Anybody notice anything interesting about this picture, a Sandro Rosell photo op from June 2010?
For the unfamiliar, and I’ll say that I don’t blame people for not paying attention to France Football these days (Kxevin hangs his Les Bleus-loving head and silently weeps), there is an ongoing scandal involving a quota system for black/African players. The story broke via Mediapart, and can be read here.
Which has exactly what to do with Barça? Well, it is my fondest hope that memories are not so short that we have forgotten comments made by our current president, Sandro RoSELL, about African kids in La Masia, and them taking opportunities away from “our boys.”
Now, that business went away in the post-election glow, and some attributed it to RoSELL simply trying to out-Catalan then-incumbent Joan Laporta. Is it? Good question, and one that is worth asking as Barça (as well as Europe) wrestles with identity and notions of worthiness. As the club has moved from no more members unless relatives of a current soci to a three-year associate membership deal, at the end of which one is allowed to become a fully fledged soci, one wonders what RoSELL’s current views are on the status and desirability of African and black players.
It must be said that the two situations are very different, even as they are sort of the same. The France Football Federation is claiming that black/African players are coming to train and be raised in their system, then flitting off to play for other national teams, and in the process taking opportunities away from French youth players who aren’t as big and strong as the black/African players.
RoSELL has said simply that African players are taking opportunities from Catalan boys (is it appropriate to ask whether Brazilian and Argentine players are NOT taking opportunities away from Catalan boys?), throwing in palaver about them (again) being bigger and stronger, uncertain ages, etc.
It’s also worth noting that RoSELL has never even suggested going as far as the FFF, which tried to back-door a quota system, even going so far as to search young players for prayer rugs as it laid the roots of the 2010 World Cup scandal at the feet of those “non-French,” Muslim and black players. The former is the blather (one hopes) of a political candidate trying to set himself apart, while the other is an attempt at setting national team policy.
But the restless mind wonders about the viability of viewing Barça as a microcosm of Europe, particularly as regards its restrictive covenants aimed at closing the barn door on the horse that is unrestricted immigration (anybody with the bucks, two years ago, could become a soci, but no longer). It’s worth watching as time passes and a president, flush with the power of sporting success, surveys his empire.
Just when you thought that the war between us and them couldn’t get any more stupid, EE is now seeking to have 6 of our players (Alves, Pedro, Busquets, Pinto, Keita, Mascherano) suspended for Tuesday’s return leg at the Camp Nou, one that finds them facing not only a two away goals deficit, but the losses of Pepe, Sergio Ramos (suspensions) and Khedira (injury). Yes, this is a continuation of the “unsporting” behavior row, one that has picked up a particularly nasty adjunct: racism allegations.
In this video, some are alleging that Sergi Busquets can be lip-read, calling EE player Marcelo a “mono,” or “monkey.”
In another video, some are alleging that Arbeloa hurled a racist insult at Keita, which can account for the way the preternaturally calm Malian midfielder reacts.
I leave to you all to wonder how a club in which Pinto can rush to the defense of his Malian teammate can have, on the same squad, a player who would call an opponent a “monkey.” For me, it’s just another sad aspect in this race to the bottom that has become El Clasico 2011, part the zillionth.
On the other hand the player suspension business is too stupid to consider by any rational person. It’s just another attempt by Mou Mou to distract people from the cynical, dimwitted match that his side played on Wednesday last. What’s even better is that the chorus of disapproval from Europe’s top managers is reaching a crescendo, with the likes of Guus Hiddink and Kenny Dalglish the latest to come out against Mourinho’s spiteful, insipid post-match comments.
Mou Mou/EE should also be careful what they wish for, as any careful review of the match with retroactive sanctions in mind could cost them Marcelo for the return leg, who very clearly stomped on the leg of Pedro, causing a substutition that (it must be said) ultimately killed their white-clad butts. Yay, Marcelo!
And I never thought that I would ever say this, but I just want this crap to be over. That it has sunk to this depth doesn’t surprise me, or anyone who understands just how much these two teams absolutely, uncategorically hate each other. But I’m officially tired of it. UEFA decisions on all of the nonsense (us vs them, them vs us, UEFA vs them) will come down on Monday. In the meantime, this video will get us all ready for the deciding match in a tie that isn’t over. Mou Mou has said that it’s over. This is clearly a ploy to inspire his players, and one that shouldn’t be allowed to succeed. So watch this, and get ready.
–The seasons of Gabi Milito and Martin Montoya are over. Both will be out for six weeks, the former with a torn calf muscle, the latter with a broken collarbone. It’s tough being a Barça defender these days. Our strike and midfield forces have been relatively injury-free, while the back line, the folks who have the best view of the match, have been plagued with injuries. Maybe it’s all that inactivity, due to the effectiveness of our attackers and ball controllers. Who knows? Either way, let’s wish Milito, who will almost certainly be moving on this summer and Montoya, who I expect to see with the A side sooner rather than later, all the best.
P.S. No, there wasn’t a match review. For this, I can blame a renegade, mischievous squirrel, who thought that the cable line was yum-yum tasty. I thought that my colleagues would step into the breach, particularly the laggardly Isaiah (who was probably in a gutter somewhere, sleeping off a beer-sodden debauch [true statement -ed]), but alas, it wasn’t to be. If anybody wants one I can bang it out, but it seems that we have bigger things to worry about.