As of the English persuasion ourselves, it is sometimes hard to gain a perspective of our own identity looking inwards on the world stage. We are certainly a charismatic, dedicated and proud nation. Perhaps too proud? If you are a Chelsea fan and the mere mention of Tom Henning Ovrebo makes your blood boil or you were a volunteer in aid of the England 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids only to be beaten by the outposts of Russia and Qatar, you may be short to frustratingly exclaim FIFA, UEFA and all the authorities hate us.
But we really don’t help ourselves do we? The Independent reported recently how FA member Sir Dave Richards went and attended a press conference in Qatar, only to irk the locals through criticising the country’s anti-alcohol stance and brashly, perhaps stupidly stating that FIFA and UEFA indeed ‘stole’ the game from this country’s governance.
The brave Richards may have got a few issues of his chest, but again embarrassed our nation with the tired old school ground notion that ‘it was ours first’. Unsurprisingly, the Premier League acted quickly to distance themselves from the personal quotes of Richards, and a collective sigh was aired that we went and made yet another blooper. Richards’ outburst is set to live long in the memories of the authorities and will only serve to hamper relations between England and FIFA even more past the astronomical levels they already resemble.
Indeed, it was a massive disappointment for all connected to miss out upon hosting the World Cup, but our attitude in response to the news was one a screaming toddler would be proud of. Richards remarks are excruciatingly cringing to recall and his all guns blazing approach definitively contributes to the already prevalent stereotype that the English are sore losers, loud and trouble.
The only credence in Richards argument was his statement of fact in that we did indeed forge the game that we know today, but to claim FIFA stole the game away is ludicrous. Some may already feel an ‘us and them’ concept in relation to England’s relationship with football’s governing bodies but to criticise Qatar’s traditions and cultures surrounding alcohol was a move a genius would be turning in his grave about.
What is certain is that Richards’ archaic attitude that England should rule the world in football terms is one that isn’t rare. Although the Premier League and influential bodies may want to ‘play the game’ with FIFA, most average people perhaps believe Richards has a point that England aren’t liked internationally, and are paying some sort of punishment in not receiving lucrative hosting of competitions.
We have to accept that the English empire ideal is one that is old-fashioned, ancient and non-valid. No longer is the game played exclusively amongst industrial working men. The game is now an international product and better relations between this country and the bodies that run it are imperative in terms of forging future opportunities.
Did Richards have a point and just presented it badly or are we too proud and arrogant as a nation? Follow me @ http://twitter.com/Taylor_Will1989
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