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The beautiful game’s ugly side

I learnt a new word this week, courtesy of Susie Dent of Countdown’s Dictionary Corner: ‘ingordigiousness’, an insatiable desire for wealth at any cost. Ingordigiousness seems to be everywhere, but I wonder if it is a coincidence that Susie chose the word on the day a new proposed European Super League was revealed. I believe she supports Arsenal, one of six English clubs and six continental teams to have signed up and which now face hefty sanctions even though the ESL has been kicked into row Z. The cost of their extreme greed could be high. 

I will refrain from making any observations about the many ingordigious decisions that have been taken by football teams and authorities over the years that have led to a crisis that we surely saw coming. The point is that even though the ESL is a non-starter, the abortive attempt to get it off the ground must surely invite closer scrutiny of the way football and its clubs are run and regulated, and the way money is distributed.

Indeed, a generous reading of the unfolding situation would be that the big teams are simply playing another game of brinksmanship to extract a bigger share of football’s pot – squabbles over Champions League cash and other TV money and how teams struggling at the base of football’s pyramid are supported have been going on for a while and revealed the big clubs in all their avaricious glory. A less generous reading would be that those involved honestly believe they have a new, more profitable model for the biggest football teams – let money do the talking and damn the legacy fans and historic structures. 

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