Category: Football Association

Ross Barkley's impressive start to the season has earned him a surprisingly rapid elevation to the senior England squad (Image | Liverpool Echo)

Ross Barkley’s impressive start to the season has earned him a surprisingly rapid elevation to the senior England squad (Image | Liverpool Echo)

After my commanding performance in central midfield during game 3 of our works tournament last month (my first two efforts were poor), I was contacted by a man named Roy who asked if I wanted to appear in the Scotland friendly. He didn’t use the word “desperate”, but the tone of his voice was telling. Unfortunately, I was unavailable due to a family dinner.

The above may not be entirely true, but if England’s selection policy continues to develop along its current trajectory, I won’t be letting go of my phone any time soon.

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How, you may ask, does the violent murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, South East London, last week, connect with the world of sport.

Abuse | Vile Shaun Tuck. (Image | Ormskirk and Skelmersdale Advertiser)

Tuck shopped | The non-league footballer could be prosecuted by police for his Twitter rant. (Image | Ormskirk and Skelmersdale Advertiser)

One of the most disconcerting and predictable elements of the fallout from the tragic events has been verbal attacks and vicious reprisals against non-whites, particularly Muslims.

Part of this prejudice has come from non-league footballer, Shaun Tuck, whose Twitter feed revealed an alarming amount of his unsavoury views on non-footballing matters before it was taken down.

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Why are semi-finals, the veritable warm-up before the main event, played at Wembley Stadium, once only a home to winner-takes-all matches such as domestic and European cup finals?

I think we're alone now | Too often in its relatively short life, Wembley has seen swathes of empty seats at major football matches. (Image | The Guardian)

I think we’re alone now | Too often in its relatively short life, Wembley has seen swathes of empty seats at major football matches, a fate which again befell one of the recent FA semi-finals. (Image | The Guardian)

After all, a host of newspapers across all political and style divides have published articles in the past few weeks arguing that it detracts from the final and has a detrimental effect on both domestic cup competitions.

A poll by the Guardian newspaper found that 86% per cent of fans believe that FA Cup semi-finals should not be played at Wembley. That is a fairly conclusive figure by anyone’s standards. So why are they?

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Few things are more infuriating in football that dangerous tackling. Even more enraging, however, is seeing such conduct go unpunished.

Dangerous | Wigan Athletic midfielder Callum McManaman catches Newcastle United defender Massadio Haïdara in a challenge that saw the latter stretchered off. (Image | Daily Mail)

Dangerous | Wigan Athletic midfielder Callum McManaman catches Newcastle United defender Massadio Haïdara in a challenge that saw the latter stretchered off. (Image | Daily Mail)

Like so many in the game, the decision by the Football Association not to take retrospective action against Callum McManaman of Wigan Athletic, for his egregious challenge on Newcastle United defender Massadio Haïdara, left me disgusted.

Personally, I feel the criticism being aimed towards McManaman should focus solely on his challenge. One should look at what the player did, rather than make judgements on him as an individual.

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Abused | England Under-21s star Danny Rose hit out after the final whistle at 90 minutes of racist chanting by Serbian fans. (Image | The Guardian)

The recent examples of racist abuse at the highest levels of domestic and European football have sent shockwaves through the sport. High-profile incidents have cast doubt on the instruments of justice and guardians of the game.

Not only this, but the reappearance of racism on what is now a world stage is beginning to undermine all the progress made towards eliminating such egregious abuse – once endemic – from modern football.

All around us politicians, footballers, supporters, victims and others are calling for action to be taken. The question is, who should be taking this action, and what can actually be done to truly kick racism out of football?

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Guilty | John Terry drives away from Wembley having heard the FA’s verdict. (Image | The Telegraph)

In case you weren’t aware, the Football Association has a disciplinary problem. Perhaps it will create a commission, give it a year to prepare and then finally entrust it to report on exactly what is wrong with the way the FA polices English football.

John Terry was banned for four matches yesterday and fined £220,000, a measly sum for a Premier League footballer.

Reactions varied on Twitter, from those that believed he should be banned for life and jailed, on the extreme side, to others that asked why he was brought to trial in the first place having been cleared by the courts.

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Surprise | John Terry‘s decision to retire was an unexpected move late last night. (Image | Telegraph)

Chelsea captain John Terry brought his England career to an end yesterday evening by retiring from international football at the age of 31.

The defender claims that his decision was made because of the Football Association (FA) trial into his alleged racial abuse of Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.

Terry feels the FA has made his position as a member of the national team “untenable”, which paraphrased seems to suggest that Terry believes himself to be the victim of a malicious smear campaign, designed to make it as difficult as possible for him to return to his duties for England.

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Coming home early | The conflict between club and country has raged for decades, but the success of the Premier League is clearly having a detrimental effect upon the national side. (Image | Express)

Without even a modicum of surprise, England exited another international tournament at the quarter final stage on Sunday night. Although expectations among supporters, players and the coaching staff were considerably lower this time around, compared to previous years, there exists an air of disappointment and a desire among fans for the national game to be restructured in order to yield future success.

It is not so simple, however. We must question where the wishes of supporters truly lie. English footballers are asked to compete in up to four competitions during the season: the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup. Quite often, players will travel across Europe for a midweek tie before venturing home for a domestic fixture just three days later.

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A familiar tale | England‘s penalty defeat cannot be allowed to mask the deficiencies in player development and technical ability. (Image | Yahoo)

Listening to BBC Radio 5 Live last night was rather masochistic on my part, as unlike the somewhat jingoistic commentators on television, callers in to the show seemed to accept England’s latent failings far more readily. The host, Alan Green, was typically honest about the nation’s footballing shortcomings, and once again called for root and branch reform. While many find the Ulsterman to be a deeply off-putting, often infuriating presence on the radio, he is right. We cannot carry on like this.

It has been said time and time again, but the FA operates not on a long-term basis, but the worst type of short-termism. Please the fans, reach the quarter finals, suffer a heroic exit on penalties and we can forget the dearth of young talent in the English game, the fact that we were entirely outplayed by a far from vintage Italy for 120 minutes, and our inability to keep the ball and dominate matches at the pinnacle of European football.

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Why always him: Joey Barton‘s behaviour against Manchester City was undoubtedly unacceptable, however, other players haven’t been so heavily punished for similar examples of ill-discipline. (Image | Herald Sun)

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton was yesterday (23 May) handed a 12 match ban for violent conduct during the clash with Manchester City on the final day of the season.

Barton was shown the red card after elbowing Carlos Tevez in the face, and then kicking out at Sergio Aguero and clashing with Vincent Kompany after he’d already been ordered to leave the pitch.

The Football Association (FA) chose to extend the original four match suspension by eight games, and issued a £75,000 fine to the QPR captain.

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