Football’s PR nightmare

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Most people would agree when I say that football is not important given the current world that we live in. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many families would have experienced their own personal nightmare in one way or another. So is it right that football is making plans to restart?

I personally believe that there is nothing wrong with football making plans. Plans hurt nobody after all but the plans must suit all parties involved and just like any other business, football must look for a route back sooner or later.

Plans can be made and should they not be able to fulfil them come the re-start date then they can either be delayed or even shelved.

Integrity

The amount of stories football fans would have read during the past few weeks would suggest Project-Restart is a football transfer rumour. It has swung from football is close to returning and then the following day it not be possible and the season will be void.

Integrity is a word that I keep hearing and reading. But it appears integrity only matters if it suits your own personal agenda. I think if we are all honest with ourselves, integrity isn’t a word that can be used if football is started in any format except the way we all know it.

Playing at neutral venues or playing football behind closed doors isn’t the way that the Premier League started this season so, therefore, how can it finish in either of those ways whilst also showing integrity. The simple answer is, it cant.

However, they can look to come to a compromise, this may be an interesting opportunity, in order to finish the football season in a fair manner. I won’t go into what I believe to be fair, that is for another day and, to be honest, it hardly seems important while thousands of people are still testing positive and hundreds dying on a daily basis.

The Players Welfare

During all of this and I hope this is only a media campaign but no one appears to care about what the players think, but should they?

The players need to be heard alsoFootball players are employees who are contracted to football clubs. If your employer insists that you are no longer furloughed and need to return to work, providing they have provided PPE and a safe environment, do we have much of a choice? Some would argue the rights between the middle-class working people and footballers.

Those in work tend to be working because they are needed to help keep the economy running in some way or another. You could also argue that they need the money whereas it could be questioned whether football players have this same need.

Someone recently said to me that footballers are entertainers so can’t be compared to the working class. They are being asked to risk their lives and potentially their families for someone else’s greed. Luckily given the choice, footballers in the Premier League can choose their health and, hopefully, could live comfortably without pay for a little while at least.

PR Nightmare

The biggest problem during this for the Premier League and football in England, in general, is the media. It has been an absolute PR nightmare.

The players have donated money to various charities, as many of them tend to do anyway, but were called out. I don’t blame Matt Hancock, he was simply answering a question the media threw at him. Maybe he could have answered it in another way but why was the media even bringing footballers up in the first place? PR Nightmare number 1.

Grealish had his own PR nightmareThen we have those who can’t stick to the basic rules of staying at home. Our very own Jack Grealish was caught breaking the rules and more recently Kyle Walker. I am sure they are not alone but they are the ones who have been caught out. PR nightmare number 2.

PFA Chairman Gordon Taylor, recently suggested that it has been discussed that games could be played for 40 minutes each half on its return. Others that are in football have dismissed this suggestion stating that it hasn’t even been discussed or mentioned. But these kinds of stories keep popping up in various forms of the media. PR nightmare number 3.

I could go on, but all these lead to one common problem, the media. I believe during this pandemic, the media as a whole have been highlighted for just how poor they are. There doesn’t appear to be many out there who generally spend time on researching their story and writing a well-balanced article anymore. They either seem to have an agenda or are just looking for their story to ‘pop’ in order to sell papers or get hits on their website. This isn’t me saying all forms of the media are like this because there are some very decent journalists still out there.

But this brings me to my points about it being a PR nightmare for English football. I personally try to stay away from social media or even reading stories on certain media outlets. The Premier League could have prevented the majority of what I have discussed by releasing informative updates on their meetings. Too many times they have released statements that don’t really tell us anything.

Obviously, they have no control over the media and can only do so much when it comes to players doing as they are told but they could have prevented a lot of it by being open and upfront with the public. Transparency isn’t always the answer but in this case, I believe it is. I have seen many football fans say they no longer have an interest in returning to football when they can and this comes down to a lot of what has been written in the media. Some will be true, some will be rubbish but due to their lack of transparency, they may have scared away some of those that make our so-called beautiful game, just that.

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