By Tony Attwood
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, the prosecution, the defence, and the threats of bringing down Uefa, the net result is that Manchester City’s actions in relation to the money they have spent, is deemed worthy of a fine (which given the context of the case is not likely to worry the club very much) but not a ban.
So seemingly in football one can threaten the courts as much as one like. A club can’t question a referee’s decision in public, but Manchester City can threaten to bring about the collapse of Uefa, and that’s ok. PGMO must be dancing in the streets.
Which in turn means that other clubs that want to do what Manchester City have done, can do so, while expecting to be punished by fines, not by being kicked out of the competition. Newcastle must be getting quite excited.
As we have seen, three English clubs have tried to get around the rules of football of late. Liverpool, who were eventually banned for a year from taking on youth players, Chelsea who were banned for a year from all transfers, and Manchester City who have been fined because of the way they handled their finances.
Since Manchester City clearly have vast amounts of money, they won’t particularly worry too much about their fine, and since their reputation among most supporters is so low that it can’t go any lower, that really won’t matter much to them either. They can become the most reviled club in football, but then, so what?
Sheik Mansour won’t worry about his reputation in the United Arab Emirates, because nothing seems to touch the countries in the middle east. The revelations concerning Qatar and the building of stadia using slave labour has not been covered much by the British media, and indeed even the campaigns such as “Black Lives Matter” have not incorporated an awareness of the way slavery has been used in Qatar to build the stadia – an extraordinary irony.
With the FA, and seemingly all the players who qualify for countries likely to be in the 2022 world cup, noticeably not recognising that the use of slave labour is a problem for them, it hardly seems likely that anyone is going to worry about the United Arab Emirates owned Manchester City threatening Uefa and getting away with it.
Indeed the fact that the Saudi Arabian takeover of Newcastle United has been brought into focus because of copyright issues, and not because Saudi Arabia is a notorious abuser of human rights on a scale at the very least equal to Qatar, shows just how far football has sunk. Human rights? Who needs them!
Protests are made about copyright infringements by the Saudi based BeOutq broadcasting system, but no one cares about slave labour. That really says it all.
On that basis the reputation of football in England has now sunk so low that the fact that Manchester City can threaten to bring Uefa down and the member of their legal team can openly make a sick joke about the death of a Uefa executive, with impunity.
People often used to speak about football having reached a low point when Liverpool supporters attacked Juventus fans 29 May 1985, and to their credit Liverpool did have a prominent article on their website concerning this for many years. That seems to have gone now. All a long time ago. Forget it and move on.
And of course no one got physically hurt by Manchester City not being banned from playing in Europe. But it does not bode well for the future.
Arsenal clearly don’t have access to the funding that Manchester City has and can now, as a result of this CAS ruling, Man C can use it with impunity. Yes Manchester C were fined but then, so what? The money can be paid back using the same mechanism as the funding that was questioned by Uefa. They can buy anyone, do anything they want.
The only possible holding back of them would be if football in England introduced either strict regulations on how much each club could spend on salaries, or on transfer fees. But neither of these look likely to happen.
Indeed it seems a bit of a sad day all round in football, as it appears also that when the 2020/1 season is played, with the number of people in the stadia being restricted, the games are no longer all going to be on TV, as they are now. We will be back to the standard approach.
So, there we are. The window of hope that the expenditure by clubs backed by states might be limited, has now gone. Even my season ticket won’t guarantee me being able to watch the game next season. It’s all rather awful.
The slavery files & the FA
- MP stance on football should fill us all with disgust
- If all lives matter, if slavery is unacceptable, what is the FA doing about Qatar?
- British media universally continues to support modern slavery
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t
- Arsenal v Tottenham: different clubs, different managers, different successes
- Arsenal v Tottenham with clubs now getting more cards than they put in tackles!