The West Ham Scenario - The Moral Bankruptcy of Modern Day Football?
The scenario surrounding West Ham football club over the signing of Tevez and Mascherano stinks-at the top, not with the club necessarily, though their conduct has hardly been exemplary. There is a serious lack of accountability within the top echelons of the game, no thanks to FIFA's insistence that all matters related to its footballing members be kept out of civil courts.
The problem lies with the almighty $$$. The fact that the independent panel found West Ham guilty but decided not to dock them points as it would have been unfair on their fans, new owners, and that it was late in the season is ludicrous. Middlesborough were deducted 3 points for not turning up to play Blackburn in the 1996-97 season because their team was struck down with illness-those 3 precious points saw them relegated!! Think of even the more modest clubs-small time teams with no money to hire full-time administration staff get murdered everytime they field ineligible players. This decision is indeed disgraceful, but should we be surprised?
Those who say that points would have been deducted had it been Sheffield United, Wigan or Watford are dead right-it's one rule for the big boys, another for the rest. West Ham have the money now, a good fan base in London, and a proud history. Just off the top of my head I can think of other exceptions granted to big teams-Liverpool being allowed in the 2005-06 CL as England's 'fifth' team, Real Zaragosa being dropped by the Spanish FA in favour of Real Madrid for entry to the CL's season 1997-98 (having won the bloody thing in 1997 mind you, and missing out on qualification for the next season), Manchester United being allowed to skip the FA Cup to play in that crazy Brazilian edition of the World Club Cup, Beckham having his yellow card rescinded recently so he could play in the next game after collecting 10 yellows after Real Madrid make some 'noise,' Barcelona never having to play behind closed doors (as ordered) after the treatment Luis Figo got upon his return to the Nou Camp. The list goes on with AC Milan playing in the CL's final this season-a team guilty of match fixing the season before (at least)!!! To their credit, UEFA tried to stop them but legally were not allowed to.
Money talks, and bullshit walks...if FIFA was really serious about avoiding civil courts, they must ensure their members have accountable systems in place that make the threat of civil action sound ludicruous, but they won't as they themselves are rather unaccountable. The English FA for one, having always capitulated to the big clubs continue to serve the interests of the Premier League at the expense of its other member clubs, need to find it's long missing backbone. But really, what do they really care about football-it's just another business, innit?