There was time when shear brilliance of Pele, Maradona, Best, Beckenbauer, Maldini, Zidane used to overshadow their darker side. Which was actually needed to bring football at a stage where it is now or it can be said their class and talent brought football to the world map. No I am not trying to say that there was no match fixing, racism or other pull back factors at that time but what I am trying to say it was not spread to such an extent that football was going down the drain. Recent incidents in football world have actually made me feel ‘Where exactly is football going?’
On 15th October 2011 during a match the biggies of English Premier League Manchester United and Liverpool collided at Anfield. It was a high intensity match for obvious reasons but what stood out of the match wasn’t the spirit of football but an altercation between Luis Suárez and Patrice Evra. Why? The reason was simple after the match Suárez was accused of racially abusing Evra. And what was needed was actually done with FA opening up an inquiry into the incident which resulted in Suárez being found guilty and was handed an eight-match ban and a £40,000 fine. The £40,000 wasn’t much of a blow for a professional footballer but an eight-match ban was a big blow to King Kenny’s plan. But on top of all this it was a big blow to the beautiful game. Worst part is all Suárez had to say about all this is ‘in his home country the word that he used is not considered racially abusive’. For God sake Luis why is it so difficult for you to understand when on the field it’s not about country or which world you live in its about just one thing i.e. to simply play the beautiful game.
On 2 November 2011, Terry was placed under police investigation following an allegation of racist abuse made at Anton Ferdinand during a match versus Queens Park Rangers. Video footage circulated on the internet led to accusations that Terry called Ferdinand a “fucking black cunt”. The investigation is done by Metropolitan Police. For those who don’t know Terry is present Chelsea captain and Terry & Anton both are English. Why I wrote the last line is simple why a player would put his respect and captaincy on line just for a momentary pleasure of disrespecting the opposition or why would two fellow countrymen want to racially abuse each other. Things are really messy in football these days, its saddening& shocking to see the state of football in the world.
- Sepp says it so: Blatter after the Suarez-Evra racism row comes up with a comment that all race rows can be solved by a hand shake. I would like to ask Blatter if someone racially abuses your child will you go and shake hand with that guy and forget everything. Mr. FIFA President, world is fine with one Pope John Paul II you don’t need to act like one.
- T-shirt support: After the FA announced the suspension on Suárez the Liverpool squad decided to warm up before a match against Wigan wearing a t-shirt depicting an image of Suarez with his name in the front and No 7 on the back. Surely it was a good move to show the unity in the club and support for the to-be banned striker but what were they actually trying to prove. Were they trying to convey that using the word Negro should be allowed on the field or were they trying to advertise a new range of Suarez t-shirts?
- Bullet for my valentine: Before the FA cup tie between QPR and Chelsea, Anton Ferdinand received an envelope in the post with a bullet in it. If the players are in destruction mode on the field the fans are not far different off the field. There is no doubt that an avid fan should stand by his club for as long as possible but that doesn’t give the fan a right to disrespect the opposition club or their players.
Before the FA Cup tie between QPR-Chelsea & Liverpool-Manchester United, there were bets being made if Evra would shake hands with the ‘Kop’ or will Anton shake hand with Terry. So FA trying not to create any ruckus before the match declares there shall be no handshakes between the teams. But by doing so FA just took away the essence of football which for such a long time has brought the world together on that 105x75yard green patch.
No I am not going to talk about why Rooney was given only a three match ban after assaulting a Montenegro player while Suarez got a mammoth eight match ban. Reason being very simple, it is not only difficult but also pointless to compare two different cases and Racism should always be a bigger offence than an assault.
The 50 year old Napoli Manager was sent off in his side’s 2-0 victory against Villarreal in December 2011 for protesting against Spanish side’s time wasting by pushing the ‘Yellow Submarine’ striker Nilmar. So UEFA announced that the Partenopei boss has been handed a two match sideline ban which means he shall be a mere audience in the stands when his side faces Chelsea in this year’s UCL Round of 16. My case is not why he was banned but why are the rules and policies of our football governing bodies so twisted. I say that when Ronaldo during one of the El Clasico’s last year shoved Guardiola away when the Catalan Boss took the ball in his hand and then just flicked it away from Cristiano. So my question is why the Portuguese striker was not banned for that incident. Not that I wanted him to be banned but the issue which hits me is why there is such differences between different governing bodies rules and regulations. FIFA, FA, UEFA, RFEF all have different sets of rules and regulation which is creating an imbalance between different leagues. Only thing common among them is fight against Racism, why is there only one common platform among them?
Match fixing is something I have heard from my parents and the way it is growing I guess I would also be telling my children one day. Match fixing is like a virus we know is eating up different sports in the world from Cricket to Football to Hockey to Basketball but the governing bodies are not able to completely eradicate it from the face of the earth. And it is also a known fact wherever the amount of money is less match-fixing will grow be it from a player’ side or a coach’ side or from a referee’ side. Which shows money is slowly steadily but surely over shadowing the love for the sport.
Recent Virus Attacks:
- 2011 Italian Football scandal: The 2011 Italian football scandal emerged on 1 June 2011 after a number of football-related figures were arrested, or made under official scrutiny, by Italian police for alleged match fixing. The list included well-known figures like former Italian international footballer Giuseppe Signori, as well as former Serie A players Mauro Bressan, Stefano Bettarini and Atalanta veteran striker Cristiano Doni. Almost 15 Italian clubs were handed fines, points deduction and some were also expelled from their league. Whereas 18 professional and former players were banned for 1-5 years from football activities.
- 2011 Turkish sports corruption scandal: This virus has almost destroyed the football and basketball leagues in Turkey with almost 52 bureaucrats, players and managers facing bans and suspensions from Professional Football Disciplinary Board.
Worst part is it is already 2012 and the scandals are still running, illegal betting is still on and players are still showing signs of being match fixers.
- Diving of footballers to earn cards, fouls or may be the game too.
- No doubt referees are also human and they do make mistakes but till when the human errors would keep affecting the results of a match.
- War of words between the managers for example Guardiola-Mourinho the most famous ones.
- Loyalty towards the club from the players which made them the stars they are now. I don’t see another Maldini, Giggs, Scholes, Raul, Totti, Gerrard or even another Sir Ferguson in the near future.
My reason for writing this was not to disrespect any club or player or show my hatred towards them but every word I have written or researched hurts me with the question ‘Where is Football going?’. Will it be running on pure talent and class of players along with the genius tactics of managers or would money be the only fuel which shall run the beautiful game in the future or lie, cheat & steal would be the pillar on which football shall grow in the future. I feel many of the issues would be solved if the club, players, fans and media realises there can be no club, player, fan or a manager bigger than football.
Dont forget to comment and let me know your views.