EPL chief Scudamore has been a busy little boy this week, rattling sabers, and proposing all sorts of wondrous rule changes. Changes that he thinks will save English football for Englishmen, stamp out debt, prevent another Leeds United style collapse, prevent unseemly characters from taking over clubs, and even had time to hail the Respect Campaign as an overwhelming success (link works best in Internet Explorer, ugh).
And people say that Arsene Wenger lives in a world of his own.
Let’s start first with the Scudamore/Platini/Blatter idea that the only thing that will save English National football is a return to the failed quota system of the 1980’s. A time when quotas still didn’t help England qualify for the World Cup (’74 and ’78). The problem with this story is that I have written extensively about it and really don’t feel like rehashing those thousands of words. Besides, I just re-read my best post on this topic and, frankly, I have nothing more to add and couldn’t say it better if I tried. Check the link above if you want to see why I think this is a racist, nationalist idea that will not help the English national team, will further overvalue English players, will not level the playing field between smaller clubs and the top four, and will be overturned as soon as one foreigner feels discriminated against.
The second story, then, is debt and Richard Scudamore is having none of it! Not coincidentally, this Premier League anti-debt campaign is breaking into the media at the same time as Alisher Usmanov is offering the club a hot cash injection. This debt issue is yet another story that I have written extensively about and don’t feel like re-hashing at this point. Suffice it to say, the proposal as I read it would have no effect on Arsenal, as we already fit the rules which are essentially an adaptation of UEFA’s rules for qualifying for Europe. No, this rule will only hurt smaller clubs, or clubs that are in real trouble like West Ham; and may even force those clubs to sell off their players.
The story that I’m interested in is the jaw-dropping claim that the Respect Campaign has been a success. In what world? Again, this is a topic that I have written extensively about and there’s no need to re-hash a lot of what I’ve said in the past. But I think that in light of recent events such as with Chelsea’s inability to control their players after and during matches, and the club’s steadfast refusal to even take internal action against their players this latest quote from Scudamore is about as jaw dropping as it gets.
I mean, Chelsea supporters have threatened Tom Ovrebo’s life… and this is the second time, this season, that Chelsea supporters have threatened the life of an official. Is that “respect?”
Or how about the dossier on Drogba, Terry, Bosingwa, and Ballack linked above? The footage is clear, Chelsea acted in a manner that was disgraceful on the Premier League, their club, and themselves by attacking the referee at the end of the game.
The most worrying part, though, is that the Chelsea stewards could not, or perhaps would not, control the situation after the match. Those stewards are there to protect the referee in case that exact thing happens. In case the players attack a referee, which is what the Chelsea players did, make no mistake about it, the stewards are there to protect the ref. To see them feebly try to move a clearly out of control Drogba and then let him come back in and get in the face of the ref was disgraceful and deserves at least as many column inches and at least as much investigation as Phil Brown’s imaginary story that had Cesc Fabregas watering the pitch with saliva as he karate kicked the opposing coaches in his designer thug hoody.
UEFA banning Chelsea from the Champions League for a season would be a light punishment for that display. Anything less is truly a disrespect to the referees and would make enforcing something like their plan to allow referees to stop matches due to racism impossible. How can a UEFA official feel like a home team’s stewards will protect him from players and the crowd in Spain when the home team stewards at one of the crown jewels of world football (a country which supposedly prides itself on ‘law and order’) allowed a clearly out of control Chelsea team to threaten the ref?
But, ultimately, this is a chronic problem with this team in particular. Chelsea are the embodiment of disrespect in world football. From the disgraceful scrum they started in the 2007 Carling Cup final against Arsenal, to the Ashley Cole incident which started the “respect” campaign, to this latest in a long line of outrageous behavior, and if you throw in the distorting effect of their “magic money,” Chelsea are truly all that is wrong with modern football.
Look for Richard Scudamore to address this problem… never.