I don’t think the powers that be who run Europe’s top football clubs have done themselves a favour by declaring that they are opposed to their players taking part in both the European Championships and the London Olympic Games in 2012. The Olympic football event is for players aged under 23 and gets underway a month after Euro 2012 takes place in Poland and Ukraine.
The European Club Association says it is worried that to appear in both events could be too heavy a workload for players: “It makes no sense for a player to be involved in two major tournaments in such a short period of time,” said ECA vice-president Umberto Gandini. “We have appealed to UEFA to say that if a player is selected for Euro 2012, he should not be selected for the Olympics.” Manchester United chief executive David Gill, who is an ECA board member, said clubs did not want their players taking part in more than one international tournament a year. A player who is in the squad for Euro 2012 should not then be in the Olympic squad,” he told a press conference following the ECA’s general assembly last week.
The big European clubs don’t mind carting their players all over the world for meaningless pre-season friendlies where they can cash in and exploit marketing opportunities but heaven forbid letting them get involved in what is probably the biggest sporting event in the world. There’s obviously no Olympic spirit flourishing in the world of football, just greed.
The weather in the British Isles has been pretty fearsome this winter, so much so that the Scottish Premier League is considering a revolutionary way of dealing with a serious fixture backlog: They are considering playing games on Friday afternoons in April. SPL secretary Iain Blair is trying to prevent some clubs playing four games in eight days to complete 33 fixtures before the April 16 league split.
“We’ve got Bank Holidays in April – the Friday before Easter, the Friday of the Royal wedding,” he told BBC Scotland, “The police have never had a problem with Friday afternoon games.”
It will be interesting to see how this one pans out, especially playing on the Friday of the Royal wedding. Could it produce bumper attendances – anything to get away from the telly?
From the sublime to the ridiculous…. two stunning moments from the weekend’s fixtures which summed up what a wonderful game football can be.
First of all there was Wayne Rooney’s spectacular overhead scissor-kick goal which clinched the Manchester derby.
If you’re going to win a crucial, high profile match watched by millions worldwide what better way than with such a Roy of the Rovers moment. Rooney himself hailed it as the best goal he has ever scored and few could disagree.
Then there was Robin van Persie’s clinical second goal in Arsenal’s 2-1 home win over Wolves, precision first time passing which enabled the Gunners to slice their way through the Wolves defence for a goal that virtually no defence in the world could have stopped.
And the sublime – the bizarre own goal conceded by Watford in their 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Burnley.
Watford goalkeeper Scott |Loach came out to clear the ball with no Burnley forward near him but blasted it straight against the back of his own defender Dale Bennett and saw it balloon back over him into the net. Whoops!