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The Importance of Sport (NEW CONCEPTS)
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Which back four player is also second in the goal-assists list?
Which back four player is also third in the chances created list?
Which back four player is also third in the passes completed list?

Is it a) Trent Alexander-Arnold or b) Sir Trent Alexander-Arnold?
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Mick Harper
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It may have been premature bringing back test cricket. We will keep the matter under review.
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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As a United fan I (sort of begrudgingly) applaud the decision of CAS to overturn City's two year ban from European competition.

UEFA state:

The UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFP) were established to prevent professional football clubs spending more than they earn in the pursuit of success and in doing so getting into financial problems which might threaten their long-term survival.

City are undoubtedly one the most financially viable clubs in European football and their long-term survival is more secure than the majority of their domestic and continental rivals.

The CAS judgement leaves egg on the faces of UEFA and firmly establishes Lancashire as the powerbase of world football.
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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La Liga president Javier Tebas has declared:

“We have to reassess whether the Cas is the appropriate body to which to appeal institutional decisions in football," he said. "Switzerland is a country with a great history of arbitration, the Cas is not up to standard.”

Jeez that grape was sour!
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Mick Harper
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The manky grapes are Mancunian in origin. It is true UEFA have expressed themselves badly but their intention is entirely honorable, indeed unavoidable in the interests of good football. Consider, Chad, the difference between United and City. They are both hugely bigger and thus more successful than 99.775% of professional football clubs. United have earned that size (and get a tick from UEFA), City have bought that success and therefore get a ? from UEFA.

Why? Because however big United get they still have to exist within the parameters of economic viability. However big City get, they still won't be constrained by economics, they can just get more money from a source that couldn't give a monkeys whether they're profitable or not. Unless they are stopped by fiat i.e. the Fair Play rules.

This is a new situation (it began with Chelsea and Abramovich) and it has taken long enough for UEFA to act, but act it must if we are not to arrive at a situation in which clubs like Man City, Paris SG, even Newcastle (for Chrissake) can swan around at the top forever. The prancing ninnies who have acquired these baubles just for their amusement (unlike Abramovitch who did it to ensure immunity from Putin) have to be stopped somehow. And if that somehow is to be the Fair Play rules, then it is dependent on getting the information for applying the Fair Play rules.

Hence City have to be banned for two years to disencourage the others from surreptitiously cooking their books. I would advocate three to be on the safe side. What's your solution, Mr Secret Maine Road Man?

PS How did Guardiola know ahead of time?
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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Until relatively recently, I was preaching (though somewhat less eloquently) from the very same pulpit, but my attitude towards the nuevo riche has softened markedly with the removal (for AE purposes) of my red tinted varifocals.

It is true UEFA have expressed themselves badly but their intention is entirely honorable, indeed unavoidable in the interests of good football.

Hmm… I would substitute ‘the established elite’ for ‘good football’ in that statement.

United have earned that size… City have bought that success

And never will I fail to remind City fans of that very fact.

However big City get, they still won't be constrained by economics, they can just get more money from a source that couldn't give a monkeys whether they're profitable or not.

This is obviously a situation that can’t be allowed to continue indefinitely, but the rules need to be based not on protectionism but sustainability. There has to be a way for a wanabe club to gain a place among the elite.

This is a new situation (it began with Chelsea and Abramovich) and it has taken long enough for UEFA to act, but act it must if we are not to arrive at a situation in which clubs like Man City, Paris SG, even Newcastle (for Chrissake) can swan around at the top forever.

If the city of Manchester can accommodate a second meggaclub I’m sure a federation the size of Uefa can accommodate the (well vetted) influx of a number of others.

What's your solution… ?

Something along the lines of ‘Fit and Proper Person’ with legally enforceable commitments.

Any takeover needs to be properly vetted and the buyers must submit a business plan outlining how and when the club will become self-sustainably, economically viable. Once agreed, sanctions can then be applied if the club defaults.

Basically I just want a system that is fair, not just in name, but demonstrably to all parties… and not just the existing elite cartel (which includes my own club).

If any of the existing elite are knocked off their pedestal and replaced by one of the nuevo elite, then hey-ho that’s Darwinism in action.

PS How did Guardiola know ahead of time?

Yes that crossed my mind too.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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My guess the worst FFP offender, if it were about economic viability, would be Bournemouth total wage bill larger than Newcastle, and huge net spend on transfers, well over 50 million more than Newcastle, in the last 5 years. Ground Capacity just 11,000 -12,000.

The Cherries were done for breaching the League's FFP in their promotion winning year, but still allowed up to the premiership.

Apparently Bournemouth haven't breached UEFA's bizarre rules. Whether spending all this wonga is working for Eddie's men, appears to be debatable. But hey we all love the minnows, err that should read fat cats.
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Mick Harper
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Hmm… I would substitute ‘established elite’ for ‘good football’ in that statement.

Every major league has its Majors. Which is necessary for good football. The Major League principle. Egalitarianism is not good for professional sport.

This is obviously a situation that can’t be allowed to continue indefinitely, but the rules need to be based not on protectionism but sustainability.

I do not understand what 'protectionism' is. No-one is protected as far as I know. The Fair Play rules are based on sustainability. Though clubs cannot always sustain their own sustainability

There has to be a way for a wanabe club to gain a place among the elite

Again that is exactly what the current system allows. The rules are lax enough and the qualifying period is long enough for any moneybags (or lucky local) to break into the Magic Circle. The turnover has been nothing short of remarkable. I see Wylie has chipped in ahead of me to confirm this. Also he underlines the AE principle: hypocrisy is always necessary in the affairs of men.

Something along the lines of ‘Fit and Proper Person’ with legally enforceable commitments.

How does that help? None of the current moneybags would pass the test. Or fail it.

Any takeover needs to be properly vetted and the buyers must submit a business plan outlining how and when the club will become self-sustainably, economically viable. Once agreed, sanctions can then be applied if the club defaults.

This might be sensible for other reasons but it is unlikely to stop incumbents breaking the bank. We have an agreed sanction. It's called Fair Play

Basically I just want a system that is fair, not just in name, but demonstrably to all parties… and not just the existing elite cartel (which includes my own club).

You would hate a truly fair system. Mediocrity is talent spread too thin. There has to be a cartel to ensure really top quality football. But it has to be a cartel which can gradually renew itself. Which is what Fair Play does. Unlike, for instance, the US Major Leagues which is Fair Play plus no promotion and relegation.

If any of the existing elite are knocked off their pedestal and replaced by one of the nuevo elite, then hey-ho that’s Darwinism in action.

Exactly so. And the only way Darwinism can be kept at bay indefinitely is if top clubs are permitted to spend their way out of its clutches.
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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There’s a girl running the line in the United match.

I’ve long been an advocate of gender equality but this raises a very important question. Has somebody actually managed to teach the ‘off side’ rule to a member of the fairer sex?
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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She's never put a foot wrong, that one.
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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So United stumble to a draw and remain in fifth. We might miss out on a Champions League place now... thanks to those cheating bastards down the Etihad.
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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Hatty wrote:
She's never put a foot wrong, that one.

Don’t pretend you understand ‘off side’... we’re not that gullible.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Sian Massey-Ellis may be an MBE but she is still the only woman linesman in the Premiership. Draw your own conclusion about Welsh influence on the honours system.
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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Manchester City will offer boss Pep Guardiola a lucrative new long-term deal after the club's Champions League ban was overturned. (Mirror)

Guardiola will be handed about £150m to bolster his City squad. (Guardian)

Now that the red-tinted varifocals are firmly back in place, I demand an immediate and thorough investigation into the source of these funds, in this period of reduced revenues.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Despite the fact that Wiley wins every single one of Mick's AE quizzes the prize money never comes through. Up to now, I thought it was because Mick was a skinflint, but I now realise this was actually because he was implementing FFP and wanted us all to start with equal resources for the next contest.

The failure in Mick's reasoning, is that it won't make a difference to future results. I am going to win anyway.
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