By Walter Broeckx
There are a few interesting things in the media about the relations between the clubs and the national teams. And maybe a development that could be important for not only Arsenal but for the future of club football versus international football.
Let us start with the argument between Bayern Munich and the Dutch FA (KNVB). It all started a few weeks before the world cup. Arjen Robben hurt himself in a friendly practice game just before the world cup. The doctor his verdict was a muscle tear. Bye, bye world cup for Robben. But no, the KNVB found a quacksalver somewhere who could do some magic and who could get Robben fit.
Bayern Munich said they didn’t like it very much but they trusted the Dutch medical staff. And look our friend the quack did what he had promised and by some magical trick he could make Robben ready for the tournament. Robben played, visibly not at his best and Holland nearly won the world cup. So far, so good and everybody happy.
But this changed when Robben went back to Bayern Munich and the doctors discovered that the injury was not healed at all. No they found out that the initial tear was bigger than first. They described it by saying that Robben had a hole in his muscle.
So Bayern was not happy at when they found out that it would take Robben some 5 to 6 months to recover from the injury. So Bayern complained at the KNVB, as we had done before, and they asked a large sum from the KNVB to cover the loss Bayern is facing because Robben is not fit and they still have to pay him his wages. But the KNVB brushed the Bayern claims away. They did not want to pay any money to cover the loss for Bayern.
Some negotiations have been held in the past weeks but the KNVB is sticking to ‘we don’t pay you one eurocent’.
Bayern has said that if the KNVB doesn’t want to pay anything they will go to court and try to get their money through court. And like Rummenige, from the Bayern board has said: if we win this, this could be a case that changes the relations between the clubs and Fifa and the national teams.
Now clubs can only let their players go and hope they come back in one piece. And if they come back in pieces, its up to the club to pay the bills and to find a solution. So the international federations are having the upper hand in relation to the clubs. But if a court would declare that the international federations are responsible for the players they borrow from the clubs this could change. And also it would change the mindset of the international federations. They would say to the coaches: Now wait a minute, if you know a player is injured you can not let him play because otherwise we will have to pay his wages for months if he cannot play for his club”.
Because those coaches are employed by the countries they don’t care if a player cannot play for his club for a while. Look at Van Persie who could be recalled for a friendly if he would be fit to play for us in the next weeks. You got to be joking there, Van Marwijck.
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Another example seems to be Thomas Vermaelen. As on Monday we have a talk show about football in our country and there was a strange quote. Now I must say that I did not see it myself but I was told about it by a fellow Gooner over here. So I really cannot stick my neck out on this but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if what follows is the truth.
In that talk show on TV the assistant coach of the Belgium national team was talking about the Red Devils, as they are called (much red an just a little bit of Devil in fact). And he was talking about how much the players do like to play for the team. The players even play with an injury he added and then he said: ‘like Vermaelen did’.
When I was informed about this by our fellow Gooner I nearly threw away my computer. I was gutted, I was frustrated, I was furious. Because he just said in fact that Vermaelen was injured before he started his last game for Belgium. And apparently Vermaelen, as a captain usually does, wanted to play. Well not much wrong there as every player wants to play.
But the Belgian FA (KBVB) knew he was injured on his Achilles and they took the gamble of playing him. And every doctor knows that playing with an injury on an Achilles can cause a lot of long term trouble. You have to rest from the moment you have troubles in that part of the body. But now the doctors let Vermaelen play despite his pain and injury and now we can pay the price.
So maybe we could hope that Bayern Munich goes to court and come out as the winner. It will make coaches and national football federations think before risking a player to be injured for a long while. And maybe doctors will be instructed to not risk a player any more for an international game as it could be that the price they have to pay would be that high.
Footnote: in the interest of international harmony Walter and Tony have agreed that in future Untold Arsenal articles should aim to use more words that are Dutch terms which have come to England, or English words that have gone Dutch (as it were). Today we introduce quacksalver – a Dutch word that moved into English in the 16th century (it’s on Dictionary.com – honest). You don’t get this sort of education on other blogs you know.
Untold: you read it here first, unless of course you didn’t
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Making the Arsenal: and how we nearly went somewhere else instead
Arsenal Worldwide: for those who are already there
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