left the seating exposed to the sun, with the result that the seats have faded and must be replaced at huge cost.

Wembley is, as I say, an exceptional case. These days, we Brits can usually solve our disputes in an amicable and civilised manner. Which is why you wouldn't see David Beckham - or even Wayne Rooney - nutting an opponent in the chest for calling his mother an 'absinthe-sodden madame who doesn't know her boules from her bouillabaisse'. Yes, I have a Grade A Italian GCSE and my lip-reading ability really is that good.

In the case of the French footballer Zinédine Zidane, there was clearly no attempt at alternative dispute resolution last Sunday, despite there being several thousand willing adjudicators in the crowd. But then tempers always fray when the programme overruns and the project moves into extra time.

I HAD a gut feeling that Italy would win Sunday's World Cup final - we had spaghetti bolognaise for dinner that night. But I wasn't going to bet on the outcome, because I don't bet.

Plenty of people do, of course, and to cater for them, the Government is planning to allow a huge super-casino to be built in the UK.

Already, one deputy prime minister has gambled with his political future by getting too close to the most likely developer, Millennium Dome owner Philip Anschutz.

How many more careers are going to be damaged by this unhealthy addiction? If you have any doubt that this is unhealthy, I would refer you to the case of poor Bryan Benjafield, a lowly 23-year-old book-keeper with Dorset contractor Charminster.

Mr Benjafield is a betting man and he's had the most awful run of bad luck. Unable to kick his online betting habit, Mr Benjafield has frittered away £1 million and has nothing to show for it. Unfortunately, neither does his employer, whose money it was. The company went into liquidation and people lost their jobs.

It'll be interesting to see who bids for the contract to build the first super-casino. If I were a supplier to the winning contractor, I think I'd insist on payment up front and in cash.