By Tony Attwood
Aside from running Untold Arsenal, I also run a non-football blog – Untold Dylan – which (as you might guess) covers the music and writings of the singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.
Normally I keep the central topic of Untold Arsenal and Untold Dylan separate without much difficulty. One is about a north London football club that seemingly has very few friends in the media, and the other is about the work of a man who won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
And indeed the reception the two sites get is quite different. While this site is regularly criticised for talking a total load of gibberish, or is ignored for focusing on issues such as the use of slave labour in the building of the stadia for the next world cup, Untold Dylan seems to be viewed quite well by those who have an interest in Dylan’s writing. Indeed just the other day we were cited very positively by the magazine Rolling Stone.
So, without any obvious cross over between the two sites I don’t think I have ever contemplated using a line from a Dylan song in an Untold Arsenal headline.
And yet really when I think of it, it seems all too obvious that there is a connection – hence the headline today. A Dylan line from the epic “It’s all right ma”.
For months the Premier League has been dithering over the issue of the takeover of Newcastle United by the Saudi Arabian government’s investment fund. And their problem is obvious, for there is nothing in the rule book that says anything about alleged copyright breaches by an associated party being a reason for not allowing an individual become a club owner.
That of course is the fault of the Premier League for not writing its rules in a way that allows them to stop people they don’t like from running clubs. A typical piece of shoddy rule-writing.
But it highlights also the fact that it is the issue of copyright that is bothering the League, not the complete lack of human rights that most of the population of Saudi Arabia live under.
Now it is often argued that football should not be involved in politics. There is an argument to be had in that – except when it comes to making a big fuss about civil rights across the western world, while still contemplating playing the next world cup finals in stadia that have been built by slave labour (a topic we’ve covered several times – see the articles below) there is something to be said.
Yet Saudi Arabia seem to have found a way around the problem. They have in the words of the Guardian “announced a major crackdown against platforms illegally streaming sporting events.”
So that’s ok then. The Premier League can go on making all its money; Saudi Arabia can go on seriously mistreating many of its citizens; football is satisfied. Even the bishops in the House of Lords don’t seem to mind that Saudi Arabia is a place where the public practice of any form of religion other than Islam is illegal.
But hey, all the nasty things that have happened there are ok because it has now pledged to eliminate football piracy and shut down illicit platforms, by initiating an “inspection campaign” to “stop websites and platforms violating intellectual property laws”. It said those breaching copyright protection law could incur fines of 250,000 Saudi riyals (£54,000) and those responsible can be jailed for six months.
So now we can see the real issues here. Human rights? Well, that’s always been a tricky one. But copyright law? Oh that’s a game changer.
The slavery files
- MP stance on football should fill us all with disgust
- If all lives matter, if slavery is unaccepable, what is the FA doing about Qatar?
- British media universally continues to support modern slavery
- Arsenal injury crisis is a phantom of the Mirror’s imagination
- In Switzerland Fifa is on the edge of being blown up. In England….?
- Why life working for a football club might not always be what it seems
- The big six transfers thus far, and who’s got more cash?
- Arsenal transfers: Gnabry return, White a disaster, Martinez a loss?