General election beckons but sportsmen and women are staying quiet | Jonathan Liew

Lineker and Sterling among the few to speak out in this campaign, but the trend is a growing political apathy in sportThree years ago, with the EU referendum on a knife-edge and the Remain campaign struggling to gain traction, No 10 hit upon the idea of trying to mobilise support within the world of sport. A well-connected agent called Jon Smith was despatched to try and drum up interest and perhaps secure a few valuable endorsements. As he went, however, he quickly realised he was running against a brick wall.On learning Leave was doing alarmingly well in the north-east, Smith tried to arrange a photo opportunity with Newcastle’s Andros Townsend, Sunderland’s Fabio Borini and David Cameron. Borini was open to the suggestion, but Townsend flatly refused, and the idea was shelved. It was a similar story elsewhere: virtually nobody within the game was prepared to go on the record. As Smith later wrote in his book The Deal: “Most people in football wouldn’t put their head above the parapet. They felt the campaign had been so onerous they didn’t want to offend potentially half of their club’s fanbase.” Continue reading…