Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughFootball, Bloody hell! - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Football, Bloody hell! - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Football, Bloody hell!

Ayre’s very own “Moneyball”.

Liverpool FC, a club with a fantastic history, a superb and loyal fanbase, considerable global stature and a resurgent side made headlines for all the wrong reasons this week. Ian Ayre, the club’s managing director, floated the idea that Liverpool was considering negotiating the rights to their overseas TV deal on an individual basis. For those who don’t know, the Premier League oversees a collective system for the rights to televise their games overseas. This would see the big clubs rake in more revenue from TV broadcasters and the smaller clubs suffer, as they don’t have the same global attraction. Ayre argued that the big English clubs were being left behind by the likes of real Madrid and Barcelona, who can negotiate their own TV deals under the current Spanish system. However, Madrid and Barcelona’s independence has seen La Liga reduced to a farcical lack of competition for the title. The dominance of Barcelona and Madrid has seen a deterioration of the appeal of Spanish football, with Barcelona almost a certainty to win every game they play, whether that’s against the likes of Champions league contenders Atletico Madrid or the basement teams.

Ayre seems to want to bring that sort of duopoly to the Premier League, although it is more likely to be a five horse town with Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool themselves being the key beneficiaries. The sheer greed of Ayre’s plans disappoint that he has appropriated a “rich get richer, the rest get going” mentality that leaves very little regard for those clubs that don’t have the spending power that the top clubs enjoy. In fact, throughout his statement, Ayre made no mention of how the other clubs were supposed to cope with what would surely be a massive reduction in the £17.9 million that each of them will receive from overseas television revenue in the coming three seasons. It was crass, greedy and smacked of classlessness, not something that could usually be said of Liverpool. One can only hope club figureheads John W. Henry and Tom Werner realise the folly of such a move.

On the other hand……
It was good to see EPL superpowers Manchester United and Chelsea intimate that they would not back this initiative. Both clubs respect the advantages of the collective system and recognise that it leaves greater room for growth in the competitive stakes of the league. This leads to a better overall spectacle and certainly lends itself to raking in more interest and finance in the League, leading to better collective payouts. As some opinion columns observed, it’s bad when your club can be accused of making Manchester united and Chelsea look charitable.

 The hypocrisy of the Irish?

A reverse of the scenario two years ago saw Ireland slip through against an Armenia side that has impressed in the latter stages of the qualifying campaign. A handball and an own goal were enough to see Trap’s Army on their way to the qualifiers. Still playing dour football and carrying little forward threat, Ireland were fortunate to escape with a victory, especially considering Simon Cox handballed in the build up to the Armenian keeper being sent off for the same offence. After the game, Cox showed the same sort of nonchalant, blasé attitude towards Ireland’s opponents as the likes of Patrice Evra and Thierry Henry did in the aftermath of “that” handball. At least Henry had the class to show some remorse. “Some you get, some you don’t” just shows a basic lack of regard for opponents arguably as hard done by as Ireland were two years ago. The other worrying aspect of the performance is that Ireland struggled against Armenia, Dunne’s goal combined with an own goal highlighting once again Ireland’s limitations when it comes to attacking play. This, coupled with a poor 2-0 victory over Andorra, gives little hope for Ireland to threaten, (if they qualify against Estonia), in the group stages of EURO 2012, where they will come up against a better calibre of opponent.

On the other hand…….

Trappatoni’s reign has seen a much more professional approach with 8 consecutive clean sheets kept in the group stage, as well as only one defeat, something that would have looked beyond Ireland in the past. The fact that Ireland were lucky to draw the one team that every seeded nation wanted in Estonia has also given rise to optimism that Ireland could qualify for their first major tournament since the 2002 World Cup. Progress, however unsightly it has been, has been made. The hope is that it is a long term progression, and that it has not discouraged the more creative Irish players from believing they will get a chance.
Greed, greed and more greed.

It’s getting to be old news at this stage, but more bribery and corruption claims with FIFA have come to light in the wake of an investigation into the actions of former Caribbean Football Association President Jack Warner and current Brazil Football Federation President Ricardo Teixeira’s activity’s as head of their respective organisations. The scandal further undermines Sepp Blatter’s assertion that FIFA is on its way to becoming more transparent. Warner, who claimed when he was deposed as head of the Carribean Football Associaiton that he had many bombshells left to reveal, looks a man lost in his own web of corruption. A video recording of Warner urging members to accept gifts of up to £25,000 each from Mohamed Bin Hammam is being used as evidence to prosecute the outspoken former President. Warner is heard on the video saying “I know there are some who believe they are more pious than thou. If you are pious, go to a church, friends, but the fact is that our business is our business.”
Likewise Teixeira, with alleged money laundering and illegal transfer of funds into the country has further besmirched the image of FIFA. The police are investigating whether money was brought illegally into Brazil through tax havens owned by Teixeira. The problem with all this is that it further casts FIFA as an organisation with greed, rather than football, as its central agenda.

On the other hand……

Someone else who seems to have greed, rather than football, as his central agenda is to feel the full force of Roberto Mancini and Manchester City’s wrath. Carlos Tevez is reportedly going to be fined somewhere in the region of £1million for his alleged refusal to play against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Tevez has already been made to train in isolation. The Argentine star, never far from controversy, has reportedly demanded that Mancini should apologise to him and make it clear to the public that it was all a misunderstanding. Most of the footballing world knows that probably wasn’t the case and it is heartening to see that Manchester City have taken a stand against player power and backed their manager in the furore. The case looks set to drag on right up until Tevez’s expected departure in January, which should be an arduous affair, but the club have stood firm until now and must continue to do so if they wish to avoid undermining Mancini’s authority.

Damien Edgar

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