Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Big Teams, Big Favours

Following yet another decision that seemed to favour Manchester United, as a fan you can only wonder if it is worth fighting and protesting against the injustice or just accept that this is the way will always be.

Sports fans have been frustrated by fouls and refereeing decisions that allegedly helped the "bigger" team. Brazil's National Team not only charms people watching but also the authorities of the game, for example. It doesn't matter you're the most impressive Turkish team ever, you're not passing through the 5-time World Champions. Or team orders and spying are minor faults by Ferrari, but heavily-punished moves if another team in Formula One does it. Some people might argue that for the eyes of the world - hence the umpires - there's no other team in Major League Baseball but the New York Yankees. Alberto Contador's dopping saga after the Tour de France this year has written DODGY all over it. You can only wonder what is being protected: the athlete, the event, the sport? Result: All affected. And so on...

But apart from the respectability they have rightfully earned through years of success, is there really more at stake than glory? No one can deny that the advent of TV deals have made big teams bigger. Sponsors want to be associated with winners, not "teams-that-play-well-but-never-win". And it is understandable that after investing millions in that team that you'll do your best to make that team win. But while the majority of sports fanatics have to limit themselves to praying for a miraculous victory, you might want to argue that if you could do more, you would. So, why wouldn't these multi-billion conglomerates?

Are there any economic, or other, interests behind suspicious discplinary decisions? Who's got the power: the sponsors? the team owners? the managers? the players? It seems that anyone but the sporting authorities. Unless they have their own interests as well... Korea-Japan 2002, anyone?

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