Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Biting Back: Premier League has diverted our attention

Unpopular: Fifa's Sepp Blatter
Unpopular: Fifa's Sepp Blatter

So, how was the opening weekend of the Premier League for you?

It's the storylines that grab everyone. For all the hailing of Louis van Gaal before he had overseen a competitive game as Manchester United manager, we found out he had feet of clay just like David Moyes.

If his talents lie as much on the training ground as they might in persuading Edward Woodward to invest in some decent players, then we should judge him over the course of a season. Poor Moyes did not even get that.

While competitions are in play, we allow ourselves to become blinded to the realities of sport.

No-one grew up inspired by clever and ethical administration after all, but there is something in the way that the findings on the Qatar bid to host the 2022 World Cup have been swept into the corners that should pique the anger of sports fans who feel their pastime should stand for a little bit more than just consumerism.

Despite all the evidence against him, Sepp Blatter has remained in situ. No-one will challenge him or the decision to bring the World Cup to possibly the most unsuitable place on earth, dogged by slave labour, votes purchased, and sweetheart gas arrangements with Thailand.

Instead, our eyes are taken off the ball by the crash, bang, wallop culture of the Premier League and talk of transfer prices, ownership rights and which manager will be unlucky enough to lose his job before Christmas.

When the circus moves on, we don't worry about the animals in captivity. They relocate and become someone else's problem. But while they are there, we pay the money, sit back and enjoy the show.

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