Recently, a friend of mine brought up the topic of race in football. He made quite a strong statement which provoked me to write this article. The statement covered the idea of having British football teams rule that all their players be at least 50% British. I will admit these kind of conversations can make me uncomfortable as I’m very tolerant of other religions and races, particularly as my own mother is mixed race herself. It lead me to question ‘Is that OK to exclude talented, international football players, or Is it fair to British football clubs’?
If you look at a vast amount of British football clubs, their ownerships are that of international businessmen. For example Manchester City Football Club are owned by an extremely wealthy and prestigious team of Arab men, Chelsea Football Club are owned by the 9th richest man in Russia and Liverpool Football Club are owned by American men who also own Boston Redsox. From these examples it’s very easy to see that quite a few of Britain’s football clubs are controlled by a foreign force. These wealthy men have potentially assisted the clubs through times of financial hardship with their endless supply of money. If we are demanding that our home teams only invest in ‘home grown’ players, then surely the club ownership should be British also, potentially bringing many of these clubs down. However, there has been complaint after complaint from fans over international owners. Many fans believe that foreign owners do not have the club’s best interests at heart. 63% in fact, say that they would prefer for their football clubs to be owned by their own countrymen.
You have to consider that perhaps these British teams would not be as successful without key international players and owners. Look at Chelsea and Drogba, Liverpool and Suarez, Manchester City and Tevez. Some of these football teams’ best players and top scorers are international. Now, a lot of fans will potentially argue that their team doesn’t need international players to hold their club together, but when you look at majority of these premiership clubs, the influence of international players is overpowering.
You have to ask the question, ‘How successful would these clubs be without the international input from players and owners?’.