UEFA Nations League
Am I the only person who did not know about the UEFA Nations League? It seems as though I must be. I thought this international break was going to include a couple of meaningless friendlies but it appears we have a couple of semi-important games coming up against Spain and then Switzerland. Although, just Spain is a UEFA Nations League match and the Switzerland game is still a friendly. Confused? You will be.
So the UEFA Nations League. What is it? Well, from what I can tell (from the name) it is a League of Nations in UEFA. I should be a detective. I can only recall two other groups called the League of Nations; the international organisation created in the wake of the First World War and the failed WWE stable. It just feels a bit weird. The World Cup in Russia, disregarding for a moment all the political and humanitarian issues, was a fantastic advert for football. The thing about the World Cup is that generally it is a very simple format; a group stage followed by elimination matches. What is the UEFA Nations League? Part qualification process? Part international league with promotion and relegation? I like football competitions to be simple and there is no need for football tournaments to be anything other than simple.
I can't be certain, but I think the League Of Nations may be trying to understand the UEFA Nations League.
What is happening at Chesterfield? They finished 24th in League One in the 2016/2017 season and finished 24th in League Two the following season. This has to be some sort of record? I’m not generally the sort of fan who hopes for clubs to fail. I’ve blogged before about what a football club actually is. When you break it down, a club is the fans. Everything else, such as players, managers and owners are just temporary custodians of the club as the identity passes from one generation of fans to another. It must suck being a Chesterfield fan at the moment, but they will bottom out and bounce back. Chesterfield are too big a club to be out of the football league for too long.
Tomorrow morning sees Sportul Snagov continue their promotion push in Romania’s Liga 2. Snagov have started the season on fire winning four of their opening five games, and drawing the other. The foundation of this impressive start is a formidable defence that has conceded just one goal in those opening five games. Snagov’s opponents, Ripensia Timişoara, have only won one of their opening five games. Snagov will be full of confidence in front of their own fans tomorrow. I’ve really grown attached to this club in recent months and will be making sure I’m in front of a computer to keep an eye on their progress. It is interesting that almost all of Snagov’s goals so far have come from midfield. I’m really looking forward to seeing Snagov play in person and getting a clearer picture of the tactics and style of play they employ.
Joey Barton the Philosopher
Joey Barton, in a video lasting just over a minute, managed to change much of my opinion of the man. His ability as a player was never in doubt. I think he could have had a better career than he did, but his time as a player was often overshadowed by his extreme behaviour. In an interview with BBC Sport, Joey Barton comes across as a very thoughtful and almost philosophical man. It’s worth a watch (link at the end of this blog).
Profit and Sustainability
There has been a lot of talk over the last few weeks about Profit and Sustainability amongst Sheffield Wednesday fans, what with our recent embargo. An article in the Telegraph today has suggested that Birmingham City are to be hit with a 12-point deduction for breaching P&S rules. Apparently, Birmingham were under a “soft embargo” and signed Kristian Pedersen for £2M.
On one hand I don’t like Birmingham after a few unfortunate encounters with their “fans”. However, the rational part of me knows it’s just a small minority and that most Birmingham fans are decent people. The punishment seems harsh, especially as there is little transparency over what transgression results in what penalty. Several clubs that have won promotion to the Premier League but breached P&S have simply had fines levelled against them which, under Premier League income, is a drop in the ocean.
I wrote earlier that football is a simple game which is overcomplicated by the governing bodies. I agree wholeheartedly that there needs to be financial oversight in football. P&S just seems too complex and too open to interpretation with the sanctions that can be levelled against clubs. If Birmingham are being hammered for signing a player whilst under a “soft embargo”, the first question that comes to my mind is why the authorities allowed the transfer of the player’s registration to take place?
I think there is a fairly simple way to control spending in football. Clubs submit accounts to the authorities and at the end of the season clubs are deducted a point for every percent their spending exceeds turnover. There would need to be controls in place to ensure transfers cannot be put through any loopholes with delayed payments. It would be an idea to amortise the value of the transfer over the length of the contract, possibly.
It’s a complicated issue but I’m not convinced that the current guidelines and rules are the right answer. Let us know what you think in the comments.
Predictions for the weekend’s football. Snagov to beat Ripensia Timişoara 2-0 and England to beat Spain 2-1.
Link to Joey Barton interview: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/45447698
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