When the FA hand a corruption file over to FIFA you know football is out of control

There are sounds and signs around that things are improving – but, beware the false dawn.

Since I started wandering around the by-ways of football in this blog I’ve been moaning about rotational fouling (Wigan are the latest to adopt it), and it is cheery to note that the Great Lord Wenger is now “set” (as they always say in the strange linguistic jungle inhabited by journalists) to “tackle” (ditto) the FA on “tactical fouls”.

Actually I can’t claim any credit (not that I ever would where the Lord Wenger is concerned) but the tactical foul is different from the rotational foul.   Tactical fouling just breaks up play and stops free flowing football – we saw it all the way through the Wigan game, and it was undoubtedly why Cesc was looking so miserable by the end of the match.

Adding the rotational element allows players not to be punished since a different player commits each foul.

This report to the FA by our great and glorious leaders comes just as the FA revealed that it has handed over to FIFA 15 cases which involve dodgy transfer deals between English and overseas clubs since January last year.

The problem with such a report is that one has no faith in the FA (and their “Quest” group who “audit transfers”) even to be able to spell Tottenham Hotspur let alone get the facts right.  As for FIFA, an organisation riddled throughout its history with corruption and dubious dealings, – how can such an organisation investigate anything?  (Mind you it will probably find the FA guilty and ban them for three matches, which would at least be amusing).

The FA are about to tell us what they will do about the fact that fans from all three sides of the West Iceland pitch invaded during the match, and they are still trying to decide if the big fellow who wanders around a bit for Manchester Arab should be hung drawn and quartered for goading Arsenal fans.

And they still won’t explain why they refuse to act on the same man’s attack on Cesc in the Arab / Arsenal game.

Meanwhile, not wanting to be left out, UEFA have now warned the Premier League that it must “face up to its financial responsibilities” whatever that means.

It seems the accumulated losses of the league are too high after it came out that a third of the teams had losses of at least 20% of their income.

That means we are not as bad as Romania, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Poland.  On this measure (profit or loss as a percentage of income) France and Germany do well.

The average income per club in the EPL seems to be £122m, while in Germany, Italy and Spain the average is around £75m.   Put another way our clubs are bigger and make a bigger cock up of it all.   I think we knew that.

UEFA now says clubs must break even on football business by 2012 or be thrown out of something (presumably the Champions League and Europa Cup).  The EPL have agreed that any club that gets into a financial mess (which presumably means 80% of them) will be taken over by the EPL and refused the right to buy any players or raise salaries.

Of course this won’t affect the clubs who are owned by individuals who will simply put more money in, temporarily, around the check-up date of March 31, and then take it out again.  It is a bit like not getting boozed out of your mind on the night before you see the GP for a check up.   Doing so just makes it harder to pretend that you only drink half a glass of wine a night with your meal.

Of course if they did make this really take effect then it would be more interesting…

Here’s a list of  just how much Liverpool lost year on year in the transfer market (all figures are pounds sterling)

  • 2000: 24.75m
  • 2001: 0.46m
  • 2002: 13.5m
  • 2003: 8.5m
  • 2004: 15.75m
  • 2005: 20.65m
  • 2006: 19.5m
  • 2007: 46.75m
  • 2008: 19.55m

Now during the course of this spend-spend-spend policy the club were bought by the Americans, and the £350m borrowed from the banks for the purpose of building a new stadium, was immediately used to fund the purchase.

But as we can see that event made no difference to the spending.  Indeed the culture of the club in its attempt to win the league for the first time in 20 years is based on this endless waste of money.

We know the banks are demanding £65m a year back.  So how will Liverpool survive in the EPL if the owners don’t pump more money in?

In 2009 for the first time this century the club actually earned money in transfers – £7m to be precise. It is a start – but not quite enough to keep the EPL happy.

  • So will the FA charge the big guy who runs about a bit with assault on Cesc?
  • Will FIFA prove to be a fit and proper agency to investigate dodgy transfers?
  • Will the FA take action to stop tactical fouls?
  • Will UEFA throw Liverpool Insolvency out of the Champs League?
  • Will the EPL sort out club finances?



Sorry, this is football we’re talking about here.

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(c) Tony Attwood 2009

13 Replies to “When the FA hand a corruption file over to FIFA you know football is out of control”

  1. Very good post it opens up the eyes the huge mess that’s brewing just below the surface of most clubs.

  2. tony ur a genius. u must do a lot of research to always come up with these articles and they always make interesting reading. keep it up

  3. Thanks for connecting the dots to the corruption on and off the pitch. Arsenal fans have correctly noted that Cesc is not himself these days. No wonder. Over the past two weeks our little maestro has been subject to many tactical and vindictive (in the case of the git who used to play for us) fouls, many of which have been very painful. At Wigan on Saturday he was clattered often by several different players and a brute by the name of Diame just “accidentally” ploughed into the back of his head with his knee. If I was Cesc, like Hleb, I would begin to hanker for Barcelona where it is not as “noisy” as London (I couldn’t help repeating that little gem). On a more serious note, Wenger once remarked that often after a game, Hleb’s legs were black and blue due to the kicking he received, oftentimes unpunished by the spineless refs in England. Mr Jones on Saturday was no exception; the serial foulers at Wigan (Messers Diame and Thomas) who are big 6 ft plus athletes should have seen yellow. Two years later and we are still being kicked all over the field. Walter is right; at this rate something serious will happen, as in the case of Eduardo.
    BTW: Eboue has shown that he is a match for the serial foulers in the league; he is also a big brute, but is incredibly versatile, skillful and fast. If only he could score we would have a sensatuional footballer on our hands. In the formation we play he pops up all over the place, on and off the ball and none of the foulers can keep up with him.

  4. is not there already an FA law that can handle the rotational fouling? The one that fines a club if they receive a certain number of yellow cards? The problem is that the referees, prefering to give each individual player a first verbal warning, simply let themselves get conned by clubs like Wigan.

  5. Gerald: there is no law against crimes by the team as a team, save the one about getting yellow cards.

    Rotational fouling is a deliberate ploy to exploit this weakness in the rules and the habit of the refs, as you say, giving a warning first.

    The ref can give a yellow for persistent fouling to ONE player, but not to the team as a whole. So player A fouls, gets a warning, B fouls, gets a warning and so on and on.

    That is how it was against Wigan (although the BBC summary on saturday night did not pick this up at all). It appears that the Lord Wenger is going to complain to the FA about this approach.


  6. Tony – What we need is for the FA and Ref’s to realise what they actually exist for. Once they realise their jobs depend on Football we can then start to move forward. All teams make tactical fouls, Gilberto was excellent at it and Vidic did yesterday but you expect the player to be booked. The problem is Ref’s allowing individual players to repeatedly foul with no consequences, once players are booked for doing it the problem will be solved.

    As much as I would like to see UEFA refuse entry into the CL for clubs who are losing money and in huge debt I just can’t see it happening. Just think what would happen to Liverpool, they would immediately have £20 million knocked off of their turnover. They would then have to sell players to pay off next years £65 million to the banks. After a couple of seasons of selling Gerrard, Torres and Mascherano they would be down tho the bare bones and would fail to qualify for the CL even if they had cleared the debt.

  7. I would like to make clear that the ref actually do have the possibility to act.
    Our instructions are that if a team makes a foul which is on the edge you don’t have to give a yellow card immediatly. You can but when it is a 50/50 case you can call the player and let him AND ALL THE OTHER PLAYERS ON THE PITCH now that you wont tolerate this anymore. You do this by calling him over and maken a gesture with both hands before your body and moving them from the middle to the outside. This is international body language from a ref and says : the next player who makes a foul like this is booked.
    Helas…… You hardly see this gesture in the PL.
    It is a simple thing to do and when I do it, and then I say it with loud voice so that almost every body on the pitch has heard it that it has to stop now, it really helps and certainly when you book the next fouling player just after that.
    But you have to be alert to it as a ref. But it aint always easy I must admit. But the refs get huge paycheques in the PL so we can ask them to be attentive to it. Maybe this should be one of the tasks that the 4th ref can take upon his shoulders. Looking from the byline it sometimes easier to notice ratational fouling on one player.
    To give credit to Mike Dean, sorry about this, he saw some rotational fouling against Saha and booked every Arsenal player who even came near Saha last season. So a ref can, but does he will … or is he allowed ???

  8. Re: On this measure (profit or loss as a percentage of income) France and Germany do well

    In France at least clubs don’t own or pay for their own stadia – the local councils pay for them. If Platini gets his way regarding debt, any English team wanting a new stadium would by definition automatically be penalised as they have to get in to debt to finance the build. French clubs won’t have this constraint.

    Add to that the Spanish clubs having significantly lower wage bills because of the low tax rate offered to foreign workers and you can surely see that Platini’s new rules will give an unfair advantage to some continental clubs.

    I agree that clubs should be run within their means but be careful what you wish for!

  9. This thing about “tactical and / or rotational fouling”, it astonishes me why is it that when Arsenal players attempt it they are always booked! Remember the last epl game against Man U last sean at Old Trafford (don’t get started on the “that is Old Trafford”). What Diame and the other bloke did on Saturday were always punishable but the referee “intentionally” and “knowingly” let them carry on. It is the same thing Fletcher did when Arsenal played Man U a couple of weeks ago. In the case of Fletcher it was much more blatant, and the referee was obviously biased towards Man U. I think the problem with EPL referees is their general bias against Arsenal which, I must say (and I am sorry to say this), as it is a general attitude that seems to come across from the EPL fans, commentators, FA, and the media, and perhaps more surprising from quite a large section of the Arsenal fans themselves. It is difficult to put a finger on it, but I tend to think it is racially motivated e.g. “johnny foreigners” who don’t like it up them (difficult to defend as many teams in the EPL employ foreigners), a “french team” with a french manager (the frictions of the english and the french has a very long history) who has succeeded against all odds (mind you no English manager has ever won the “EPL”, the most they have managed is the FA cup), a manager who seems to go against what the mainstream believe as how the game should be played or run (you can see this in most, if not all, commentaries be they from fans, football lovers, managers, players and the lot in England). One is sometimes compelled to think that the English (as much as they like to bring foreigners in the EPL, probably other walks of life?) do not like to see these foreigners succeed (or may they can succeed but not to exceed a certain limit). In the case of the “Lord Wenger” to borrow Tonny’s terminology who is french, it becomes even worse. In a way this attitude towards foreigners in England is almost understandable (understandable because I think many people in other countries behave similarly) but does not make it right. Also, do not forget, Arsenal has always had a difficult relationship with the establishment that runs the game in England. Sometimes this last reason seems to be overriding. Also, I have always wondered why no disciplinary actions or sanctions are taken against poor referees? Why players and managers are punished for the referee’s incompetence (e.g. because of pointing out that the referee was poor, which many are)? If referees were made accountable, they just may have to learn.

  10. I think eventually, if neither the FA nor the referees properly control the games, that a player will flip out, and take remedial action.

    Cesc is being unpleasantly targetted, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him flip.

    Hopefully we’ll be 4-0 up at the time!

  11. I am the first to admit that as there appears to be different rules for different competitions,that it is quite hard to comprehend.In some competitions away goals count double, in others they dont apply unless extra time comes into it, and then only at the semi final stage, as in the C.C. and the yellow card rule should really be looked at.

    if a player kicks a ball away, say 15 or 20 yards after the opposition is awarded a free kick(time wasting) and then proceeds to score and takes his top off, that equates to two yellow cards = red = 1 match ban.

    Alternatively, a near leg breaking tackle on cesc last weekend,goes unpunished.

    Surely the seriousness of the offence should be considered because the present system doesn’t work but is grossly unfair.

    Finally if Rooney particularly, swears several times directly at the referee, that is not deemed as punishable.

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