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- Why are we against SuperLeague but in favour of foreign ownership and general incompetence
- The Premier League action against Man City brings Super League ever closer
By Sir Hardly Anyone
It is tempting to believe that football clubs – especially big football clubs – know what they are doing. On the other hand the media ceaselessly paints a picture of clubs being utterly chaotic in their planning, management and spending,, although with the added implication that if only the journalists who reveal these truths were allowed to run the club everything would be smooth and straightforward.
In fact, there are good reasons to believe that a) the media make a lot of their football stories up in order to keep fans interested (the 97% of transfers that are publicised but don’t happen in each window are a good example) while the clubs themselves are not above giving the poor journalists stories which are patently untrue, in order to put their rivals off the scent.
But the mess that Barcelona have got themselves into seems to be beyond the make-believe of even the most inventive journalist – not least when last summer, for example they spent €158m on transfers and received €39m, which is not bad for a club that is totally bust.
And of course a club in that sort of mess, makes mistakes as with the fact that the club has failed in its attempt to allow Gavi to be registered as a first-team player first because Barcelona were in excess of the spending limit imposed on them as a result of their financial crisis, and second because they were too late in putting in their appeal.
Initially, La Liga had said that ithad to accept Gavi’s registration as otherwise the player would be a free agent and that would damage Barcelona. But then the final ruling said that missing the deadline was Barcelona’s fault. Further appeals and counter-appeals are expected.
Meanwhile, the club still has to reduce its budget by around €200 million from their annual spending budget before the start of next season, which implies no new signings. The club in response put out a list of positions that they want to strengthen. One is reminded of a car hurtling toward a cliff edge and when asked why the brakes are not being applied the driver says, “if we slow down we’ll miss the party.”
But then, to be fai, spending money is embedded in football from the very top, as is perfectly expressed in an article in the Telegraph: “Fifa’s love of cash is ruining the World Cup”. The opening paragraph of the piece sums it up:
“An obsession with the gigantic so pervades Fifa that the 2026 World Cup is to take 72 games merely to reach the knockout phase, eight more than any previous instalment has required in its entirety. While even Uefa is seeking to limit its geographic footprint at next summer’s Euros, restricting groups to specific regions of Germany to cut internal travel, the global governing body is devising a cross-continental epic of such sprawl that even Phileas Fogg might have urged them to think twice.”
The problem of course is that even now, even after all the revelations of corruption, even though, as the Guardian says in a headline “More than a million demand Fifa justice for Qatar World Cup migrant workers” Fifa ploughs on proclaiming the success of all that has gone before, and seeing “bigger” as the only way forward.
The Guardian piece says, “Gianni Infantino, announced his organisation had made more than $7bn from the 2022 World Cup cycle, but the human rights groups are frustrated that details remain sketchy over whether Fifa’s proposed “legacy fund” will compensate workers who suffered wage theft, illegal recruitment fees and injuries in Qatar and compensate the families of those who died.”
The point is that none of the media is challenging Fifa and Uefa as organisations that should be continuing to run football, despite their appalling records in doing so. Indeed it is the media and the fans that allow Fifa and Uefa to continue. For the one and only challenge to the continual growth of Fifa and Uefa has come from the proposal of a Super League outside of their control. That’s hardly an ideal counter-approach, but we are now at the stage where anything that challenges Fifa and Uefa is probably better than nothing.
The only alternative on the table is the vague hope that it will all sort itself out in the end.
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