Thursday, 1 May 2008

Time to protest

Such is the corporate dominance of big league football now, it should come as little surprise that a rich, arrogant, human rights abuser should dismiss a clearly "fit and proper person" from his job. Nonetheless, there is outrage that manager Sven Goran Eriksson is being paid off (i.e. sacked) by owner and ex-Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra at Manchester City. And rightly so. I hope the petition sky rockets, and the protests are loud and long at Liverpool on Saturday. Why even the BBC's Phil McNulty admits he was wrong - and he still is about England under Sven, by the way.

Nor has support for the Swede ended with fans (including Noel Gallagher), ex-City boss Peter Reid and players. The League Managers' Association, appalled by the kind of precedent this situation sets, has spoken out, something they do not do lightly in such circumstances. Aside from his good record with the team, with minimal time for preparation and signings, Eriksson represents three things still in short supply in the game: dignity, intelligence and professional decency. Unlike his shabby nemesis.

The roots of the problem, of course, go back to the fact that the FA chose to deem Shinawatra a suitable person to own a controlling interest in a major football club, because money and power speaks louder than other factors - like the corruption allegations that have dogged the man, or the evidence put forward by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and others in July 2007. Many supporters choose to ignore such things in their partisan footie enthusiasm, though not all. A fine source of ongoing thoughtful comment and linkage is Bitter and Blue, by the way.

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