International Injuries For Arsenal & Government Interference
Club football returns to the fore, Arsenal awaiting the return of the players to assess injuries. The return to fitness of a large percentage of the club’s central defenders is partially offset by the news that Tomas Rosicky is already doubtful for the weekend’s clash with Sunderland thanks to a groin injury picked up on international duty.
Those who are fit return with renewed confidence if their nations will be participating in Euro2012 or an optimism that the play-offs still hold out hope that next Summer means eastern European climes rather than Sidmouth Bay. Those going to the latter are just relieved they were not in the squads that failed…
In its response, there are many laudable aims that the coalition want football to embrace. Some the Football Association are already attempting to make headway in, for example prejudices of almost every kind. The lack of success in some areas is countered by success in others. Largely, success depends on whether they are tapping into a populist vein.
Nobody argues that the FA requires reform; even the FA agree. Previously there has been too much protectionism over personal fiefdoms for progress to be made but slowly, reform is edging through the organisation. There is a balance required between the professional and amateur games; the past is littered with frequent battles over whose whims are more important. The profile of the professionals lead them to believe they are kings whilst the rest pointedly tell them they would not exist without the Popular Front.
It is always amusing – and inevitably serious – when governments of any persuasion tells a business to get its house in order; “don’t do as we do, do as we say” the mantra from the morally bankrupt. The response contains the usual suspects, ranging from club licensing to the iniquitous behaviour of agents onwards to doping. Some of the suggestions are workable, implementable and ought to be in place already. Some won’t; football is just not going to embrace some key issues.
One aspect that the clubs will bridle against is supporter representation on the club’s Board of Directors. Personally I think this is the only way to go. As excellent an idea as Fanshare is, in the modern era the reality is that such schemes rely on the benevolence of major shareholders.
Arsenal prove the problems. KSE will not sell shares to the scheme whilst Usmanov is aggressively trying to buy shares. In this scenario, Fanshare loses out. Direct representation on the Board circumvents that issue. It allows a voice to be heard and there are many excellent people involved in supporters groups who can add value to the process. It also brings a focus to supporters groups, driving home the message of a unified front being presented, the real issues get addressed directly and opinions on the team remain outside the purview of the groups, remaining opinions not policies.
Some clubs may take this route but not many. It will be an interesting time to see whether the government has the balls to make this policy or platitudes.
More conflict between the two parties is inevitable. Plans to make it mandatory – in a voluntary way – for players to be released for national team duty at all age groups must surely fail. With senior teams, it is right and proper that in a properly managed fixture list the players should be allowed to represent their countries. Why not? It is a personal honour in a team sport.
Except that Uefa, their ilk and Fifa are patently ill-prepared to create such a fixture list. Friendlies before domestic seasons start? Friendlies within six weeks of a tournament finishing in the Summer? Not the actions of organisations which have one iota of care for players well-being despite their protestations to the contrary.
Not that clubs are blameless, endlessly changing tournament formats to create more games and consequently more revenue. England’s World Cup 2018 bid foundered on an inability to understand football politics, an unwillingness to practice dark arts, all of which is fine. An ill-fitting sanctimony, no matter how well suited to subsequent events it is – Ricardo Teixera the latest Fifa bad boy to be investigated for corruption – does not help.
Britain’s politicians would be better advised to assist the FA in persuading Uefa that a mandatory top flight of 18 teams without increasing international fixture dates, is a better route forward than braying from the sidelines, occupying a higher ledge in the gutter than football’s lawmakers.
Too frequently players are picking up strains through over-use. This is not just the sole domain of internationals, Arsenal have culpability in Jack Wilshere missing most of this season. Making appearances at junior levels mandatory though, shows scant regard for the physiological well-being of maturing youths. Those changes can bring on strains and muscular problems without the mismanagement of the football authorities.
And this is before we get into arguments over who picks up the cost through wages and investments. Indeed, you might not be wrong in thinking that such issues make it more likely that clubs will dismiss international football altogether in the none too distant future. However, the Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson, believes it will help England win the World Cup. I am not sure how making the clubs run themselves properly will improve the lack of technical ability in the native players…
Posted on October 13, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Soccer. Bookmark the permalink. 91 Comments.