The weird world of UEFA’s Fair Play League
Manchester City fans have always had a good line in terrace songs and their latest offering is “Hey Thaksin, Leave Our Sven Alone” to the tune of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”.
They may still be singing about Eriksson in Europe next season, if Richard Dunne’s final day red card in the 8-1 humiliation at Middlesbrough doesn’t scupper an unlikely route into the UEFA Cup via the wacky Fair Play League.
City are a less than angelic fifth in the Premier League’s Fair Play stats but the teams above them will all be in Europe anyway. To make matters worse, the system is not even as simple as red and yellow cards or fouls committed. At least that criteria would be black and white.
Instead, Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers, who finished higher than City, have missed out on the UEFA Cup because they did not tick enough boxes for things like “respect towards opponents” and “positive play”.
City’s hapless defenders would receive glowing references from Middlesbrough’s forwards on the first point.
Positive play? Well, they definitely can’t be accused of playing for a 0-0….so more credit there then.
Maybe football should scrap the three points for a win system and just have two teams of show ponies prancing about the pitch while a panel of judges marks them for artistic merit and choreography…It would make more sense than the Fair Play charts.
Martyn Herman, London