Oh Platini, is the language of money the only one you know?
Many of you watched as Nicklas Bendtner scored two goals in Denmark’s 3-2 loss to Portugal in their second group game at the Euros. And some of you watched as Bendtner raised his shirt and lowered his shorts below his waist-line to reveal his underwear branded by the betting company Paddy Power. Few of us thought much of it at the time but the Danish FA, that is sponsored by rival betting company Ladbrokes and Uefa were angry!
Players are not allowed to “advertise” any unapproved products during a match. So Bendtner committed a football “crime” and was fined 100,000 Euros (Sh10.5m). Fair enough! He did wrong and the odds are that Paddy Power will actually fork out some of that cash. But of course the outrage was caused by the fact that the Russian Federation was fined just 80,000 Euros (Sh8.4m) after their fans engaged in incidents of hooliganism and racism.
So Uefa claims that they are intolerant to racism but clearly they are more intolerant to giving free advertising. You see the free advertising has a financial implication while the racism just annoys some people – that’s my understanding. Uefa needs to reassess their priorities and tell us openly how seriously they really intend to treat incidents of racism. Is it just PR or they really want to eradicate the vice in football? I was a huge fan of Michel Platini in his playing days but on this; he is blundering.
Now onto the beautiful game as it was meant to be. I need let many Arsenal fans know that England is not Arsenal. I need to say that in order to answer all those Gunners who blasted me on twitter about not supporting England on the national stage. I do not and will never support England on the international stage. Even though they are performing much better than usual in this campaign, I still think they have a long way to go to compete with the likes of Spain and Germany.
And I need to clarify that I do want Arsenal players to do well always and it was great that Theo Walcott came in and scored within minutes during the match against Sweden last week. Infact I hope Arsene Wenger was watching and will begin to encourage him to strike from outside the box at club level. Arsenal players have been featuring in several national sides at the Euros including France, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Russia and The Netherlands.
And even though many have gone home, six remain; although France isn’t quite giving Laurent Koscielny the respect they should. But why are Arsenal fans only seeing the Gunners in the England squad. For the record, a good number of England’s goals are coming from Manchester United players in Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney. But that isn’t relevant.
National teams are made up of players from different clubs in the world and I choose which team to support based on playing and coaching style; and not because the players are from my club. Back to club football – the EPL 2012/13 fixtures were released this week and people keep saying Arsenal have a tough couple of opening games. Really! Is there an EPL fixture that isn’t tough? Aren’t all teams going to play each other home and away before the season ends? You get my point? Good!
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