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June 2021

The five factors that reveal there’s something very wrong with football (and Arsenal)

By Tony Attwood

This little piece contains brief details about five things that I think are indeed wrong with football, but which most people in the media seem to find ok – except when it involves knocking Arsenal of course.

1: Drugs in football?  Who cares?

Drugs testing is treated as irrelevant nonsense in football, especially English football, largely because of the behaviour of Uefa.  And Liverpool.  And Man U.   As a result of the latter club’s approach to player education, Phil Jones has been banned for two matches and Daley Blind fined by Uefa after the Manchester United pair were found guilty of breaching the governing body’s doping regulations after the Europa League final in May.

Jones was fined for abusing a doping control officer after being asked to attend for drug testing. Blind for refusing to co-operate with the drugs test. He was fined 5,000 euros – the equivalent of 1p to anyone on regular wages.


Manchester United have been fined 10,000 euros for infringements of Appendix B (17) of the anti-doping regulations, which say ‘the teams are responsible for ensuring that the players drawn to undergo doping controls are taken by the respective team representatives to the doping control station straight from the pitch as soon as the match is over.”

They continue: “Philip Jones has been charged for insulting and directing abusive language towards the doping control officer (Article 15 (1) of the UEFA disciplinary regulations), as well as for lack of co-operation and respect towards the doping control procedure (Article 6.05 ADR).

“The player Daley Blind has been charged for violation and non-compliance with Article 6.05 (a) of the UEFA anti-doping regulations, which states that ‘every player designated to undergo as doping control is personally responsible for reporting immediately to the doping control station as notified’.”

Now all this might seem trivial, but if one takes into account the fact that Uefa spent 18 months attempting to by-pass World Anti Doping Agency regulations, while claiming that WADA was incompetent, and the rules clearly didn’t apply to football because WADA didn’t know what it was doing, and Uefa were going to do it properly… well, one doesn’t really have much faith.

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If you missed the story of that drugs fiasco and Liverpool’s engagement in it, it is not surprising because most of the British press refused to cover it.  Fortunately we were able to get information from Switzerland and so published  The weird story of Uefa attempting to by-pass world doping rules is finally resolved.

2.  Stan Kroenke and glorifying animal killing

I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t support any animal charities.  But I don’t think killing or hunting animals for sport is a clever or morally defensible thing to do.   So I really wish Stan Kroenke had not launched has an outdoor sports TV channel in the UK which includes bloodsports and hunting shows.   It’s a hunting shooting and fishing channel and incorporates programmes on trophy hunting.

My own view, which of course is just my view, nothing more, is that when you are the custodian of an organisation or a building or anything else that means a huge amount to a huge number of people, you really need to be rather careful in what else you associate yourself with.

He is the owner of Arsenal, and as such he has a responsibility towards the sensitivities that exist in the country in which Arsenal is based.   And yes I know there are a lot of people here who still support hunting, and that hunting goes on via the special allowances made for it in law.   But it is opposed by very many people and is a sensitive subject, and it is just plain dopey of the owner to ignore such sensitivities.

The view that the channel only shows that which is legal, is neither here nor there.  Pornography is by and large legal in the UK and I don’t really want the owner of Arsenal associated with that either.   I’ll leave sort of set up to West Ham United.

3:   Ronaldo denies €14.7m tax evasion in Madrid court

And of course he is innocent until proven otherwise, but others have gone down this route before him.

Ronaldo earns more per second that I do a year (well, I haven’t worked that out but I expect it is true) and I use an accountant to ensure I pay all my tax.   Maybe Ronaldo is clean, but it reminds me of the players who have already been found guilty… Messi, Romario, Javier Mascherano, Samuel Eto’o, Neymar….

4:  Everyone found guilty of fraud and embezzlement in relation to Fifa and Uefa.

I don’t really have to go over all the cases again do I?

5:  There is no plan B

Wages and transfer fees are escalating in a way we have never seen before.  No one knows what the British economy will look like in two years time when we leave the EU.  It is possible that borders will shut and non-British players will lose their right to be here.

Extreme and bizarre and it won’t happen?  A bit like the President of the USA then.

I am not saying anything will go wrong, but I don’t think anyone has the slightest notion of what to do if things do go wrong in football as Britain leaves the EU and English clubs have to ditch hundreds of overseas players at once.   The politicians won’t suffer because they never do.  No more than Ronaldo will suffer.  Clubs might.

It just seems to me that this is not quite the time to be ploughing more and more money into something which loses its money so quickly.   Personally if I had anything to invest I’d put it into machinery to pick the crops currently picked by hand by non-British workers every summer.

But then I don’t have anything to invest, and of course none of it is up to me.

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30 comments to The five factors that reveal there’s something very wrong with football (and Arsenal)

  • Josif


    You shouldn’t be surprised about Kroenke given that he is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump. At least we know why he decided to become a majority owner at Arsenal – it was our Second-Amendment-Approving name.

  • blacksheep

    I am personally disgusted by the news that Stan Kroenke owns a TV company that makes programmes that glorify hunting. He owns a 67% share in Arsenal Football Club and he brings the club’s name into disrepute by association. I was thinking of making a purchase or two from the club shop this summer but will now boycott any expenditure on Arsenal above and beyond that already spent on my ST.
    In other words Mr Kroenke, while you make money from the killing of animals for pleasure you won’t get any more money from me

  • para

    “I’d put it into machinery to pick the crops currently picked by hand by non-British workers every summer.”

    Come on, and take the little wage the pickers get away? 🙁

  • MickHazel

    I have emailed the club expressing my disgust at Kroenke’s involvement with the MOTV.
    As the feelings of the supporters seem way down the importance scale at Arsenal FC I do not expect it will make any difference but at least I have let off a bit of steam.

  • Pat

    I am very concerned at this information about Man U players refusing / objecting to drugs tests after the Europa Cup final, especially as winning that trophy has given them a Champions League place. Should they be allowed to keep that trophy?

    I thoroughly agree with Tony and Arsene Wenger that drug control in football needs toughening up in a big way.

    As to us leaving the EU (and you know I disagree with you Tony as to whether it is a good or bad thing) there is no chance it will be allowed to affect Premier League football. It is far too much of a money spinner for the big boys.

  • Nitram

    I am not a vegetarian.

    I love, and eat lots of meat.

    I love animals and don’t think I could ever actually kill an animal myself.

    Does this make me a hypocrite?

    Almost certainly.

    I don’t like the killing of animals for sport. In fact I think it’s pathetic. But given that the same innocent animals are killed in there millions to satisfy mine, and millions of others, inessential desire to eat meat, I hardly think I’m in a position to take the moral high ground am I ?

    Having said that, I do think it is an insensitive, and ill judged decision on Kroenkes part. To launch this channel in the UK, when the general consensus from the ‘man on street’ or more pertinently the ‘man in the stadium’ is that the killing of innocent animals, simply in the name of sport, is morally indefensible.

    AsI say, a very ill judged decision in my opinion.

  • porter

    There is a big difference in the slaughter of animals for food and the killing of big game for pleasure. Many of the animals hunted in Africa / America are killed for money and for someones ego trip . It doesn’t matter if the animal is endangered , the hunter doesn’t care as long as he gets his jollies.

  • Chris

    Well I find the news about these doping tests very troublesome. That stinks all the way to the stratosphere. I wonder how many others were under influence. And I just don’t understand why the whole squad is not tested after such games. Guys with yellow eyes ?

    I wonder what sort of teams will appear in 2018 in Moscow….not to talk about Quatar in 2022.

    I just don’t get how they can get away with it.

    Then on the other hand I’ve wondered how Trump and his lot have gotten away with all they have done.

    And I think the answer is very simple : because they know they can. They know that no one will go after them.
    And reading such news just proves the point. There is so much money involved, money means influence, power, and it is used just for that.
    Fans – I mean the masses are in it for the equivalent of the Roman’s ‘bread and games’ and could care less about players of their team being dpoed as long as they win.
    The same way Trump supporters will see him as the best and would even keep voting for him if he shot someone in the street.

    People in it for the love of the game, for the art in the game are not numerous enough.

    PS imagine the s..t hitting the fan if 2 Arsenal players had done something like that. I can still remember the ‘worldwide absolute scandal’ when Jack and Woz smoked one…. (and in their case they were doing harm to themselves not searching for a performance enhancer) or when Jack uttered the S word.

  • winter

    Good article, great points and a good read. Nice. Where there is money there is corruption, it’s human nature, so where there is a lot of money, well there has to be a lot of corruption. Probably the reason why some decisions are made and the majority of the fans go, What the feck was that about !!

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I am a eater of the grass-cutters, one other animal that almost go on the belly like the grass-cutters do which I can’t remember it’s name in English now unless I check, I also eat the buffalo’s too as well as the small bush bird that looks like the domestic chickens. I think that’s all. But many Nigerians are not only eating these bush meats above whether fresh or smoked to dry after been cooked, but they eat other ones too by buying them at the market or eat them in the eatries.

    So, I am not against hunting of animals if they are for food consumption, and also for safety reason to stop any menace by them. To stop the animals being hunted from extinction after some periods/years of intensive hunting by hunters, they the hunters themselves have a circle of hunting they do follow in most of the communities in the Nigerian bushes and forest. Once they’ve noticed the numbers of the animals they are hunting for selling for food consumption have started going down in population, they will declare a time of suspension from hunting in some particular locations they’ve been hunting. So, that the animals in that bush or forest environments can reproduce and bread very well again.

    But to hunt animals for sports showing on the TV so that the interested viewers can be entertained to have fun is absorbed, wicked and inhumane and should be outlawed by UNO legislation. But for those hunters who are hunting as a means of livelihood for surviving, i.e. hunt and kill and sell them to the business intermediaries for exporting to places like China and other parts of Asia, these are the syndicate hunters/business people endangering the continual existence of these animals on earth. But now, those who are hunting for sports entertainment have joined them. This is very bad. At least let Mr Kroenke stop this his TV promotion that has been propagating hunting for sports entertainment shows. And even start to campaign against such propagation to stop any investor who may be inclined from starting such animal hunting for sports entertainment on TV to make money.

  • Gord

    I believe that “hunting” has been made into a game. That you can “log in” to robotic rifles with scopes and fancy electronics and shoot animals via an internet connection at 1000 or even 1500 yards (further?).

  • Andy Mack

    Because the story was about ManU I only skimmed it when I saw it on the BBC site earlier, but it appears that Jones wasn’t trying to skip the test.
    It was a few days after some tragic event and he wanted to be photographed with the rest of his team holding a banner somehow supporting people affected by the tragedy and the Doping official wouldn’t let him do that.
    So I do have some sympathy for him, especially as I gather he didn’t even play in that game.
    As for the blood-sports channel, without knowing exactly what they show I’ll reserve my judgement on whether it’s disgusting or not for the moment. But it’s certainly a dumb idea.

  • OlegYch

    isn’t it fun that the article accuses Kroenke of being unethical, while comparing him to Usmanov who is of course completely ethical (by virtue of suing everyone who says otherwise)

  • omgarsenal

    North Americans, particularly Canadians and Americans, are avid hunters and enjoy the very short hunting season which allows them to legally and in a controlled fashion, track and shoot many types of non-protected game.
    If my understanding of British traditions is correct, there is very little game hunting among the average population and that fox-hunting is legal but frowned upon by most British (please correct me if I err Tony).
    Kroenke is coming from a North-American environment and seems to have forgotten that the UK does not adhere to the same gun-loving, live game hunting mentality he knows and loves.
    I have never been a hunter (mostly fishing)but will happily eat deer,moose, duck, grouse, pheasant, wild turkey and other delicacies provided they are not from poachers or other nefarious sources and are legitimately hunted.
    Where I live, there are many wild animals and a serious over-population of small and medium game like deer,wild turkeys, ducks, beavers (making a major comeback), grouse and even moose.
    Lets try and be a bit more tolerant and avoid making knee-jerk judgements. That said, Kroenke seems to have put his foot in it in a very insensitive and thoughtless way…but did anyone advise him?

  • Fox hunting in its traditional form is banned under the The Hunting Act 2004 in the UK. It bans the hunting of wild mammals (obviously including foxes) with dogs in England and Wales. Dogs can be used to flush out an unidentified wild mammal. Drag hunting is legal. Scotland outlawed the practice two years earlier.

    As for Northern Ireland, I shall leave that to a reader from the Province to explain it.

  • Oleg, please let me know where the article mentions Usmanov or compares Kronke to Usmanov.

  • OlegYch

    you know the world has gone full ape shit when Morgan and Usmanov become moral high ground keepers

  • Oleg I am not sure Mr Usmanov has the moral high ground, but maybe he does done many good things that I don’t know about.

  • Menace

    I am not a goody goody type, but I detest people that kill for fun. Killing in the guise of ‘hunting for trophies’ is immoral. I fish for the pot & I do have any issues killing a chicken or a duck for the pot.

    There are many who have no heart when seeing a sht animals mate stop & stay with its partner.

  • Menace

    I do have any issues – should be ‘do not have…..’

  • Andy Mack

    There are quite a few areas in the UK where there’s a vast over-population of deer (Richmond park in particular). The difference is that the government here (which level?) employs hunters to cull the heards quite substantially every few years.
    All done with high powered rifles and supposedly no shot is taken unless it’s a clear ‘kill’ shot, with the venison sold after.
    Similarly there are large country estates whose get a decent income breeding grouse, pheasant and other birds for shooting where a group turn up with shot guns and blast away.
    So it’s all a bit double standard here, although the idea is that there’s a difference between being shot and being torn apart by dogs.
    I believe Foxes are still OK to be shot though, which farmers still do and local councils pay for in city/suburban areas where their numbers have increased dramatically.
    But it’s not really considered a sport…

  • Zedsaunt

    To borrow the language of Bob Dylan, there will be a wave of revulsion around the planet directed at Arsenal because of the activities of Stan Kroenke. Households will be split. Animal lovers will despise the club with every TV image of a slaughtered animal.

    This has to be resolved quick.

  • Nitram


    I agree.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of this?

    Whether some are displaying hilarious double standards or not?

    Moral high or low ground?

    It matters not a jot. This is Arsenal and as such, we know the kind of abuse we will get on the back of this.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs, personally, I think this is a terrible public relations own goal, and as you say Zed, it needs to be sorted, and quick.

  • Zedsaunt

    Nitram – it seeems to me Silent Stan needs a crash course in

    – the world outside of his business decisions

    – the law of unintended consequence

    We live on a planet of consumers. Bestsellers in the video departments of the Walmart/Asda family business include the continuously released, ever available, Planet Earth boxsets, every video sold and watched creating inside families across the planet the world over, implacable enemies of big game hunters.

    Because of what they do to animals the big game man with the gun is reviled. Add – global climate change. Add – a rapidly increasing extinction of animal species. Add – an awareness from every wildlife video sold that the human being is the greatest threat to all life on the planet. Add – an awareness from every video sold that each human being has to make the choice between helping to sustain the planet, or choosing to destroy it, then Silent Stan, Arsenal FC, Arsenal players, Asenal football fans, can find themselves at the centre of a perfect storm.

    Hardly surprising Jeremy Corbyn has already spoken. If he’s learnt to enjoy being David against Goliath, now with The Silent One’s vision he’s got a rock the size of the Moon, with his name on it, heading straight at him.

    Two prime, pristine, glistening, golden examples of human greed on this planet –

    – the big game hunter who kills a beautiful animal for no need

    – the big game professional footballer already worth millions and wanting a new contract.

    Stan fuses both. The fusion is spelt ‘A-R-S-E-N-A-L.’

  • Gord


    Mankind is not the only animal that hunts for “sport”. Apparently the wolverine will also kill for sport.

    I gave up guns 30 years ago (more?). I can still appreciate someone skilled in using them (such as a sniper shot at 3.5km), but I don’t own or use them.

  • Porter

    Otters will empty a garden pond eat a few livers and leave the rest of the fish to die . Foxes will do the same to a smallholding’s chickens. Whether this is for fun or just because of it’s nature I don’t know . But shooting and then posing for photos with the carcass of a wild animal is not my idea of fun .

  • Mandy Dodd

    Not impressed with Stans antics away from the club on this one, and not for the first time- I have close relatives near St Louis so will declare my bias here.
    But an owner indulging in things I find unpalatable won’t affect my support for Wenger and the team. But Wenger might unfortunately think twice when he talks about Arsenal values, not saying the club doesn’t have values, perhaps just some of the shareholders.

  • Menace

    Just a reminder of what was done by the great men with guns ….;_ylt=AwrB8qAnfTVV_xYAz6MunIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTIzOTlpMDVvBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZAMzYWMwM2EwZTk4NGNjMTEzMjhmNThlYmI0ZDJmYzhmMQRncG9zAzI0BGl0A2Jpbmc-?.origin=&back=…+painting+on+mica+of+a+%3Cb%3Etiger%3C/b%3E+%3Cb%3Ehunt%3C/b%3E,+Found/acquired:+Patna,+%3Cb%3E19th%3C/b%3E+%3Cb%3ECentury%3C/b%3E&p=tiger+hunt+india+19th+century&oid=3ac03a0e984cc11328f58ebb4d2fc8f1&fr2=piv-web&fr=yhs-mozilla-001&tt=…+painting+on+mica+of+a+%3Cb%3Etiger%3C/b%3E+%3Cb%3Ehunt%3C/b%3E,+Found/acquired:+Patna,+%3Cb%3E19th%3C/b%3E+%3Cb%3ECentury%3C/b%3E&b=0&ni=21&no=24&ts=&tab=organic&sigr=11guk3cfe&sigb=14o2qo9ed&sigi=12drlvg0t&sigt=135m7gf8g&sign=135m7gf8g&.crumb=oRrUPo9mdAl&fr=yhs-mozilla-001&fr2=piv-web&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=mozilla