Tag Archives: premier league

Chelsea FC: Fighting Racism in Football

Everyone I’ve spoken to who has had any links to Chelsea Football Club has told me that John Terry is a nasty piece of work – a thoroughly unpleasant man – but nobody goes around wildly accusing England players of racism without evidence and proof.

Now Terry is in court in London defending himself against a racially aggravated public order offence – in short he has to defend himself against calling QPR player Anton Ferdinand ‘a f****** black c***’ during a game last October.

Terry says he is angry, he can’t even believe the accusation, yet lip-readers watching video of the incident almost vouch that these were his words – much of the dispute in court is over the short periods of time when Terry’s mouth is not visible. In court Terry has defended himself by saying that his words were down to confusion – Terry was verifying to Ferdinand (by repeating the words) that he had not just called Ferdinand that – seemingly verifying what the lip-readers have claimed was said.

Terry was being wound up by Ferdinand – but did it warrant a racist response?

Let’s take a look at the vision statement of Chelsea FC:

Chelsea’s vision statement that underpins everything we do is that by 2014 we strive to be recognised internationally as the world’s number one football club.

This applies to all off the field activities, as well as on the field, and therefore applies to fighting racism and discrimination and promoting integration and social inclusion.

Chelsea is committed to providing each employee, potential employee, customer and service users equality of opportunity in all the things we do.  We will ensure that equality practices are integral to every process and create an inclusive and positive environment for all. 

Interesting? Fighting racism underpins all the things we do. Unless you happen to be one of the most visible employees of Chelsea FC… Look further down a few lines in the Chelsea Strategic Overview and you will find this:

Chelsea Football Club practices a zero tolerance policy towards racism at Stamford Bridge and takes a leading role in all the major anti racist campaigns such as Kick Racism Out of Football, Show Racism the Red Card and all UEFA backed Europe wide campaigns.

Terry may yet be declared innocent by the court, but if he is found guilty of a racially aggravated offence in a court of law then will Chelsea ask him to leave the club? Probably not – he might even be championed as an anti-racism ambassador.

A less visible employee of Chelsea FC would have been fired immediately for uttering a similar statement in the office, but players appear to operate using a different set of values.So do all the fine anti-racist sentiments such as ‘kick it out’ and ‘equal opportunities’ in the Chelsea vision statement mean anything?

Not really; they mean nothing at all and may as well be deleted from the club website.

Chelsea v Roma

Photo by Ryu Voelkel licensed under Creative Commons


World Cup: It’s a bit of fun

The Football Association in England don’t really prioritise the national team. The Premier League has the money and the clout and any spare time the players have is focused on their club. The 2010 World Cup squad was a team of players who only play in England – none of the English players in the present national side play outside England.

That can be viewed as a testament to the power of the Premier League, but it also serves to emphasise the relative unimportance of the national side. So when are we going to treat the major football competitions as just a bit of fun, rather than going in with the assumption we have a real chance of winning?

England were third favourite to win at the start of the competition. But that’s not a realistic reflection of the team, it’s how much money was bet on the various teams… the betting on England ends up creating a perception that they are a front-runner, yet they consistently underperform.

It’s time to treat the major tournaments as a carnival where progress is a bonus, rather than analysing every last second of games England usually lose.
England legends at Hill & Knowlton

England are in the final 16

England went into this World Cup with the presumption that we were in an easy group. One of the tabloid papers even used the headline ‘easy’ when the draw was made by FIFA.

How wrong the pundits were.

And now we are through, we have a crunch match with Germany on Sunday. I’ll be at the Hyde Park Calling music festival on Sunday watching it on the big screen.

It’s no longer the case that the countries with the best leagues produce the best national team. Germany were struggling against Ghana last night. France are out. Italy are struggling as I write this blog. Any national team that has qualified for the world cup finals will be a challenge because of player mobility.

Look at the African sides as a great example. The best players end up playing in leagues all over Europe and the national football association in almost all the African nations has gone out and hired experienced foreign coaches. So if your players are getting experience of the Premier league or Serie A, and you have a team coach with national experience (like Sven at Ivory Coast), then how can the team be considered weak anymore?

Not having a well established league of your own is no longer a barrier to world cup success. Wouldn’t it be great to see a team like Ghana go all the way to the final?
Mexico v South Africa on Copacabana Beach

The danger of the vuvuzela…

Have a look at eBay right now and run a search on ‘vuvuzela’…

When I last looked, there were around 130 of them for sale in the UK. And some for stupid prices considering it’s just a plastic trumpet that costs pennies to mould in China. There is money to be made selling these things in pubs over the next few weeks!

Almost everyone here in the UK is complaining about these buzzing horns and even asking for them to be banned from the world cup, though as the FIFA President Sepp Blatter has given them a strong vote of support as a part of the South African football experience, there is not going to be any ban. You had better get used to the buzzing.

But, what I find really funny is that the English fans are complaining about these horns, yet I would bet money that come the start of the premier league season in about two months, the English will all be blowing on them – in their club colours… Who wants to take a bet on it?
Football crazy!