Was there ever a more appropriate name for an organisation than the FA? No, not it’s actually meaning, Football Association, but to describe how useful it is in the modern world: sweet FA.
How else can you regard an organisation that is set to turn the name of what used to be the greatest Football club competition, the FA Cup, into the Emirates FA Cup? Yes, you heard it right: the Emirates FA Cup.
We all know about the Emirates, don’t we? An airline owned by a federation of largely undemocratic middle eastern states called the United Arab Emirates, operating under Sharia Law. Well, that’s clear enough then. So why are we so keen in getting into bed with them? It’s business, old boy, and they do have rather a lot of oil and gas, bless them.
So, if we are doing business with them and turning two blind eyes to their less than perfect record on human rights, what’s wrong with the FA flogging off it’s premier cup tournament to them as well? After all, they will be getting £30m for the privilege and with the ‘Barclays’ Premier League bathing in the luxury of a £5b+ deal from Sky Sports subscribers, they must need the money.
Is it just me, or has the FA stepped over the line here? Formed in 1871, the FA Cup managed perfectly well without a sponsor for 123 years. For me, as a youngster, it was the greatest tournament of any kind never mind just football. It was the most magnificent tradition too. But what does tradition mean now? Nothing if there’s a few bob at stake. And in modern day financial terms, what’s £30m anyway? What Yaya Toure earns in two years? A small fraction of what the FA squandered in rebuilding Wembley Stadium? They might as well accept a few pieces of silver and be done with it.
But silly me, I forgot. I don’t own football, do I? The vast majority of clubs aren’t clubs at all and hardly any of them have any meaningful supporter stakeholders. I’m a customer these days, not a supporter.
Significantly, the FA has not denied the story, which means it’s obviously true, otherwise they’d simply say no.
Another part of the fabric of football unravelling before our very eyes, another tradition being stolen by the money men, another example that we don’t matter anymore, as long as someone pays the money.
In recent years, the FA Cup was beginning to show signs of re-birth, especially with its welcome return to the BBC, but I fear this will kill it once and for all. Well done, Greg Dyke. Another work of near genius.