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Fight The Power

My output here lately has been frankly shocking, so I figured what better way to get out of the rut and into the groove than with a good old fashioned rant? As ever, the governing bodies of our beautiful game provide ample muse for this particular fit of pique. Thanks to more concentientious journalists on the site, the news will by now have reached you that Robin van Persie was injured playing for the Netherlands last night and, while the full extent of the diagnosis is not yet public knowledge, he looks likely to miss crunch games with Liverpool and Manchester United.

So? What are the Dutch Football Association going to provide us in terms of compensation? That's right, the square root of sweet Fanny Adams. Of course, that is their legislatively protected right thanks to the absolute cretins that inhabit FIFA. I am absolutely sick and tired to death of international teams being permitted to completely and utterly extract the urine when it comes to using players. I am at an absolute loss to understand why the Dutch F.A should be afforded the liberty of using Arsenal's current top scorer, injuring him and sending him back to us crocked without paying some form of financial compensation. Not only do we lose our most prolific marksman for vital games, but we are liable for all the incurrent medical bills in treating his injury. Somebody please explain to me the rationale behind that? In what other industry on Planet Earth is this allowed to happen? Let me provide something of a corporate metaphor to further elucidate the lunacy of this situation. The Chairman of NEC phones up his counterpart at Apple and says,
'Alright mate, you know those nifty new P.Cs you've spent years developing and put loadsa dosh into?'
'Yeah, well we really like them, so we're gonna have them for two weeks. Oh, there's nothing you can do to stop me, the Government says I can.'
Two weeks later, Chairman of NEC phones back,
'Hello again geezer, errr, yeah, we accidentally smashed up three of your finest machines. But don't worry, we've sent them back to you all in their boxes and everyfink. We take it you don't mind paying to have em fixed? Thought not, cheers mate.'

Wouldn't happen would it? I mean, if you knock over someone's pint in a pub, the sensible thing to do (particularly if he looks like he eats human arms for breakfast) is to reimburse him accordingly by buying him another isn't it? I mean, this is a custom that translates into judicial law as well as the rules of etiquette. So why are international organisations allowed to so flagrantly dodge this obligation? You are all probably aware that I view international football with the same regard the average man reserves for war criminals. However, if a player really wants to represent his nation, so be it. Plus, the people of the Ivory Coast have the right to see superstars they have developed, such as Toure and Drogba, who would not ordinarily turn up in their domestic leagues. But why do the respective football associations have this constitutionally protected right to act in the manner of a footballing monarchy? (i.e take, take, take, but actively contribute nothing themselves. Then we are apparently dutibound to swoon at their every move). As far as I am concerned, if you broke it, you bought it. In this example, the Netherlands F.A should contribute 50% of van Persie's wages for the whole period that he is injured.

As ever, under the guidance of Raymond 'No Geminis Allowed' Domenech, France are currently the standard bearer for moral arrogance. Who could forget Domenech's disgusting stance in refusing to let Claude Makelele, a player who helped his nation reach unprecedented footballing heights, retire? One is minded of a 19th Century shop steward, throwing the old lung weary codger back into the mines with a swift boot in his apex. His insistence on playing a physically and emotionally forlorn Thierry Henry for ninety minutes of a friendly against Gilbraltar, before demanding that Arsenal rest him for the Champions' League Final lest he burn out sticks in the craw. (Slight hyperbole, but you get the schtick right?) This Wednesday, William Gallas played for France, despite the fact that he has been unable to play for his club for two months due to injury. Yet, had Willy tried to pull out of the game, the French F.A would be perfectly within their rights to suspend him from competing for his club for the next two matches! (A threat they were quite comfortable in issuing to Claude Makelele). Somebody please explain to me the logic in that!

Is it any wonder that the likes of John Toshack are openly questioning the desire of professional footballers to play for their nations when they are basically being forced to do so with a FIFA loaded pistol held to their heads? We also have had the Czech national physio criticising Arsenal's treatment for Tomas Rosicky's ongoing injury problems. I tell you what matey, put your money where your mouth is, perhaps the Czech F.A can put their hands in their pockets and help us out then in the interests of sound medical advice? Oh no, once the Czech Republic had fulfilled their fixtures, they send him hobbling back to us. The relationship between clubs and nations has never been more hostile, and it's hardly surprising given the blatant inequity in the rules. The great man Arsene Wenger once said, 'sometimes, if you give stupid people power, they become stupider.' What we have is a situation whereby national teams are protected by legislation to the point that they can produce examples, such as the ones I have included, of such astounding hypocrisy without a hint of self conscious. Unfortunately, the clowns at FIFA and UEFA vindicate them to this end, and we the fans get the shaft. Arsenal and Bolton fans have paid upwards of £40 to watch the match on Saturday, thanks to international football, the occasion looks to have been shorn of its brightest stars, as Anelka and van Persie struggle for fitness. So Blatter, Platini and all you other clowns, if you're reading, I'll be in the Arsenal Tavern on Saturday afternoon. Mine's a Guinness.LD.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday October 18 2007

Time: 1:41PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
touchy issue. but very powerful post.
Report Abuse
18/10/2007 13:57:00

When you see pictures of the RVP incident it looks bad. But, the Dutch physio had Robin up and jogging around before putting him back onto the pitch for all of 30 seconds before Marco subbed him off. That gives me hope that he will be back for Anfield.
Report Abuse
18/10/2007 14:02:00

Oh and didnt Newcastle get some large amount of compensation for Owens injury during the WC 06.
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18/10/2007 14:03:00

Great rant LD. Not much chance of you getting a Guiness from FIFA –that’s not the way it works. They will take yours and give you the empty glass back though. Wasn’t/isn’t there a court case going on at the moment with Charleroi suing Uefa for compensation for a player injury or has that been resolved? Statistically there is a higher risk of injury amongst high level players when playing teams at a lower level. This is one of the reasons why international football seems to a minefield with such a big disparity between the skill levels of some teams.
Report Abuse
18/10/2007 14:05:00

Great work Dutch. I doubt there is a solution around the corner, but making these associations liable for player costs when they send them back crocked will be a start.
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18/10/2007 14:19:00

Superb article a thoroughly enjoyable read
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18/10/2007 14:22:00

for Arsenal, players are more likely to be injured playing for their country than for Arsenal. I know Amos just hinted at why, but Arsenal play plenty of dirty teams in the premiership but dont seem to suffer as many injuries as during internationals. I dont understand that since many of the less able country's still put the emphasis on skill over strength, especially on the continent.
Report Abuse
18/10/2007 14:22:00

LOVE IT!!!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!!! Best article yet by you LD, love thet way how you gave those International team clowns a whipping!!! You just forgot to mention Domenech's omission of Robert Pires from the national team, I hate that dude, whoever thought of choosing starsigns for a starting XI. The staff of international teams only got their jobs because they were too rubbish and no club wanted them. ( Other than Scolari and Hiddink)
Report Abuse
18/10/2007 14:23:00

It seems the Charleroi case has yet to be listed before the European Court. The outcome of that will be significant. I had forgotten Wengers pearls of wisdom on the subject: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger this week weighed into the debate by likening international coaches to joyriders. "What the national coaches are doing is like taking the car from his (club manager's) garage without even asking his permission. They'll then use his car for 10 days and abandon it in a field without any petrol left in the tank. We then have to recover it, but it is broken down. Then, a month later, they'll come to take your car again -and for good measure you're expected to be nice about it."
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18/10/2007 15:10:00

A very good article, LD and you make good points about RVP for Netherlands and Gallas for France. These are rich footballing nations that can afford the medical bills of injured players and the wage bill when they are injured. What happens when a footballer like Kakha Kaladze (for example), gets injured playing for Georgia? Can the Georgian FA afford his medical bills, and his Milan wage bill for the time he is injured ? Principally, I agree with the issue, that it is unfair on football clubs when their players are injured on national duty. Practically, I am not so sure compensation will work well in ALL such instances.
Report Abuse
18/10/2007 15:48:00

Very good article LD and I whole heartily agree with you on every subject. Personally I think that any nation who sends back players who have been injured playing for their national side should compensate the clubs by paying the players FULL wages and any medical bills to get them fit again. I mean the FA, some what begrudgingly payed Newcastle a huge some of money after Owen was injured at the 2006 World Cup, about £1.5mill I think, so what makes that a special case compared to RVP or anyone else for that matter.
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18/10/2007 16:05:00

but someone has to pay for compensation so its not that easy to say OK the FA's or FIFA should pay. If insurance is taken out by the clubs how much do you think the premiums would be to cover months of injury to players earning 80k per week? arsenal would have to pay the premiums along with other top clubs. Clubs with no international footballers would not pay for the insurance they dont need. when arsenal pay for something, you do realise that in fact is us the fans paying for it in our season ticket renewal price dont you? so in the end we pay either way. If FIFA were to pay the compenstation, they cant magic money out of the air. they would come to clubs for the money! and so forth. I think we have to accept that it is just a occupational hazard and that other top teams that we are competing against should have just as many injury problems from internationals as we do. the worst thing is the way they use a player twice a week for 90 minutes regardless of whether he is coming back from injury or whatever. most countries dont look after the players' long term health but there is little we can do.
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18/10/2007 16:34:00

bloody good read once again LD, thanks mate, I'll get you a guiness if I c u!
Report Abuse
18/10/2007 17:09:00

A whole bloody month, jeeeeeeeeez!
Report Abuse
18/10/2007 17:46:00

In the case of poorer nations, then I think the player should help his association out (FIFA have more than enough to provide assistance with all the sponsorship money they receive, but asking them to put their hands in their pockets and help the game is pie in the sky). It would be a good acid test for how much players really want to play for their countries. Afterall, if I throw myself head long into a bush when drunk, injure myself and can't work for two months, I wouldn't look for my employer to cop the medical fees. Players choose to represent their countries, if they don't want to assume any responsibility that goes with that, then they should retire. I know that all of this is unlikely, but that was kind of the point of the article, none of this is fair. If FIFA don't want the responsibilities of players playing for their nations, then they should acknowledge it and scrap international football. Isn't that what happens elsewhere? If a company cannot keep it's total costs down versus it's revenue, it folds. FIFA shouldn't be able to call football a business when the likes of McDonald's come knocking to sponsor the world cup, but then plead the people's game manifesto when it comes to paying the bills.
Little Dutch
Report Abuse
18/10/2007 20:48:00

great post dutchy, and i agree with you, alas this debate has gone on for eons, look at Owen, England and Newcastle. It is no wonder why if you ask any football fan in England which comes first Club or country they will always say Club. alas it has its downside, a player will always want to play at the highest level, ofcourse internationals, if the club stops him from doing that because there is no compensation in place with that said country, then the player gets angry and we don't want that do we. ofcourse the club has every right as they own the player and pay for him, its just a tricky situation, something needs to be done, personally the money is irrelevant, your player is still injured and no amount of money will place points lost in the league due to the fact of not having your best players able to play.
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19/10/2007 10:44:00

i think if they are not willing to compensate then internationals should be scrapped, at least during the season. why not have a separate seasons for internationals?
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20/10/2007 05:28:00

Fantastic rant LD, Im now at the point where Id be happy to see international football scrapped all together, imo it no longer represents the pinnacle of world football, with most recent tournaments being boring, predictable non-events, how long before the top clubs have enough and break away from fifa?
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20/10/2007 21:56:00


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