By Tony Attwood
So we are playing AFC Wimbledon at home in the next round of the cup – something that none of the media wanted to see (although the club’s website speaks of “draw delight”). Not because they don’t like Wimbledon of course, but because it means Arsenal were not beaten by West Bromwich. Oh how they would have adored that outcome.
But last night did remind us that if you take quite a few of the members of the first team out of the squad with injury and illness then, well, things don’t go so well.
I will be interesting to see if other clubs are able to get a match postponed because they have too many players down with covid; it was certainly denied to Arsenal.
Not that the threat of covid has affected anyone in football until yesterday – we’ll all remember the introduction of the Uefa variant through playing a game at Wembley stadium in some competition or other.
But now, having had enough of that nonsense the Premier League and Football League have each decided not to release players for the next round of internationals if the players have to be quarantined for ten days upon their return from Antarctica or wherever the next world cup matches are to be played.
The response of Fifa was of course to be expected. They threatened the players with being banned for five days from the end of the international break. Infantino also appealed to Boris Johnson to lift the quarantine regulations, on the grounds that an elected government has no power over a non-elected cartel.
In other words allowing players to come back in with an infection is better than calling off an international game. That I think is the measure of Fifa these days. According to the Guardian 60 players from 19 of the 20 Premier League clubs have been selected for matches in red-zone countries. Spain is also taking similar action.
Infantino put out a statement saying, “I am calling on a show of solidarity from every member association, every league, and every club, to do what is both right and fair for the global game. Many of the best players in the world compete in leagues in England and Spain, and we believe these countries also share the responsibility to preserve and protect the sporting integrity of competitions around the world.
“On the issue of quarantine in England, for players returning from red-list countries, I have written to Boris Johnson and appealed for the necessary support so players are not deprived of the opportunity of representing their countries.”
Infantino is of course meanwhile glowing in the success of his “great victory” which has meant that over $200m has been returned to Fifa and other governing bodies, following one of the many cases of fraud, bribery, racketeering and money laundering offences committed that has beset Fifa over the years.
“I am delighted to see that money which was illegally siphoned out of football is now coming back to be used for its proper purposes, as it should have been in the first place,” Infantino said.
This will almost certainly encourage Infantino to bring forward his African Super League adventure which the media in the UK have most assiduously been avoiding, while as we have just seen, compliantly running Fifa press releases concerning getting back some of the money that Fifa officials have removed for their personal use.
There’s not much doubt that Fifa’s agenda is to take over complete control of football, without all those pesky little organisations such as Uefa getting in the way all the time.
Meanwhile back with the Arsenal, the media were forced to throw away their headlines about a further disaster last night, and instead will now wait for the weekend’s anticipated defeat by Manchester City at lunchtime on Saturday.
It was interesting though that Manchester City were not widely reported as having the worst start to a season, after defeats to Leicester in the Community Shield and Tottenham in the League. Although to be fair Goal.com did run the headline “Man City make worst start to a season since Hughes was sacked to make way for Mancini” That was on 21 November 2020. As you may recall Manchester City went on to win the league last season.
So maybe it is just a journalist thing. But I wonder, do they ever run a “best start to the season” headline? Mind you, that’s a bit tough I suppose since the unbeaten season put an end to all that.
The media’s take
- What happened to the 134 players said to be coming to Arsenal last summer?
- How “I think that was positive” was turned into “Arteta’s worried” by the media
- Newpaper reports show journalists’ failure to grasp what’s happening at Arsenal
- A conspiracy against Arsenal, or just journalists not doing any work.
- New positives emerge as the truth finally dawns.
- All change with PGMO and the refs.. But what change?
- The last five years proves one big thing: nothing is guaranteed.
- Injuries Time to sack Tierney according to one part of the media
- Next season starting lineup and the new Financial Fair Play rules
- The huge bias of referees is proven. PGMO and media fight back.