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November 2012
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What would make me stop supporting Arsenal?

By Tony Attwood

In the discussion columns this week there was a question to me, along the lines, “What happens to Untold Arsenal, when Mr Wenger retires or resigns or is kicked out?”

And linked to it was the secondary question, what happens to me, as an Arsenal supporter?

Arsenal, as I have said so many times, has been in my blood for almost 60 years so not supporting Arsenal would seem a strange thing to do.  Although there have been times when I have been annoyed and angry with Arsenal.

The Billy Wright era was an awful experience – and an endless reminder that Arsenal had once been great but were no longer in that position.   The end of the Bertie Mee era was awful – with gems like Brady in the team we spent time bottom of the league.

I suppose the only consolation in some periods of Arsenal awfulness was that Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United made fleeting visits to the second division – and we didn’t.  Which is why we are now edging towards an utterly extraordinary 100 years since we were elected to the first division in 1919.

But I have had problems with Arsenal even when doing comparatively well.  The Rioch season was mind numbingly awful to me, the way he had the team playing was just not what I wanted to see, and I met his dismissal with happiness only tempered by the fact that I had never heard of Mr Wenger.

So what will happen when Mr Wenger goes?  I guess I will carry on supporting Arsenal as now – and Untold will carry on as now.  Unless of course we do something utterly stupid (in my opinion of course).

And what could be stupid or immoral enough to have me close down Untold and not renew the season ticket?

It is hard to say, but here’s a few things that would have me thinking very seriously indeed:

a) the sort of financial support deal that Notts County, Leeds United, Birmingham City, Portsmouth, Rangers and the like have gone in for of late.  Money that may or most probably may not exist, coming from people who may or may not be that rich, and absolutely no transparency and quite possibly a load of crookedness en route.

b) The appointment of Harry Redknapp as manager – or come to that the appointment of the current manager of Newcastle.   Jose Mourinho I could take, whereas Benitez would have me edging out.

c) The decision to try and rival Chelsea, Man City and the rest in transfers.  All that will happen is that instead of offering £30m for a player we would offer £40m and Man City would offer £50m and so on.  Unless we were, like Man City, so wallowing in money that it would just make no odds what we paid, we would always lose out.  £100m for a player plus £30m a year for six years.  Yup – quite possibly, but it is obscene and I don’t want to be part of that.

d) Outright support for Fifa, Uefa and the FA being expressed by the board.

e) Support for the club from the press.  I always remember that after the conclusion of the Unbeaten Season when I just stood there at the end of the Leicester match, tears streaming down my face, just endlessly applauding the team for the greatest footballing feat I had ever witnessed, the next day the Guardian (or was it the Observer, I can’t remember) ran a piece about how Arsenal weren’t that good really and calling it an unbeaten season was an insult to Preston North End.  If the press came out and supported Arsenal, then I would start getting seriously concerned.

f) Ground sharing with Tottenham, Leyton Orient or West Ham.   No, no, no, never.  No matter what.

g) The board paying themselves dividends.

h) The removal of the statue of Herbert Chapman.

i) Sacking Mr Wenger.

j) The achievement of actually managing to serve a cappuccino that roughly tastes like it.  It is not that I wouldn’t be happy, it is just that I would be so bemused I don’t think I would be able to take it.

I am sure there are more, but its nearly time to go back to work, so I will leave it there.  But yes, there are some reasons why I would pull out of my support for Arsenal.  But not that many.

As for Untold, who knows.  We’ll take that issue when it happens.


The books…

The sites…

Ghost transfers and the Transfer Matching System.

(TMS) The Transfer Matching System.

Adam Brogden

In 2009 a new system was introduced by FIFA to regulate the migratory movements of footballers from one country to another or rather from one association to another. All associations have received training on this new system and have implemented it, over 5’000 clubs and 208 associations. It is mandatory to use this system in all international transfers.

The hope is that this new system will stop the illegal importation of minors in to European football as this market is the primary target for these “football traders” as well as Brazil, also FIFA hopes that this new system will inhibit or stop “Ghost transfers” which are responsible for money laundering in football by the means of transferring a fictitious player across borders to hide money transfers as well as fictitious agents fees. This new system will insure that any monies transferred are from club to club only and not influenced by third parties.

Information held on this system consists of the following;

Birth certificate (where a player is under 18 his parents birth certificates and right to work in the destination country unrelated to football), player passport, nationality passport, Permit to work in destination country, professional contract details consisting of agents name or responsible person’s name and their commission, all payment details including date of payments and bank account details of both clubs involved in the transfer, transfer contract and dates of any payments, the paying club must upload evidence of payments on dates required in the contract, member association details (countries involved in the transfer).

All this information has to be inputted by both clubs independently of one another and all details must correlate. Only then will an (ITC) International transfer certificate be issued.

Minors in football.

1. International transfers of players are only permitted if the player is over the age of 18.

2. The following three exceptions to this rule apply:

a) The player’s parent’s move to the country in which the new club is located for reasons not linked to football.

b) The transfer takes place within the territory of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) and the player is aged between 16 and 18. In this case, the new club must fulfil the following minimum obligations: i. it shall provide the player with an adequate football education and/or training in line with the highest national standards.

ii. It shall guarantee the player an academic and/or school and/or vocational education and/or training, in addition to his football education and/or training, which will allow the player to pursue a career other than football should he cease playing professional football.

iii. It shall make all necessary arrangements to ensure that the player is looked after in the best possible way (optimum living standards with a host family or in club accommodation, appointment of a mentor at the club, etc.).

iv. It shall, on registration of such a player, provide the relevant association with proof that it is complying with the aforementioned obligations;




c) The player lives no further than 50km from a national border and the club with which the player wishes to be registered in the neighbouringassociation is also within 50km of that border. The maximum distance between the player’s domicile and the club’s headquarters shall be 100km.

In such cases, the player must continue to live at home and the two associations concerned must give their explicit consent.

3. The conditions of this article shall also apply to any player who has never previously been registered with a club and is not a national of the country in which he wishes to be registered for the first time.

4. Every international transfer according to paragraph 2 and every first registration according to paragraph 3 is subject to the approval of the subcommittee appointed by the Players’ Status Committee for that purpose. The application for approval shall be submitted by the association that wishes to register the player. The former association shall be given the opportunity to submit its position. The sub-committee’s approval shall be obtained prior to any request from an association for an International Transfer Certificate and/or a first registration. Any violations of this provision will be sanctioned by the Disciplinary Committee in accordance with the FIFA Disciplinary Code. In addition to the association that failed to apply to the sub-committee, sanctions may also be imposed on the former association for issuing an International Transfer Certificate without the approval of the sub-committee, as well as on the clubs that reached an agreement for the transfer of a minor.

(The above is taken from FIFAs status and transfer of players regulations)

Ghost transfers;

Before TMS was implemented complicit parties could transfer a fictitious player across international borders by means of obtaining an international transfer certificate (ITC) from a national association, with the implementation of TMS this has become harder for the corrupt or misled within national associations to be complicit in money laundering.

For FIFA to have acted and revamped its monitoring there must have been unproven or hushed issues within some national associations. National associations can no longer regulate themselves when it comes to international transfers they can oversee TMS within their area, the information held on this system makes it almost impossible to conjure up a person in the hope of initiating a “ghost transfer” where a player will be transferred to a club then released sometime after with the only purpose of the transfer being the movement of monies across international borders.

So I ask if there was never a problem of this nature why we now have a monitoring system to combat money laundering. It is through FIFAs implementation of this new monitoring system that we see indirect evidence of past problems.

It was FIFAs rules’ governing transfers that allowed this situation to evolve and it is acting 20 years too late. Together with national associations either being complicit or duped, encouraged this form of corruption. Slowly the door is being closed but not far enough as FIFA monitors TMS alone; it is not a system that is open for all to see. Granted a lot of the information it holds is governed by the data protection act of different countries. So again we find FIFA taking control of a market when itself has a history of leaving the door open to corruption whether intended or not. Also the final destination of transferred monies cannot be monitored once the transaction between clubs has been completed.

Is this FIFA doing as little as is needed?

For the first time since the end of the Amateur Cup we are seeing a separation of the professional game and the amateur game as only professional players need to be registered on this system. For the first time we can point to something FIFA has done that has not encompassed the whole of the footballing community.

FIFA has set a new precedent in separating the professional and amateur games so can we please have full technological monitoring in the professional game now, instant replays wouldn’t go amiss. We all know the money is available and the public interest in a fair and just sport is well known. However as I have already shown you it takes FIFA about 20 years to sort itself out. Or do as little as is required

Written by Adam Brogden.

The books…

The sites…