Will Greg put his finger in the dyke to stop the haemorrhaging of the Football Association’s and England’s reputations in World football?
You know how TV channels are always showing repeats and compilations of their best bits? Here is my equivalent. It is a summary of 6 solutions that I have suggested in blogs that Greg Dyke, the FA’s new Chairman would do well to consider for his first a “to do” list;
1. “Club vs. country”
If a player is not available, for injury or illness reasons to play for his country, then for the health and safety of that player, he should not be allowed to play for his club for one week after the date of the international match.
(That would have resolved the Rio Ferdinand issue even before it got off the ground). Roy Hodgson expresses surprise in the Sun today that a player, when selected, would choose not to join up with his country. He said that perhaps he was a bit naive. Yes Roy, you were.
2. “Make the punishment fit the crime“ and the pocket.
Given the salaries involved, punishing transgressions with fines which are limited to specific sums of money is pretty much a waste of time. With the amount of money players and managers are paid, a fine of £10,000 or even £50,000 is no deterrent. Top players earn in a month what many of us only earn in a lifetime. Alex Ferguson’s latest UEFA fine of £8,500 proves my point. It is derisory and an encouragement to carry on offending regardless.
3. “Fines should be set and expressed in terms of a period relating to earnings for them to have any relative value or effect.”
There should also be provision to ramp up the level at which a fine is set in the case of repeated offences. For example, a second minor transgression within 12 months of a first should automatically be treated as a medium level transgression. A third within 12 months of the first should be treated as a major transgression. It is common practice in industry and the public service, so why not for football?
4. FA Cup and Champions League qualification.
The FA should ensure that the FA Cup winners are automatically granted Champion’s League qualification.
The Champions League is for champions, by definition. Champions are winners, not 4th place runners up. The same applies to League Cup winners and Europa League Winners. Then you would see the big teams treat them seriously, instead of playing them lip service and using them to exercise the stiffs, or for developing youngsters as they put it.
5. England’s expectations and standards of behaviour
Set out clearly the policy regarding behaviour and standards for representing your country. What you do in private life is relevant as well as what you do on the field.
Start from the standpoint that we have won nothing by turning a blind eye to players’ bad behaviour. So if they are dropped, suspended or banned by England, we can’t win any less than we have done since 1966. Specifically list what is unacceptable. A hard fact of life is that single men should be given more freedom than married men. A single man â€œputting it about a bitâ€ is acceptable. If a married man does it, he is breaking a commitment and probably breaking up a family too. Criminal behaviour, drink driving, consulting with prostitutes, breaking up marriages, taking banned or performance enhancing drugs or missing drug tests. On the field – arguing with referees, surrounding referees, intimidating them. Whatever your club lets you get way with, is not necessarily acceptable to your country. When representing England, your private life is no longer exclusively your own. If you can’t accept that, say so and we will choose somebody else who can. If in doubt, check first before you do it.
6. Continue with the policy of using good role models as England ambassadors.
David Beckham, Bobby Charlton. Gary Lineker. The attempt to add Michael Owen to the list is a good start.
Over to you Mr Dyke.