Arsenal Board/World Cup Video Nasties

Firstly let me start by responding to “Not-over-the-hill’s” post to my Friday blog as I promised.
There are indeed seven directors of Arsenal Holdings plc – Chairman Peter Hill-Wood, chief executive Ivan Gazidis, Danny Fiszman, Sir “Chips” Keswick, Lord Harris of Peckham, Stan Kroenke and Ken Friar.
Of those only two are big shareholders – Stan Kroenke (29.9%) and Danny Fiszman (16%). Ivan Gazidis holds no shares, the rest have very small holdings (all much less than one percent).
Ken Friar retired as an executive director some years ago, being brought back in as an executive to help direct the stadium project, then to cover for David Dein when he got the boot, then to cover when Keith Edelman got his marching orders. He has remained on the board during that time and is still a director.
You’re right that Arsčne Wenger has never had a seat on the board although he attends most of its meetings. Legally the answer to your question is that the board of directors has the responsibility to direct and prepare the company’s accounts. These are independently audited every year and the results are presented to all shareholders at the Arsenal Holdings plc annual general meeting each October. Unaudited half yearly accounts are also sent to shareholders each February.
On to the World Cup. As a Welshman of course I can’t resist a little snigger. That aside and in all seriousness I thought the England performance was woeful yesterday, as it was in the three group games (with the partial exception of Slovenia). To drill down into England’s continued woeful performance on the international stage would take a month of blogs on that subject alone. Suffice to say the root causes are far more profound than the manager or his team selection.
There are siren calls to get rid of Capello (as if the FA can afford to pay him off. They can’t) and employ an English manager. The last time the FA did that it produced the “Wally Under The Brolly”. The problems of the English game are far, far more profound and will take many, many years to address. The fail to do so will condemn England to be the new Scotland. North of the border they used to regularly produce good and in a few cases great footballers. They no longer do.
Contrast England’s performance to that of Uruguay, a country of 3.6 million (less than half that of Greater London). Most people in Uruguay earn £300-600 a month (£3.6-7.2k a year). The figure here is £2,100 a month or just over £25k a year. The malaise in this country’s football is deep and abiding. The commercial success of the Premier League masks these failings. We have the Premier League tail wagging the FA dog.
Still from a narrow Arsenal perspective we now only have two players left at the World Cup, Robin van Persie whose Netherlands side faces Slovakia today in the knock-out round and Cesc Fàbregas who will probably be warming the bench again for Spain against Portugal tomorrow. Van Persie may well start on the bench too this afternoon.
FIFA continues to put its collective hands over its ears and hum as loudly as possible despite the goal that was and the goal that wasn’t yesterday. Let’s not be too precious about foreign officials. We’ve seen similar howlers in the Premier League. England can feel very hard done by the officials. Lampard’s shot clearly came down over the line. Mexico can also feel hard done by as Carlos Tevez was clearly in an offside position for his “goal”.
The argument for the use of video technology seems to me to be inarguable in big tournaments and leagues where all the games are covered by cameras. I simply can’t see the argument about the game being the same at all levels. We already have match officials in radio communication in big leagues and tournaments. We’ve seen the experiment with two additional goal line assistant referees in the Europa League.
I’ve always been a sceptic about the use of video replays in football. Play in football is more continuous than other team sports which use video replays such as cricket, baseball, rugby league, rugby union, American/Canadian football, ice hockey and so on. That said the time has more than come to experiment. I like the idea of a manager being able to challenge a VERY limited number of decisions with a severe penalty if they challenge and get it wrong. Perhaps a corner against them. Perhaps a total of two-three challenges per half. Maybe even better would be a video referee in on the radio link telling and official if a replay shows they’ve got a big decision wrong would be better. I don’t know. I do know it’s got to come. And soon.
Keep the faith!

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