Old men, cretins and elephants

If ever further proof were needed that football is run by old men and cretins, I give you two recent items of news. And I’m not going to even mention John Terry.

First, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) bans Togo for two tournaments for the heinous crime of being ambushed by gunmen while travelling between venues at the recent Africa Cup of Nations. This ridiculous punishment was imposed because, apparently, the Togolese government “interfered” with the team: it told them to pull out of the tournament as a result of the attack.

Government interference in sport is, of course, a bad thing and not uncommon. But this letter-of-the-law kneejerk by the Caftwats betrays a bumbling level of crass insensitivity rivalled only by Kay “the entire eastern seaboard of the United States has been decimated by a terrorist attack” Burley on Sky News. It’d be like the International Olympic Committee kicking out Israel for trashing their rooms in Munich in 1972.

Second, the vague wafting of arthritic hands that supposedly constitutes action against homophobia by the Football Association. A campaign has been in development for two years. Two years. What are they doing, breeding elephants? Two years is about 49 different owners for Portsmouth. How much money has the FA spent in two years generating, approximately, FA?

Ah. The budget was ten grand. Take that, homoph- too late, all gone, spent. Ten grand is approximately half a day’s hard-earned for that fine, upstanding, former England captain John Terry (whoops, I did mention him after all). Roman Abramovich could drop ten grand on a platinum-iridium toothpick, and then drop the toothpick.

And what have those many, many thousands of pounds bought? A “hard-hitting” video – intended to go viral rather than actually, you know, get shown anywhere, because that would cost money – that the FA intended to launch this Thursday at Wembley. This launch has now been cancelled: apparently the FA wants to consult more widely and talk to focus groups before releasing it. In other words it’s got cold feet and wants to pretend the video never happened.

This video, according to John Amaechi who’s seen it, consists of 90 seconds of unchallenged homophobic bigotry in an office and at a football match, with the tagline: “This behaviour is unacceptable here [in the workplace]. So why should it be acceptable here [at the match]?”. And that, my friends, is what ten grand buys you these days. Dialogue the bigots would gleefully recite verbatim to hur-hurs from their thicko mates, and a tagline the length of Brighton pier that doesn’t even have the balls to tell people to stop doing it.

Football: where old men and cretins give peanuts to idiots to make counter-productive videos that nobody will see anyway. Ah, the beautiful game.

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