Date: 18th October 2007 at 1:42pm
Written by:

My output here lately has been frankly shocking, so I figured what better way to get out of the rut and into the groove than with a good old fashioned rant? As ever, the governing bodies of our beautiful game provide ample muse for this particular fit of pique. Thanks to more concentientious journalists on the site, the news will by now have reached you that Robin van Persie was injured playing for the Netherlands last night and, while the full extent of the diagnosis is not yet public knowledge, he looks likely to miss crunch games with Liverpool and Manchester United.

So? What are the Dutch Football Association going to provide us in terms of compensation? That’s right, the square root of sweet Fanny Adams. Of course, that is their legislatively protected right thanks to the absolute cretins that inhabit FIFA. I am absolutely sick and tired to death of international teams being permitted to completely and utterly extract the urine when it comes to using players. I am at an absolute loss to understand why the Dutch F.A should be afforded the liberty of using Arsenal’s current top scorer, injuring him and sending him back to us crocked without paying some form of financial compensation. Not only do we lose our most prolific marksman for vital games, but we are liable for all the incurrent medical bills in treating his injury. Somebody please explain to me the rationale behind that? In what other industry on Planet Earth is this allowed to happen? Let me provide something of a corporate metaphor to further elucidate the lunacy of this situation. The Chairman of NEC phones up his counterpart at Apple and says,
‘Alright mate, you know those nifty new P.Cs you’ve spent years developing and put loadsa dosh into?’
‘Yeah?’
‘Yeah, well we really like them, so we’re gonna have them for two weeks. Oh, there’s nothing you can do to stop me, the Government says I can.’
Two weeks later, Chairman of NEC phones back,
‘Hello again geezer, errr, yeah, we accidentally smashed up three of your finest machines. But don’t worry, we’ve sent them back to you all in their boxes and everyfink. We take it you don’t mind paying to have em fixed? Thought not, cheers mate.’

Wouldn’t happen would it? I mean, if you knock over someone’s pint in a pub, the sensible thing to do (particularly if he looks like he eats human arms for breakfast) is to reimburse him accordingly by buying him another isn’t it? I mean, this is a custom that translates into judicial law as well as the rules of etiquette. So why are international organisations allowed to so flagrantly dodge this obligation? You are all probably aware that I view international football with the same regard the average man reserves for war criminals. However, if a player really wants to represent his nation, so be it. Plus, the people of the Ivory Coast have the right to see superstars they have developed, such as Toure and Drogba, who would not ordinarily turn up in their domestic leagues. But why do the respective football associations have this constitutionally protected right to act in the manner of a footballing monarchy? (i.e take, take, take, but actively contribute nothing themselves. Then we are apparently dutibound to swoon at their every move). As far as I am concerned, if you broke it, you bought it. In this example, the Netherlands F.A should contribute 50% of van Persie’s wages for the whole period that he is injured.

As ever, under the guidance of Raymond ‘No Geminis Allowed’ Domenech, France are currently the standard bearer for moral arrogance. Who could forget Domenech’s disgusting stance in refusing to let Claude Makelele, a player who helped his nation reach unprecedented footballing heights, retire? One is minded of a 19th Century shop steward, throwing the old lung weary codger back into the mines with a swift boot in his apex. His insistence on playing a physically and emotionally forlorn Thierry Henry for ninety minutes of a friendly against Gilbraltar, before demanding that Arsenal rest him for the Champions’ League Final lest he burn out sticks in the craw. (Slight hyperbole, but you get the schtick right?) This Wednesday, William Gallas played for France, despite the fact that he has been unable to play for his club for two months due to injury. Yet, had Willy tried to pull out of the game, the French F.A would be perfectly within their rights to suspend him from competing for his club for the next two matches! (A threat they were quite comfortable in issuing to Claude Makelele). Somebody please explain to me the logic in that!

Is it any wonder that the likes of John Toshack are openly questioning the desire of professional footballers to play for their nations when they are basically being forced to do so with a FIFA loaded pistol held to their heads? We also have had the Czech national physio criticising Arsenal’s treatment for Tomas Rosicky’s ongoing injury problems. I tell you what matey, put your money where your mouth is, perhaps the Czech F.A can put their hands in their pockets and help us out then in the interests of sound medical advice? Oh no, once the Czech Republic had fulfilled their fixtures, they send him hobbling back to us. The relationship between clubs and nations has never been more hostile, and it’s hardly surprising given the blatant inequity in the rules. The great man Arsene Wenger once said, ‘sometimes, if you give stupid people power, they become stupider.’ What we have is a situation whereby national teams are protected by legislation to the point that they can produce examples, such as the ones I have included, of such astounding hypocrisy without a hint of self conscious. Unfortunately, the clowns at FIFA and UEFA vindicate them to this end, and we the fans get the shaft. Arsenal and Bolton fans have paid upwards of £40 to watch the match on Saturday, thanks to international football, the occasion looks to have been shorn of its brightest stars, as Anelka and van Persie struggle for fitness. So Blatter, Platini and all you other clowns, if you’re reading, I’ll be in the Arsenal Tavern on Saturday afternoon. Mine’s a Guinness.LD.