THE FOREST FOR THE TREES
There is a certain trend or barely discernible pattern in Football lately that has been bothering me and disturbing my inner peace. Is it my overactive, hyper-vivid imagination on steroids or perhaps a justified intuition based on some very bizarre coincidences that nag at my consciousness, or is it simply indigestion? Well here goes, anyway!
This week, the Europol investigators released a report stating that corruption and organised crime are rampant in football worldwide and that their investigations have uncovered serious fraud, bribery, influence-peddling and manipulation in leagues and competitions across the world.
My first concern with these revelations is that both Fifa AND Uefa stated their total surprise at these findings and as usual excreted their traditionally bland and generic support for such anti-corruption efforts. My question is; why aren’t Fifa and Uefa taking the lead in promoting and encouraging their own investigations and enquiries instead of being made to look like clueless fools to the world Football community?
The Europol report mentioned that there was evidence that they had simply scratched the surface and like an iceberg, and that there lay a vast conspiracy underneath the surface that could dwarf their current investigation’s findings.
They also mentioned that the reputedly pristine British Football world was, in fact, falling victim to the corruption rampant elsewhere. The FA chairman then stated that he’d bet his shirt (or something like that) on British Football being innocent of any contamination!
Yet we see, in Scotland, a most storied and historic club, Rangers, being demoted and its reputation permanently sullied by tax evasion and fraud charges! Europol implied that there was an EPL Club involved in the above corruption investigations as well. My question is: what are the FA and its minions, stuffed suits and vested interests trying to hide and why?
We football fans, regardless of our allegiances, viewpoints and loyalties, desperately want to watch attractive, fair and competitive football at affordable prices. We have been deprived of this for a long time, what with ever escalating ticket prices, transportation costs, taxes and the like, as well due to the hegemony of a few privileged clubs profiting off their superior resources to monopolise the competitions.
The fairly recent arrival and subsequent domination of inter-club mega-deals, hyper-greedy agents, win-at-all-cost football tactics, billionaire shady or autocratic owners (or wannabe owners) and mercenary players willing to jump ship at the drop of a quid or two more than their current clubs offer raises some more profound questions: why is the FA NOT interested in adopting and/or applying its own fit and proper ownership rules and Financial Fair Play regulations with any vigour and severity? Why is the FA not interested in controlling the agents’ unbridled greed and unregulated behaviours.
Closer to home, and perhaps among my wildest speculations and musings are the strange circumstances and, may I say, coincidences that seem to occur at AFC. I am talking about the constant and incessant deluge of criticism, negativism, anti-Wenger, anti-Arsenal rants and raging which coincide with the loss of our ¨stars¨ to our competitors thanks to, in most part, Dein the younger’s encouragement and the Alisher-in-the -box appearances the AAA’s beloved Mr.Usmanov seems to display at strategic moments, timed to play off the ¨sentiments¨ of a tiny minority of , but excessively vocal inter net malcontents, many of whom seem to live in the same residence and use the same computers.
My questions are: is there a provable,concerted and orchestrated attempt by the media, Mr.Usmanov, the invisible AAA, and even the football hierarchy (including the PGMOL) to vilify, demean, discredit and dismiss Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal’s credibility, reputation and philosophy, thereby rendering a great Football force for good, ineffective?
If this is so, is the Arsenal the only Club to be targeted or are their other football paragons in their sights? Finally, what role do British Football authorities play in this situation and is this a sign that corruption has indeed penetrated pure Albion’s sacred shores?
I know that some will say ¨pure rubbish¨ and ¨totally paranoid ranting¨, while others will moan that I dismiss all concerns and questioning of our club and football in general with disdain and blinkered naivete. I can accept the former but not the latter, as I believe dissenting options, positively expressed, supported by clear and logical fact-based logic and honestly presented are essential for the ongoing health and balance at our club.
That said, I am continuously disturbed and distressed by the concerted attacks on our beautiful game by nefarious forces inside and outside football, and by the evident disinterest, laissez-faire attitude and downright inertia displayed by our supposed leaders. this leads to my last questions and the most important of all: Just how deep has this criminal malaise penetrated football worldwide and what can we, as supporters, do about it, if anything?
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches