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Fifa embraces new ethics drive, but questions remain

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David Bond | 13:21 UK time, Friday, 30 March 2012

Fifa's president Sepp Blatter described it as a historic day. But amid all the talk of progress and reform, this was also a reminder of the dark days Fifa has recently had to endure.

The report by Professor Mark Pieth's Independent Governance Committee will have made some grim reading for Blatter and those executives who have presided over a series of damaging corruption scandals.

"Insufficient", "unconvincing" and "unsatisfactory" was how Prof Pieth's report viewed Fifa's handling of past allegations of misconduct, particularly those involving Blatter's re-election as president and the votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

In its 20 page report the IGC sets out how Fifa might start to rebuild trust, starting with a new independent ethics committee with two chambers - one to invstigate claims and another to adjudicate.
.

Sepp Blatter

Blatter's commitment to change is set to be tested by Pieth's report. Photo: Getty

Crucially this body would have the powers to delve into the past - reopening the prospect of another more thorough examination of claims of wrongdoing during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests.

Blatter was brief and to the point when asked in this afternoon's press conference whether that was now more likely, saying it would be possible to initiate investigations on the basis of credible evidence. The question now is who judges that evidence to be credible. If that person is truly independent then today's report has potentially planted a ticking time bomb under Fifa.

Revisiting the 2018 and 2022 World Cup decisions will create so many problems for Fifa that it remains difficult to see how it will ever happen. But if Fifa is to restore its reputation then it may be the grand gesture it needs to make.

Based on the documents they were shown and their conversations with senior figures on the previous ethics committee, including the chairman Claudio Sulser, Pieth and the IGC felt there was a lack of pro-active follow-up on allegations. Pieth's report adds that part of the problem lies in the requirement for complainants to back up claims with evidence rather than the ethics committee undertaking to evaluate the allegations for themselves.

Having won the support of the executive committee, the recommendations must now be approved by the Fifa congress in Budapest at the end of May.

Today was an important step on Blatter's road map to reform. But the sport's ruling body still has a very long way to travel.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Call me a nay-sayer if you like, but I'm afraid with the current ruling establishment of FIFA still at the helm, if they told me it was raining outside, I'd still go and check for myself

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    The sooner the European leagues leave FIFA & UEFA the better, this lot will always be corrupt.

  • Comment number 4.

    mr richards is correct who gave some fat cats in zurich the vast majority of the power in football when the country itself has no football history,they only have the neutral card to play but they are rotten to the core.it is our game,we invented it by rights we should charge royalties.

    can anyone tell me what can fifa or uefa actually do to a country if they say something and the major european clubs say we are not accepting this anymore and break away,they are nothing without the countries and clubs.the sooner the better these mafia styled organisations are destroyed.plus how can a non profit org make a $3+ billion profit from the last world cup,what have they done with this because from what we have heard they spend very little on it to clubs with injured players that got injured while playing meaningless friendlies,i hate these leeches,this is our game not the world game and esp not fifa and uefa and whatever sub name they call themselves.

  • Comment number 5.

    I still find it amusing that Blatter built his last election campaign on fighting corruption and bringing about reform when it has been him in charge of FIFA during the last fourteen years that has seen some of the worst scandals and abuses of power in its history. I will take whatever he says with not a pinch but a pound of salt.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    @4

    In terms of punishment from up high it is relatively simple, FIFA/UEFA can block that nation's entry into the qualifying tournaments for World/European Championships (or Copa America, African Cup of Nations etc etc)

    I agree that a large broom is needed with some vigorous sweeping.

  • Comment number 8.

    I do hope that there will be changes as a result of this review/report. Sadly, I do not expect anything to be done until Blatter has left FIFA.

    Is it better to work with Blatters successor, ie Platini or whoever, so they can hit the ground running and swiftly implement changes without any further delay? I just feel the remaining years of Blatters reign will be a complete waste of time as he and his buddies cover up their tracks.

  • Comment number 9.

    BLATTER OUT!

    He's the tyrant of football.

  • Comment number 10.

    Talk of a breakaway always crops up. And yes it can work, just look at the PDC darts. But unless the major countries sign up, Spain, England, Italy, France, Brazil, Germany, then it's never going to happen. And let's be honest, there's no way Spain will agree, they are very happy with the system at the moment, what with them being World champions. France won't budge as Platini has a major say as he's very involved. Plus they hate how the champions league is always won by countries with rich clubs. So would be sceptical of a breakaway involving Spain, England and Italy. Brazil would never go for it. Neither would Italy. Corruption is nothing new to either of these countries and is seen as part and parcel of the game. So that just leaves us and Germany. And with Beckenbauer eyeing up the top job, they aren't going to rock any boats.
    The only real solution is a change at the top, with someone who really can't be bought and wants to make the game clean and fair.

  • Comment number 11.

    #10

    So the fantasy league breakaway involves in reality just one country...England.

    Good luck and bon voyage

  • Comment number 12.

    Careful what you wish for football genie, Platini is an even more blatant Anglophobe than Blatter, as in the 2009 Champions League semi when he was so determined not to have a repeat of the previous year's final Man U v Chelsea that he plonked the Norwegian ref onto the Chelsea v Barca semi to ensure there was no possibility of that happening.

  • Comment number 13.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 14.

    All this vote buying and corruption and what-not has gone totally under the radar because FIFA has just turned a blind eye to it.
    What is needed at the next election is for a president to be voted in who is from a relatively bad footballing country. Can you imagine if a president is voted in from say England or Argentina or Spain and then their country wins a vote to host a major championship? There would be uproar from the entire footballing world. What is needed is a president from an upcoming country so that decisions can be made completely impartially. Because lets be honest no-one trusts Blatter as far as the can throw him

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Nothing like a FIFA blog to bring out all the conspiracy theorists and little englanders.

  • Comment number 17.

    @ 12

    I'm not supporting Platini. It just appears that he is a 'shoe in' to take over from Blatter.

    Is he the best man to take over and sort out the 'corruption' within FIFA? Are there any better candidates stepping up to the plate? Lots of critical questions that need to be answered.

    May I suggest that whoever does take over from Blatter they only get a short fixed term in office, perhaps a new leader every four years after each World Cup. How long has Blatter been in power.......far too long because he appears bulletproof.

    If I did have one wish, it would be to have a detailed breakdown of where the profits from Football are distributed.

  • Comment number 18.

    England might be in a position of weakness in terms of home grown playing resources, but an English breakaway backed by the wealth of Abramovich and Mansour would create a credible rival code. The Premier League has an unmatched global profile and could survive without FIFA/UEFA, and other major European clubs might jump on the bandwagon even if their national association does not.

  • Comment number 19.

    You do realise that on the headline for this on the main sports page you've put "ethnics drive". I suppose with Bin Hammam gone it might be needed but is this what you meant?

  • Comment number 20.

    From the sports front page:
    "Fifa's new ethnics drive is described by Sepp Blatter described as historic, but BBC sports editor finds questions remain"

  • Comment number 21.

    Somewhat telling typo for ethics on BBC Sport homepage..........

    'Fifa's new ethnics drive is described by Sepp Blatter described as historic, but BBC sports editor finds questions remain'

  • Comment number 22.

    If there is a breakaway it will not be to prevent Fifa corruption it will be for the financial benefit of the major clubs in Europe, those clubs are not supporters of international football which would be diluted to a sideshow. It is not a good solution.

    A review of the World Cups in 2018 and 2022 is necessary, not so much for Russia who to be fair put forward a strong bid and will probably put on a very good world cup but most certainly 2022 which defies logic at every level and is simply an indefensible decision.

  • Comment number 23.

    Careful what you wish for football genie, Platini is an even more blatant Anglophobe than Blatter, as in the 2009 Champions League semi when he was so determined not to have a repeat of the previous year's final Man U v Chelsea that he plonked the Norwegian ref onto the Chelsea v Barca semi to ensure there was no possibility of that happening.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    what must it be like to live in such a paranoid world, where the source of your information is merely british tabloids?
    Thanks to Platini, we will soon see a sport where the owners wallet does not become the main focus, and that football being a universal game is being shared by all of europe not just the rich boys.
    When platini expressed his dislike that 4 teams from any league can be in the CL when most european countries dont even get a look in it immediately got construed as anti english...and the followers of such journalism excellence have followed suite.
    There is a very interesting video on youtube about the effect of APOEL's CL exploits on the whole community particularly this one restaurant owner. Thank god someone is standing up to the european big boys and sharing the wealth around more fairly.

  • Comment number 24.

    England might be in a position of weakness in terms of home grown playing resources, but an English breakaway backed by the wealth of Abramovich and Mansour would create a credible rival code. The Premier League has an unmatched global profile and could survive without FIFA/UEFA, and other major European clubs might jump on the bandwagon even if their national association does not.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You do realise that if it did break away, players playing in it will be banned form all other competitions such as international competitions. so what would exactly be the appeal of playing in the EPL when you can play in spain or italy get just as much money and be seen by a bigger audience and be able to play for your country? hmmm, yes very tempting. The lack of english clubs this season in europe for instance, you think thats a disaster for uefa?!!

  • Comment number 25.

    My last comment was moderated so I will try again, with a less inflammatory wording.
    Football is a controlled sport as are others. The control some people have is beyond belief and they have no intention of releasing this control.
    Anyone, not even a possible independant group, will be allowed to look at this control or realistically comment on it.
    Nice smoke screen from the top.

  • Comment number 26.

    To my increasingly sad eyes, the instances of corruption mentioned in this blog aren't the real issues. Most sports' ruling bodies are "influenced" in some way when awarding posts or major competitions, always have been. In pure football terms, Qatar is ridiculous, for so many reasons. There may have been no corruption involved in this decision (I don't really care and that isn't my point) but where is the common sense. 50c temperatures for what is in essence a winter sport. The alcohol issues, good or bad, whatever your point of view, regarding sponsorship, religion or free choice. Particular rant over.
    It is the reluctance to "trust" technology, goal-line or otherwise, the refusal to overturn terrible onfield wrongs after the event, thus eradicating obvious and protracted cheating. Sorry, not eradicating, maybe progressively reducing.
    We hear "it is a people's game and people (presumably refs, assistant refs and goal-line assistant assistant refs) must be allowed to make the decisions and the mistakes". I paraphrase but this has been stated by SB and MP time and time again.
    I used to like the game, playing and then watching. I can't now. AC Milan and Barca showed that, lots of skill in attack and defence, technically brilliant at times. But no goals and more to the point, several yellows theatrically garnered by players after being merely "touched", or not, by an opponent. TV shows this at its worst but the reaction of FIFA and UEFA is what? It's all part of the game.
    Shouldn't this be their "new ethics drive", misconduct on the field as well as in the boardroom?

  • Comment number 27.

    Is Blatter a control freak? Has FIFA reformed? Is citisism permitted? Is open comment welcomed? etc etc

    Apart from the debacle of multiple cross-complaints of corruption, allowing FIFA ExCom members to resign once accused of offences, claiming courts have cleared FIFA when no such decision has been issued etc etc

    I tried to post a message on the FIFA blog - only to have it rejected as "containing obscenities". Puzzled (as there weren't any) I reposted it with any possible problem word removed. Still rejected. Remove more. Rejected.

    Eventually, out of desparation, I removed the word Blatter (and only that one word).

    Result? Success!

    Seems you cannot post any message of a FIFA blog if it contains the word Blatter. It's deemed tobe an obscenity. Maybe FIFA know something we dont :-)

    Paranoia because any post it almost certainly going to denigrate Blatter? Presumably.

    I had lost sufficient will to live to try posting a message complimentary to Blatter to prove the point.

    Open, reformed? NOT!

  • Comment number 28.

    #14 "What is needed at the next election is for a president to be voted in who is from a relatively bad footballing country."
    With all due respect to Switzerland, their record does make it a little difficult to back up your suggestion with evidence during Blatter's reign!

    #18: Mentioning "Abramovich and Mansour" makes me think that maybe Blatter is not so bad after all (shudder).

  • Comment number 29.

    #14 What is needed at the next election is for a president to be voted in who is from a relatively bad footballing country.

    ========================================

    What a good idea, the current president of the English FA being HRH The Duke of Cambridge. Or did you mean the chairman David Bernstein?

  • Comment number 30.

    I have a few questions for David Bond

    1) When there were elections for FIFA presidency, why didn't you, Phil McNulty or the ever knowing media not say anything or put any pressure for an English or British candidate knowing full well agreements could be made with other nations because of the general unhappiness of the bids process?

    2) Should Dave Richards resign over his comments that the game has been taken away from English and if this is the case, will you be asking him why wasn't he a candidate FIFA presidency if he feels this way?

    3) Do you think the media (Murdoch, BBC etc) should have a case to answer for putting corporate, media & personal interests ahead of the people in the country they operate in?

  • Comment number 31.

    Unfortunately, and I say this as a proud Englishman, cashforhonours and BleuBlancRouge are spot on here. Should we hark on back to the "good old days" when we were actually in charge of FIFA, kept the emerging nations from the world cup and supported a pro-Apartheid South African team? We had our chance at the top table and blew it, and many of the posts on this thread are examples of the insularity that remains in the English game which is one of the reasons why we won't get another chance for a long time.

    Also, like most people I'm not a Blatter fan, but I really don't get this anti-Platini stance the whole of England seems to have either. He is not anti-English (the Norwegian referee post above is laughable and I support Chelsea) and his ideals are pretty sensible if you look at them, for clubs to be run sensibly with strong financial foundations and a fairer playing field for all clubs from all European countries. Is this not a good thing?

  • Comment number 32.

    It is my belief that Platini's FFP is designed to keep the top clubs in the Champions League rather than open it up to lesser clubs as it is the clubs already in it that are benefitting from the extra income that will allow them to spend more money every season, therefore having already spent lots of money to get where they are, UEFA's new directive will help to keep them there as no other club will be able to spend what those clubs already have.

    As to Apoel, the money they will get from the Champions League will help to keep them dominating the domestic league they play in and affirm their re-entry into the Champions League every season.

    And that Norweigian ref was totally inexperienced to ref a game of that magnitude, the top two refs at the time was a German, who reffed the other semi and an Italian ref, can't remember their names, so to put a totally inexperienced ref in charge of a game like that leaves questions that have never been answered.

    If I say what I truly think about Blatter and FIFA this post will probably get removed.

  • Comment number 33.

    I think our main problem here in England is that we simply refuse to play the game, in part due to our snootiness of having invented the game. We could do a lot more to change FIFA from within if we used our considerable resources to play their game and get into a position to change things. For example, of our many distinguished ex-players how many have made an attempt to influence the upper echelons of football? They all seem to be happy moving into coaching roles or cushy pundits jobs. Where's our Cruyff, Platini or Beckenbauer (forgetting for a minute that we don't actually have any players who were as good as these three), who do we have that has Cruyff's vision or Platini's passion or Beckenbauers likeability.
    Untill we get off our backsides and our player's stat to take an interest in the corridors of power, England will always receive the short end of the stick in what ever organisation is running the game

  • Comment number 34.

    Russian official's didn't even turn up for the results of the world cup, they already knew it was in the bag, that's why.
    We play by the rule's and bid not bribe, the whole thing is totally wrong they should be, a set rotation of world cup sites rotating to geological sites of the footballing nations.
    Qatar? Says it all, it's a desert, ever been to Doha in the summer? It's totally red hot in the summer there, I know this first hand.
    These decisions are not based on the best places to hold the world cups, there based on behind closed door offerings. We wasted a fortune bidding, and FIFA just think's it's OK to waste all that money on a bid that had no chance of winning from the very start.
    Start a new organisation with the heads of each countries Football organisation.
    If there's no voting process there's no corruption.

  • Comment number 35.

    'FIFA embraces ethics drive'

    ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha oh dear me

    I actually thought this was a very poor April fools then I noticed the date on the article.

  • Comment number 36.

    I suppose I might read through the Mark Pieth report if someone provides a link. 20 pages is not too long. But I can't say I'm licking my lips in anticipation.

    FIFA is clearly a mess.

    But, as has been pointed out above, no one from England is in a position to complain. Firstly we had our chance in earlier times and blew it. Secondly our current premier league chairman is hardly a role model. Thirdly it smacks of sour grapes - given we were so comprehensively thumped in our bid to host the 2018 world cup.

    I personally have a lot of time for Platini. He does come across as a bit anti-English, but I see it more as him being interested in other things. If/When he gets the top role at FIFA he won't suddenly make it perfect, but it will definitely be a move in the right direction.

    As for Blatter - you only have to look at the recent FIFA leadership spill to see that he is 9/10ths politician. The way he politically assasinated his rivals (who I personally doubt would have been any better) was impressive. It wouldn't surprise me if Putin's future autobiography reveals Blatter as a source of inspiration for his political rebirth.

  • Comment number 37.

    No-one has any trust in FIFA whatsoever - you only have to look at the GB Olympic team fiasco and FIFA's pesistant assurances that the home nations identity will not be compromised. Nobody is prepared to take the chance.

    The 'historic day' aspect riles me too - it shouldn't even have needed to have been discussed. Do your job fairly and appropriately and everyone's happy so calling it historic come across as hollow gesture whereby they make themselves sounds like the good guys...which for the most part, they're not...

  • Comment number 38.

    #4. 'We invented it'. I presume you mean your ancestors and not you personally. I take 'we' to mean the English or the British. So you invented kickable, spherical objects and feet then, did you? And Johnny Foreigner has the audacity to be good at football too. Why the cheek of it!!

  • Comment number 39.

    It is my belief that Platini's FFP is designed to keep the top clubs in the Champions League rather than open it up to lesser clubs as it is the clubs already in it that are benefitting from the extra income that will allow them to spend more money every season, therefore having already spent lots of money to get where they are, UEFA's new directive will help to keep them there as no other club will be able to spend what those clubs already have
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So you decide to believe what you want to without actually looking at the facts? the champions league has ALREADY been opened up due to its qualification process which saw APOEL come through, and many more to follow. If it wasnt because of Platini they would have been put aside in favour of a bigger club. Which is why he is so adored in Cyprus! he bought Champions league to this tiny island that would have never had it otherwise. and regarding the actual FFP, do you actually know what they are? as it does not seem so.

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury has recently spoken out against Nationalism breaking up society in the UK in light of the recent riots and how we can best mend our faltering society.
    FIFA's Ethics commitee have implemented the 6 plus 5 squad ruling which is a Nationalist sympathy and made directly as a result of a ridiculous unfounded belief that the foundations of football are harmony between the National team and Club football.
    EU commissioners have ruled that the "6+5 rule is based on direct discrimination on the grounds of nationality, and is thus against one of the fundamental principles of EU law."
    The foundations and harmony of Football and any other sport must first have a true sporting ethos.
    Nationalist political rulings and Premier League "Home Grown Player" squad rulings have no place in the ethos of sport and merely continue to fuel Nationalism and Rascism amongst the Youth of Europe.

  • Comment number 42.

    The IGC sets out how Fifa might start to rebuild trust, starting with a new independent ethics committee with two chambers - one to investigate claims and another to adjudicate.
    Financial Fair Play rulings are on the horizon and when we have armies of accountants partaking in Footballs' Loophole City overseeing the creation of the new European Football Black market that is about to flourish we will be requiring many more commitees to investigate and adjudicate.
    The Bureaucratisation of Football in it's current form festers the gangrene of any trust that FIFA thinks it can build.
    .

  • Comment number 43.

    Allegations will ony be investigated if they are supported by evidence? Isn't the whole point of an investigation to find evidence that will prove (or otherwise) an allegation? Batter will laugh off any allegation saying that the evidence is not strong enough; some progress. Of course the baffoon doesn't want corruption to end, it is that which has kept him in his cosy seat for so long.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    Another small point, especially for the Chelsea fans who seem to think Monsieur Platini is on a single handed mission to derail any attempt by them to win the champions league. The English FA are proving themselves a dab hand at doing just the same with their scheduling of the FA cup semi finals as pointed out by your Italian manager.

    And #32, your post makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

  • Comment number 46.

    Change is most definitely needed, not just for the English game, but for all countries playing football. This top four push for champions league glory has had such a detrimental effect on the game! to many clubs pushing for the honey pot of European football, and if the other clubs can't cut the mustard so be it!! A champions league should be exactly that, and if not then surely at a minimum the top two from each league going into the competition. Money and revenue has split all leagues and surely FIFA must now see that only the rich clubs benefit from this? Why can't we go to a system whereby only the top two clubs receive entry into a European cup where say 50% of revenue generated by the nations 2 clubs are put back into the league of their home nation? The 2 teams that make the final are given automatic entry into the following years European cup. Each league in Europe I feel has to step back and realise that today's champions league has been detrimental to all of European Leagues, where apart from the occasional over financed club has seen the richer clubs pull away to serve their own needs! much to the detriment of their countries league.

  • Comment number 47.

    The word 'ethics' doesn't really sit well when placed in the same sentence as FIFA..until now it seems. The fact that this investigation even took place is an admittance that FIFA has been run in a way that has only served it's own interests which has kept the 'club' all powerful at the top of football. Even it's own members are ruthlessly dealt with, as we witnessed during the re-election of Blatter, if they cross the line.

    The concept of a 'independent' ethics body is interesting. Who will sit on this body? More of Blatter's cronies perhaps. Who will appoint the body? Blatter himself maybe! Personally I can't see much changing whilst Blatter is still in the hot seat, Platini may introduce a new start seeing as he is closer to modern football and is more in touch with normality than Blatter will ever be but Blatter is on a crusade to change both football and FIFA and will not go until he has seen the job through and I would be surprised if any investigation will derail his aims.

    As for the English, any hold we had over the game disappeared with the ousting of Stan Rouse many years ago. We have little say since and FIFA/UEFA have made sure that they put the boot in whenever the chance arose, you only have to look at the anti English sentiments from numerous FIFA/UEFA presidents to prove that.

    From the ridiculous total club ban during the eighties to stop English teams from dominating European competitions to the foreigner rule that meant English clubs were immediately handicapped in European competitions to the scandalous treatment of England during the World cup bidding contest the jealousy and hatred has been pretty evident. The English game is the world's best known but our sway in the game counts for nothing thanks to FIFA so on that score it's job complete for Blatter.

  • Comment number 48.

    #39
    While supporting FFP the previous poster is absolutely right: it does cement the status quo. I liked Platini's view that the Champions of whatever league you like deserve a better crack at the CL than the 4th place in the big leagues. Shame he didn't go further and despite the unjustified English paranoia about the guy, I hope he gets the FIFA job when it come up.

  • Comment number 49.

    From the ridiculous total club ban during the eighties to stop English teams from dominating European competitions
    -------------------

    It was to stop the English hooligan culture at club and international level. Heysel is a stain on the English game: that UEFA 'made' Juventus' play that night after the carnage on the terracing was not right.

  • Comment number 50.

    foreigner rule that meant English clubs were immediately handicapped in European competitions
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    which rule is this exactly?!?!?!

    also why would they be 'jealous' of you?

  • Comment number 51.

    #49 ROBO4.. Iwas expecting this..I suggest you read my comment again. At what point did I condone Heysel?? The clue is in the word TOTAL. If a fan in a ground was found to be shouting racist comments would you throw ALL of the fans out of the ground?? No you wouldn't so why ban all English clubs. In fact, why not just ban the fans from travelling to Euro away games instead of the clubs.

    The Heysel tragedy was the perfect excuse to break the English hold on the European cup and if the ECHR was around then then I doubt UEFA would have got away with the ban. We now have a situation where continental football is fraught with fan trouble such as in the Italian game where numerous visiting fans have been subject to large scale attacks and stabbings along with racism on a regular basis and what have UEFA/FIFA done? hand out token fines.

    I suggest you look behind the headlines.

  • Comment number 52.

    #50 BLUEBLANCROUGE..The rule that meant that English clubs had to regard the home nation players as foreign (which, funnily enough, doesn't exist anymore) which meant that when teams such as Man United were back in the European cup the likes of Dennis Irwin, Ryan Giggs, Mark Hughes (and others who had been at the club since their youth days) were in the same boat as Schmeichel, Cantona and Kanchelskis. That meant that Fergie had to drop quite a few main players (such as Schmeichel for Gary Walsh in the Barca game when United were beaten 4-0 at the Nou Camp) which was a handicap on the UK clubs.

    Jealous because of the standing the English have in world football and the huge amount of money it generates. The animosity you are portraying on this blog to the English game more or less proves my point regarding our continental 'cousins'. FIFA and UEFA have tried to marginalise the the English game for years. If the chance to ban English clubs came along I doubt UEFA would let that chance pass by.

  • Comment number 53.

    When people ask me what I love most about the british, I always say their humour! thanks for that!!

    Firstly, if you ask any welsh, scottish or irish fans they will consider themselves as welsh, scottish and irish and not english...on one hand you want different associations in your isles to be respected as independent countries, but when it suits you we should all pretend you're one country? Why dont the spanish teams register portugese players as spanish then! Also have a quick look at the team sheets of most iberic teams and you see a huge portion of their players, and youth players being south american and of the teams being african. so it affected everyone, stop feeling so victimsed.

    Also since I ahve written in your language Im sure you'll have no problem in showing me where in my posts I have shown 'animosity'. The money the EPL generates is very high...but you do realise that the spanish market is just as high, and believe it or not there are countries that show spanish football live but not the EPL.
    Im sorry but 'the english' have no great standing in world football, because they are a perfoming team/nation. The EPL is, but largely due to foreign money, foreign players and foreign managers. There is no longer an 'english identity, because you have got rid of it yourselves. Dont play the victims

  • Comment number 54.

    they are NOT^^ a performing team/nation

  • Comment number 55.

    BleuBlancRouge - While I again mostly agree with you in your last post, there was situation recently where a Scottish Cup replay couldn't be played on the preferred date due to a Spurs (I think) Europa League game being on TV. This would have contravened UEFA laws re the televising of games in the same country at the same time as UEFA tournaments. So in this case we're the UK but in antismith's case above - which I remember well - we were separate nations. It's a small point but if allegations of anti-English bias are to be quelled then these things need rectifying.

    Anyway, just think of the outrage that will occur on these pages when the Home Nations lose their permanent FIFA Vice-President slot as looks likely pretty soon. I get the feeling that some anti-Blatter, anti-FIFA, anti-Platini conspiracists may actually explode!

  • Comment number 56.

    I don't remember that case, I'll gladly take your word for it, but was there not also a similar case regarding a premier league game being played whilst there was european football? it actually took place this game, and it should not have taken place

    There is no doubt that any organisation as large as FIFA or UEFA will never be able to please everyone, and Im sure there are 'dodgy' deals like in any organisation awash with money. I do not know the facts and I do not like conspiracy theories. I think however, its great to have someone in charge of UEFA that is firstly a great lover of 'good football' and equality. I think you can tell a fair bit about the character of the man, by looking at his playing career. His manner on the pitch towards opponents and refs, as well as his modesty despite his many accolades.
    I think we need people like him that genuinely loves the game and can maybe just do a little bit to make some of it better or more just.
    We need people like him from all over europe, including the home of football to work together and not get engulfed in allegations and conspiracy theories.

  • Comment number 57.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 58.

    #51

    You mean behind the headlines that would have told you about the hooligan culture associated with English fans at the time at virtually every European tournament at club and national level! Or put very simply, the moronic 'we won the war, if it wasn't for us you'd all be German' culture? It was called the 'English disease' not because there were no similar problems in other countries but because the problem was at its most acute and extreme with English fans abroad.

    It was also the era of 'total' bans to control footballing problems: an extreme solution to the equally 'extreme' circumstances of Heysel. They wouldn't be imposed now, not because of legislation like the ECHR but because UEFA now take a less simplistic and 'extreme' policy approach to these issues. UEFA focused on the 'national' ban because the problem was 'national' and however, simplistic it was it seemed to work.

    There was and is no conspiracy. In this case, paranoia is not evidence of a conspiracy its just evidence of a paranoia perfectly exemplified by the recent comments of people like Dave Richards.

    I suggest you look behind your own hubris.

  • Comment number 59.

    #59

    Hear! Hear!

    I was going to post something similar. Heysel may well have been an excuse to ban all English clubs from Europe but it was a legitimate one. It was the straw that broke the camel's back and was symptomatic of a general malaise in English football at that time.

    The only surprise was that FIFA didn't join EUFA in extending the ban to international games as well.

 

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