Thursday, November 20, 2008

We Don't Want to Rule the World. We Just Want to Piss Off the Brits.

Bernard Laporte contemplates his master plan.

As we all know, the French and the Brits enjoy tweaking each other (why, Bigus and I engaged in a slap-fight just this morning), particularly when it comes to sports. Lately, much of the invective coming from the French side has been from the increasingly clueless Michel Platini. Although he is supportive of this latest agitation, he is not the main architect. For that, we must look to Bernard Laporte, the sports minister of France.

So it seems that the French have a plan (we do?) to deal with the effects of global financial instability on sports by putting European sports leagues under the purview of a European "super-sport" administrator. Theoretically, by removing the influence of the domestic government bodies on financial regulation of sports leagues, this new European administrator would: (1) prevent clubs from being damaged by the financial failures of their backers; and (2) increase parity by preventing clubs from profiting on the pitch (in terms of results) while maintaining an increasingly burdensome debt (a la Chelsea; yes, we can argue that Chelsea's debt is owed to Abramovich - cut me some slack here, it's not my plan).

Bascially, many see this as a power-grab by UEFA (and by Platini, of course; Michel, arret-toi, enfin!) which would effectively gain control over financial regulation, player transfers, and youth development. Obviously, the FA and the EPL (suck it, Barclay's!) are opposed to such a move, and British sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe has indicated that he is not amenable to many of the details of the plan, including the provision for allowing sports leagues an "opt-out" for European law (seriously? the plan is to just allow sports leagues to ignore international law? how was that considered a good idea?).

The most interesting note comes at the end of the article, and provides some juicy food for thought:

If the French proposals are accepted next week they will be included on the agenda for the Council of Ministers meeting at the end of the year, raising the prospect that sport's regulation could become a bargaining chip in horse-trading over weightier issues among heads of state.

Ah, yes, the old bargaining chip. I can see it now: "We'll let you keep the FA in control, but you have to fully join the EU by dropping your stupid British pounds!"


Mike Georger said...

what other blogs in that best blog poll can make a ming the merciless reference? none. contest over.

Andrew said...

@ NY Kid: I approve of your use of the informal "arrete-toi" when addressing Mssr. Platini.

I'm sure the last thing I want to see - as a sackah fan - is UEFA wrangling further administrative control over the various leagues.

Ian said...

Have you seen the relative performance of the pound lately? You wonder if Gordon Brown might make that trade, esp after last night.

Bigus Dickus said...

"We'll let you keep the FA in control, but you have to fully join the EU by dropping your stupid British pounds!"

No chance...The ladies not for turning.

Bigus Dickus said...

*Lady's. Darn..learn to spell Bigus!