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February 2021

Football in crisis. Football in chaos. Football as a fairy story.

By Tony Attwood

There is a story doing the rounds that the wing of British military intelligence that works in secret in countries outside the UK (MI6) not only helped the British agent who put together the Trump sex dossier, he always worked with MI6 investigating Russia’s bid for the World Cup of 2018.

A lot of Russia’s bid looks immensely dubious – not least because when it was retrospectively investigated the Russian authorities said that the bid had been written on computers that they “hired” for the occasion, and that after the bid had been submitted, these had been returned to their owners.  Thus there was no trace of past emails, deals, offers, discussions, bribes…

It was a bizarre story, and surely only in football could it have come out, and then been allowed to slip away, with the focus in England instead being on who was going to be the manager to ensure that England gets into the finals.

It is a perfect example of how a story can be treated as not important, when if it is looked at outside the fishbowl of football it clearly is very important.

But this is what the media does.  It develops a story (today often called a “narrative” to make it sound more intellectual, but in essence it is just a story) about events, which emphasises some issues, and ignores others, and then comes up with what is at best just one interpretation of the events going on around us.

Fifa is quite clearly crooked, but the notion that countries should pull out of Fifa and either abandon international competition totally or set up a new organisation to run it, is simply not debated, although I suspect that if it were, among many fans it would gain a lot of support.  That notion is not part of the narrative – it doesn’t fit with the story they want to tell.

Narratives are important of course.  In Little Red Riding Hood [sorry Walter I don’t know the title in Flemish, but it is the tale about the Big Bad Wolf, which I think exists in most of Europe] we don’t ask why the elderly grandmother has continued to live on her own in a wolf-infested forest while demanding that her granddaughter makes a life-threatening journey just to take her some cakes.  We don’t ask why Little Red Riding Hood’s parents allow the girl into the forest, and indeed why they and the grandmother are not locked up by the authorities for failing to take proper care of a seemingly not very bright little girl.

And that set of facts shows us just how the media treats football.  For them it is a fairy story, and we the recipients of their outpourings are treated as beings who are so utterly stupid that we can be manipulated into believing all this stuff. 

I gave the example of the tale that Arsenal need a new striker, and around it come other ludicrous views – like the infamous “only two players who got over 10 goals last season” nonsense (75% of the clubs had only one player in double figures so Arsenal were a position exception not a club to be castigated) and all the false assumptions that flowed from it.

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In reality there is a huge amount that is wrong with football, and yes there is blame to be accorded for this – and one good place to start is with Fifa, Uefa, and the FA.  Total and complete removal of these bodies allowing football to start again in its rebuilding process would be a good way forward, but not only does this not happen, as far as the mass media is concerned such a move is not on the agenda.  No more than the question of the parental control over Red Riding Hood comes into the fairy story.

Thus we have the issue of Liverpool’s Joël Matip who has said that he doesn’t want to play for his country, but is called up by his country nonetheless.  Liverpool say they want to play him, and, at least as far as we can judge from their statement, seem utterly in ignorance of what the rules are.

That really is quite amazing – that people running a business the size of Liverpool FC might not actually know the rules.  It is there is black and white.  Well, actually in black on white, but these old sayings are never that accurate.

Article 5 states: “A player who has been called up by his association for one of its representative teams is, unless otherwise agreed by the relevant association, not entitled to play for the club with which he is registered during the period for which he has been released or should have been released pursuant to the provisions of this annexe, plus an additional period of five days.”

Now Liverpool! is getting all uppity about this, but the fault is entirely theirs.  That rule has been in place for aeons and its abuse by countries calling up players who don’t want to go has always been on the cards.   What Liverpool! and to be fair all other clubs should have done years ago is said, “this is unreasonable – change it.”  And if Fifa in its almighty omnipotence refused then the clubs start lobbying for complete withdrawal from Fifa until it gets its rules sorted.  

Or indeed the Premier League could come together and say, “That is one fairy story too many.  We step aside from Fifa,” and then change the system.

Instead the clubs behave a bit like parents who choose a school for their child, and then complain about the way their child is treated rather than moving the child to another school or lobbying for a change in the way the school is run.  Whinging, wining and moaning instead of action.

Liverpool could test the regulations by playing Matip tonight in the FA Cup, but because football has never stood together against the idiocies of the FA, Uefa and Fifa they have no idea what the outcome would be, and whether, if it went against them, the rest of football would unite in support – which it ought to.

As things stand Matip can’t play for Liverpool! until five days after his country is knocked out of the competition.  If he does a Fifa disciplinary committee investigation would investigate and then quite possibly require that Liverpool! are thrown out of the FA Cup.  The FA, poodles and lapdogs that they are, would undoubtedly accede to Fifa’s whim as they always do.

Football, as reported in the mass media in the UK, is a fairy story, and although fairy stories are fun and help children come to terms with all sorts of emotional issues, they are not a substitute for reality.

Of course I know we are fourth in the league not top.  But the reason is not because we did not sign a new 20 goals a season man.  It would be nice if just someone, somewhere, admitted that they got it totally wrong.

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16 comments to Football in crisis. Football in chaos. Football as a fairy story.

  • Norman14

    Of course, if the FA was an organisation that looked after it’s members’ interests, they would have sorted this out for Liverpool. I’ve not seen any reports that suggest the FA is undertaking it’s own investigation. Therefore, their failure to provide “Duty of Care” to their member club, makes them not fit for purpose. Surely?

  • WalterBroeckx

    In Flemish we call her “Roodkapje” and could you believe it our Dutch speaking “Roodkapje” is as stupid as yours. And the parents are as bad as yours as they just let her go in to the Woods where the big bad wolf is. 🙂

  • OlegYch

    wasn’t the stuff in MI6 report about trump total bollocks (or a fairy tale if you will)? if so, the findings about Russia seem suspect too

  • Andy Mack

    Although it could be beneficial for a few of the football associations to discuss life without Fifa, the reality is that those associations could be looked unfavourably by Fifa/Uefa in any future dealings unless a substantial number of associations were involved.
    Yes it would probably be a vast vast improvement to get rid of Fifa/Uefa and set up another governing body, the reality is that the clubs have such high costs that it’s very possible they wouldn’t be able to survive the season or two when football was in complete meltdown whilst a new body was set up.
    Fifa/Uefa is so entwined legally in football that it would make the Brexit debacle seem like a simple divorce.
    If just 1 quarter of associations left Fifa then would those associations be able to run theirown world cup or European championships, or a CL equivalent…
    If Germany stayed in Fifa would Arsenals German Internationals want to stay in a league which may prohibit them from playing for their national team.
    Which countries could organise a W/Cup with just 2 years notice etc
    Could the finance / advertising income be organised to an adequate value in short enough time.
    So yes, the media should be voicing supporters concerns about the inadequacies of Fifa/Uefa but it’s unlikely it would create any major change, beyond maybe a little superficial reorganising of Fifa/Uefa. Unfortunately there could well be recriminations as there appears to have been following the BBC revealing Fifa corruption previously.

  • Norman14


    Spot on, and wasn’t it a rogue MI6 Operative who wrote the report anyway? It’s called Fake News. It’s designed to hide the truth from the general population, and it’s produced by the so called “leaders of the world” and published by the world’s “leading media” corporations.

    Of course the findings about Russia are “fake”. They are not OUR friends )(according to our government).

    As I’ve said countless times before, sport “reporting” is easy ground for peddling fake news, because it’s probably the only global area that is followed by the majority of the world’s population.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Seems Liverpool have capitulated, and Matip won’t play in the FA Cup.
    I would imagine they are not impressed, but understand some of the difficulties they may face if they take on the powers that be. Nothing speaks louder than money in football

  • Leon

    Norman 14

    Not so sure about this guy being “rogue”. He’s actually a highly regarded ex (retired) Mi6 spy now working as a security consultant to anyone who wishes to employ him. Christopher Steele was allegedly (according to Daily Mail) employed by The FA at the time of our 2018 bid. What he did or didn’t find out is not reported.
    All sounds a bit far fetched, and he’s not making any claims himself re the FA etc., but if the FA are involved in espionage then they need to be investigated themselves by this fellow’s former employers at that time.

  • Leon

    Norman 14

    Course, he may have been employed by the UK government & not the FA in which case the FA are blameless

  • finsbury

    Please do not feed the Village Idiot

  • finsbury

    Politics & Sport. It’s a larf a minute. Almost as funny as the ability of the likes of A.Townsend (Jnr) on the Football.

    What is the relationship between FUFA, the FA and IFAB?

    What is IFAB?

  • omgarsenal

    Finsbury………..look up IFAB on the net; it is the body composed of the original founders of football (England,Scotland,Ireland & Wales) and a few representatives from FIFA. They review the rules each year and determine any changes or reinterpretations of existing Laws, including technological changes auithorized by FIFA. It is a very important body as it can determine where football is headed and whether we stay ahead of modern developments.

  • omgarsenal

    Here is the wikipedia information:

    The International Football Association Board (IFAB[1]) is the body that determines the Laws of the Game of association football. IFAB was founded in 1886 to agree standardised Laws for international competition, and has since acted as the “guardian” of the internationally used Laws; since its establishment in 1904 FIFA, the sport’s top governing body, has recognised IFAB’s jurisdiction over the Laws.[2] IFAB is known to take a highly conservative attitude regarding changes to the Laws of the Game.[3]

    It is a separate body from FIFA, though FIFA is represented on the board and holds 50% of the voting power. As a legacy of association football’s origins in the British Isles, the other organisations represented are the governing bodies of the game in the four countries of the United Kingdom. Amendments to the Laws require a three-quarter supermajority vote, meaning that FIFA’s support is necessary but not sufficient for a motion to pass.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Since we are into political correctness and fairy tales , here is a very funny retelling of the Red Riding Hood tale.I have posted it here before , many years ago , and still find it to be one of the finest pieces of satirical writing.
    Enjoy .

    Am also very sure that from tomorrow we will be entertained by some of the darnest things , doings , and goings on from the US of A .
    Can’t wait !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And who is there to say that such an incident will not happen in The Donald’s Fantasy Land ?

    Father O’Malley rose from his bed one morning. It was a fine spring day in his new Washington D.C. Parish. He walked to the window of his bedroom to get a deep breath of the beautiful day outside.

    He then noticed there was a donkey lying dead in the middle of his front lawn. He promptly called the White House .

    The conversation went like this:

    “Good morning. This is Donald Trump, How might I help you?”

    “And the best of the day te yerself. This is Father O’Malley at St. Ann’s Catholic Church. There’s a donkey lying dead in me front lawn and would ye be so kind as to send a couple o’yer lads to take care of the matter?”

    Trump , considering himself to be quite a wit and recognizing the Irish accent, thought he would have a little fun with the good father, replied,
    “Well now Father, it was always my impression that you people took care of all the last rites!”

    There was dead silence on the line for a moment . . . . Father O’Malley then replied:

    “Aye,’ tis certainly true; but we are also obliged to notify the next of kin first, which is the reason for me call.”

  • Brickfields Gunners


    1. Big Bad Wolf:
    The big bad wolf said to little red riding hood , “Unbutton your blouse and let me suck your tits . ”
    ” Fuck off !” , she replied as she tugged down her panties, “Eat me like the fuckin’ book says !”

    2. Pinocchio:
    Pinocchio was fed up with the recent complaints from his wife. “Every time we make love, I get splinters.” So, Pinocchio went back to his maker, Gipetto the Carpenter, for advice.
    “Sandpaper,” said the carpenter, “that’s what you need.”
    So, Pinocchio took the sandpaper home. A few weeks later, the carpenter bumped into Pinocchio again. “How are you getting along with the wife now?” “Who needs a wife ?” replied Pinocchio.

    Cinderella wants to go to the ball, but her wicked stepmother won’t let her. As Cinderella sits crying in the garden, her fairy godmother appears, and promises to provide Cinderella with everything she needs to go to the ball, but only on two conditions. “First, you must wear a diaphragm.”
    Cinderella agrees. “What’s the second condition?”
    “You must be home by 2 a.m. Any later, and your diaphragm will turn into a pumpkin.”
    Cinderella agrees to be home by 2 a.m. The appointed hour comes and goes, and Cinderella doesn’t show up. Finally, at 5 a.m., Cinderella shows up, looking love-struck and very satisfied.
    “Where have you been?” demands the fairy godmother. “Your diaphragm was supposed to turn into a pumpkin three hours ago!!!”
    “I met a prince, Fairy Godmother. He took care of everything.”
    “I know of no prince with that kind of power! Tell me his name!”
    “I can’t remember, exactly… Peter Peter, something or other…”

    4. Mickey Mouse:
    Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse were in divorce court and the judge said to Mickey, “You say here that your wife is crazy.”
    Mickey replied, “No I didn’t. I said she is fucking Goofy.”

  • finsbury

    Thanks OMG

    It’s not clear to me, though I haven’t looked very hard! does IFAB answer to FUFA or is it the other way around?

    Who bears responsibility for retarding the aid for the officials relative to other sports by the measure of approximately three decades and who is consequently responsible for diminishing the credibility of the sport, undermining the efforts of the atheletes and the enjoyment of the fans who don’t want to debate the strange actions of wraiths like *gollum gollum* after every second match such as their inability to use a stopwatch and give a fan the 90 minutes of football that they have paid for?

    FUFA or IFAB?