Fit and Proper.....?

Published: Monday, 13 July 2020

Apart from the following couple of lines I’ll leave the CAS verdict on City to those who know more about it than me. If it’s the same as most subjects I discuss that tends to be everybody! Seriously though - if you want the inside track on most things financial within the game - read David Conn in The Gradian. Those of a certain generation will laugh at that. I’m not going to explain it. David is the best.

I can see both sides of the FFP argument. I haven’t made a decision which side to come down on though. I’ve never understood why City can’t spend what they want to. After all, with owners like theirs, they’re not accruing debt. I know this case was about slight of hand but that was forced on them because of the regulations. Surely a club like United, with their ever growing multi-million pound debt mountain, are more of a danger to the financial well being of the game?

And Javier Tabas, the Spanish League President, should get back in his box. Until the Spanish Govt stop giving both Barca and Real their generous tax breaks then he has no right to enter the debate. That’s financial manipulation in plain sight.

My conclusion is that we’ve moved from a time when the town butcher would run the local club, through an era where rich individuals would largely ruin them - to a time where countries now own clubs.

In Italy that’s arguably always been the case. I give you Milan. In Spain the Govt are shareholders in the big two - in all but name and we’ve got Paris and City as two working examples of clubs owned by countries. And any day now the PL will nod through the Saudi bid for Newcastle. This is not for the Newcastle Chronicle because they promised some time ago not to quote me - but I’m told it’ll happen Friday.

It’ll happen not because the Saudi’s are ‘fit and proper’. There is no formula by which they, collectively or individually, pass any of the PL’s tests in that respect. No, it’ll happen because the British Govt want it to. It’ll happen because Arms deals will boost the British economy and the Saudi’s have doubtless promised to finance a bit of UK infrastructure. The Saudi’s will also have to make some serious moves to settle their ‘rights’ dispute with Qatar. The bottom line here is they they’ve stolen Intellectual Rights from everybody - all round the world - these past three years. But it seems a promise to buy more weapons to continue to bomb the shit out of Yemen will persuade BoJo and his merry crew that all is well with the deal.

Anyway - let’s talk football. What a weekend. You know, there’s always one like it - you win and then everybody around you wins. It’s so frustrating. It’s very much ‘winner takes all’ at West Ham on Friday night now. And all of a sudden Villa have stirred. Do you know what? I fancy them to do it now. I still think Bournemouth will go and it could very well be the losers on Friday join them.

I had to laugh at Mark CLATTENBURG’s column in The Mail this morning (Monday). I like Mark. He’s a great lad. My goodness, the game misses him - but he was making the case that we’ve seen so many refereeing and VAR errors because the guys in black are ‘tired’. They’re having to drive themselves to games and not getting enough rest. Poor loves. No Mark - we’ve got the worst officials in the world now and they’re making one mistake after another because they’re not good enough. I made this point in my last blog. Mike Riley is to blame for that. We need change - sweeping change. Are you interested Mark? That would be a good start point. Really, it can’t go on.

I hate constantly talking about it, but what choice have we got? Grealish? I refuse to go there. Join the dots yourself. It was a pen. End of. No, the one that left be speechless was Sakho’s disallowed goal. Since when did the top of your shoulder count as handball? It’s laughable. Would they have given a pen for that? Of course not. And if a shoulder is handball - how come Jay Rodriguez’s goal against West Ham wasn’t ruled out? He didn’t score that with his head - it came off his shoulder. Working on the basis that your shoulder is handball - it should’ve been disallowed. It wasn’t because they didn’t see it. Watching football on tv is different. You have to know what to look for - and have spent 25 years sitting with Andy Gray. All we can hope for is better next season when FIFA are in charge of VAR protocols.