Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Friday May 30 2008
I really, really do not have the energy or the inclination to house another debate on Arsenal`s foreign contingent blah, blah, blah etc, so if you`re thinking of posting something about that on this article, please do not bother. It`s a tired; boring argument that has played out on here so many times that it is not funny or even remotely interesting. What I want to do is to identify the numerous and gaping flaws in Septic Bladder`s latest harebrained scheme, the 6+5 rule. Whether you are a patriot who is interested in the national team or an apathetic cynic like myself; the points contained here are not mutually exclusive to either opinion. Bladder is globally renowned as a self interested moron. But his latest proposition, which was overwhelmingly voted for by his FIFA cronies in Sydney last evening, is so self defeating and porous that I despair that people of this ridiculous level of sub par intelligence are elevated to these positions. Largely, I consider politicians to be calculated, self serving liars, but usually (and there are exceptions) to climb as high as they do, they have to have a degree of intelligence- even if they do apply it with the moral void of an insect. However, whilst Bladder`s idea is indeed self serving and motivated by duplicity usually reserved for vicious dictators, what I cannot fathom is quite how STUPID it is. It lacks any intelligence or foresight whatsoever, has more holes than a rusty colander. While most would concur that the decision to go into Iraq was appalling bad judgement, those people miss the point. The respective parties in charge of that decision had their motives, despite all of the negative press it has attracted; they are largely achieving that motive. (Deary me sir, we`re looking for weapons but all we keep finding is this bloody oil!) Bladder`s motives, from what I can gather, are self defeating.
George Orwell once wrote that 'political language is designed to make lies sound true; murder sound respectful and give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind.` But Bladder doesn`t even attempt to cover his motives. He contends that having an all English final in this year`s Champions League is damaging. Strangely, he didn`t find 2003s all Italian Final a problem, nor 2001s all Spanish final. Well, simple suggestion Sepp, let`s go back to having one team per country competing Europe`s premier competition. Make the Champions League for Champions again. Problem solved. Of course, having the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea, Arsenal and Juventus excluded from next year`s competition would harm your profit margins, but hey, you`ve got the interests of football at your heart here haven`t you? Oh I see, its international football that also concerns you so deeply. (Another of your money spinning cash cows to be milked). Maybe if you didn`t insist on packing out the international calendar with so many useless (but money spinning) friendlies, players would actually get their desire for representing their country back and actually play like they give a toss. If you could unwrap your sweaty palms from around the udders for a second, you might see a generation of footballers who retire early from international football, under perform in tournaments due to burn out.
Still I don`t see how the 6+5 ruling will benefit international teams. Sure, more homegrown players will get a chance, but if they`re not good enough to break into their teams without this institutionally prejudice golden handshake, aren`t we just packing teams with average or below par players at the expense of quality? Brilliant, international managers will have more crap players to choose from. How does this enhance the quality of your product Mr. Bladder? What it does do is denigrate the quality of domestic competition greatly, to the point that people will not continue to line your pockets by paying extortionate sums to watch mediocre football. This 'throw shit at a wall and see how much sticks` policy simply cannot work. It will not even the playing field with regards to domestic competition either, if anything it will widen the gap. If this ruling goes through, then Chelsea, ourselves, United and Arsenal will simply buy up the Youngs, Agbonlohors and Richards` of this world and stockpile them. With the price of indigenous players massively inflated, these clubs will not be able to afford even the most average replacements. So the quality of the overall league goes down and the megabucks "big four" widen the chasm.
Let me posit a scenario for you. Let us say this ruling was in in 2003. Arsene Wenger has to tell Cesc Fabregas, "you`re an excellent player, but I cannot play you. So Steve Sidwell will play and I will sell you back to Barcelona." Right, so Sidwell gets handed a place in the team, he enjoys an unmerited run and gets picked for England. Excellent. England play Spain, where Steve Sidwell comes up against Cesc Fabregas in the centre of midfield. Now, at some point, for the national side to prosper, Steve Sidwell has to outshine Fabregas and England have to overcome their foreign counterparts. How does the 6+5 rule help? Eventually, Fabregas` superior ability will supersede Sidwell`s and the whole exercise will have been a waste of time. By handing them guaranteed places in the starting line up, without the player having to work remotely hard or compete, where is the incentive for Sidwell to improve and make strides as a player. If I knew that, upon leaving school, I would be guaranteed a cushy job irregardless of my qualifications or ability, I would not bother going to get a degree or even try and build up my CV.
Football is the one of the only truly Capitalist institutions that exists, insofar as I understand the word 'Capitalism.` Sport is not politics. A person`s success in football is based entirely on ability and work ethic. Creed, colour, nationality and even social class (one doesn`t have to be affluent to obtain a round ball and a couple of makeshift goalposts) do not inform somebody`s ability to be a successful and prosperous footballer. Best man succeeds, best team wins. Chelsea and United got to this year`s Champions` League final because they knocked out every other team that stood in their way. Therefore, they deserved to be there. Sport is based on meritocracy is it not? Once you tamper with it and take merit and ability out of the equation, it ceases to be sport; it becomes a quasi political and quite racist institution. At this point, many of us might wish to comfort themselves with the fact that the proposal violates EU legislation law in that it restricts freedom of trade. Don`t be so sure. Boxing is one sport that already essentially contravenes EU Law. Two men knocking seven shades of the shite out of one another should lead to assault, ABH and GBH charges. But the EU decrees that Boxing is a sport and, as such, its governing body is responsible for its rules. Chinese restaurants are another example of workplaces that are allowed to ethnically moderate their staff to the level they wish, as it contributes to the experience of the clientele. Bladder may argue that it is in the interests of national teams that this ruling goes ahead and could form a similar argument. If this rule is allowed to go through, for it to be thrown out again, a player would have to 'do a George Eastham` and challenge it. Eastham had to take two years out of his career to fight a civil court case to get the 'transfer and retain` system outlawed in this country. Now, this is not 1960s Britain, this is twenty first Century European Court, for a player to fight this effectively, he would have to be willing to sacrifice a good eight to ten years of his career whilst the EUs painfully slow legislative process wheels along. (If you are not familiar with 1960s Arsenal striker George Eastham`s case, think George Michael and Sony). Which player is principled enough to do that?
This is a poorly thought out and cretinous idea and the brainchild of a self interested, money obsessed moron and just as quickly jumped on by his Pavlovian band of idiots. Not only is the idea damaging to the quality of the game and the premise of sport as a whole, but it`s morally reprehensible that such Aryan thinking is seriously being considered. This will likely turn millions away from the game, spectators and coaches alike (do you see Wenger staying involved in a game governed by these principles?) Top coaches will be slain and quality players will file out of the top leagues (particularly our league) one by one like soldiers falling dead on a blood soaked field. There is a line in a song called 'Mathematics` by Mos Def that says, "killing fields need blood to graze the cash cow/ it`s a numbers game but shit don`t add up somehow." Too right.LD.
Date:Friday May 30 2008
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