It’s time to kick professional football where it hurts.


Just when you think the FIFA World Cup saga could not drag ‘The Beautiful Game’ any lower, another revelation sets a new low. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Russia & Qatar bought the 2018 & 2022 Finals, and that much of FIFA officialdom lined their pockets by-the-by, it now transpires that the awards process – played out before the whole world – was a complete charade and that the matter had been pre-determined in smoke-filled rooms long before the event itself. You’d have to laugh, if it all wasn’t so ugly.

And now it transpires that The Football Association is contemplating legal recovery of the £20+million it spent on its bid. Is that really what’s at stake here? I think not. What the FA is choosing to ignore is the fact that it was a willing participant in the whole tawdry circus. Let’s not forget the gifts (mulberry handbags etc), the promises (England friendlies, development funding etc) and the prostitution (the Royals, the Beckhams, Lord Coe et al), that the FA were happily bestowing on the FIFA criminals as they sought to attract the tournament to these shores.

1940s football_edited

Football has travelled a great journey since the Football Association rules for the game were set out in 1863. For more than a century the nature of the game matched well the grass-roots appetite for tribal competition. But then greed got in the way – greed at the international level and greed at the national level. So what was once a noble game played in playgrounds, parks and stadia became a golden goose for commercial exploitation. Football has today become the money-spinning plaything not only for the owners of the game but for the commercial interests – media, sponsors, advertisers etc – that fund the whole ugly orgy.

And where do we, the professional football supporters on the proverbial Clapham Omnibus, fit into all this? Well at best we’re mugs and at worst we are willing foot-soldiers. Think that’s harsh? I don’t. Putting aside the fact that the World Cup vote was a sham, if England had won the right to stage the Finals would we be raising any objections to the gifting and the arse-licking that had won the day. I think not.

The truth is that when it comes to football we are foolish, but willing nevertheless, participants in the whole process. I’m not just talking about football supporters who shell out absurd sums to attend the matches and those who pay subscriptions to watch and home, it’s everybody who assents to the elevation of the professional game to the undeservedly high level of inter-alia conversation.


Is there a way out of all this? There surely is, but it won’t be easy. The truth is that billions of people really do love football. Love is good if it is reciprocal, but if it is one-sided it can be a very rotten relationship where one side loves and the other side exploits that love. This is what has happened to professional football where we, the supporters, are the addicts and the game-providers are the pushers. Is it not time for us to face up to this fact and to make some sort of self-affirming proclamation at both the national level and the personal level. I believe all lovers of the English game should now be demanding of the FA to unilaterally withdraw England from any forthcoming FIFA competition until it is deemed to be ‘clean’. Moreover we should underpin this demand  by proclaiming, as consumers, that if they don’t we will not watch in person, or on any media, any of the matches.  I am too much of an addict to give up going to Fulham but I am certainly prepared to unburden myself from an addiction to the international head of the snake. Let me kick-off (sic!):

Hello! My name is Ericle. (Say: “Hello Ericle”). I am a recovering England football supporter……….



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1 Response to It’s time to kick professional football where it hurts.

  1. Hello Ericle!

    I would say it’s the right conclusion but for unclear reasons. I agree that something needs to be done but I’m not sure what that “something” is.

    Sure, boycott watching England if one wants but -unless it’s a concerted effort of the many with a clear goal in mind- it’s a bit like whistling in the wind. As a good example of what we want to achieve, I would possibly suggest the boycotting of most sporting events in South Africa in the 70s and 80s had an unambiguous, direct and precise effect in helping to end apartheid. A few fans boycotting watching England doesn’t cut any mustard.

    The gifts of the mulberry handbags and so forth pale massively in comparison with the dodgy dealings of Sepp Blatter, Chuck Blazer, Jack Warner, et al. The mad thing about Blatter is even now he doesn’t seem to think he’s done anything wrong: ‘sure, we fixed the vote beforehand because it was for the greater good’ appears to be his attitude. The talk of the FA suing FIFA to get back the £20 million would be on behalf of taxpayers, not the individuals at the English FA so I’ve got no bones about that.

    Ego trips and corruption is the way of football. Witness Jose Mourinho’s bullying of his physios this season and, in 2006, of the Reading ambulance man. Witness the takeover of Man City in 2007 by the corrupt former Thailand prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Money talks. That’s football, sadly.

    I would have said Michel Platini is a good man – but he was one of the people who endorsed Qatar! What are England going to do: leave UEFA as well as FIFA?! The whole thing is a mess.

    The real tragedy of this whole sordid affair is the thousands of deaths in Qatar. As with most things, it doesn’t generally affect us emotionally if we can’t see it. In my opinion, football fans do need to voice their disapproval – however it needs to be a clear message with a clear cause. How about boycott watching the 2022 World Cup if it’s hosted in Qatar? Also we could publicly boycott companies who sponsor the FIFA World Cup, like Coca Cola and McDonalds.

    Keep up the good blogging!

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