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Anorak | Fair’s Unfair

Fair’s Unfair

by | 3rd, June 2003

‘TO be fair to him, Kevin Keegan has already voiced his dislike of Uefa’s ridiculous Fair Play scheme that has seen Manchester City qualify for Europe next season.

Kevin Keegan tries to get the bonus point for a smile

But it would have been too much to ask for the club to have refused the spot offered in next year’s Uefa Cup.

Club chairman John Wardle was understandably delighted because the will no doubt bring much-needed revenue to the club.

”I can assure you we will be doing our utmost to do very well in Europe,” he said, after the news broke.

”It’s probably not the best way to get there but we’ll take it anyway. We’re all looking forward to it at the club”.

The Fair Play scheme, in which points are awarded on criteria such as positive play, respect for the referee and opponents and behaviour of the crowd, is a farce.

It is only the first step towards football matches being decided by something other than the respective number of goals scored by each side.

This weekend, we have already seen the farce of Wasps being crowned rugby union Premiership champions despite finishing 15 points behind Gloucester.

Only last week, Cardiff City chairman Sam Hamman rightly suggested that the end-of-season play-offs in the Nationwide Football League were the wrong way of deciding promotion.

Sport is all about competition. The 100m champion is the person who runs the 100m fastest, not the person with the best running style.

The person who shoots the lowest score over four rounds is the winner of a golf tournament, not the person who hit the most greens or who has the best swing.

Of course, Uefa are right to try to encourage fair play, but they shouldn’t do so at the expense of the basic rules of competition within the game.

Last year, we had the farce of Ipswich Town playing in Europe in the same year they were relegated on the back of the same fair play ruling.

Manchester City at least finished in the top half of the Premiership, but they finished below Everton who are not in the Uefa Cup.

Everton fans will be upset at that – and so should all football fans (even those who support Manchester City). It is time Uefa ended this absurdity.



Posted: 3rd, June 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink