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For whom the bell tolls: the future prospects for Fifa and Uefa

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS by Don McMahon

The actions of FIFA against Barcelona and the Spanish FA got me to pondering a delightfully mischievous idea that has been bandied about the blogosphere and Europe since the early 2000’s.

What would be the consequences of the following teams breaking away from Fifa and Eufa and forming a super Association of their own? Here is my take on what such a move would entail for these clubs: Madrid, Barca, United, PSG, Liverpool, Chelsea, Atletico, Bayern, Dortmund, City, AC Milan, Juventus, Inter, Lyon, Arsenal, etc.

1) Fifa and Eufa would suspend them automatically, so no Fifa or certified officials would be available to do their games. The solution then would be simple, they develop their own officials and draft current officials willing to forgo FIFA sponsored events.

2) Their FA’s would also suspend them, unless they were ready to confront Fifa and Eufa, which those stuffed suits rarely do.

The big issue here is whether the national association could prevent them from playing in their home countries? I think EU laws would protect rebel clubs from such reprisals but does anyone know for sure?   [Yes, it comes under the “restraint of trade” regulations which make the “if you have worked for me you can’t work for a rival for 6 months” contracts unenforceable in the courts – Tony]

3) If the FA’s did cooperate with the rebel clubs, would they provide officials for the rebel league? My guess is that it would be a choice of going all in, including officials, or not at all….there doesn’t seem to be a halfway option.

4)Fifa would suspend the rebel nations from participating in the WC, and that is a losing proposition for both sides since the WC is Fifa’s biggest revenue generator by far. Fans would absolutely go berserk if Spain, Germany, England, France, Italy etc. were banned.

5) Players might NOT be ready to be banned by Fifa from their competitions but if the alternative were excellent monetary and sponsorshiop deals regardless of their Fifa status, it would soon become apparent on which side their bread was buttered.

6) Eufa and other regional organisation registered clubs doing ¨business¨with any rebel club would risk being banned as well or at least being chastised financially. However IF the rewards outweighed the risks, them more and more clubs would try and enter the fold.  Fifa would be left trying to promote football in the rest of the world but NOT in Europe….an interesting idea.

7) The rebel clubs would have to develop their own youth talents and have a sort of draft for top players to ensure a steady supply for their member teams. This might actually be a very desirable outcome as it would force clubs that vacuum up foreign talent to revise their approaches, this offering homegrown talents more options.

8) Their fanbase would be enormous, as these are the best teams in Europe. Who wouldn’t pay for a ticket to see Arsenal beat Barca, Madrid, Bayern and the rest once in a while. Imagine every weekend and occasionally on the weekday,  games potentially pitting Bayern against Real and Arsenal against Barca, and on and on!

9) Once the national associations saw how pertinent and ubiquitous the interest was in a pan-European league, many of them, being basically monetary considerations, would get on-board and risk Fifa’s wrath.

Fifa would then have to decide on two options, maintain their head in the sand approach (this is my bet) OR actually join the 21st century and come to some compromise solution, which might include a pan-European league blended with local leagues.

10) Such a league, if successful, could very well signal the demise of FIFA and maybe even EUFA, although Platini is such an opportunist that he’d likely jump ship and join the rebels.

Fifa is basically the Titanic on steroids. Their approach to the game is firmly planted in the 11th century ethic of divine kingship and the 21st century ethos of putting money before all else.

My suppositions are rather ethereal and not likely to happen but who knows? IF Eufa really start turning the screws on FFP and other aspects of the game, and Fifa continue their corrupt ways, perhaps there will be a point of no return where clubs will say, enough of these BS, self-serving regulations and backward looking hypocrites.

At that moment, world football could take a giant leap forward (or backwards, depending on your convictions) and finally be free of the parasitic leeches calling themselves the caretakers of the Beautiful Game.

14 comments to For whom the bell tolls: the future prospects for Fifa and Uefa

  • nicky

    Don, I once thought that footballing nations brave enough to secede from corrupt entities like FIFA would be the answer to restoring some integrity to the sport.
    Now I’m not so sure. I think the Clubs you mention probably have more clout than the nations.
    Now all that remains is to ponder whether they have the bottle!

  • Arsenal1Again

    It is more likely these teams want to form their own league to exploit ways to escape current restrictions such as the fair play rules and others. Moving goalposts is what it is.

    Players after a big pay rise at their current club get their agent to garner interest in them from rival clubs. These rival clubs offer higher wages which the current club now has to match.

    Likewise, the top money earning teams for UEFA are holding themselves to ransom to strip away current UEFA rules and restrictions, threatening to go instead to another league to get what they want if UEFA do not give in to the demands.

    This is what football is evolving into, a political cesspit of back handers, rule bending, loophole exploitation, threats and more. Not for money but for trophies.

    Trophies in the end lessen in worth much like A-Levels have and GCSEs have by making questions easier, also like degrees have.

    An example you can see today is the Champions League. Once this Trophy meant much more, to gain it was an immense achievement. The only teams in the tournament were League Champions. For example, the recent CL win of Chelsea and the treble one of Man United, neither team were current champions and IMO should not have been in the tournament.

    Yes, Arsenal would not be playing in the CL every year with the annual 4th place and occasional 3rd and rare 2nd, but neither would other teams. It would mean winning the League would become more important. Europa League should have only FA Cup winners in it, this would make winning the FA Cup more important.

  • colario

    Point one.
    FIFA and EUFA are corrupt at the top. As it is difficult to prove this they are unlikely to be taken to court and found guilty of the corruption that is there for all to experience or observe.

    If the chief is corrupt then the Indians will follow the example and become corrupt.

    Because EUFA is corrupt it cannot control the corruption in the clubs.

    Its not difficult for the richest clubs be they corrupt or honest to reject EUFA’s control.

    Point 2. (As I see it.)

    Even if EUFA was not corrupt and was able to control and stop corrupting by the clubs, the ‘Euro League is a natural outcome of the ‘Champions League’

    This is in part due to geography. Big city clubs are able to attract bigger gates then clubs from the small towns. More money through the gate means more money to spend on players.
    That was a majour contribution to Arsenal’s success.

    In the modern world we have the magnates be they from oil or other commodities. Thanks to the corruption at the top they can choose a club and make it their toy and use their disposable money and buy into the glory of the football club’s success.

    Only incorruptible leadership can bring an end to corruption in England and in Europe or the courts. We are a long way from the latter and too deeply immersed in the former for there to be European football without corruption at the present time.

  • Micheal Ram

    Football War 1 (FW1) begins… I wonder whose side the dark force will be?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Is there a Kerry Packer wannabe out there somewhere ? Someone rich enough, with great connections and really pissed off enough with the present set up ?

  • Quincy

    Sounds like wishful thinking to me.

    “Fifa is basically the Titanic on steroids. Their approach to the game is firmly planted in the 11th century ethic of divine kingship and the 21st century ethos of putting money before all else.”

    That’s exactly like our ‘democratic’ governments. How long have all the Western ‘democracies’ been as corrupt, venal, immoral and worse than UEFA? Nothing will change, we live in an evil world. The idea than eventually UEFA, or governments, or industries, must fail because of their corruption and evilness just isn’t backed up by history.

    (By the way, I can’t believe no one spotted it’s UEFA, not EUFA).

  • bjtgooner

    Good one Brickfields!

  • Menace

    The primary failings in football as it is today are basically the definitions. Football was a sport. It is now just a Game. Clubs are groups of people elected into the organisation by a structured system. Todays clubs are single owned entities.

    If the club is defined as a members club with a structure, it will start to make football less greed controlled.

    The sport that was football has to have the Laws revisited and the Game brought back to sporting ethics. No brutality or diving in sporting competition.

    That is where we need to start (in my opinion).

  • nicky

    @Menace,
    Sorry to disagree with you, but professional football today is neither a sport OR a game.
    It is big business, with all the accompanying sharp practices and chicanery needed for survival and prosperity.
    Now, the accountants wield the power, with side issues such as frequent kit changes, catering, advertising, overseas contacts etc, taking precedence over progress on the field. The pursuit of money is clearly the ultimate goal, these days.

  • omgarsenal

    Quincy…..my proofreading is like my age, advanced but decrepit 🙂
    I am less pessimistic than you, whose overall skepticism I share. FIFA and EUFA are narcissistic bodies and cash cows that permit a minority to profit from the world’s most popular sport. So in that instance they are similar to politics and government, where there is little or no accountability and once you get into power, even your opponents resemble you and share your greed.
    That said, the Game belongs to us, the participants,spectators and supporters who keep it going. IF we, as a group, ever decide to renounce the Game, it will swiftly shrivel away. But, the game is a drug we cannot seem to overcome and the bloodsuckers in FIFA and EUFA know this.

  • omgarsenal

    Thanks for the in put everyone…..it seems there is little hope for such a momentous event to take place just yet….but maybe as more corruption is uncovered and fans worldwide begin to lose interest in a rigged sport, the powers that be will have to actually intervene. I feel that a new governing body is needed, with far more direct fan and participant input and under the supervision of a world body like Interpol, the World Court or the UN?

  • Florian

    The scale of the football phenomenon is what’s differentiating it. Athletics, tennis, Formula One, they are all followed worldwide, but none of them seems to generate such a powerful reaction in what is almost surely the biggest fan base for any sport. My cynical nature makes me a bit skeptical about a positive outcome, so I can merely see the tipping point when someone in the high ranks will start being stepped on the toes. Or, when someone will start incurring too big of a loss because of the corruption, or conversely when there will be a material gain to be made, things will start changing. The World hasn’t been historically about justice, merely about egos, revenge and profit. But hope dies last, and if corruption seems virtually impossible to eradicate, at least shrinking it by a noticeable amount would be a relief, and maybe, hopefully, more will follow.

  • Quincy

    Do you trust Interpol? The World Court? The UN? I certainly do not. I don’t think we ordinary citizens have even scratched the surface of the corruption and evilness in all big organisations, like governments, multinational corporations, international bodies like the EU, NATO, the UN, etc., that is, in the West and in the rest of the world equally.

    I brought up the other day the story of the former Premier League player, Sam Sodje, who claims he rigs games in the Premier League, and was planning to rig games in the World Cup. Can you imagine more serious allegations in football? Hardly. But did the media kick up a fuss? Certainly not. You can do an internet search for the story, and you’ll see that most papers focus on the ‘spot fixing’, e.g. a player getting himself booked in return for payment, and such cr@p as PFA statements, FA statements, NGXJKRRZ statements, blah blah blah.

    The task of getting rid of corruption in any one area, like FIFA or in government, is so vast, and we know so little about it, that I doubt any change will ever come. We are as hopeless as mediaeval serfs.