Does Money Indeed Ruin Football?

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For those following the games, rooting for their favourite teams and feverishly discussing their matches between two glasses of ale, football is a mix of entertainment and something to be excited about. These fans are, in turn, a massive customer base for those behind football as a business: their dedication and following is the driving force behind broadcast rights, merchandise, and ticket sales, all of which turn a wonderful sport into a cash cow for those pulling the strings. As long as the game is fair, both in the field and behind the scenes, it’s a win-win for all parties: the players get their salaries, the fans get their quality football, and the business entities behind them, ranging from football betting operators to the teams’ owners, advertisers, sponsors, and such, all get their money. Like in every business, though, there are parties in football that don’t exactly operate according to the rules. Of business, that is.

What many people don’t realize, though, is that football goes beyond being simply a game. As MEP Stelios Kouloglou pointed out in an op-ed published on Euractive this April, football can often flow into different areas like politics and racial bias, pointing out that the emergence of Pelé, one of the best football players ever, was instrumental to significantly reducing racism in Brazil. Yet the democratic nature of football is degraded today thanks to all the money flowing into it. And the best example of this, Kouloglou writes, is the UEFA Champions League.

As he points out, the only clubs that can reach the Champions League semi-finals are from the “big 5” countries – Spain, Italy, France, Germany and Great Britain. And this happens not because there aren’t any talented teams in other countries but because of all the money flowing into the clubs nowadays. After all, not all clubs can afford to pay almost £200 million for a single player, no matter how talented and marketable the player might be. These big clubs with big money behind them syphon all the most talented players from all over the world, offering amazing transfer fees and strengthening their ranks – investing in their future success with the goal of keeping their fans’ attention pointed on them, and making even more money in the process.

And where there’s money, there must be scandals related to money. Corruption and tax avoidance run rampant across football, from the top of organizations like FIFA and UEFA down to local clubs and players, working with financial advisors like Kingsbridge that allegedly help them invest in ways that will grant them tax relief, schemes that “don’t work”, according to HM Revenue and Customs.

A few years ago, an unpopular opinion emerged in the press stating that the influx of big money into football will ruin it forever by attracting the “wrong kind of owners” that see clubs as their “cash cow”, among others. MP Damian Collins went as far as saying that “Running a big football club now is like running a Hollywood studio – it’s a content business. The money goes to the stars”. And this is one of the biggest issues today’s football faces that can ruin it forever.

395 COMMENTS

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  1. I was talking to a TRFC fan about the one-man pitch invasion on Friday and ,while agreeing that something had to be done , I thought that his proposal of immediate closure of a stand was draconian , and suggested that time be taken to set out procedures with sanctions attached to deal with any future occurences. I reminded him that they'd had the same problem v Villareal in November , including glass bottle thrown onto the pitch , and had recieved only a fine and a warning from UEFA . I suggested that this may be the way to go . I am now deemed a "hater" 

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  2. paddy malarkey 10th March 2019 at 20:48

    =================================

    You really should read follow follow occasionally, they really don't do irony.

    The number of things they deem fantastic when their own players and support do it but consider it appalling behaviour when others do it is quite extraordinary. 

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  3. Homunculus 10th March 2019 at 21:23 ……………  I Never go to the Darksideblush I suppose i just don't want to show myself what i have read of that site.

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  4. Not to exonerate any of the Neanderthals who have thrown objects / punches whilst posing as normal footy fans, but…

     

    When we have in Scottish football;

    • thoroughly corrupt administrators
    • a convicted criminal club chairman 
    • inherently biased referees
    • a totally biased, untruthful SMSM
    • a club pretending to be a liquidated, massively cheating club
    • police and assorted match stewards simply turning a blind eye to dodgy, offensive singing

    etc.

    Rather than query why a few neds throw bottles, flares or approach players on the park, the questions should be;

     

    Why should anyone expect decent, upstanding citizens to support such a reprehensible sporting set up?

    And further: why should they buy tickets for their kids and expose them to the total shambles that is Scottish football?

     

    Absolutely no point in focusing on those who tarnish Scottish football at the stadiums – if there is no focus on those who tarnish Scottish football from their positions at the SFA / SPFL.

     

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  5. StevieBC 11th March 2019 at 00:53

    '…Absolutely no point in focusing on those who tarnish Scottish football at the stadiums – if there is no focus on those who tarnish Scottish football from their positions at the SFA / SPFL."

    ***************

    And that is a point that cannot be made often enough, StevieBC.

    The wrongdoing of nutcase fans (even if there may be thousands of such), is as nothing compared with the cynical cheating and lying of the very  Sports governance body!

    The Big Lie was  devised, constructed and put into effect by  unscrupulous men of no moral fibre whatsoever: men ready to swear away any regard for sporting integrity, and even common sense, and sell their filthy little souls for an outrageous fantasy. 

    If there were never to be another incursion by fans, or another episode of sectarian singing, the Governance of our game will still remain rotten at its core  for as long as the Big Lie is allowed to stand. 

     

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  6. John Clark
    There is of course the argument that the maintenance of sectarianism, racism and tribalism, all of which is readily monetised, is one of the main drivers of corruption in the sport.
    Ridding ourselves of that, despite the best endeavours of the football authorities, at well have a beneficent knock-on effect at Hampden.

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  7. Caught a wee bit of the radio shortbread phone in this morning re the recent issues regarding misbehaviour at football matches and what should be done.

    What struck me was that a good few people who phoned in said they either didn't or no longer attended football because they were not interested or turned off by the nonsense that goes on.

    In the same way I don't often go to Opera, these folks are part of the larger population that have no interest in an activity that others enjoy. They are getting this nonsense rammed down their throats on news items etc because there is a belief football is in some way important.

    Therefore the question has to be asked. Who exactly are the like of the Union Bears, the Green Brigade and others appealing to?

    There may indeed but some folks who like to sing the songs and spew the bile but a good deal of 'fellow fans' are probably cringing. Others who could be attracted to the game are giving it a miss and doing something they feel is a better use of their time.

    So I suppose my question is what is the point of it all?

     

     

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  8. I'm not a fan of the old "why are you arresting me for speeding when there's real criminals to catch?" argument.  SFM'ers, football authorities and society in general are capable of dealing with the bigger Scottish fitba corruption (for want of a better word) and crowd trouble.  It's not an either or and in fact, as has been suggested by Tri, can be easily linked.  Is it a coincidence that the sectarianism and crowd trouble at the fitba has got worse in the last few years?

     

     

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  9. Can anybody point me to he sanctions taken against clubs whose fans have entered the field of play this season ,or statements of condemnation from politicians of the clubs/fans ? Struggling to find much .

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  10. Just for context, a list of EPL arrests for pitch incursions, over the last 5 completed seasons.

    I think that points deductions for at least the top five might encourage some idiots to stop and think again.

    image.png.a450d45cdcd80d96351a8a7c0552e804.png

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  11. "Therefore the question has to be asked. Who exactly are the like of the Union Bears, the Green Brigade and others appealing to?"

    That's a great question wottpi, to which I think the answer is "other deluded, angry men".  It is possible to  relate this to the rise in populism, fuelled itself by a sense of being abandoned, but it has been going on throughout many cycles of general, public trends.  The problem is that the people who run our clubs and our game have convinced themselves that this is where the money is, or more realistically, to stop this stuff would threaten the income stream.  The immorality of this is bad enough but I happen to believe they are wrong.  It's often paraphrased from WW1 that we are "led by donkeys" but I think "led by dinosaurs" is more apt.  Their time is up though, hence the upsurge, it's a lashing out at the death.

     

     

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  12. Trisidium 11th March 2019 at 10:27
    22 0 Rate This

    John Clark
    There is of course the argument that the maintenance of sectarianism, racism and tribalism, all of which is readily monetised, is one of the main drivers of corruption in the sport.
    Ridding ourselves of that, despite the best endeavours of the football authorities, at well have a beneficent knock-on effect at Hampden.
    ……………………
    That time the SFA fined Charles Green for making alleged racist remarks.
    https://mobile.twitter.com/ClusterOne2/status/1104792698400268288/photo/1

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  13. paddy malarkey 11th March 2019 at 18:33

    easyJambo 11th March 2019 at 16:05

    Cheers , EJ , but  I omitted to put "Scottish" in the post .

    ==================================

    It's OK. I wasn't specifically responding to your post, just adding information on the scale of the "individual" fan issue to the general debate on strict liability.

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  14. I was looking back at this from 2017 . 

    http://www.parliament.scot/S5MembersBills/draft_consultation_strict_liability_Scottish_football_clubs_NEW_WEBSITE_OCT_17.pdf

    WE could easily copy UEFA table of sanctions

    The UEFA sanctions are as follows— 16  warning;  reprimand;  fine;  ban from selling tickets to supporters for away matches;  annulment of the result of a match;  order that a match be replayed;  deduction of points (for the current and/or a future competition);  order that a match be forfeited;  playing of a match behind closed doors;  full or partial stadium closure;  playing of a match in a third country;  withholding of revenues from a UEFA competition;  prohibition on registering new players in UEFA competitions;  restriction on the number of players that a club may register for participation in UEFA competitions;  disqualification from competitions in progress and/or exclusion from future competitions;  withdrawal of a title or award;  withdrawal of a licence; and  community football service.

    Some of the club responses are interesting .

    https://jamesdornanmsp.wordpress.com/strict-liability-consultation-responses/

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  15. With his solitary cap , how many continuous squad selections would Alfredo have to attain to reach the threshhold of 75% of fixtures in the past two years . To date , I make it 6 World Cup qualifiers , 4 matches at the World Cup and 3 friendlies played . There are 2 friendlies upcoming before 3 Copa America group matches (if he makes the squad) ,plus any knockout matches . I can't see him being eligible for a permit to work in EPL by the end of the next transfer window . As an aside , I emailed SPFL in December and tried twice more , asking for the number of work permits currently in operation in their leagues , but have yet to recieve an acknowldgement or a response .
    PS just noticed that 75% refers to competitive matches only .

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  16. Meantime, the Liquidation process of the Rangers Football Club of my grandfather's era (that is, of 1872 vintage), the football club of the four young men on Glasgow Green, continues on its inevitable ending in 'dissolution'. 

    There is some piece of routine action in Court tomorrow notified as a further  'unstarred' motion 

    "..P115/17 Note: RFC 2012 Plc for Orders under Para 75"  before Lord Doherty.

    No appearance of Counsel required, so there is nothing to be argued about, merely some judicial rubber-stamping of some procedural arrangement.  ( Who knows, though: perhaps Henderson and Jones reached an agreed settlement, with BDO happy to avoid a court battle?)

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  17. John Clark 11th March 2019 at 20:36

    Meantime, the Liquidation process of the Rangers Football Club of my grandfather's era (that is, of 1872 vintage), the football club of the four young men on Glasgow Green, continues on its inevitable ending in 'dissolution'. 

    There is some piece of routine action in Court tomorrow notified as a further  'unstarred' motion 

    "..P115/17 Note: RFC 2012 Plc for Orders under Para 75"  before Lord Doherty.

    No appearance of Counsel required, so there is nothing to be argued about, merely some judicial rubber-stamping of some procedural arrangement.  ( Who knows, though: perhaps Henderson and Jones reached an agreed settlement, with BDO happy to avoid a court battle?)

    ====================================

    That case is BDO's action against the administrators (competence/negligence).

    The case no. for the H&J action is P997/17

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  18. paddy malarkey's link at 19.07 this evening to the Strict Liability consultation document and the replies thereto [ what a brilliantly crafted series of intellectual arguments in support of their 'opposed' was provided by club 1872. Not Socrates, not Plato nor yet Aristotle could have matched it] made me turn to a Parliamentary debate about the abolition of corporal punishment in schools 

    https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1981/jun/08/corporal-punishment

    I've been reading it on and off this evening. 

    Because I remembered:

    there was a fight at dinner time one day in 1955, on waste ground outside the school. 'Fight, fight, fight' was the cry, and I think every pupil who heard the cry was present to see as bloody a 'schoolboy' fight as ever was seen. 

    It happened that a wee wumman passing by stopped to try to break it up. She was hunted- and someone threw a clod of earth at her, some of which made a mess on her coat; and the fight carried on.

    When we all got back to our classrooms, we, that is, every class,  were asked 'who threw the clod'.

    No one owned up. 

    Result: the whole damned school got the belt.

    Even as a 13 year old I thought that a bit excessive- we had only just been reading about the Roman Army, where they were content just to punish one-in-ten!

    A more mature understanding of that and similar, one-classroom, experiences makes me instinctively opposed to SL. There can be no justification for punishing the 'innocent.' Doing so is essentially an admission of defeat, and a resort to the unprincipled behaviour of the bad guys. 

    We on this blog are strong in our condemnation of our Football Governance body's contempt for truth and justice when it comes to applying basic rules of sporting integrity: we should not , I believe, compromise ourselves by suggesting that there is a 'greater good' that can be served if we ourselves dispense with notions of fairness and truth and justice.

     

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  19. From ET last week;

    "6th March

    Alex McLeish: Allan McGregor won't take the huff with Scotland over his SFA rap

    By Stewart Fisher

    ALEX McLeish will confidently name Allan McGregor in his Scotland squad next week – putting an end to fears that the Rangers goalkeeper could take his recent brush with the SFA’s disciplinary department out on the national team…

    "Are there any concerns about Allan?" said the Scotland manager. "No, I don’t think so. The SFA are the governing body and we are all part of it but no, I don’t think so. That would be like me back in the day going up for one of my disciplinary hearings and shouting ‘Jock, Mr Stein – that’s it, I’m not playing for Scotland any more’. That won’t be an issue with Allan, he is bigger than that.” …

    Then 5 days later, from the ET today;

    "Rangers keeper Allan McGregor steps down from Scotland duty

    … [he] has announced his retirement from Scotland duty…"

    ============ 

     

    Good to see the Scotland manager has his finger on the pulse WRT his team…

    enlightened 

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  20. easyJambo 11th March 2019 at 21:12

    '..The case no. for the H&J action is P997/17'

    **********

    Aye, eJ, I should have checked the list! broken heart Just hoping for some interesting development.

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  21. StevieBC 11th March 2019 at 22:15

    '..Good to see the Scotland manager has his finger on the pulse WRT his team…'

    **********

    And good to see that the unfaithful, 'committed'  manager who so contemptuously walked away from the Scotland job( but got it back) is so oo oo understanding of  McGregor's hissyfit.

    Honest to God!

    How much crap can we take from  our Football Governance body?  

    Leave aside Truth: have they no bloody idea of how to lie in any kind of integrated manner?

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  22. PaddyMalarkey@22.45

    There’s no Hampden gigs on that list however Eminem played Hampden a few years ago and I know from personal experience there were a large number of that particular artists’ fans arrested on the night. There were also the same issues when Oasis were at Hampden. The Robbie Williams crowd are no angels either.

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  23. From BBC website today

    Referee Steven McLean phoned Steven Gerrard to apologise for missing a foul in the lead up to Hibs equaliser on Friday night

     

    crying crying

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  24. paddy malarkey 11th March 2019 at 15:45

    Can anybody point me to he sanctions taken against clubs whose fans have entered the field of play this season ,or statements of condemnation from politicians of the clubs/fans ? Struggling to find much.

    paddy malarkey 11th March 2019 at 18:33

    easyJambo 11th March 2019 at 16:05

    Cheers , EJ , but  I omitted to put "Scottish" in the post .

    ==================================

    The answer to your original question is none, in respect of this season.

    The answer in respect of the last 10 seasons is one, Motherwell following the play-off game against Rangers at Fir Park in 2015 when they were put on probation for 18 months after security failures.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47529229

    https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/motherwell/motherwell-breached-rules-during-rangers-play-off-clash-1-4024144

    ==============================

    The ironic thing about the Strict Liability discussion is that the SFA and SPFL already adopt Strict Liability.

    They do so for clubs who breach their rules on player registrations and eligibility (barring one infamous decision published in 2013). Just ask Clyde or Hearts for their experiences this season, or multiple clubs who have been thrown out of competitions in the past.

    It is only SFA/SPFL rules on unacceptable conduct that need to be put in place.

     

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  25. Strict liability mean the SFA and the clubs can't choose how or if they deal with any sectarian or crowd trouble issues.  At the moment they can, mostly of course they choose to do nothing, why would they?  Occasionally they hand out some token gesture of a punishment and why not?  They choose to have no liability.  I wish I could, imagine the possibilities!

    On the "punishing the innocent" argument I'm sorry but that's disingenuous to say the least.  Firstly, people are diving straight to ground closure when in fact there is a range of sanctions, fines, points deduction etc before a consistent repeat offender gets to ground closure.  The fact is there is no threat of anything at all and that has to stop.  Note also that both UEFA and the EPL (I haven't checked any others) both clearly match the sanctions with the effort made and steps taken by the club in question to deal with the issues.  So a club demonstrably doing their best would not be sanctioned as much as, say, our current lot of shameless hucksters.  That's scary to our clubs, imagine having to demonstrate effort being made.

    Secondly, it's not really punishment is it, except to the club?  Once again we seem to forget that we're talking about a game of fitba here, an entertainment run by some of the participants as a commercial enterprise.  Not getting to go to a game of fitba is not a breach of any human right, being able to stage such an event and charge good money for it is, in fact, a privilege that is being abused.  If there is some resultant hassle re ST holders getting refunds then that's even better, the clubs need to start facing up to their responsibilities and face some consequences otherwise they do nothing.

     

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  26. I've found two UK teams, West Ham in 1980 and Villa in 1983, under UEFA rules had to play ties behind closed doors due to crowd trouble in previous round.  Of course English teams were banned from Europe altogether for crowd trouble.  Interesting one, apparently in the 2010-11 Heineken Cup Edinburgh vs Castres oft re-scheduled tie was held behind closed doors to protect the crowd in the prevailing weather conditions.  It takes a lot for the authorities to close it down for one game and, thankfully, there is a range of sanctions long before ground closure. Of course the clubs always have the option to actually do something about sectarianism and crowd trouble in the first place.  Abhorrent as this complicit acceptance is I can see why they don't, it's because there are no repercussions for them.  Why are we accepting this?

     

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  27. I’m told that a tabloid called the Sun claims that referee S. McLean phoned the sevco manager to apologise for missing a foul in the lead up to Hibs equaliser on Friday…

    is this true?

    is this common practice?

    Have St Mirren’s phone lines been defunct for yonks?

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