Calls to move Champions League final 'ludicrous'

Is it any wonder that the rest of the world think that the English are arrogant?

It was only a few weeks ago that Sir Dave Richards, English Premier League chairman and FA board member, was accusing foreigners of stealing football away from the motherland and already we're attracting unwanted attention from the rest of the world again.

Chelsea's remarkable passage to the Champions League final has spawned a number of suggestions that you suspect could only have come in a year that an English team make it to the final stage.

Suggestions that are so breathtakingly arrogant and short-sighted that it's a wonder the rest of the world don't just give up on us.

First was the call for Uefa to take the Champions League final away from Munich on the basis that it gave Bayern an unfair advantage.

A number of prominent English journalists rallied to this flag, sadly.

You wonder if they were so keen for such a change in the rules when Old Trafford hosted the final in 2003.

Had Manchester United not been eliminated by Real Madrid, had they made it all the way to the last stage, would those same journalists have clamoured for a venue change? I think not.

Never mind the logistical nightmare that such a late change would cause, never mind the punishment it would deal out to the travel agents, hoteliers and traders of Bavaria, where on earth did we get the brass neck to demand a rule change?

And it's not as if home advantage will make that much of a difference anyway.

The ticketing will still be split evenly, with an equal number of tickets going to both clubs and thousands more going to the corporate friends of Uefa.

It's not a long, gruelling journey, it's barely a couple of hours on the plane.

And do you know the last English club to play a European Cup final at the home of their opponents? It was Liverpool in 1984 and they won, beating Roma on penalties.

Then, there were the calls for Uefa to drop the suspensions for players who had picked up too many yellow cards.

It is unfortunate that a number of footballers will miss out on the greatest night of their career, but that's all part and parcel of the game.

Let's be honest, there's little in football as entertaining as watching a professional walking the tight-rope in a semi-final, desperately trying to give 100 per cent and not pick up a caution.

They did the crime, they should do the time. And I don't recall Roy Keane complaining about it too much in 1999.


Instead of moaning, he pulled up his sleeves and took Juventus apart, almost on his own. You can't just change the rules because a team from your nation has made it to the final and even attempting to do so only makes that nation look silly.

We all knew what we were getting into when we signed up for this.

England, of course, don't need much help to look silly.

The English league is loaded with debt and, for all its claims of competitiveness, it has been won by onlyfour clubs in nearly 20 years.

The national team are an embarrassment, overloaded with ego and starved of intelligence, heading into a major competition without a manager, without a captain and without a clue.

The big Premier League teams are all, with the exception of cash-boosted Man City, slipping back into mediocrity and the real global superstars are all in La Liga.

Frankly, I have no idea where we get these delusions of grandeur sometimes.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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