• Friday, May 20, 2022

FOOTBALL

Sadiq Khan wants proper change in football after Super League fiasco

London mayor Sadiq Khan is currently contesting his second term in the mayoral election, having served as mayor since 2016. (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Sattwik Biswal

Sadiq Khan, London mayor, seeking re-election said he felt angry, betrayed about the episode that happened around the European Super League.

Being a Liverpool fan himself and London being home to three Premier League clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham. He said the unity last week was uplifting but desperately wants regulation for football.

“First of all I don’t think we should forget how we all felt in real time. I felt let down. I felt angry, I felt betrayed. That’s the relationship we have with our club, it goes deep.

“It’s probably the only issue that Spurs and Arsenal are united on, and fans of so many other clubs. It was just lovely to see. You know, people say we are a country where people are apathetic or cynical. Not true. People do care, and what we need to do is inspire people the way these club’s histories have inspired fans over the last seven days,” Khan told The Guardian.

Moreover, he wants a regulator with “real teeth” or bringing in legislation that allows fans to part-own the club.

“This isn’t going to go away. It’s going to come back next year or in three years’ time because there’s a disconnect between owners and supporters over what football is about. And that’s why any government review must be meaningful. There’s a reason why no German clubs took part in the Super League, and that’s the way the clubs are owned and regulated.”

“Whether it’s the competition law authorities, whether it’s working with Uefa to take punitive action. There’s nothing stopping parliament bringing about a regulator with real teeth or putting in place legislation to allow fans to part-own the club.

“Arguably the most capitalist country in the world, Germany, has clubs like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund operating within its very different model. So there are things the government can do. The key thing will be for those of us that are football fans or those animated by the last week to keep the pressure on the government.”

Khan also feels strongly about the online racist abuse aimed at footballers in recent times and is angry at how social media companies are not able to filter or stop it.

“It’s been going since I was a boy, so this is not new. What social media has done is it’s exposed everyone to what we go through, what [John] Barnesy went through, what Raheem Sterling experiences now on social media. It vexes me that people like Thierry Henry are coming off social media because of the racist crap that these footballers get, the stuff they put up with. The social media companies have algorithms that can take out that stuff, they can employ staff, I have been imploring them to do so.

“Racism like this is one of those things where the ripples of hatred are felt even by those who it’s not directed at. So you may not be the person on the receiving end of racism, but when you see it as a person of colour you feel it. I don’t want to denigrate the progress made. I can go to watch a match in the Premier League and have a good experience. You go to a game in Italy or Spain and if you’re my colour it isn’t the same,” he said.

Also, in another of his “big picture” idea, he wants to bring an Indian Premier League team to London – be it for an exhibition or part of The Hundred. Khan has already been in talks with Surrey and England and Wales Cricket Board about this and how to use “megastars” to help spread the game.

Eastern Eye

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