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Nationality is a personal issue
The topic I want to discuss is nationality and how we define it in football.
There’s a few examples I like to use to illustrate my belief that ultimately, a person’s nationality is a very person thing to each individual and thus should be handled as carefully as possible to enable them to make the choice that’s right for them at the time they make it.
First up is the son of a current intentional – let’s take Thibault Courtois as an example. Dad is Belgium, Mum is Spanish, child born and raised in Spain. Why should anyone be able to tell them who they can and can’t play for, or set arbitrary rules on their nationality outside those which govern nationality for them in their country?? Let the kid choose at the time what they’re feeling. If that means they feel Spanish growing up; but then Belgian as they reach maturity, so be it!!
2nd example. Lucas Radebe’s son (recent Leeds trialist). Parents both South African, but born in Leeds and possibly only ever known UK as home. The UK is likely to be where he learnt to play football so if he wants to pay back into that by representing and feeling English, why should we deny him that. But equally, if he wants to be South African, despite all the efforts the English FA have put into his coaching/upbringing through the grassroots; can you really begrudge him that because his Mum’s vagina happened to be in the UK when he popped out (Comedian Bill Hicks quote there for those who didn’t know!!).
So if Jack Grealish or Declan Rice want to follow the birth rights afforded to them by their parentage, let then be I say!! Grealish’s parents are not “English” unless they feel English and given one has two Irish parents and the other an Irish father, that feels likely to be an oversimplification of their feelings I reckon…
Overall, for me; it feels like FIFA are pretty close to as good as you can get on this topic; they are certainly better than many other sports like athletics and tennis which seem to allow people to chop and change at will or with little to no familial/personal connection to a country….
The key I think, is allow kids the freedom to choose what feels right for them at the time; but allow a degree of flexibility to change in adulthood given the fact they are still maturing and figuring out for themselves what their feelings and thoughts on this not-simply linear subject are…
Paul (Spurs), Tunbridge Wells.
A good one on Foden and Hinds
The latest discussion regarding Phil Foden & opportunities for young players is a well worn topic, but a vital one. The one thing that I haven’t seen yet discussed is the fact that squad sizes are much too big. 25 players is overkill; if squads were cut to 23 players (whilst maintaining the 8 player homegrown rule) but with unlimited UK homegrown u20 players, regular opportunities would present themselves to academy players. At the same time, clubs could still spend bog money on top talent (I’m keeping that typo!), while players turning 21 (and the Clubs that stockpile them) would need to make smarter and earlier career decisions. What is the point of Carl Jenkinson being in a 25-man Arsenal squad?
Ultimately, I believe that due to the improved academies and the technical quality of our young players, we will see heightened interest from foreign clubs and this problem will fix itself through broader player movement (this is clearly already happening). The “Lag Period” (the time it has taken for Academy spend/production to catch up with foreign purchasing power) has come to an end, and in time, if emerging players are brave enough to take some calculated risks, we will see our academy lads playing for top clubs across Europe, much like the German, French and Spanish players.
For this to be successful, the FA need to take an active part in the process, providing regular support for anyone in the age group set up who moves abroad. Take the Kaylen Hinds situation. Alone in Germany, shunted out on loan and struggling to learn the language, its no wonder he found it difficult to cope. Hinds has since had his contract terminated by Wolfsburg. Going forward, better structures need to be implemented to make sure the FA can monitor these players more effectively; hopefully the lesson from Hinds’ struggles are learnt quickly as there will be many more players in the coming years in need of support.
Rob S (the details surrounding Hinds situation are unclear, but still serve as a powerful message to the FA and those looking to nurture young players)
Have some patience with Rashford
Ian Watson is spot on. Rashford is a 20 year old. When Harry Kane was 20, the same people criticizing Rashford, were asking if Kane actually existed.
Edward Canhands (Not a Utd fan. Also, not a Spurs fan)
More cracking digital journalism
Just thought it would be worth noting that the Express has a five things we learned on Arsenal Legends’ victory over Real Madrid Legends.
I didn’t want them to give them the satisfaction of a click, so I’m deprived of their insightful summaries of players retired over 10 years in some cases.
But seriously guys, what is there to learn other than a) some players have aged well, no doubt because their job (such as coaching) keeps them out and about or b) they look and run like a sack of potatoes (of which, like all food, they still consume as if they were a professional athlete)?
What are the other 3 things? That Robert Pires has undergone some Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade-esque rapid aging in the last couple of years? Jens Lehmann is still stark raving mad? That the term legend gets increasingly loose as time goes by?
Can’t decide if the article falls under stealing a living, or the bilious farts of a bloated, diseased media industry desperate for anything approaching relevance.
The Bundesliga’s gambling stance
I live in New Zealand and last year we did have highlight packages of a few leagues, the best of which were for the EPL and the Bundesliga. The contrast between the 2 was striking: the EPL matches were covered in advertising for gambling sites, whether it was on the players shirts, or the advertising hoardings surrounding the pitch, or in the background during the interviews at the end.
Whereas the Bundesliga had none. Not a single team was sponsored by a gambling company. I also can’t recall (not sure here though) any of the hoardings around the pitch carrying the name of a gambling site. And definitely not on the wall behind interviewees at the end of matches.
I personally don’t like gambling but I also believe in the right of people to do what they want and “choose their poison”. Having said that, I agree with Johnny that the kids need to be protected.
Mike, Auckland Blue, CFC
Another point on hypocrisy
I am a long time reader of this site, and I have enjoyed most if not all of the articles and features you have published. I may not have agreed with some of them, but read them none the less as you can’t always read stuff you agree with etc. In fact some of the articles I have enjoyed the most are ones that I have disagreed with the most, and ones that have prompted me to write into the mailbox about.
I read with interest John Nicolson’s piece on gambling and football yesterday and the subsequent reaction. This followed on from an interesting discussion on Guardian Football Weekly last week on the same topic. I understand that the bills need to be paid, and it’s not necessarily F365’s remit to fix the game, but I do feel that there is an element of practising what you preach.
One feature I have never read is Degsy’s Weekend Punt/Tips. I am not a prude or a killjoy, but I don’t think that people need any additional encouragement to gamble these days. Also, I have no interest in gambling on football matches, preferring to watch them with no skin in the game instead. Indeed, often you have published people writing into the mailbox praising Deggsy to the hills. Funnily enough, you never hear about the losses, or maybe they don’t get published?
We all complain about Ray Winstone’s mug popping up just as a game is about to kick off, I don’t know anyone who vaguely resembles those Ladbrokes Life lads, and I don’t want to know anyone who enjoys Paddy Powers unique form of b*nter and PR stunts. And If I never see Chris Kamara in drag serving tea again it’ll be too soon.
Fact is, 9 of the 20 Premier League teams are sponsored by gambling companies, with 17 of 24 in the Championship following suit. Those who don’t have official “gaming” partners.
Gambling and the promotion of gambling is everywhere throughout the game. And it’s a poison. It’s a massive problem for young men in both the UK, and Ireland where I live.
In 2015 the FAI announced that from 2016, 250 League of Ireland games would be streamed globally via the website Trackchamp. This was initially greeted positively, with clubs getting some much needed funding, and the league getting some exposure. Then in 2017, lo and behold, a fixture between Athlone Town and Longford Town was being investigated due to large sums of money being placed on the game in Eastern Europe and Asia. There were 407 people at the actual game. The feeling was that the League now just existed for gambling purposes only.
I have lost count the amount of times I have heard someone say something like “F*ckin Celtic cost me my accumulator this weekend, I would have won €2k”. But you didn’t, you lost a tenner, like you did last week, and the week before that.
Lads I know are no longer enjoying the game as they are so focused on gambling. And that’s the real Ladbrokes Life.
For balance, this is only true some of the time
The concerns raised yesterday regarding gambling adverts on an anti gambling article are fair. However, I believe that the adverts you see in your browser are not controlled by F365. As far as I am aware, adverts are dependent on your recent search history.
Example: I search for some Timberland boots (The classic fold down ones for those wondering) and then suddenly I have adverts for shoe shops and Timberland boots in my browser.
If you don’t want to see gambling adverts clear you browser and don’t search gambling sites or alternatively pay the 95p a month to make it ad free.
Dale (They deserve paying for f*ck sake) Leeds