Whether it’s players’ bad behaviour on and off the pitch, or officials behind the scenes being accused of taking bribes, football is no stranger to controversy – so maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised when another individual involved in the sport hits the headlines.
Even so, the reason behind the coverage of this character does make you wonder, “What was he thinking?”
On what was reported by Sky News as a “day of gaffes”, Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards – managed not only to offend FIFA and UEFA (no mean feat given the seemingly impervious sheen of those organisations) – but royally embarrass himself into the bargain.
While making a speech at a sports-security conference in Qatar, Sir Dave frequently reminded his audience that “England gave the world football.” It probably would’ve been best if he’d left his comments there – but he went on to say: “For 50 years, we owned the game… we were the governance of the game. We wrote the rules, designed the pitches and everything else… Then, 50 years later, some guy came along and said, ‘You’re liars,’ and they actually stole it. It was called FIFA. Fifty years later, another gang came along called UEFA and stole a bit more.”
The Premier League and FA quickly spoke out to distance themselves from Sir Dave’s comments – an arguably tricky task when he’s so heavily involved with the groups – and the blunderer soon apologised, saying: “My comments on the heritage of the game were intended to be light hearted… They clearly have not come across in that way and I sincerely regret making them.”
Just to top off the event in Qatar, Sir Dave slipped and fell into a pool – all caught on camera of course.
Fame or shame? I think even Sir Dave Richards wouldn’t have trouble answering that.
From mumble to stumble
Dave Richards’s impromptu paddle in a hapless water feature
Will Edwards is managing director of media training consultancy Bluewood Training