By Tony Attwood
Arsenal have been using Ryo Miyaichi in their friendlies this season – and yet he does not appear to qualify to play in the UK. So what’s going on?
The first possibility is that somehow during his time in the Netherlands he picked up a local passport, giving him EU status. It would seem a very fast, fast track application, but you never know.
A second is that his great-grandmother touched down at Croydon Aerodrome (as the original main airport into Europe was called) and went into labour many years ago. That might qualify him to play for England, and so would make him ok to play here, even without a passport. (That’s not a fantasy on my part – that’s how it works).
A third option is that there is an appeal pending on special talent issues and Mr Wenger needs to give the lad every opportunity to show off.
And the fourth option is that there is no EU passport and no hope of getting a permit and Mr Wenger knows the lad must go on loan, so he is showing him off to the world to ensure the right deal goes through. That looks the most likely, but it is a real shame – it would be wonderful to have him in the team.
Take your pick since we don’t have the information, but here’s one very dispiriting bit of news. The people who are going to decide Ryo’s future (if there is no grandmother connection and no Dutch passport) are Sir Hardly Anyone and his bunch of idiot cronies in the Football Association.
Until 2009 the job of seeing who might enter the UK to play football was controlled by the UK Immigration Service – part of the Home Office. That is what you might expect in a country where immigration is a very sensitive political issue. The UK has been a diverse country in terms of its population origins for many years – remember it is where Karl Marx came to work to write Das Kapital when he couldn’t work in freedom anywhere else in Europe – but there are many who would like to reverse this historic position.
But this is no longer the case – for reasons that will not become clear at this time, this vital function is now with Lord Cholomondley Chumley and pals whose international knowledge of world affairs and in-depth ability to grasp what is going on in football is revealed by the fact that that
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a) the stupid idiots actually bid to hold the world cup, and claim (amazingly) that they didn’t know it was a rigged ballot
b) thought that as the results were about to come out they were actually going to win (and then only got one vote other than their own)
c) now know what the rest of the world knew all along – that Fifa is a bunch a money grabbing tossers – but still think that it is a good thing to be part of the show.
These are the guys who decide who plays and who doesn’t, and work permits for football are awarded on the basis of a points system and a committee of arbitration.
Even worse the FA’s power is about to be extended (I know it seems stupid, but that is what is going to happen). At the end of this week it seems likely that the Parliamentary Enquiry into football will be released and it is being said that it recommends that a club licensing system should be introduced run by the Football Association.
I find it hard to grasp the utter and total insanity of this move. The FA is on the edge of bankruptcy following the disasterous buidling of Wembley stadium. It showed itself utterly incapable of doing anything remotely right in dealing with Fifa, and it is in charge of national football teams that manage to come home from every tournament covering any age and either sex in total disarray. (Remember our return from the women’s world cup with the manager calling her own team “cowards”?)
At a time when there is mounting evidence that there is something seriously wrong with refereeing in the UK, as there is in much of the rest of Europe, what is needed is a strong body able to implement investigations and (if anything is shown to be wrong) reforms – and our government gives more power to the FA!
Meanwhile what of poor Ryo? With the FA, and its historic position concerning Arsenal, we can expect no help and no support. It doesn’t look good for the young superstar. Nor, come to that, for English football.