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August 2021

At last. Prem League chair Richards accuses Fifa; Arry lays into the Arabs


Could you write a regular column in Untold Arsenal?


By Tony Attwood

When have I ever supported Sir Dave Richards, the Premier League chairman and a Football Association vice-chairman?  Never must be the simple answer.  Until today.

Because now he has made a speech that has made me think again about what is being thought within the Premier League and the FA.

Of course I don’t agree with everything he said, but at last it seems someone in the FA and Premier League is thinking outside that awful little box that says, “Fifa is right, Uefa is right, we must bow down to them all.”

Meanwhile our old chum Arry has been saying a few words about Arabs as well, which give a clearer view of his view of the world.

But first, Sir Dave.  Speaking at a sports conference in Qatar he said…

“England gave the world football. It gave the best legacy anyone could give. We gave them the game.

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“For 50 years we owned the game … We were the governance of the game. We wrote the rules, designed the pitches and everything else.

“Then, 50 years later, some guy came along and said: ‘You’re liars,’ and they actually stole it. It was called Fifa. Fifty years later another gang came along called Uefa and stole a bit more.”

When it was pointed out that China too like to claim that they invented the game, Sir Dave said: “It started in Sheffield 150 years ago. We started the game and wrote the rules and took it to the world. The Chinese may say they own it but the British own it and we gave it to the rest of the world.”

(The reality of course is that football was played as early as the 15th century in England, and was regularly banned by English monarchs throughout the ages – but I think Sir Dave meant “organised football” as we know it today, with a football pitch marked out with lines.)

Sir Dave has been Premier League chairman since 1999 so he knows a thing or two about the organised game at the highest level – and he showed it when he also told his hosts who will also be the hosts of the World Cup they had their “heads in the sand” over alcohol at the 2022 finals.  I don’t think he mentioned that in Qatar the punishment for homosexuality is five years imprisonment, but you have to start somewhere when you are telling it like it is.

Sir Dave added: “In our country and in Germany we have a culture. We call it ‘we would like to go for a pint and that pint is a pint of beer’. It is our culture as much as your culture is not drinking. There has to be a happy medium.

“If you don’t do something about it, you are starting to bury your head in the sand a little bit because it needs addressing. You might be better off saying ‘don’t come’.   But a World Cup without England, Germany, the Dutch, Danes and Scandinavians – it’s unthinkable.”

Of course the FA had to bow down to Fifa and Uefa as it always does – which is why we play insane internationals at the start, middle and end of the football season.  A spokes person said, “The FA greatly values its relationships with Fifa and Uefa, which it is working hard to strengthen.”The comments of Sir Dave however could undo all the crawling that the FA has been doing to  Fifa.  Instead of walking away from what many people see as an utterly corrupt and appalling organisation, they are now apologising for Sir Dave.  Personally I suddenly like the guy.

Meanwhile our old chum Sir Arry Redknapp, (at least I assume he is now knighted given the way the press hang on his every word) has done an interview with Lord Sugar (ex Tottenham chair) in Radio Times.

Showing his knowledge of international affairs Mr Redknapp said,  “Where they find some owners now, I don’t know. I remember the first guy they brought in at Portsmouth from Saudi Arabia somewhere  [Sulaiman Al Fahim]. He looked like they pulled him off the stall outside. He looked like the only Arab who didn’t have oil in his garden.”

Happy days.


Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Updated information here

The day when Fulham tried to take over Arsenal – the full story in “Making the Arsenal”

We’re on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


The ref’s decision not to give a foul was so ludicrous that even the Newcastle players stopped the game.   Arsenal v Newcastle – the ref review

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Barca Vice President reveals the scandal of Barca’s match fixing activities

Arsenal 24 Newcastle 4, a dangerous distant animal, and kit deals being more important than trophies

Iconic Moments in Arsenal’s History: Ray Kennedy scores at White Hart Lane


60 comments to At last. Prem League chair Richards accuses Fifa; Arry lays into the Arabs

  • Rhys Jaggar

    He also said that England/the FA had spent £19m on the 2018 beauty contest and would have appreciated knowing up front that they didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell, as then they could have allocated the budget to players’ prostitutes in Rio…….

  • bob

    Our dear old chump, Sir Arry,
    N’our video-bashing King,
    Two Minds behind The Spine
    Belch forth a mighty Whine.

  • bob

    (If only the Super League will deliver the New Dawn?)

  • WalterBroeckx

    It will be a dry world cup then 😉
    Not that it is my problem as I don’t attend events organised by Fifa and only Arsenal games organised by uefa.

  • AnT.

    I don’t know how strict is Qatar with regards to alcohol. I was in UAE for sometime and there we can easily (well not as easy as here in Germany) get pints of beer in some places. Even the locals are allowed to drink, but with a license to drink (it’s quite interesting to hear at first). I guess Qatar could be in between of two poles, Saudi Arabia and UAE. But perhaps someone living there can give a hint about this matter.
    As as side note, it was also greener as I expected, at least in the place where I stayed. 🙂

  • bob

    Just to observe: While UA continues (over this long stretch between matches) to cover substantive stuff and still climb in all of the most-visited website ratings, here’s the (inadvertent) tell-all slip from LeGrovel: The unmuzzled half their dastardly duo reveals this in today’s opening sentence:

    “When things are looking up there’s very little to talk about.”

    Imagine, the poor sot, now saddled with our rich vein of form (achieved under Le One who has lost the plot!), is reduced to admitting that LeGrovel’s raison d’etre (pardon my lapse into non-English) is Arsene-Bashing. Nothing to say in good times. Their self-admitted irrelevancy and parasitism couldn’t be said better.

  • bob

    That cup will be half empty and half empty.
    Otherwise said, their cup runneth (over).

  • Arvind

    I’d happily not watch the World Cup or the Euros if it meant more club football. Doubt it’ll happen though and there will be some ‘agreement’ struck.

    Its very similar to a cricket case here in India where Sahara (main sponsor Indian cricket team) threatened to walk away; then there were ‘meetings’ and all was well eventually.

  • bob

    Where did the water come from to create that green patch? Was the green you saw layered with USD?

  • Mahdain

    ill have to disagree with sir dave on the Qatar and alcohol part. I see no reason whatsoever why Qatar should change their ways of life and their believe just to entertain visitors..great double standards in play any arab/islamic nation demand change of rules when they visit european/american nations?no?then why should Qatar do it?
    Im sorry but Qatar have all rights to abide by their laws and say “we respect your rules and culture when we visit your countries so please do the same when you visit ours” and besides its not their fault that fifa is corrupted to the core that they didnt think about the consequences when they sold the hosting to the highest bidder

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mmmm, I’m a bad football fan in fact.

    I don’t drink any alcohol at all. Not for any religious reason…I just don’t like to lose control or even the chance of losing control over my acts. (I think I am some kind of control freak? 😉 )

    And apart from that I really don’t like the taste of alcoholic drinks be it beer, whiskey, wine or whatever. But I really don’t mind what other people drink. And they can have as much as they want. As long as they don’t throw up on my shoes…..yuk

    I wonder how happy the beer sponsor of Fifa is with this world cup 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    Maybe next time in the bid book they will write something like: Beer should be available for all. But only the beer from the sponsor of course.

    I also wonder if the bobo’s from Fifa are allowed their champagne?

    edit: a bobo is a word with a negative connotation meaning a director of an official sports organisation like the FA, UEFA or FIFA. And other non football related sports organisations also but mainly used when talking in a negative way about Fifa or national FA.

    So speaking of Blatter I would call him Bobo Blatter. Sounds more like a dog then 🙂

  • bob

    Imo, as football is international, then the norms of international law – for all signatories to international law – should prevail, not either local set of oligarchs. Perhaps the bidders should not have bid, then; and those doing the awarding should not have so awarded. I see neither side as being in the right, only trying to have their cake and eating it too. There’s no piety in any of this. Just who can have it all versus who can have it all.

  • bob

    (good thing, then, that I’ve officially dropped the final ‘o’ from my namesake.)

  • WalterBroeckx

    It sure was a good thing to drop it Bob, because otherwise for people from Belgium and Holland would think you would be a bobo. Just stay bob as we know you over here.
    But if Bob would become a bobo he sure would be able to write a few interesting articles for Untold I think. 🙂

  • Notoverthehill

    The question is “who pushed him into the pool”?? Or, did he miss his footing, or was he inebriated?

    As for unnatural acts, perhaps they still castrate boys?

  • Mahdain

    @bob thats why i said fifa were to blame..they should have disqualified Qatar’s bid since it would mean problem for others but alas blatter must have lost all logic and reasoning after being offered a blank cheque

  • WalterBroeckx

    In short: both Fifa and Qatar deserve all the troubles they are heading for 😉

  • Dan T

    @Bob – i have to side with mahdain here. I think their culture should be respected. I don’t think that the World Cup should ever have been there in the first place but, now that its going to be, we should follow their laws and customs. We wouldn’t appreciate people from other cultures coming here and stoning our women for adultery or other things that aren’t crimes by our laws. So why shouldn’t we abide by theirs when in their country?

  • Dan T

    In my opinion, if people don’t feel they can abide by Qatars rules then they shouldn’t go. With any luck this will be a large majority of people and this will hurt Fifa. If their corruption begins to punish them financially it may make them think twice next time.

  • FinnGun

    Not serving alcohol may be explainable on cultural grounds. Having a criminal code with punishments including flogging and stoning isn’t.

  • Topovacha

    I think that Tony and Sir Dave Richards didnt mean to judge Qatar laws, I think this post is strictly pointed to retarded decision of corrupted FIFA to place the tournament there. So I can see some missed points in the comments here…

    Their culture should be respected of course, as Walter’s feelings regarding alcohol.

    I’m for pint or two, as long as people are acting like normal human beings. 🙂

  • I bet that FIFA will be allowed to issue special licences for a small fee:

    1) Alcohol – $200
    2) Adultery (straight) – $300
    3) Adultery (gay) – $1800

    Better get your papers in order as armed FIFA police will be checking…

  • bob

    Dan T,
    I recognize, as you argue, that any reverse of law and morality would be unfair to every and any local host. But if you argue it on the purely local level, then is every local rule to be absolute for all visitors? That is untenable. Just think about the Nazi Olympics of 1936 – which never should have been held there, but for the miscreants in the Olympic Movement Leadership. Today, I think World Cup football is a truly international event and should be freed of local absolutism of any sort. If some host cannot abide that, they should not be considered or should back out or host an alternative games or whatever. It is the world’s biggest event and should be the world’s, not hostage to transnational money nor to local custom as a restrictive force. I think you argue on grounds that I sympathize greatly with, but then it should be done eyes-open. And, once more, it is those who want everything on their terms (including biggest money) Versus those who want everything on their terms (including biggest money). I think there’s an essential third way to explore – not this false choice between two sets of damaged goods.

  • WalterBroeckx

    You couldn’t make this up…

    That is what happens if you go for a pint in Qatar… LOL

  • FinnGun

    Big international sports events should never be held in places with a bad human rights record. Like Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Peoples Republic of China or Qatar. Simples.

  • WalterBroeckx

    What’s the colour of money?
    Don’t tell me that you think its green,
    I know that it’s red…

  • bob

    p.s. And what restrictions, if any (as I don’t know official Qatar policy, do you?), on women’s attendance and in what fashion, do these sages on both sides envision for these the world’s games?

  • Mahdain

    maybe sir dave wont have to worry at all

  • bob

    Say what? Are you actually and seriously equating Qatar with Nazi Germany to make a point? That’s beyond unfair.

  • Gord


    Budweiser does not make beer. It may be a malted barley beverage, it isn’t beer.

    One would hope that if there are “dry” World Cups, that fans continue to attend and enjoy them. You wouldn’t want to think you need to be inebriated in order to enjoy the game.

  • Arvind

    @Gord: Never visited a game. Never drunk. Every Arsenal win still brings great joy. So yes. Definitely doable..although I guess I’ll be in a minority ; )

  • FinnGun

    Okay, Qatar are not in the same league as Nazi Germany or even China.

    However, the World Cup should not be held in a country with flogging and stoning as part of the legal system. Just as the Olympics (or whatever it was) shouldn’t have been held in China or the Olympics in Nazi Germany.

  • Mahdain

    @arvind you are not alone..i myself never drink and i enjoy our games just as much any one..i go mental when we score/win and beyond frustrated when we lose i.e i curse a lot

  • Roiik

    Instead of complaining about Qatar and accusing it of being a sub-human country, just don’t bother turning up it’s as simple as that. You can’t be very interested in football if you feel the need to get drunk just to watch it. I don’t even know how you can criticise Qatar which you seem to have very little knowledge of when your own nation invades and kills millions in their homelands in the name of ‘freedom’ as if you were all in shackles before your country went to war and are now free to live your lives as you please.

  • Johnny Deigh

    Can’t Harry be arrested for making such racist comments?

  • Gord

    Apparently a 42 yo man was arrested for making racist remarks after the Newcastle game on Twitter. The article mentioned the incident at the game, but didn’t have any news to add to that story.

  • Adam
    I get tired of stating that football is a sport of location. For those not from Europe look up Mob Football.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    I love the quote in that article With the ffotebale…[there] hath beene greate disorder in our towne of Manchester we are told, and glasse windowes broken yearlye and spoyled by a companie of lewd and disordered persons using that unlawful exercise of playing with the ffotebale in ye streets of the said towne, breaking many men’s windows and glasse at their pleasure and other great inormyties.
    I half expect to read that in the Guardian.

  • Gord

    The BBC has an interesting story. One way of looking at being at a game and drinking alcoholic beverages, is that you are viewing the game through “beer goggles”. This article at the BBC, is about being at a game and being blind.

  • Adam

    @Woolwich, The most eye opening thing for me was to find a link between ENCLOSURE & FOOTBALL, absolute madness. Who would have thought that.

  • Arvind

    Thats a very nice link Gord. Thanks. I wonder though; do people who can’t see a ‘visual’ sport like football ever miss NOT watching it? Of course the other senses do kick in and fill a gap but do they regret it? Either way so much to learn from the handicapped …but in reality we don’t learn too much.

    I never did drink nor do I feel I need to. When I’ve asked my friends who do drink, they say it gives you a high and that you lose your inhibitions. I wonder why you need to drink to do all that. Oh well.. I digress ; )

  • Shard

    I agree with Rooik. Who decides what constitutes a human rights violation, or immoral laws? That’s dangerous territory to tread into and declare that a certain culture or certain customs deserve isolation, where the inference is that the culture we are more familiar with is ‘right’. That sort of argument has indeed been used by the First World countries to actually carry out even worse human rights abuses and genocides. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ here as bob rightly points out. It is a created divide. On the whole, while I agree that FIFA is corrupt and probably awarded the cup to Qatar as a result of money, I don’t believe Qatar deserve to be attacked, and I don’t think anyone can say beer or alcohol absolutely must be a part of hosting the world cup. Why should it? If Qatar’s laws and customs don’t allow drinking, then it’s incumbent on the visitors to abide by their laws. However, I do think alcohol will be served to the visitors. It brings in revenues for one thing.

  • FinnGun

    In principle, I do not believe in absolute right or wrong. But I do not believe that you can condone any kind of behavior just because it is the local custom, either. If slavery or genocide was the local law or custom, would that make it right? No, it wouldn’t.

    In practice, it’s quite simple. If a country does not act in accordance with the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, it is in the wrong. Does that automatically mean that the country can be attacked using military force? No. Should the country in question be criticized. Yes. And if the violations are serious enough (which flogging and stoning in my opinion are), big international events shouldn’t be organized in the country in question.

    And just for the record, I’m from Finland and we haven’t invaded anybody in a long time. We’re too small for that.

    Peace, fellow gunners. Victoria concordia crescit.

  • Shard

    I just don’t agree that isolation is the way to bring about change.. Cultural change happens slowly and through increased exposure and understanding.. Not through isolation and pressure.

  • Gord


    I’ve heard people talk about ethanol giving you a high, but technically I don’t think that is true. Ethanol (EtOH) is a central nervous system depressant, which also has some free radical scavenging capabilities.

    It’s kind of odd that EtOH is unofficially useful in treating depression. One normally wouldn’t thing of using a depressant to treat depression.

  • FinnGun

    Dammit, Shard, you’re right. But where do you draw the line? Or do you think it was right to organize the Olympics in Nazi Germany? Luckily the internet makes isolation increasingly difficult. If you can access Untold Arsenal, things can’t be all wrong.

  • FinnGooner

    @FinGun I agree with you (maybe it’s Finnish way to think so 😉 )

    I have never been in WC or EC (never will go either) but thinking not being able to go for a drink before or after the match doesn’t sound that good…

  • Shard

    Drawing the line is the hard part 🙂 However, I think isolation almost never helps and only serves to divide people and keep any ‘conflict’ going.

    I actually haven’t looked into the period in pre 1936 Germany too closely to comment on whether the Olympics should have been organised there, but at that time, the British Empire committed many horrible excesses on peoples of the world that they ruled over, including on a racial basis. Maybe they should have been barred from competing in the Olympics as well? I guess where we draw the line depends on who’s the one drawing it.

    In this case, I don’t agree with stoning, or torture, or even prohibition (the last of which exists in non muslim areas of the world as well). But I think it’s far worse that someone else dictates to them what they should or should not do, even if the motive is benign. Because somewhere along the way, that can and is misused as well, and inevitably it leads to worse consequences.

    I love Untold, but I have disagreed with the site on the issue of awarding the World Cups to Russia and Qatar before. Of course FIFA is corrupt, but we knew that anyway. (Not that I disagree with this article) I think too much is made of the supposed human rights issues in those countries, because they are mostly viewed through the prism of the Western World, with little information or understanding of the situation on the ground. But I guess that’s just my world view because I am from a different part of the world. It’s not easy to get many things across and its too simplistic to pass judgment on the basis of certain chosen ‘facts’ and ‘values’. It isn’t just the football media that lies.. Sorry. That isn’t meant as a criticism. Just my feelings on it.

  • Mahdain

    ” I think too much is made of the supposed human rights issues in those countries, because they are mostly viewed through the prism of the Western World”.. agreed totally shard.. people tend to just bring up the “its against human rights” just because the media tells them so. i dont want to go in too deep religious wise as this is a football site but please i advise all of you in any situation dont just jump to conclusion before saying Islam or any other religion is against human rights try researching first..

  • bjtgooner

    Returning to the article; news reports tonight on SKY indicate that Dave Richards has largely retracted and/or excused his comments, so he has been recaptured by the FA “system” – ie suck up to FIFA and UEFA at all costs.

    I am surprised that ‘Arry has been so disrespectful in his comments about other nationalities – not what is expected from the next England manager.

  • Kentetsu

    It’s not just Qatar where alcohol at the World Cup is going to be a problem. For the next World Cup in Brazil, there is no certainty that there will be alcohol, at least at the stadium. Their law states that alcohol is forbidden at sporting events.

    This led to Jerome Valcke, the general secretary of FIFA, to say

    “Alcoholi beverages are part of the FIFA World Cup, so we’re going to have them. Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that’s something we won’t negotiate.”

    It says all you need to know about FIFA, really. FIFA decides, regardless of local laws. FIFA cares more about alcohol – in particular their sponsor contracts – than ridding the organisation from corruption, kicking out racism from football (a handshake will solve everything), or human rights issues.

  • Johny Come Lately

    @Mahdain: I remember a man from Egypt (prior to protests) being hunted down by the Egyptian government for terrorist activities. He made his way to England where they gave him a house, pension and said you can live here as we wont send you somewhere where you will face a death penalty. I thought this was a good, honorable thing to do but also stupid in a way. So about 5 years later this person was investigated and charged with planning to blow something up in the UK, citing the good old infidels, invading Muslim countries etc. In my country of Australia we accept so many Arabs/Muslims from all over the world and before too long all they want to do is implement Sharia law and try to change the laws of this country. This happens the world over, they move to a good, peaceful country as a refugee and then once comfortable and setup, they start crying to change laws, rules and what women should wear at Bondi beach… to say that they visit other countries and obey, respect and live by the rules is a LIE and JOKE!
    We always get charged with being a racist country or the like when someone makes a stupid comment about a burqa or when a politician says that women who cover up should be made to show their face when being inspected by police for speeding etc.
    But then we see on television all those folks burning our flags, burning bibles, calling us names and even if they manage to kidnap any tourists, god help them big time.. and it is not just a handful of thugs, but whole communities and villages, thousands strong.

    So I dont hate them or anyone else I have some very good friends descendant from the Arab world, but to say that they dont come to our country and want to change things is ridiculous. Granted it is not everyone, but a large number do lean to these views….

  • FinnGun

    Shard, believe me, pre 1936 Germany was bad, very bad. I do not agree with you that it is always worse if someone else (here I take it you mean someone ‘foreign”) dictates what you should do. After all, in Qatar it is a hereditary ruler who dictates what people should do. Let’s agree to disagree on human rights – in my view, not enough has been made of the human rights issues in Qatar and Russia.

    I don’t even know if you’ll still read this. I’m taking such a long time to answer because I’m juggling family and work because my wife is away on a business trip. Now I’ll have to take my daughter to school. Time to end this discussion here and continue with football and the new Untold later.

    Mahdain, nobody here has said anything about Islam.

  • Just in case you thought it was only me saying well done to Sir Dave, here is the Guardian on Friday

    “In all seriousness, Richards has gone up in my estimation, because if he was trying to suggest that Qatar is not an ideal venue for a World Cup he could hardly have expressed himself any better. He has publicised the fact that alcohol is only available in five-star hotels, although that is not quite the whole story. Plenty of five-star hotels in Qatar do not serve alcohol. It is not just a question of having enough money to buy a drink, you still have to find the right establishment.”

    Nice one

  • Stuart

    Johny Come Lately

    Thanks, well put.

  • Mahdain

    @johnny i could give you a fit and appropriate reply but this is a football site so im gonna respect that

  • Shard

    @Finn Gun

    I’m not sure we even disagree really, but finding that middle ground will take a discussion which will REALLY exceed the mandate of a football blog. All I meant was that the basis of judging human rights violations is skewed and not always fair. I wasn’t defending any country, or any practice. Just that it’s not always how it seems.

    Doesn’t your argument basically prove that your nation interfering in the workings of another country is what caused the problem? Hunting down a terrorist can be human rights violations worthy of granting asylum apparently, because Egypt doesn’t care about human rights? When the same person attacks your country the person is bad, and his whole culture is to blame?

    Anyway..I realy must stop here and I’m sorry if I caused offense to anyone.. That wasn’t my intention.

    Let’s enjoy football, Arsenal and Untold together. The world will sort itself out anyway 🙂

  • Pat

    Personally I was upset to hear the Soviet Union compared to
    Nazi Germany.

    If it weren’t for the heroic fight of the Soviet people against Nazi Germany in the Second World War – when they lost 27 million people, and when they were the ally of Britain, remember – the inhuman brutality the Nazis wrought on the rest of Europe would have come to us, too.

    As to the rest of the history of the Soviet Union – if we know the British media lies about Arsenal, why shouldn’t they be lying about that as well?

  • bob

    historically, you have no moral high ground: (re)watch the movie rabbit proof fence and then dare to selectively lecture anyone about anything.