Don’t Bendt the rules
Euro 2012 has been a superb tournament so far. The games have been great, some classic goalscoring, and England are looking like a team that might be beaten by a better team, rather than themselves. Not wanting to let the party go unspoiled though, UEFA have again shown all and sundry that they are a prehistoric gang of powertwats.
As pictured above, Nicklas Bendtner celebrated scoring a goal by revealing a pair of Paddy Power pants. For this, he has been fined £80,000 and banned for a UEFA match. Croatia, meanwhile, have been fined just £65,000 for their fans’ racist abuse of Mario Balotelli. It was estimated that up to 500 fans were involved – that’s £130 per fan.
There’s obviously a massive disparity here, with Bendtner getting the shitty end of the stick and Croatia deserving of a far greater punishment. But the logic behind the rulings is symptomatic of football today. While UEFA are failing to deal with racism, they guard their commercial opportunities like Vanessa Feltz protects biscuits.
A good few years ago, I was lucky enough to get a guided tour of the Philips Stadion, PSV’s home ground, on a football tour. One of the few things I still remember is that EVERYTHING in the stadium, from doors to loo seats, has a Philips logo on it. And for UEFA sanctioned matches (Champions League, Europa League etc) every single one has to be covered, due the UEFA’s sponsorship deal with Sony.
It doesn’t take much to understand where UEFA’s priorities lie. Another example is their hounding of sites like the excellent www.101greatgoals.com. I won’t go into too much detail, as the site has already published a fine rebuttal here. If they pursued racism with the same vigour, maybe the problem would be a lot less of an issue.
But the fact of the matter is, football is a product, packaged and sold to a variety of buyers. In UEFA’s eyes, racism obviously doesn’t threaten the commodity enough to be dealt with. To borrow a phrase from Vincent Kompany, ‘opportunistic commercialism’ does.
I would like to see the following sanctions for racist behaviour. £1m fine, one game behind closed doors, and captain and manager of the team banned for that match. Doubled/tripled as necessary for repeat offenders. Yes it’s harsh, but paltry fines here and there are obviously no deterrent.
Aside from the monkeys running the zoo, this tournament has been a treat. It’s a shame that despite the festival of football, the suits are making the news. But until they have a radical shake-up of their disciplinary procedures, that is unfortunately going to be the case.
This summer, we are spoilt:
David Cameron has come in for a fuckload of flak since becoming Prime Minister, but his confrontation of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez at the G20 summit was great political posturing. And I totally agree with the point he was making regarding the Falklands. For all of the President’s foot stomping and charged rhetoric, she continues to ignore the most important part of this whole saga – the people. The Islanders will hold a referendum on their wishes, and regardless of the outcome, both nations should respect the result. Malvinas or Falklands, the people will speak, and they should be heard. The question is, will President Fernandez choose to listen?
In other news
-Apologies for my absence, if you noticed.
-My rib hurts more than fire-eating with your arse.
Bloody great song by Girls:
Come on, come on, come on, come on and dance with me.