Tuesday, May 11, 2021
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Super-hypocrisy of the Super League critics

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THE furore over six of England’s top football clubs joining six foreign sides in the proposed European Super League has managed to unite all and sundry in condemnation.

The media, politicians of all parties, and every fan interviewed identify greed and profit as the reasons behind the establishment of the new competition and these motives are therefore sufficient for their combined outrage.  

Some of the clubs involved are so much in debt that the ESL is a potential way in which to dramatically reduce those debts to a more manageable level. It is a pragmatic business proposition for them whether or not the objective is achieved.  

Are not players and their agents driven by greed when negotiating new contracts or when negotiating with potential new clubs? Football is a business and the profit motive is the significant factor in any business. 

Let’s test and expose the hypocrisy of the outraged, who were not so outraged – indeed were silent – when the 2022 World Cup was awarded to the oil-rich theocracy of Qatar.  

There was no such fury, merely surprise, that the most-prized tournament in world football would be contested in a totally unsuitable climate.  

We know from the fall of FIFA’s Sepp Blatter and UEFA’s Michel Platini that money, bribes , corruption and greed were all relevant. But where was the outrage? 

Nor were politicians , football pundits and fans outraged at the numerous deaths of foreign construction workers building the stadiums under the Qatari engineers. 

No morally decent football fan, media pundit, or political figure would compare the disgraceful contempt for human life and the financial corruption driving the decision-making process to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with a pragmatic business decision of the owning shareholders of 12 football clubs to form a new league.  

Incomprehensibly, the former created no outrage within the media, the fan base and football commentators – yet the latter has made the same mob apoplectic. 

As someone who likes football, there are other things alluding to the game that outrage me far more than the establishment of the ESL. 

I am outraged by the constant spitting by players on the field of play, a nauseating habit mimicked by millions of children. I am outraged by the cheating of players who feign agonising injury from the slightest of contact.  

I am outraged by the constant foul throws not detected by referees and the technical mismanagement of the video replays to determine offsides, fouls and penalties. I am outraged at the racism by fans and the inadequate  ‘take the knee’ response  of the clubs. 

Where was the outrage from the media, politicians, football pundits and fans when the owners of Aston Villa sent ‘Happy Passover’ messages to their Jewish fans and received more than 27,000 racist replies? There was only silence and silence is assent.

The silence of all associated with football on related issues of much more importance is deafening in stark contrast to their roar of disapproval for a simple new league. 

However, Boris and Keir are undoubtedly happy – it’s such a convenient deviation from their day jobs. 

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Peter Baum
Peter Baum has had a career in international finance, working mainly in the Far East, Middle East and Europe. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and is a Deputy on the Board of Deputies for British Jews.

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