3 Apr 2014 | Football

Keep Your Friends Close. Your Enemies Closer Still

When I tell people I both write and give talks on football from a non-football point of view they ask me to explain what I mean…

I explain that as a simple, basic pastime, it has so many parallels, so much emotional depth and such a wide ‘contact list’ that it touches anything you care to name.

If they then mention the negative football subjects such as racism, sectarianism, financial impropriety and physical violence I find myself on the back foot. Before I’ve even sold the idea, I find myself beginning to apologise for merely having put thoughts down on paper despite the fact that this Blog, and much else I have written openly condemns the evils that are connected to the sport.

Standing back however, I can see that impalatable as it seems, one has to embrace the negatives (‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’etc) because it is their existence that reinforces my thesis that football and ‘life’ mirror each other (albeit wobbly fairground mirrors).

So it is in this spirit that I am documenting two up-to-date accusations of distasteful money dealings. Bayern Munich and Barcelona are two of the World’s top clubs. Munich are current European champions and Barcelona FC are supposedly the neutrals’ favourites when Bayern aren’t around. The fact is that both of these laudable clubs have been caught cheating.

Now I know that foci have been put on individual personalities; Hoeness for Germany
and Rosell for Catalonia and here (see what I did there?)

but it is quite possible that other people knew of the financial mischief going on and maybe, just maybe…were part of it themselves. Fall Guys and all that.

My point is not that success inevitably attracts illegal financial transactions, but that it really heightens the risks of them occurring.

It’s a good thing that these two clubs have been exposed. It would be even better if other clubs and institutions were similarly uncovered, even if it does mean that the next two World Cups do not take place in Russia and Qatar after all.

Football’s coming home?