Andy’s Sting In The Tale (25/02/22) “The Yes/No Interlude Show”

Date: 25th February 2022

(Photo: @HomesOfFootball)

 

 

 

  1. Yes to Solidarity
  2. Three Times No to Sandy C
  3. Yes to the Dumbest Tweet Ever
  4. Niet to The Gazprom Arena
  5. Yes to £42Million PA Less
  6.  No Man is an Island
  7. Yes to Less in Our Pockets
  8. No to Discrimination Against Girls
  9. Yes to More Female Pounds

 

 

Intro
The strangest Sting I have written so far.
Things are happening fast so some of the issues I comment on will have moved on.
That might impact on the detail but not on the sentiment.
Football really can make a difference here and whatever happens in the next days and weeks will show us the mettle of those who purport to lead our game.
My enduring thought is the close relationship between the leaders of Russia and Fifa, and the Peace Medal awarded to Gianni Infantino by the Russian president in 2019.
(As I wrote two hours ago – it’s all fast moving.
See the source imagePoland’s decision today, Saturday, to tell Uefa they will not play Russia has to be backed by Sweden, the Czechs and all in football.
It is the right thing to do.
We’ll see how Uefa and Fifa react and I hope the SFA and all other FA’s come out today in support.)


1 Laskavo Prosymo Druziv

In Scottish it means ‘Welcome to Friends’.
I genuinely want the Ukrainian team to make it to Hampden on March 24th, which is less than 4 weeks away.
If they don’t come for obvious reasons, I hope that Uefa don’t fornicate the draw and muster up a replacement.
That would be tacky because there should be no subbie here.

It would show solidarity to leave their space empty and asterisked.
Uefa have scheduled a meeting for next Friday.

On the positive side with half of the Ukrainian team playing outside their country, and hopefully the borders still open, there is every chance they will turn up, super-motivated and playing for more than their jerseys.
A cornered Ukrainian Tiger.

I almost want them to make the finals.

See the source imagePeople say sport and politics shouldn’t mix but they are wrong.
They do.
They are hopelessly intertwined.
You’ll never have one without the other for good and bad.

I well remember the most powerful weapon against South African apartheid was the world sports boycott that started small and blossomed.
After the usual and predictable initial bluster (a kind of nobody likes us and we don’t care type response) it cut deep and the message was delivered.
It sliced through to the people much more than boycotting organisations like Barclays bank.

Same here.

Putin micro-controls the communications in his country and the ordinary people there don’t have access to how the rest of the world sees what is happening and how it thinks. The Russian people are heavily repressed by a choking system.

See the source imageAn international perspective is needed on both sides, not just one man’s retro colonial vision and indeed the last thing we all need is western politicians like Boris using the crisis to try and build their own popularity.

Football can and should be part of the world coming together.
A voice for good.
A unifier.

Fifa and Uefa have to get that message across because real lives depend on it.

Gianni, Sandy, and Boris, – real lives.

 

Thinking positively, when the Ukrainians come to Scotland, we will collectively show the world that football fans are united.

There are already plans afoot.

We will cheer their anthem like it is our own.

And the Tartan Army will do us all proud.
Take a minute to click on this.

Fundraiser by Paul Smith : Scotland vs Ukraine – Fans Display (gofundme.com)

 

2. Nej, Nie, Ne, Sandy Ceferin

 

See the source imageRussia is drawn to host Poland on March 24 at Moscow’s VTB Arena.
I looked up VTB.
It is a Russian state-owned bank and unsurprisingly on Joe Biden’s list of sanction targets.

As it stands the winner of that game, if and then wherever it is played, will then host Sweden or the Czech Republic 5 days later.
As of now both games could be in Moscow.
Both the Czechs and the Poles know Moscow well from their days as unwilling chattels of the Russian Communist Empire forged after the second world war.

And whether Russia should be allowed to take any further part at all is a moot point.
Most fans I’ve spoken to this week would prefer they didn’t.

I agree.

Uefa bottled that decision today, Friday, but it hasn’t gone away.

Shameful, Sandy C, shameful, and the lack of honest words by Infantino on Friday, shows how compromised he is.
But none of that is unexpected in a game taking its biggest asset to Qatar in November on the back of dollar lubricants.

Mr Putin’s move on Ukraine this week however spurred the three other nations in Russia’s mini league to unite.

They have already said politely to Uefa that travelling to Moscow ‘wisnae and isnae’ going to happen.

Their polite no was effectively a ‘We expect Fifa and Uefa to present us with alternative solutions’ demand, not a request.

That being said we all know Russia have clout, serious clout, with both Uefa and Fifa and with Infantino and Putin big pals.

Having ‘allegedly’ bribed their way to hosting the last world cup in 2018 you’d expect that, and it has been said they know where many bodies are buried.

That won’t wash here though, and they are on their own.

A man-made pariah who should be dropped from world sport.

3. ‘HAPPY THURSDAY EVERYONE’

 

See the source imageIt was indeed a happy Thursday for all Rangers fans and Scottish fans like me who support any and all of our clubs playing in Europe.
An unexpected but worthy triumph over a top opponent.
Well-done Gio and the players too.

The away leg was particularly great TV and yesterday was indeed a ‘Happy Thursday’ for Rangers and also Scotland’s co-efficient.

But the ‘HTE’ heading above didn’t start as my post-match congratulations to the Ibrox club.

It came from one of the most inane tweets I have ever read and appeared early on Thursday morning.

The source was Uefa HQ.
It was intended to draw attention and succeeded but it was the wrong kind of attention.

As it was posted, tanks from one Uefa member were entering another Uefa member’s back yard and loss of lives was inevitable.

Not the Happiest Thursday for the Ukrainian people, Uefa.

Murray, the SFSA’s social media expert and the Sting’s picture finder and editor posted it on our site saying, wryly, ‘Great social awareness by Uefa’.

Uefa’s tweet got taken down fast because that is what was being said all over Europe by thousands of Murrays.

It just shows how out of touch these Uefa guys are.

 

But again, well done Rangers and being in the unseeded pot alongside teams like Barca, Porto and Sevilla wasn’t so bad.
Let’s hope Putin hasn’t tried to recapture and reconfigure Tito’s Yugoslavia before the tie.

(That is how much Europe has changed and for the better).

Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade have a great football heritage and will be worthy opponents.

Good luck in the next round Rangers, nobody wanted you in the draw.

4. Another Competition, Another State Sponsored Venue.
Can You Guess, –  In Which Country?

If you watched the Champions League games again this week then you will have seen Gazprom ‘s beautifully produced commercial and their wall to wall pitch-side ads and telling us all how important they think they are.

See the source imageThe Russian state owned energy company effectively spends £42 Million plus with Uefa just to tell us all Gazprom exists and to provide an excuse for corporate entertainment of the highest quality to a very select few.

They had also hoped to invite the world to the ‘Gazprom Arena’ in St Petersburg on May 28th for the Champions League Final.
Or was it the Gazprom League Final?

Gazprom also spends a large amount with Fifa, but after today’s extraordinary meeting of Ceferin’s Uefa Executive Committee, that historical position buttered no parsnips, and the match will now be played in Paris after President Macron obviously gave Sandy C the right financial guarantee.
Money talks at Uefa.

But the news now on Saturday morning, is that Gazprom has become toxic.
And rightly so.
This para is direct from today’s Times and it even hints that the money owed might become an issue,

‘Uefa’s executive committee is set to tackle the issue of its major sponsor Gazprom — indeed one of the committee members is Alexander Dyukov, the president of Zenit St Petersburg and the Russian Football Union, who also happens to be chief executive of Gazprom. It is understood Gazprom owes Uefa a significant amount in sponsorship money but that Uefa is prepared to take any decisions it deems necessary even if it threatens that income.
Gazprom has already been hit with action in Germany where Schalke announced the logo of the company would be removed from the club’s shirts. There were also personal protests against the Russian invasion’.

In a parallel world, Man U are also said to be actively looking to ditch their links with Aeroflot the Russian State Airline.
You might even ask why a football business based in Manchester who see themselves as premium would ever link with an airline whose historical reputation makes Ryanair look exemplary.

Money.

Everton, Chelsea, Shalke and others have all issues to manage too.

5. Time for a Sponsorship Sea Change?

 

Gazprom is not the only rogue sponsor to cynically use football as a cost-effective way to normalise their message and Uefa and Fifa are not the only organisations trousering dollars that actually cause damage to supporters.

Maybe, after Vlad’s wee excursion westwards, organisations all over the world with names ending in FA will start to reappraise and take the high ground on sponsorship partners and messages.

See the source imageThe Gambling industry would be a good place to start.

Or maybe it always was and always will be just about money and the power that comes with it?

 

 

 

 

6. ‘ Never Send to Know’

See the source imageJohn Donne’s famous poem ‘For whom the bell tolls’ kind of fits this week so here is a wee intermission.

On the surface the words are nothing to do with football and indeed they predated football by a few centuries.

Back then John simply said, ‘everything in life is interlinked’.

I think he called it right and football should take note.

‘No man is an island entire of itself.
Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.
Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind.

Never send to know for whom the bell tolls.
It tolls for thee’.

 


7. My Bloody Awful Email After Last Week’s Sting

 

See the source imageWe talked about it last week, I was dreading it, and it duly came to my Hotmail account on Wednesday.

I had signed up with “Look After My Bills’ to save money on energy and they had paired me off with one of the Green energy companies on a good deal.
Too good a deal because the Green Co went bust.
Shell were then ‘gifted’ my account and have just told me that my energy will now cost £24 more per week or over £1200 more per annum.
£1200 less for other things.

This carnage is happening to every household and no one is immune.

Downstream, and very soon, energy price rises will have a huge impact on our discretionary spend. Things like beers, meals out, newspapers, football tickets, occasional bets, subscriptions, petrol, and holidays.
Worse than that in many families it will impact on necessities.

Food, heating, and basics.

No sector of the economy will escape, and football will feel a cold blast as some people drop-out by necessity.

How on earth can this happen to a nation where renewable energy should be cheap because of the natural conditions on our doorstep?

And can someone tell us why energy is run by big business for big business’s sake rather than by the people for the people’s sake?

Rant over but the problem remains.

8. Hope Says US Girls Are Not Gleekit

 

See the source imageThis week some of you might have read that a $24 Million equal pay, backdated settlement for the USA female international players was agreed and said to be a ‘huge’ win for the girls.

That was the PR’d version who said ‘men and women internationalists now have equal pay and it has been backdated too’.

Equal pay will come there and here, but not yet and some of the girls are fighting back.

Hope Solo, no relation to Han, was US goalie between 1999 and 2015 and a World Cup Winner too
She had also stood unsuccessfully as US Soccer President so has an insighters’ knowledge and passion.

Pouring very icy water on the media-grabbing but misleading headlines she said ‘Read the fine print, the deal offered is contingent on us agreeing a ‘Collective Bargaining Agreement’ (CBA) which just won’t happen.
And don’t forget that I historically filed an equal pay case on behalf of the team before this offer and it still stands unresolved.’

9. The Biggest Opportunity (Ever) in Scottish Football

Raising the 8%

Currently less than 10% of fans at football matches in Scotland are female.
This week we released some research from a wee collaborative  fact-finding exercise with “Her Game Too’.
https://scottishfsa.org/female-fan-survey-results-pr/ 
Have a read at your own leisure.

I’d suggest, at a time of international and economic uncertainty that Scottish football should be doing more to encourage female fans to the male game and male fans to the female game.

It won’t happen overnight but there is no genetic or societal reason why 92% of turnstile fans are or have to be male.

 

This is a no-brainer, and the changes it will bring will be good for the game.

More fan insights and opinion next week.

If you enjoy Sting tell your pals.

If you don’t then tell me.

 

Andy

Andrew@scottishfsa.org

Comments and input always welcome

The SFSA do not claim to own any of the included images which will be removed on request of the owner.


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