The FA Fancy Fining Everyone, Gilberto Fancies An Old Lady, Rosicky Fancies A Beer And Everyone Fancies Arsenal

It seems that the Football Association are preparing for the fact that England won’t qualify for Euro2008. According to reports yesterday, they stand to lose £100m when England fail; not anymore though as the target is down to £99,800,000 with Chelsea and Arsenal both copping a £100k fine for the Cardiff Fracas. Flint’s observation in yesterday’s comments about the size of the fine in comparison to those handed to Tottenham and Middlesbrough, namely that those handed out to Arsenal and Chelsea are disproportionate to the incident. Below is an extract from the statement on the FA’s site

The Commission stated that it viewed the incident as serious, unacceptable and damaging to the image of the game. However, it bore into account the guilty pleas and the mitigation put forward by both clubs. It found that Arsenal players had been marginally more involved in the Carling Cup Final incident, but that Chelsea FC had past proven cases in recent years regarding the general behaviour of their players where warnings had been issued.

In itself the statement is provocative; they need to elaborate on the statement that “Arsenal players had been marginally more involved“. Looking at it objectively, the only marginal element was that Toure started it all. In the melee, it was evident that both sets of players were grappling left, right and centre. It would interesting to see the rationale of the Committee on this one because it makes little sense. But the wider issue here is how do the FA deal with the next incident in a televised Premiership match and what is the knock-on effect for both Arsenal and Chelsea.

In the first instance, the FA appear to have backed themselves into a corner. They may argue that as it was a Cup Final, there was a global television audience yet it was only the Carling Cup, not the the flagship FA Cup Final. It is likely, although I do not know the figures involved, that the audience for that game was no more than will watch Saturday’s clash at Anfield. Having handed out a fine of this magnitude, it is difficult to see how the FA can levy a smaller fine next time it happens without losing credibility. That they could not deduct points will no doubt have had some bearing on the levity with which they viewed the incident as well. However, it is difficult to see that a three point deduction will have a similar impact upon Clubs. If it is Arsenal or Liverpool on the receiving end, perhaps the difference in Premiership Prize Money would have such an impact. If it is further down the table, it may well be that it will not unless of course, the teams involved can be relegated by such a deduction.

The subjectivity of the punishment is such that it is impossible for an onlooker to take the FA seriously on this matter. Whilst the criteria is set down, i.e. the type of punishment handed down, there is no scale applicable. It is a fair point that this type of incident is unprecedented in a Final yet the punishments still smack of panic stricken men in suits trying to look tough. When dealing with Premiership clubs, the Revenues generated are such that this type of fine will not have much impact on their weekly cashflows, barely registering a blip on an Accountants spreadsheet compared to the millions generated on the day through direct and indirect means.

For both Chelsea and Arsenal though it serves as a warning. The FA appear to have taken into account the fact that in recent times, Chelsea have previous in this type of event. Arsenal are no Angels but it has been a number of years since the team were involved in a mass contretemps. The question that needs to be answered though is whether or not the FA will carry this episode forward over the next season. Any repeat in a Premiership match will surely result in a points deduction; if either of the London clubs is daft enough to be involved, three points removed from their tally may well seem like a lenient sentence. It will be interesting to see how the FA approach the next such case.

One thing is for certain. When Arsene is up before the Committee regarding his ill-advised comments about the Assistant Referee, I would suggest that he is wearing a brown suit and one with deep pockets to enable him to carry the large donation to the missing millions from the FA Coffers for I am pretty certain that asking if the FA accept American Express for payment may well constitute bringing the Game into disrepute.

Onto lighter matters. Gilberto Silva seems all hither and tither if quotes are to be believed. Juventus seem to be upping their interest in him via the media with the Italian press in particular pushing him into saying that he wants a move this summer. Channel Four’s Italian Football pages carried a large chunk of the interview with him,

“I like Juventus, they are a great club who immediately wants to win and return to the highest levels… Furthermore, it is Emerson’s former club and there are many Brazilians starring in the Italian championship…I am an Arsenal player and I am contracted until 2009. The club will have the last word on this issue.”

Gilberto’s Mr 15% sensed that his client’s words may be misinterpreted in the English media and promptly piped up,

“He likes it at Arsenal and there is a contract in place for another two years…This is the current situation, but as you know anything can change in life and football is part of life.”

Not quite the unequivocal denial that one would have hoped for but containing a certain realism. In two years time, Gilberto will be over thirty and unless he is renegotiating his contract now, he will probably only be offered a one year rolling deal as is the norm under Wenger’s rule. This summer however, unless a suitable replacement is deemed to exist within or from without, it seems unlikely that he would be sold, subject to Luca Brasi delivering an offer that cannot be refused. Apparently, under the new FIFA Regulations it would cost Gilberto £1.7m (€2.5m) to buy himself out of his current contract, a not overly taxing amount for any potential employer to pay him as a signing-on fee should he opt to move.

Tomas Rosicky meanwhile has found his popularity on the wain as the reported drinking binge – see Monday’s comments – has cost the National Team as a group a total of £24k, roughly £1k each. Great Leadership skills by Rosicky and Bruckner, the former annoying the you-know-what out of those not involved and the latter making everyone think, “A grand for their night out? Sod it, next time, count me in“.

Meanwhile, a couple of players have hinted that they would like a shot at getting a starting line-up place at The Emirates, namely Florent Malouda and Robert Pires. Now I have to confess that if Bobby P were five years younger, I would be clamouring for him to return but as it is, I prefer the memories to what might be in his case. It is a relief though to see he has recovered from the knee injury which had blighted his stay in Spain. Malouda meanwhile notes that “Arsenal are in pole position” which has brought forth some pretty disturbing images about Arsene and DD being in seedy Soho joints so perhaps I am not so keen on him joining after all.
It seems to me that the media are intent on seeing Arsenal as the subject of a takeover bid, their agenda presumably to bemoan the fact that the last of the Big Four has fallen, the footballing aristocracy has collapsed, or as Serious Drinking once put it, “The Pillars of Society are crumbling down”. However, there is one other party that seems to have an awful lot to say on the matter, as it appears that on Monday and Tuesday they had a different spokesman commenting on how Arsenal were ripe for a takeover. The City firm, Brewer Dolphin, have occupied numerous column inches imparting their wisdom and stoking the fires. It would be interesting to know if they have any vested interest in the matter, perhaps as an advisor to any parties buying or selling, directly or otherwise, or is it just a good opportunity for them to tout for trade?

Posted on March 28, 2007, in Arsenal, Euro 2008, Football, Football In The Dock, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. We all shouldnt be surprised as we all know its one rule for us and another for the rest as far as the FA are concerned. Their punishments down the years have always been excessive mainly due to the media over hyping everything just because its Arsenal the club most journos love to hate. As for Gilberto i dont think he wants to leave just letting everyone know like all players that he is admired elsewhere. Robert as you rightly say is not coming back and Malouda i know very little i fancy if any frenchman is coming its more likely going to be Ribery.

  2. Can anyone tell me what fines were handed out ot Spurs and Boro for their brawl?

  3. I think the thing that stinks is the precedent set by Middlesborough v Tottenham where there was an 18 man brawl earlier this season the fines amounted to £14,000 with half suspended. Both teams denied the charge.

    Valencia and Inter were both fined £110,000 for their post match brawl which involved a player actually being punched. Maybe thats the precedent the FA were following but what happened in that match was 10 times worse than the handbags at the Carling Cup Final.

    As for responsibility Arsenal paid the cost of losing three players for a total of 10 games, Drogba who clearly can be seen slaping Fabregas round the back of the head setting things off again got away scott free.

    As for the club’s ownership I can understand the board seeking external investors and maybe one closer to the board than ITV who want to sell to anyone. I can’t see Dein wanting out his place in Football; the FA, G14 and UEFA is down to his association with the club he also has the contacts to pull the transfer strings. Wenger’s contract is nearing it’s end to it will need a stable platform to ensure he agrees to an extension, if he goes I can see alot of players going. However if the Chicago Rapids tie up was to develop the club’s marketing it would make sence for an investor to stake in the club they were creating extra revenues for.

  4. External investment is fine but it is what the investor wants in return that is often no fine. If someone is going to takeover the club, remain true to its roots and unencumber it from debt, then you have to say it is a good move for the club. If they are going to leverage their way into the club then it is not good and infairness to the Board, they probably would not accept such an offer.

    I don’t see that there is any need to panic over AW’s contract. He has, I believe, fourteen months to go, knows the Club want him, knows he is on the verge of great things with the squad. A change of ownership may unsettle him but if the new owner were to allow him to retain control of the playing side as he has now, then I doubt he would move.

    Whilst players have a strong loyalty to Wenger, they are like us all in that we quite quickly transfer loyalties to a new boss. Football is no different and much would depend on who is brought in to replace him. But I don’t believe he will leave so it is kind of a non-starter.

  5. If I had ITV owning a chunk of shares in my company, I would be looking for a more stable owner. The Chicago Rapids guy already has a vested interest in the success of the club and so is a much better stable mate than ITV. IF he buys ITV shares it need not necessarily be a take over bid. Quite the reverse it could be a move to prevent a takeover bid.

    As for Brewers Droop they are just like football agents selling shares instead of players.

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