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Uefa's treatment of Dundee United was appalling

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Jim Spence | 22:28 UK time, Friday, 27 August 2010

George Peat must go head to head with Uefa over their shabby and shoddy treatment of Dundee United.

The Tannadice club were dealt with appallingly this week in Athens, and it falls to the top man in the Scottish Football Association to fight their corner.

Uefa treated United and their fans with contempt in procrastinating over where the Europa League play-off game against AEK would take place.

Six hundred United supporters, spending their own hard-earned cash to make the trip, arrived in Greece not knowing where the game would be played.

Uefa swore United to secrecy until around 6pm the day before the match, and in a surreal scenario, a grim-faced Dundee United chairman walked out of a meeting with Mr Been, the Uefa delegate, only to tell me that he had been told to tell me nothing.

athens_police_getty_595.jpgRiot police at United's match against AEK in Athens, wary of trouble because the game was switched from AEK's ground to that of their rivals, Olympiakos. Photo: Getty.

So, just over 24 hours before kick-off, the BBC and the media could not inform fans where they should be heading or how to get there.

Some United directors were apparently so angry at their treatment that they contemplated not playing the match.

In the event, United's dignity in the situation was greater than that of either Uefa or the Athens club.

Uefa appear to operate double standards when it comes to Scottish football teams.

On Rangers' European adventure in Kaunas a couple of seasons back, I interviewed Walter Smith pitchside in a stadium which was a dilapidated dump, wondering how top-flight football could possibly be played there.

The same season I was at the home of Panathinaikos with the Gers and the Dons, and stood slack-jawed at surroundings which would never have received a safety certificate in Scotland.

While the home of Olympiakos, where United's tie was finally played, is a fine modern stadium, some of the venue's proposed to host the game evidently left much to be desired.

And the original venue, the Olympic Stadium, had a pitch which was unplayable.

Currently, minnows Brechin City face a six-figure bill to comply with regulations to widen their pitch by a few yards, just in case they ever enter European competition.

No disrespect to the fine Angus club, but there's more chance of Scotland winning the World Cup than that happening.

Yet a small Second Division part-time club are still being forced to find money which could threaten their very existence, to prepare for something which will never happen.

For the Tannadice leg of the Europa League play-off, Uefa made United jump through various expensive hoops.

On top of a near £300.000 bill from the previous season to bring their floodlights up to the required lux standards, United had to fork out for various other items on Uefa's wish list.

For example, 2,200 new plastic seats at £25 each to replace wooden ones which had an up-to-date safety certificate from Dundee Council, but were a few millimetres too short for Uefa's liking.

And updated wi-fi for media and the Uefa delegates (ironically United's own media staff were provided in the Athens stadium with wi-fi which did not work).

The life of those in Uefa appears to be gold-plated.

Ferried around between top hotels and fine restaurants in chauffeur-driven limousines on their fact-finding stadia visits, perhaps it's no wonder they are out of touch with the ordinary supporters whose cash allows them such a privileged existence.

Even our English brethern have felt the hot breath of hypocrisy from Uefa president Michel Platini.

The Frenchman may have been the master of a football, but as an administrator his mastery of the facts is slovenly.

His recent berating of top Premiership clubs for their financial imprudence sits awkwardly with his silence on similar problems at top Spanish and Italian outfits.

And his suggestion this week that the English FA's World Cup bid could be hampered by the temporary lack of a chief executive smacked of a cheap shot and a distinct sneer in the direction of natural justice towards English football.

It appears that here in Scotland, perhaps in England too, we appear only too ready to acquiesce with the Caesar-like demands of Uefa, an organisation which appears answerable to no-one, and which, like Roman emperors, confers favoured status on some but not on others.

United's treatment this week proves that in Uefa's eyes the Scots are not among the favoured, so we need our own emperor to fight the good fight for equal treatment.

George Peat as president of the SFA has never been a man slow to speak his mind.

This week he has a duty to tell Uefa that Scottish clubs will not be treated like second-class citizens any longer.

If he does that, and in the strongest possible terms, he will win plaudits from all Scottish football fans.


  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    Great blog Jim. But is it maybe the case that the tendency for domestic inertia at the SFA extends into their dealings with UEFA? Inactivity leading UEFA to conclude that the SFA are a soft touch?

    Where to start Mr Tomslaford?
    Dundee were not playing in Athens.
    The rest is pretty much the same type of drivel...

  • Comment number 4.

    Few if any think George Peat is good at his job .

    How can he , along with his cronies , be removed in your opinion ?

  • Comment number 5.

    Tomslaford, get a life.

    Every time you come on one of these boards, it is pointed out to you that this wierd attitude you have towards scottish football is totally unjustified.

    The vast majority of english people I have met think that the scottish game is dirtier than in england, and there is a lot more 'pump it long' football, which imo is a justified attitude.

    However, every english person I have met has respect for the game in scotland as attendances are very good per head of population, and the clubs do well considering there is next to no tv money and the auld firm monopolise the league.

  • Comment number 6.


    Dundee were not playing in the Europa League, rather Dundee Utd were! Would you refer to City or United as Manchester?

    Maybe before commenting you should avail yourself of some knowledge of Scottish football as your comments currently are ill informed and weightless.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    Look guys, this blog is in danger of being hijacked.

    tomslaford is clearly a rather ignorant and, quite possibly, bigoted buffoon. My own experience of dealing with self-opinionated idiots is to ignore them. He will eventually go away and ruin some other forum.

    Jim makes some excellent points here. EUFA have treated United disgracefully. Whether George Peat is the man to take them on is open to debate. The SFA do not have enough clout to make any difference.

    The English FA are under sustained attack from Platini over their club's finances. Scottish football has been treated poorly for a number of years. The AEK fiasco is the most recent example.

    Perhaps the British Associations should club together and jointly advise Platini et al to go forth and multiply ? A joint and concerted response to EUFA's arrogance must be the way forward.

  • Comment number 9.

    Try this one again!

    Jim I agree with you about the poor treatment of fans and players before a match but you are not the first and won’t be the last and I can't help feeling that they all should have been trying to find a venue anyway. I'm glad they got the game going somewhere. Take the point about the double-standards they show in respect to the conditions of grounds but I'd much rather there be some leeway given tbh.

    And all credit to DUtd: they have a young inexperienced side and by all accounts put up a very good show and were within a whisker of going through. Well done to them and also to Motherwell who ran it a lot closer than those jokers in the ongoing soap opera that is Parkhead (and I say that as a Celtic fan!).

    But don't expect effective help from the SFA. Remember how they fought Scotland's corner in that match which was abandoned because the opposition did not turn up and then had to be re-played? In these things as in so many others they are just so utterly useless and badly need over-hauled. George Peat? About as savage as your average sheep. People will listen to him yeah right! They’ll be the first ones who do!

    And #2 highlights what leeway some Scottish clubs are given by UEFA. Its the first point I agree with him about: Rangers should have been BANNED by UEFA for the behaviour of their fans in Manchester (given that it had already come on the back of repeated warnings and fines from UEFA for the routine unacceptable chants some of their fans have going). And remember please that it took UEFA threats (never the SFA/SPL, or the Scottish Government!!) for this endemic feature of a section of their support to at last be effectively challenged by someone.

    So I don’t wholly buy into the anti-British bias view of UEFA. I certainly don’t think they are like FIFA as journalists like Andrew Jennings regularly point out) and there is not a shred of credible evidence that they are engaged in any conspiracy against England, Scotland or any of the Home Nations. Their representatives may not much like England or us for that matter but this is a different issue to the idea of an agenda/ conspiracy which features much on other BBC football blogs.

  • Comment number 10.

    Interesting blog Jim, but such double standards exist at FIFA, UEFA and FA level.
    Self interest rules the game at evey level, the paying fan has become the last consideration.


    Platini scored the penalty which won the European Cup for Juventus in 1985.

    The reason why it is not amongst the greatest nights of his life may go most of the way to explaining his dislike of the English.

  • Comment number 11.

    Real and Barca shouldn't be allowed to take money from the rest of Spain.

  • Comment number 12.

    The rift between uefa, fifa and the English FA goes back a long.long way

  • Comment number 13.

    You aren't giving the whole story. Given the extraordinary circumstances of the switch of venue - the pitch dug up by hooligans angry at it being rented to their deadly rivals - it is hardly surprising that the Greek authorities kept the venue quiet. They were ensuring both that the match went ahead and the safety of the Dundee United fans.

    This post gives the full story:

    Should the match have been cancelled and AEK thrown out? That is what the hooligans wanted. Not an easy call.

  • Comment number 14.

    Another great post Jim.

    I agree with you on all but one point - the issue of George Peat. I see no reason why the SFA must wait for reports before George Peat and the Association take up these issues with UEFA when they can use an old thing that I believe is called COMMON SENCE. Everyone (I think even the AEK fans themselves) would agree that the way that this game was handled was embarrassing and I wouldn't expect that sort of organization from a junior tournament. George Peat should have came out immediately and stated his feelings for the situation. His job is to protect the SFA and its member clubs, not to protect UEFA's reputation...

    One final question. Replace Dundee United with Manchester United and would there have been the same outcome? Somehow, I think not.

  • Comment number 15.

    Its time for all UK and FAI governing bodies to withdraw from UEFA nad FIFA. The Irish were cheated out of the WC by the French (bet Platini loved that one). Our clubs in Europe are disrespected time and time again. We go away in Europe and hear racist abuse, get beaten by coppers, pelted with coins inside the stadia etc etc etc.

    What do UEFA do? Jack diddly squat. Repeat offenders get away with whatever they like. What happens if its a British club? Platini will immediately come out and condemn the behaviour. He looks for the smallest problems, and hammers them home.

    This latest debacle with Dundee Utd was a farce. They had no respect for the club, the fans or Scottish football.

    Why do we cower to these chimps?

    Personally i think they will miss us more than we miss them.

  • Comment number 16.


    Its time for all UK and FAI governing bodies to withdraw from UEFA nad FIFA. The Irish were cheated out of the WC by the French (bet Platini loved that one). Our clubs in Europe are disrespected time and time again. We go away in Europe and hear racist abuse, get beaten by coppers, pelted with coins inside the stadia etc etc etc.
    The Irish were cheated by Thiery Henry. Apart from this guy no other man, woman or child in France had anything to do with it!

    You don't have to go to mainland Europe to hear racist and sectarian abuse as its pretty close to most people's homes. But feel free to tell me I'm wrong and that people in the UK are more respectful of the colour of someone's skin or their religion than others in the EU.

    And they have to put with a bunch of people who drink to excess, use their streets as open toilets, shout, swear and the same way that not every UK football fan engages in these behaviours, neither does every non-UK football fan..our reputation goes before us...

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    Tomslaford, you say the SPL is a two horse race, well, why dont you have a look at your beloved English premierleague? Is any team outside of Manchester United or Chelsea going to challence for the league title this season? No chance.

    And out side of Manchester United, Celtic and Rangers are the two biggest Birtish powerhouses, in terms of support, marketing and potential. No team from the EPL (Extremely-overpaid-and-overrated Premier League) can even get close to them. That is why the English clubs do not want them. Clubs like West Ham, Stoke, Everton, Wigan, West Brom, Balckburn, Fulham, Blackpool, Sunderland, Newcastle, Wolves, Birmingham, Bolton, Aston Villa, all the clubs in the Championship, and in the EFL would all be two places further down the ladder.

    I do not support Celtic or Rangers but with the massive ammount of TV money you pump into your leauge to achieve this "superior quality", im quite sure the Auld Firm would soon monopolise your beloved English leauge.

  • Comment number 19.

    What would have happened if Barcelona or Man Utd had been kept waiting like that to have the venue confirmed? Don't they normally send security teams ahead to inspect facilities etc when they're on their travels? How could they have done that when the venue wasn't confirmed until a few hours before kick off?

    I suspect the Greeks would have been thrown out quick smart. Regardless of this whole fiasco, perhaps the (marginally) better team over 2 legs did go through, but what sticks in my throat is that bigger clubs would not have been subjected to the same treatment that United were.

  • Comment number 20.

    Tomslaford always seems to get a bit mixed up between the two dundee clubs. Dundee FC can only dream of ever playing in SPL again never mind Europe.

    every week he also has a go at st Johnstone and Motherwell, why I could understand if he was having a go at some of the teams who dont try and play football or time wast (we all know who they are)

    As to post 11 is it not the same case in Scotland where the old firm try to take all the TV cash etc It happens all over the world.

    Dundee United did get treated poorly, Peter what if they had been a team from a town with only one stadium. The pitch was not payable, that is the home groundstaffs problem

  • Comment number 21.

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  • Comment number 22.

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  • Comment number 23.

    TOMSLAFORD - yawn yawn yawn. Yes, you've got an opinion. In the past 3 weeks you've posted mainly on Scottish topics. One post on Englands world cup campaign (which, curiously you defended). Don't worry, we're looking excitedly on at the tight contest developing in the EPL. Let's not again comment on the respective size of countries because you know the facts. They just don't fit with your story.

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.


    Scotland qualified for tournaments when England failed to. Despite being a poor team now the world view was in 1974 Scotland were real contenders to win the tournament. You come on posts and call the SPL the Scottish Pub League...does this make you feel big, better about yourself..what? English Premiership ranked best league in world? really who by? Because if you think it is the best league and that england has the best players why did Spain win the World Cup? Why did Italy do it in 2006? What about Brazil in 2002 or France in 1998? Then what about Euro Championship? Why have England, The best no 1 ranked league, not even reached a final? Why has La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A not trying to capture these amazing players England have? Yet the Premiership is trying to capture all their best players???? England have many many good players. But England doesnt have a team ethic, the players are spotted having affairs (with other English players wives and gfs), drinking and clubbing. South Africa showed the World the English players do not care about the True English fans. Englands National team are full of morally bankrupt individuals. They care for nothing other than money and themselves. They let England and their scottish supporters and other British Fans down. They also let those who were supporting them as a second team to their own national team down. But yes tomslaford...England are the best!

  • Comment number 26.

    Zidean ...

    A few points :
    The Premier league is ranked No 1 in Europe by UEFA fact
    La Liga is ranked ........ No 2 in Europe by UEFA fact
    Scottish Pub League is ranked No 13 in Europe by UEFA fact

    Spain are ranked No 1 by FIFA (and won World Cup)
    England are ranked No 8 by FIFA (rubbish in World Cup)
    Scotland are ranked No 43rd by FIFA (On the beach again watching on TV)

    Do not get confused with the League ranking and the Country ranking ... simples !!

    I expect England to get to the quarter finals on rankings.Just getting to the semis would be a bonus and the finals well that is a dream..... a bit like Scotland ever qualifying again for the World Cup !!

    UEFA Club Rankings : 2010/2011
    Barcelona 1
    Man Utd 2 (3 EC)
    Chelsea 3
    Aresnal & Liverpool (5 EC)joint 4th
    Celtic* and Rangers ranked ( 53rd* (EC in 1967)before Braga & Utrecht results and 31st) by UEFA

    All of above are based upon performances not prejudice or pride (sorry about the pun)

    I remember Scotland qualified in 1974 and 1978 but that was a long long long time ago !

    Scotland last played in in 1998 .... a long time ago (& they never will again !!)
    England have qualified for every World Cup since 1998

    We WON it in 1966 yes a long long long long time ago
    We were beaten in the semis in 1990
    We were beaten in 2002 and 2006 in the quarter finals
    We were rubbish in 2010 ( I totally agree) But we will be at the 2012 Euros .... bet Scotland won't !!

    St Johnstone v St Mirre 4 times a year yummy wonder the exodus to the Championship has begun to McBoro (and they are rubbish)

  • Comment number 27.


    simples !!
    In your post it always is..

    ..and please don't just be sorry for the pun

  • Comment number 28.

    Rob 04

    Q - Do you think Scotland will qualify for Euros 2012 ..... no well you can watch England again !

  • Comment number 29.


    Think you are old enough to work it out for yourself..but maybe not! Think 'simples' and you'll be fine..

  • Comment number 30.

    Tomslaford, you posted european leaugue rankings but international nation rankings ahahahaha

    *smacks forehead with hand

  • Comment number 31.

    Our English contributor's comments perhaps sum up the reasons for the attitude of EUFA and FIFA to English football. When control of FIFA was wrested from Sir Stanley Rouse and the English FA it was because of the superior attitude that the English FA had to the tournaments and who should take part in them that the coup was effected.

    In order to engineer that take over and to maintain control of FIFA, the new order had to promise the African nations and the South American Nations greater particiaption. That is why a certain lover of English football who controls the Afro-Carribean vote for his masters once stated that England would not get the World Cup.

    EUFA and FIFA have no direct control or interest in the English Premier League and the last thing that the powerful cliques who control these two organisations want is greater English influence in either body.

    I personally think that despite England having the infrastucture in place to host the World Cup just now, it has less than a 50:50 chance of being awarded it. That is, of course, unless the financial benefits too FIFA are so great they cannot refuse the offer.

    The only thing that gets a hearing at FIFA or EUFA headqurters is money. That also is the reason that Scottish teams carry no influence there.

  • Comment number 32.

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

  • Comment number 33.

    Rob 04

    Answer the question will Scotland qualify for the 2012 Euros .... I think you know the answer (I do NO)

    Nevermind you can support all the teams England play .... typical j...k

  • Comment number 34.

    Wow you know (this is the correct spelling in English!!) something..alert the media! They would be dead interested in your observations.

    Just keep have a fight with yourself..and yes we all know you are the self-styled saxon avenger blah, blah, blah..a comic book cut-out in a stupid tartan Russ Abbot wig! Classic, only wish the blog came in audio!

    But in reality you are just another wee guy peddaling racist comment from his bedroom.. you need help working all that out?

  • Comment number 35.

    Rab C Nesbit is quite popular and he is a j..k

    You still have not answered the question !!!

  • Comment number 36.

    Its 'simples'!

  • Comment number 37.

    Being a Dundee fan I have no love for Utd, the team, or their fans but I actually thought that AEK should have been put out of the tournament, I then actually wanted Utd to win when UEFA bottled it again and decided not to stick up for the little team. How long is it going to take for UEFA to actually represent the interests of all teams and not just the loudest or biggest. Also an interesting question is where was George Peat? What does he actually do other than get to go on jolly's and talk a lot of crap.

  • Comment number 38.

    Tomslaford, you basically only answered 1 of my questions and even then you totally misdirected the answer. England is the richest league, its ranked above certain other leagues by SUITS, by federations. Wheres your marvellous english?? Where is, like I said, the Primera Liga, Seria A, Bundesliga demanding to buy english players? They are not. Because compared to their own talented individuals, compared to spanish, dutch, french, brazilian, Italian players they can buy the English players dont compare. EPL is full of foreign players. Its the "best" because other nationalities make it so.

    TBH i find your views on England Scotland relations pretty xenophobic. No one here is screaming scotlands got a great game, its got problems. But its mainly scottish players and its pretty much the same style of football in the EPL minus it isnt nani punting the ball in scotland. Most english premier league teams, PUNT the ball. Hoof it up the park as it were. thats fact, we can see with our eyes.

    National Teams - After saying scotland were a poor national side, you then agree that 74, 78, up to 98 were good years for the scots. U forget then and NOW, Scots have a 5million population. They qualified when a 50million plus nation couldnt. Just like the same 55million population didnt qualify when McClaren was in charge.

    So yes to Scottish folk im sure it is a big achievement to qualify and they will be proud. But it isnt a failure not to qualify. Your basically shouting "HA england have more money, more of a talent pool to chose from, better facilities, better everything, (than not only Scotland but most international teams)..but we STILL cannot win anything"

    Your ruining your own arguments. best ranked league YES - Due to foreign players

    International side- a Worldwide Joke

    Scotland a tiny nation does ok for its size and the talent pool to chose from. What nation comes off best here?

    As i look at my friends and colleagues who die day in and day out in afghanistan and iraq, it makes me sad when i finally get some down time I come on the BBC to see such bile and hatred against the scots. From people like you TOmslaford. Just because a rivalry exists between the nations on footballing terms doesnt mean its widespread nor in any other area. Were all dying as Brits over here. If your english and you dont like scotland, why are you living there, why are you posting your comments. Just move back to england. It sickens me. Im sure there is some scots like u too but they havent been on here creating the bile.

  • Comment number 39.

    Really good post Zidean + best of luck out there to you all.

  • Comment number 40.

    tomslaford you are a joke and people like you are the reason why such hatred exists and you comments simply add fuel to the fire. I agree the SPL is not the best league and the're not the best national side but what they do with the talent avaible is much better than the EPL and the shambolic england side (reference to the world cup not the qualifing).

    How can the so-called best league in the world not win the world cup then might that be Foreign players taking the places of english players. you can see it with the keepers now (Joe Hart the execption) soon outfield positions will look weak.

    if the EPL was more like the Bundasliga or the SPL england might stand a chance in the world cup untill then all i can see is the downfall of the england national side.

    i am a Celtic supporter and live in Lincolnshire and although i defend the SPL the same critsim applies when i talk to local fans it is disgraceful.

    But now to the blog I totally agree with Jim i remember celtic's play off game with Arsenal where eduardo was at the center of a scandal when he dived in the box. i belive he was banned for an incedent and Venger got it overturned this is despicable somthing needs to be done to support the smaller clubs and fast.

    the rich clubs are getting richer and the poor culbs poorer due to this. it does not make for a interesting competion.


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