Senior figures at the FA have confirmed that they are looking at ways to reduce the importance of the FA Cup. Their method – a restriction on the number of non-English players – is quite possibly against EU laws, but such legal niceties are never top of the FA’s agenda when suggesting change. The approach is undoubtedly an attack on Arsenal and other teams that have sought to play the best football, rather than English football.
The approach will outlaw players not registered as able to play for England. This means those who have opted to play for Wales, Scotland, N Ireland or anywhere else, and those who, even with the odd qualification systems that football employs these days, could not play for England if asked, will all be excluded.
Thus each team will need to ask its players where they were born – something that is against employment law. (You can ask the person if they have the legal right to work in the UK, but nothing else). If the answer is not England the questioning will turn to parents and grandparents.
But here’s the real twist. Anyone who has lived and worked in the UK for five years can apply for UK citizenship – and that will give them the right to play for any part of the UK.
Arsenal’s response to this attack will undoubtedly be to enter a team of youth and reserve players. And who knows – given their success in the Little Cup over the years they will probably get to the Final. We can only hope the EU lawyers get to work, sue the FA, bankrupt them, and remove this pathetic and childish organisation (which once banned Arsenal from playing any games because they dared to pay their players) for good.