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Education, Education, Education

As Karl-Heinz Rummenigge embarrassed himself with his ill-judged, ill considered attack on Wengers policy of educating young European footballers he simply added to the hypocrisy already frequently displayed by Platini.

The Chairman of Bayern Munich claimed that Wenger`s recruitment of young players could almost be likened to 'kidnapping`. An absurd contention which Arsene swiftly put into perspective by inviting others to ask Rummenigge at what age Roque Santa Cruz was invited to join Bayern from Paraguay.

Platini`s apparent concern with the welfare of 'children` might, on the surface, seem to be morally laudable but even if we ignore the real self serving purpose of his distress it is totally opposite to the EU`s education policy and the reality of the modern world.

Take a look at Kent University`s website and you`ll see that it specifically promotes itself as a European University, actively encouraging 18 year olds from Europe and other countries to sign on for 3 or 4 years, or longer, to receive an education in the UK. Exactly the same offer is made by Kent`s partner universities in Europe to encourage British students to gain an education in Europe. It`s not unique; many universities do the same and are actively encouraged by European Commission policy to do so. It`s not even all that new. Those gifted people in the arts, particularly in music, and some sciences have been pursuing their education at an early age in Europe for centuries.

The Sorbonne in Paris has always been an international university as much as Cambridge and Oxford are here. Gifted children have always had the opportunity and encouragement to pursue their education where it will benefit most. So why does the business of football believe that gifted young players should be discouraged from taking advantage of the same educational benefits that are readily accepted in other fields?

The hypocrisy is even more evident when considered in the light of a programme, recently launched by the European Commission, to encourage those students even before the usual age for university entrance to pursue an education abroad. Its Comenius Individual Pupil Mobility programme, in a brochure under the sub-heading 'Mobility Creates Opportunities` highlights the benefits:

To visit another school in Europe and to study there for several months or an entire school year is a life changing experience. Every year several thousand upper secondary pupils in Europe undertake this endeavour, supported by their parents who normally have to cover all the costs of the stay abroad. Until now the Comenius programme did not offer this possibility. But times are about to change.

Currently the Commission and the National Agencies are preparing to introduce this new action for all countries participating in the Lifelong Learning Programme. In future schools which are involved in a Comenius School Partnership will be able to apply for grants to send some pupils to a partner school abroad.
The Academy at Arsenal is a place of learning. Students receive an education which while focussed on developing their talent for football also provides for, and supports the development of their broader education. As an educational establishment the Academy is as entitled to join the Comenius programme as any other. If Platini and others in football have a genuine interest in the well-being of young students they should be concerned, not with denying opportunities taken for granted in other fields, but with ensuring that all clubs throughout Europe meet the highest level of educational and pastoral provision.

There is an arrogance amongst those charged with running football that believes, irrespective of wider issues, they should be allowed to pursue their own path and impose social standards entirely different from the rest of the world. It is self-serving in its arrogance and dishonest in concealing its genuine motives which have nothing at all to do with the well being of the individual and young players. It should be seen for the hypocrisy that it is and Rummenigge, Platini and others like them made to embrace the real world.



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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday May 1 2009

Time: 11:12AM

Your Comments

When you play the Imps in July is there any chance you could leave some of the youngsters behind on a season long loan?
codbater
When you play the Imps in July is there any chance you could leave some of the youngsters behind on a season long loan?
codbater
Good one Amos. A structured criticism, rather than a rant, which clearly brings out the hypocrisy of people like Rummenigge. There is nothing wrong in signings kids from around the world. The only problem I have is the lack of compensation paid to the home club. I feel that is unfair, as the club should be compensated for spending the time and resources to identify and groom a talented player. After that, the player should not be stopped from doing what is best for his career.
prits
Good one Amos. A structured criticism, rather than a rant, which clearly brings out the hypocrisy of people like Rummenigge. There is nothing wrong in signings kids from around the world. The only problem I have is the lack of compensation paid to the home club. I feel that is unfair, as the club should be compensated for spending the time and resources to identify and groom a talented player. After that, the player should not be stopped from doing what is best for his career.
prits
Top stuff, absolutely bang on. I went to Essex University which has the highest ratio of non National students of any non red brick Uni in the country. Although I studied an English degree, it was as much an education to me living variously with people from Greece, China, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Guernsey, India, Bulgaria and, err, Eltham. Having come from a rather conservative area of South East London, I attribute this as much to my development as an individual as any thesis or any Jane Austen novel. People really need to open their eyes to the world we are living in, why was it o.k. for Southampton to take Walcott away from Swindon, or for United to take Giggs from City, but it's not o.k. for us to take Fabregas from Spain? On Bayern, it's worth mentioning that if you check the Youth Team on their website, there are four Italians and they even have in their youth accomodation complex, thirteen purpose built rooms for overseas youngsters. Oh, and which part of Germany is that well known Munich youth product Owen Hargreaves from?
Little Dutch
Top stuff, absolutely bang on. I went to Essex University which has the highest ratio of non National students of any non red brick Uni in the country. Although I studied an English degree, it was as much an education to me living variously with people from Greece, China, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Guernsey, India, Bulgaria and, err, Eltham. Having come from a rather conservative area of South East London, I attribute this as much to my development as an individual as any thesis or any Jane Austen novel. People really need to open their eyes to the world we are living in, why was it o.k. for Southampton to take Walcott away from Swindon, or for United to take Giggs from City, but it's not o.k. for us to take Fabregas from Spain? On Bayern, it's worth mentioning that if you check the Youth Team on their website, there are four Italians and they even have in their youth accomodation complex, thirteen purpose built rooms for overseas youngsters. Oh, and which part of Germany is that well known Munich youth product Owen Hargreaves from?
Little Dutch
If these buffoons could open their minds for one second they might notice that not only does Arsene Wenger's policy benefit young players in thier footballing education, but it has helped the less fortunate clubs on countless occassion. It seems to me like you can look at the squads of many many clubs and find a player or two who has been educated by Arsene Wenger one way or another. Football rivalries prevent Wenger from being full appreciated for what he has done for the game of football, and I can fully understand that, but it would be a travesty should Wenger never receive full credit for what he has brought to the game.
Rocky7
If these buffoons could open their minds for one second they might notice that not only does Arsene Wenger's policy benefit young players in thier footballing education, but it has helped the less fortunate clubs on countless occassion. It seems to me like you can look at the squads of many many clubs and find a player or two who has been educated by Arsene Wenger one way or another. Football rivalries prevent Wenger from being full appreciated for what he has done for the game of football, and I can fully understand that, but it would be a travesty should Wenger never receive full credit for what he has brought to the game.
Rocky7
What did Rummenigge actually say?
Phartman87
What did Rummenigge actually say?
Phartman87
Prits how much should we pay a club for a 15 year old? LD lay of the Eltham boys please much better than the Lewisham mob.
alwaysgunner
Prits how much should we pay a club for a 15 year old? LD lay of the Eltham boys please much better than the Lewisham mob.
alwaysgunner
I generally agree, tho Platini & Rummenige would say that your analogy doesn't apply since it refers to college students who are young adults, whereas AW is being attacked for "kidnapping" or "trafficking" in underage children. Now, I do think that Platini really believes he's fighting the good fight for the little guy. I know it's not fashionable to say that but I really think in his mind he believes the big clubs and the rich countries are robbing the smaller clubs and poor countries of their talent and he wants to stop that. Now in and of itself I don't think Platini is wrong in being concerned about trying to level the playing field among football countries or clubs. Just as I don't think people in England are necessarily wrong in being concerned about developing more native English talent to help the national team. The problem, however, is that both parties see the issue far too simplistically, and are too cowardly to confront the necessary, long hard work to fix the problems they're ranting about. It's much easier to scapegoat AW. So...England wants to develop their kids into world class footballers who can compete at the highest level and maybe win major FIFA tournaments? All right then: start from the bottom, put all your resources into changing the culture of English football by training kids right starting at the age of 5, and prepare to wait decades for them to bear fruit. Want to help Africa or Eastern Europe build strong national teams and club leagues? All right then, let FIFA pour just some of those zillions of euros they have into assisting those national federations, pour all the resources and time needed from the bottom up. Devising cosmetic tricks like the 6+5 rule or laws prohibiting kids from moving to foreign clubs won't resolve the problem. These are very complex, SYSTEMIC problems that need a lot of courage to confront. Furthermore, Platini et al. are totally indifferent to the desperate desire of these kids and their families to get a football education at a club like Arsenal. You think a kid in Togo and his parents would turn that down? Cutting off opportunities for development of talented kids who otherwise will languish in inferior leagues and countries means destroying football talent. That's the ultimate result of Platini's shallow approach to a problem requiring very serious, substantive, courageous, patient and comprehensive solutions. It's the difference between short-sighted and long-term planning. And FIFA/UEFA don't have the balls to make the tough choices.
jaelle
I generally agree, tho Platini & Rummenige would say that your analogy doesn't apply since it refers to college students who are young adults, whereas AW is being attacked for "kidnapping" or "trafficking" in underage children. Now, I do think that Platini really believes he's fighting the good fight for the little guy. I know it's not fashionable to say that but I really think in his mind he believes the big clubs and the rich countries are robbing the smaller clubs and poor countries of their talent and he wants to stop that. Now in and of itself I don't think Platini is wrong in being concerned about trying to level the playing field among football countries or clubs. Just as I don't think people in England are necessarily wrong in being concerned about developing more native English talent to help the national team. The problem, however, is that both parties see the issue far too simplistically, and are too cowardly to confront the necessary, long hard work to fix the problems they're ranting about. It's much easier to scapegoat AW. So...England wants to develop their kids into world class footballers who can compete at the highest level and maybe win major FIFA tournaments? All right then: start from the bottom, put all your resources into changing the culture of English football by training kids right starting at the age of 5, and prepare to wait decades for them to bear fruit. Want to help Africa or Eastern Europe build strong national teams and club leagues? All right then, let FIFA pour just some of those zillions of euros they have into assisting those national federations, pour all the resources and time needed from the bottom up. Devising cosmetic tricks like the 6+5 rule or laws prohibiting kids from moving to foreign clubs won't resolve the problem. These are very complex, SYSTEMIC problems that need a lot of courage to confront. Furthermore, Platini et al. are totally indifferent to the desperate desire of these kids and their families to get a football education at a club like Arsenal. You think a kid in Togo and his parents would turn that down? Cutting off opportunities for development of talented kids who otherwise will languish in inferior leagues and countries means destroying football talent. That's the ultimate result of Platini's shallow approach to a problem requiring very serious, substantive, courageous, patient and comprehensive solutions. It's the difference between short-sighted and long-term planning. And FIFA/UEFA don't have the balls to make the tough choices.
jaelle
I agree that FIFA/UEFA don't have the balls for tough decisions or the foresight to work within the way the world is developing. Their preference is to march in entirel the opposite direction. I wouldn't be surprised if Platini tried to make a distinction between college kids, usually 18 upwards, but the EU Comenius policy is aimed at secondary schools with pupils from 16 upwards. Most of the overseas 'youngsters' that Wenger has recruited are usually from 18 upwards (Clichy et c.,) but there aren't any recruited much before their 16th birthday. Even those are often allowed far more 'home' time than the average school year. Providing that proper rules exist regarding their welfare then football can be just as useful and educational experience as the EU are advocating in their policies - maybe even much more so.
Amos.
I agree that FIFA/UEFA don't have the balls for tough decisions or the foresight to work within the way the world is developing. Their preference is to march in entirel the opposite direction. I wouldn't be surprised if Platini tried to make a distinction between college kids, usually 18 upwards, but the EU Comenius policy is aimed at secondary schools with pupils from 16 upwards. Most of the overseas 'youngsters' that Wenger has recruited are usually from 18 upwards (Clichy et c.,) but there aren't any recruited much before their 16th birthday. Even those are often allowed far more 'home' time than the average school year. Providing that proper rules exist regarding their welfare then football can be just as useful and educational experience as the EU are advocating in their policies - maybe even much more so.
Amos.
Didn't know that about the age range of the EU program. And yes, very few of AW's young transfers have been younger than 16.
jaelle
Didn't know that about the age range of the EU program. And yes, very few of AW's young transfers have been younger than 16.
jaelle
Top article Amos, top post Jaelle, thought-provoking stuff.
GoonerLou
Top article Amos, top post Jaelle, thought-provoking stuff.
GoonerLou
Good read Amos...great post Jaelle
radarman
Good read Amos...great post Jaelle
radarman
How much we should pay for a 15 year old can always be negotiated with that players' club, just as any other players' transfer is negotiated. Currently, the rules are slightly unfair, as we could take away Cesc for free (in the end, Arsenal didnt, but the rules allowed the club to do so).
prits
How much we should pay for a 15 year old can always be negotiated with that players' club, just as any other players' transfer is negotiated. Currently, the rules are slightly unfair, as we could take away Cesc for free (in the end, Arsenal didnt, but the rules allowed the club to do so).
prits
Excellent article Amos. I've always believed that English young players have the development of their talent restricted by our obsession with playing competitive football matches rather than concentrating on basic, and perhaps not so basic, football skills. I'm sure we've all seen the scenario - get a lad who is very big for his age, play him at centre forward, lump the ball up to him at every opportunity where his physical size and presence allows him to win the ball easily and score a goal. This is pretty much the opposite of the AW approach which may be one reason why fewer young English players seem to come through at Arsenal. The age of 15 or 16 is late to start working on the basic skills which players from S America, Europe and even Africa seem more advanced at so they have a head start. I am delighted that there is some evidence that this is changing but are things changing enough and is it in time? The emphasis on competitive league matches at too young an age also leads to numbers of talented youngsters leaving the game early because they have had enough of being shouted at and castigated by 'coaches' and pushy parents. We really have to get rid of this obsession with playing and winning games at such a young age if we are to produce good numbers of skillfull players able to go on and represent England.
norfolk dumpling
Excellent article Amos. I've always believed that English young players have the development of their talent restricted by our obsession with playing competitive football matches rather than concentrating on basic, and perhaps not so basic, football skills. I'm sure we've all seen the scenario - get a lad who is very big for his age, play him at centre forward, lump the ball up to him at every opportunity where his physical size and presence allows him to win the ball easily and score a goal. This is pretty much the opposite of the AW approach which may be one reason why fewer young English players seem to come through at Arsenal. The age of 15 or 16 is late to start working on the basic skills which players from S America, Europe and even Africa seem more advanced at so they have a head start. I am delighted that there is some evidence that this is changing but are things changing enough and is it in time? The emphasis on competitive league matches at too young an age also leads to numbers of talented youngsters leaving the game early because they have had enough of being shouted at and castigated by 'coaches' and pushy parents. We really have to get rid of this obsession with playing and winning games at such a young age if we are to produce good numbers of skillfull players able to go on and represent England.
norfolk dumpling
"Education, Education, Education"... sums up why I won't be at the game today. However I did go to the game in ashburton grove - what a stadium - which was fairly dull to be honest. Vela Made a massive difference when he came on, so I'm worried about him starting... but your bench looks "intresting"
pompeycarpet
"Education, Education, Education"... sums up why I won't be at the game today. However I did go to the game in ashburton grove - what a stadium - which was fairly dull to be honest. Vela Made a massive difference when he came on, so I'm worried about him starting... but your bench looks "intresting"
pompeycarpet
 

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