The Premier League moved with brutal force on beleaguered Everton over their breach of profit and sustainability. Sean Dyche sees his team drop into the bottom two after an 10-point deduction. They’ll appeal the case, but it seems pretty cut and shut, the points deduction will stick.
Now, remember I told you about 6 months ago the Arsenal strategy was to be ready when something bad might happen to Manchester City?
Well, stories are now dropping in The Daily Mail that both Chelsea AND City could face relegation if they are found guilty on the charges leveled against them.
That would be a wow moment, but we are entering extremely dicey territory in elite-level sport where entities with the power of nations are imposing their will on our beautiful sport, and the output has been debilitating unfairness.
There are stories doing the rounds that Eden Hazard had his move to Arsenal canceled because Chelsea gave his agent £7m. Was that move the difference between Arsenal going on the same run of dominance as them and not? Highly doubtful. But hard to imagine a world where Eden Hazard in the system wouldn’t have helped. Even the knock on effects – who is banging the door of Arsenal to play with Gervinho? What was the cost of us not having a superstar like Hazard in the ranks?
Why do I raise this point? Because cheating the system won certain clubs’ mega trophies. It made clubs that stuck by the rules look like chumps. It lost people jobs.
Is simply relegating clubs enough here? Do Olympic gold medalists keep their golds if they are caught with an ice cream van full of PEDs?
This is a question for The Premier League.
If cheating for sustained periods of time can allow you to accrue a mass of trophies, plaudits, and money… and the punishment when you get caught after 12 years is relegation. Is that enough?
The cost of two seasons out of Champions League can be absorbed by nation states. Relegation is making anyone at the top end go bankrupt and have to sell up. It’s a mere annoyance.
The biggest companies in the world bake the fines they get from regulators into their business models. A billion-dollar fine for bleeding an industry dry and killing competition doesn’t touch the sides if the profit you accrued during that period is 20x the fine.
If the punishment for cheating lacks bite, guess what, everyone will cheat. There are plenty of experts saying the Chelsea strategy is exactly that… take the fine and the smacked wrists because the progress on the pitch will be worth it.
The telegraphing of these punishments also gives the said clubs the opportunity to strategise around their escape. Lots of players will have relegation clauses. You’re not going to get the greatest players/coaches in the world slumming it in the Championship, but if you have the time, you. could sign all the best young players in the league, use the Championship to get them up to speed, then hit the Premier League with force the next season.
Football is at a weird tipping point. You have nations moving in on the game. We have toothless regulators. Fancy lawyers filibustering cases. The rulebreaking is happening at such a pace no one can keep up. Is this going to be good for the sport long term? Will anyone care? Are we fine with the doping of the game? Will fans enjoy it as long as the best players line up in their club colors?
Always remember: City fans held up a banner and sang songs about their beastly lawyer.
I can’t think of a parallel in history. Everything is entertainment these days. The illusion of fairness might be all we need to be satisfied because we’re fat and happy on a diet of mega transfers and investment in a game that is so far ahead of every other league I don’t think we’ll ever see a cycle of dominance outside England.
Back to Arsenal.
The strategy of wait for those above you to fail is looking more and more like it was a very smart move.
We aged down this summer.
We’re working on our craft this season.
These young men are learning how to manage Europe and the Premier League at the same time.
In the next two years, something brutal is going to happen that will shake the league, then we’ll be ready to bang.
Ok, see you in the comments. x