The FA Show Their True Colours In The Cup by Dan Smith
I have written before that the sensitivity in which football handles (or does not) this Pandemic could push away supporters. As much as we love the Sport, it’s hard to turn the other cheek when the UK is recording record daily deaths due to Covid, yet the likes of Jose Mourinho is complaining how fixtures being postponed is unfair on his team.
Just think about.
In the last 12 months, people have died, isolated from families and friends, hospitals stretched, jobs lost…. yet we have managers whose biggest complaint is that maybe their players have to play three games in a week!
That is quite sick when you think about it?
As much as the government claim it’s for the public’s escapism, football hasn’t been postponed simply because there are clubs who can’t afford for that happen.
Of course there are other companies in the same position, but with the Premiership being one of England’s most lucrative brands, parliament are finding loopholes to their own rules to allow matches to go ahead (even with individuals breaking protocol to help spread the virus).
Up to this weekend, clubs, authorities, governing bodies, etc, all at least pretended this was happening with the average man and woman in the street in mind. Without question, at a time when people are losing so much, some will appreciate the comfort of the game.
Yet this weekend, those in power showed their true colours.
In this ‘new normal’ we have to accept that teams might have an outbreak of coronavirus. If the FA wanted to, they could make a rule, that if a first team have to go into isolation, that’s obvious grounds for postponing their tie.
Yet we got mixed results.
Shrewsbury vs Southampton was called off, yet Aston Villa and Derby did still play, choosing to send out their youth teams.
Who exactly benefits from those games not being postponed?
TV companies would have lost viewers the moment it was clear neither tie would be a competitive contest, it further tarnished the reputation of the competition and what happened about ‘escapism’ for supporters?
If I was a Villa fan, I would have been looking forward to a Friday night clash with the Champions. I would be dreaming of a Cup run, Wembley, a trophy.
Yet the FA just shrugged their shoulders and allowed clubs to handle outbreaks however they wanted. Instead of protecting my favourite weekend of the season, they didn’t care because they got their money off the networks and sponsors regardless.
I don’t feel sorry for these clubs either.
Villa and Derby never asked for cancellation, in fact both were adamant they would rather play their kids then have a hectic schedule.
What has this game come to when professional athletes would rather get knocked out of a tournament so they could have more of a rest? If I was a Villa fan, I be fuming that my club has essentially given up on silverware.
I would want a Jack Grealish banging on his bosses door saying he wants to win things, please just cancel the tie and wait.
A Roy Keane or Tony Adams wouldn’t accept sacrificing a medal just so it avoided their League run-in being backlogged.
The answer? Once again…. money!
There’s not a lot of cash to be made winning the cup compared to finishing a couple of places higher in your League. Hence why some owners make it clear they don’t care about a Cup run.
Put it like this. If the situation hasn’t improved at Villa Park by midweek, they won’t be jeopardizing League points by agreeing for their teenagers to play against Spurs.
Give a fan a choice.
Sacrifice the Cup to finish 9th? Or win the cup at the expense of a fixture pile up which could result in finishing a few places lower in the table?
Those in charge should do everything in their power to protect the integrity of any competition. Where possible all participants should be treated the same. Which team advances shouldn’t come down to which areas of the country has outbreaks of the virus or not?
There’s even talk that the next round of the Women’s FA Cup could be decided by a coin toss.
How can we preach equality within the sport when we would belittle the women’s game in such a manner?
If the pandemic is so bad you feel the only way to decide a tie is by flipping a coin, then surely at that point you’re not doing this for the fans, players or even the club’s benefit?
Or is the only thing that matters to the FA money?
That’s a rhetorical question…
Be Kind In The Comments