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Hypocrisy is the business of football

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A quick look at three recent events in the world of football that showcase its hypocrisy:

Exhibit A: Porto and UEFA

UEFA kick Porto out of the Champions League for ‘bribing referees with professional sex workers’, but later let them back in once the news has died down.

What was that? Temporary benching for a red-card offense? In this case, the offender (Porto) was sent off and later recalled, despite being considered guilty of a red-card offense (bribing referees to change the outcomes of games).

It seems that unless there’s an example that needs to be made (Juve, Ferdinand, etc), the offenders just have a big stick waved at them while the enforcer winks and tell them it’s going to be OK (Milan and now Porto).

Message for UEFA: Be pragmatic, but above all be fair. Don’t throw them out if you’re going to let them back in. Don’t let them back in if their ‘crime’ merits being thrown out. It’s not rocket science folks.

Exhibit B: AFC and Game 39

Asian Football Confederation president, Mohammed Bin Hammam, in February, on the Game 39 proposal:

“We’ll vote strongly against it. The Premier League is putting money before responsibility and dignity.”

Mohammed Bin Hammam, in June, on the same subject:

“I had a chance to talk to the Premier League and I told them, ‘If you want to come to Asia I will welcome you. I don’t have a problem with that. Fans in Asia, they love to see your football’.

I would welcome the Premier League playing in Asia but I would like to see the Premier League come to me through their national association or their confederation.

In football, that structure has to be maintained otherwise we are going to have chaos.

Yes, there is a lot of money in football and a few clubs are getting the biggest share of this income from TV and sponsorship but this shouldn’t stop us from doing things in the right way.”

Hammam, for the record, railed against the Premier League’s future presence in Asia because he said that it would damage local football. Apparently he’s warming up to the idea that if the AFC get a bigger share of profits from the Premier League playing in Asia then they can do what they please, as long as the go through the official channels.

Well-played, Mr Hammam. You had half the world convinced with your ‘we want to protect Asian football’ speech. I know you think the extra money will help, and I agree with you. I just wish you’d said this back in Feb when the whole thing was blowing up. Some honesty and insight into the matter instead of a knee-jerk reaction, not to mention bending to Sepp Blatter’s overt threats against the Premier League.

Exhibit C: Liverpool’s Owners

Hicks and Gillett are now ‘making up’. They’ve apparently realised that they have a responsibility to the club and its fans, and that their spat is hurting the Liverpool’s chances on the pitch.

Here’s my take on it: They’re making up because they see no way out to make a profit from Liverpool otherwise. Everything else is just PR.

I’m sure you guys can add more to this list. Bottom line – if there’s money on the table, you can be sure that football will make sure it gets it all.

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