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Is the English Premier League a form of sports washing for England?

Much has been said and still is being said about the so-called sports washing these days, with sanctions against Roman Abramovich still on the agenda, and Newcastle suddenly with Saudi Arabia as the owner and Man City for a long time with the Emirates as the club’s real club. Her. It is, of course, a welcome conversation to continue as it draws on important questions about what and for whom football really is.

But here is another side of the same conversation. Someone mentioned this a few weeks ago, but I can’t remember who. I still remember it, though, is that it was made in the form of a funny commentary, although upon closer examination, it was actually based on a true story, so to speak. This means that the English Premier League as a whole has begun to act as a sporting wash for England or Great Britain.

The immediate background to this observation was the British government’s announcement of plans to send migrants to Rwanda instead, i.e. outsourcing its refugee policy and humanitarian efforts. That is, apply the ‘problem’ elsewhere and don’t care too much about what happens to people. This is not a unique proposition, Israel has done the same before, with highly foreseeable consequences.

Of course, this policy proposal comes as the latest in a very long line of fads and police scandals. Everything from the lies that led to Brexit and its consequences are now being felt in the rising prices of all forms of the cost of living, and the deficiencies in both ordinary goods and employees in important areas of society, to the lies and outright abuse of power devoted to defending the prime minister himself, Covid cheats. .

So the basic form of thought is that England, or Great Britain, which was not once one of the chief models of democratic parliamentarism in this world, is tragically not much different at all from the banana republics, the rogue states and the petro-dictatorships we normally associate with laundry athlete to try to wash the face of our country abroad.

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Now it seems that the Premier League, that is, English football, is the main, not to say the only thing that still gives England and Great Britain a kind of positive publicity and an atmosphere of respect for the outside world. It’s hard to see many other things giving England more positive publicity around the world than the Premier League, and by tuning into English football every week we still get a kind of feeling that England is still good in England.

Maybe it’s worth sucking on that caramel!

It is difficult to say exactly what this means or what consequences it would have for the potential will of the British government and its concrete attempts to regulate English football. A little over a week ago, the government’s plan for “football reform,” as they put it in a charming way, was presented. It was a three-point plan: (1) an independent authority, (2) an integrity test to protect clubs from inferiority, and (3) a greater supportive effect.

It is undeniable that there are problems in English football, and perhaps no one really does. What to do to access and address these problems, on the other hand, is far from clear, and when that happens it is very easy to fall into the grip of pure populism. Perhaps what the British government’s plan breathes more than anything else is precisely pure and simple populism.

The demand for independent power is perhaps the clearest example of this particular populism. It’s a very popular idea that has gained a foothold in English football over the past year in particular through the help of rowdy personalities like Gary Neville. What exactly the authority should do, and how this so-called “independent” authority should be assigned, is not at all clear.

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What is true in this regard is that it is a real problem for English football management, the referee, that the Football League and the Premier League are in fact a merging of the same clubs. This has led to a deadlock in the system and an institutional unwillingness to make actual decisions that risk infringing on the freedom and flexibility of the individual or perhaps all of the clubs.

But the authority, whether it is called independent or not, must be appointed and staffed in some way. If added by the Football League and the Premier League, it runs the same risks of not being fully independent today. If appointed by the state, they would not be completely independent in any other way, and FIFA is usually keen on political independence, and this can be considered a degree of football nationalization.

The introduction of special tests to protect clubs from malicious and incompetent owners looks good, of course. But she is also somewhat naive, or toothless. The problem that we see in English football in very few cases has to do with the fact that owners or potential owners are criminal, guilty or malicious in various ways, anything realistic that can be caught with this type of property test.

The problem of English football, which in the vast majority of cases is what has attracted attention and indignation, are the owners of football who are simply incompetent. Owners who lack knowledge and ultimately may have the desire to run an English football club. But, of course, it is actually somewhat impossible to organize against someone as objective and evasive as incompetence.

We note that not least because inefficiencies occur in all systems and methods of organizing football, regardless of whether it is in England, Spain, Germany or Sweden. Everywhere we find examples of clubs disintegrating and perishing. It is not possible to regulate or test for inefficiency because it lies in human nature. It was a bit funny to see someone actually trying to design such a test.

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The question is whether the British government really understands this, or whether it actually cares about this. For them, I don’t think this is much more than trying to win back cheap political points by “fixing” something that many in England still care about. So ‘fixing’ the Premier League and English football is also a way of trying to launder the British government.

Whether it would then result in any actual tangible change is not entirely clear, just as if any change in this case would actually make sense. Looking at how the plan or proposals are designed, it’s a little hard to see. The Premier League has already protested, saying they are on the verge of coming up with their own proposals that already address a lot of this, possibly taking power from the British government’s reforms.

Anyway, it’s something that creeps into my body when I hear the British government, and then of course this British government in particular, say they should “fix football”. You have already seen how she fixed Brexit, you have seen how she has succeeded in fixing the global pandemic, you have seen how she has reformed school, health and care, you have seen her plan to reform refugee policy and so on for a very long time in place.

The idea that this British government can “fix football” can only be described as an admirable end in itself.