11 Aug 2011

Javi Poves - I salute you!

I hate football. Whether it's the self-serving avarice of pampered primadonna players; the shameless, corrupt greed of the porcine pilferers at FIFA, or the ignorant, enabling,'groupthink' mentality of the 'fans', football is a moral and ethical sewer, and has been for years. Every once in while though, something happens that gives me a tiny sliver of hope that the game can still be saved, and today, that hope comes in the form Sporting Gijon's Javi Poves.

To those who are so wrapped up in football that they ignore and/or rationalise the cheating, greed and corruption that have defiled the game for years, the news that a minor player from Sporting Gijon's B team has quit football will not even register. However, for me, Poves is a hero - someone who has woken up to the reality and decided to ACT, and sacrifice a potentially lucrative career in the service of higher principle.

When asked why he had decided to end his career, Poves stated the following:

"The more you know about football the more you realise it is all about money, that it is rotten and this takes away your enthusiasm. What point is there is earning 800 or 1000 euros if you know that you are obtaining it through the suffering of many people."

I know exactly how Poves feels - my enthusiasm for football has been completely destroyed. I just don't see how anyone in good conscience can 'support' the greed, cheating and corruption that defines the modern game.

The self-evident fact is that football *is*, as Poves states, just about money, and it is rotten to the core. The tragic irony is that no matter how much fans are ripped-off, exploited and disrespected by the clubs they 'love', they keep coming back for more, thus enabling the behaviour, and allowing it to continue.

According to El Pais, Poves even refused his wages, and barred his club from paying him via a bank transfer, so the banks 'could not speculate' with his money. He also reportedly returned the keys to a car that had been provided to players by sponsors.

Poves also added:

"There are certain personalities at a world level, Pele, Ronaldinho, (Lionel) Messi who are ambassadors for UNICEF and who on the face of it are very good, but they could do much more. These people have such influence they should involve themselves in a much more direct way."

I totally agree. What have these grossly overpaid 'ambassadors' actually done to improve the moral fabric and decency of football? What serious stand have any of them taken to stamp out the epidemic of cheating? What have they done to stop fans being continually exploited?

Nothing is the answer. Like most other people involved with top-level football, they spend most of their time finding ways to line their pockets at the expense of the fans, and the reputation of the game they purport to 'love'.

As I said, I hate football.

Javi Poves, I salute you.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. The problem is,  "cheating, greed and corruption" are endemic in all aspects of our society and will never go away.

  2. Hi Billfaethetoun - I totally agree with you, it is endemic. However, slavery, subjugation of women etc were also once endemic in all aspects of society, but things changed.  The problem, as I see it, is people are too willing to just accept things because 'that's the way it is'.  It doesn't have to be that way.  Poves has made an individual sacrifice, and by itself, it means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but if lots of individuals decide to also take a stand - whether it's just refusing to pay an inflated price for a ticket, or publicly condemning a player for cheating - then things can change.

    Football doesn't have to a cesspool of cheating and corruption - fans have made it that way with decades of doing NOTHING, and accepting/condoning everything that goes on around them.

    If fans refused to accept cheating, there would be no cheating.  If fans refused to pay for rip-odd tickets, clubs would be forced to lower prices, but no one is willing to make any personal sacrifice.

    I abandoned this site 8 months ago, and ditched sky tv and anything to do with newscorp over 10 years ago.  I also refuse to go to games now because I can't bear the thought of lining the pockets of greedy players who just don't give a toss about anything but themselves. Again, my personal sacrifice means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but at least these people are no longer getting my money.  If people did that en-masse, it would make a difference over time.

  3. First off, welcome back Jaimie, the football scene's been a less colorful place without your contributions, i'm certain this will create lively debate!
    Football clubs can certainly do more than their current contribution to society, they are indicative of the world system of the western economy.  Players are the main factor in this, as they profit the majority of the time; while sometimes owners view football as a hobbie, and often don't stand to make money.  In an economic sense, the only ones who stand to lose all of the time are the fans, who, ironically, drive this market!
    Personally i'm not strong or willing enough to step away from the world of football.  I only have two main gripes with the current game, the disgraceful treatment of contracts (within this the utter selfishness of footballers) and the toilet standard media.

  4. If you feel disenchanted by modern football, so be it. But remember that football was always a money racket, it's just that the sums of dough are different now. Player's always got the maximum they could from clubs, clubs always got the maximum from player transfers, and clubs always got as much as they could from ticket receipts.

    Remeber the TV blackout of of the eighties driven by money squabbles? Unthinkable now! What about Jimmy Hill's campaign to have player's wages uncapped in the late fifties? Player's weren't getting a share from greedy clubs whoring out their players.

    The game you fell out of love with, had the very same ailments as the one you fell in love with. It's just that the price you're willing to put up with has has been surpassed.

    Let's not forget the advancements in football now. The drinking culture has been squashed in the main, violence is dealt with promptly and justly, hooliganism is mostly unheard of, female attendances are up, Sian Massey is the drop of dye to the glass of water that is forever changed; how long before we see a female officiate a game?

    Oh, and Richard Keyes is but a hairy-handed memory and Kenny Dalglish is the Liverpool Manager (single tear runs down my cheek), so let's look on the bright side.

  5. Roman Starkiller2:34 pm, August 11, 2011

    I agree with Aiyic on that. Football has improved greatly over my lifetime in terms of being able to go to matches now. Back when I was a kid it was very hard to go to games with my friend because of the violence, I didn't think that was going to change at the time. Now, however, I like to take my own family to games for a nice day out. No (or far fewer) drunk lunatics trying to incite mass fights and more families going to watch their team. The atmosphere is still awesome IMO and I don't think it suffered at all.

    As for the greed, well..come on. Is that really news? Is it only now that this is an issue? I remember this being debated decades ago, everytime the transfer record was broken or prices went up. I think this also will improve in the next 10 years. For a start there is the cap on what clubs can spend. The days of Billionaire owners injecting 500mil to buy a cup or 2 is coming to an end. We are in the twilight of such corrupting influences and I feel very optimistic about it.

  6. The creation of a capitalism. Football is not the source it's simply another sphere within which the symntoms of the society we live in are demonstrated. Do you expect footballers to be any different from any other sector of business/industry/culture?

    Though I do feel you are guilty of tarring all footballers with the same brush, yes they earn vast sums of money (though small in comparison to some other areas) and there are plenty of footballer out there who use their 'wealth' and influence for good causes - Dirk Kuyt to name one.

    Turkeys don't vote for Christmas - a footballer is unlikely to sacrafice his earnings to speak out against corruption. The clean-up of the games governance has to start with those in real power and lobbying your MP, Ministers, signing petitions is the place to start.

    It's not 'eploitation' when fans have a choice - they, as you also say, could choose to not go to games, buy kits etc... but they don't. True exploitation occurs without choice.

    Personally, in the great scheme of things, I'd rather Messi was an ambassador highlighting the plight of vulnrable refugee children than fighting diving footballers.

  7. Welcome back Jaimie, although the tone of your article suggests you are not back to stay :(

    I don't hate football, but am growing increasingly weary about it. Trying very hard to get myself excited about this season but just not feeling it yet. The game that really gets me and mates talking is our weekly 7/8 a side, that's football. We pay to play, no matter what the weather etc. That is definition of "loving" football

    I agree with most of your points

    Major nations should just disband from FIFA, set up a new organisation that is open, honest and uses technology to clamp down on cheating

    One thing that I would like to point out is that the only reason football is organised and professional is because at some time some smart business people realised that there was money to be made from it.

    Greed inevitably has taken over

    The other main issue is for UEFA to thoroughly investigate the Etihad deal with Man City. This kind of money will kill football as teams without the illicit resource will overstretch themselves to keep up

    But maybe it's time it was killed, in it's present form at least

  8. Hello, I am new to the forum, but I would like to offer my 2 cents. I disagree with what you say on 2 levels. First of all, I believe Poves probably did not see his action as a means to a larger end, namely to eradicate corruption and greed in the world football. His actions merely reflect his disgust with the role the game plays in the socio-economic paradigm (give the 500-600 Euro paid elots bread and circuses). It seems the man has a live and kicking conscience, something of a rarity nowadays in all kinds of professions. Secondly, do not underestimate his, or your personal sacrifices in the larger scheme of things. The fact that we are here talking about this event, or for that matter your explanations to your friends about why you chose to abandon football does make a difference. Waking up people, or rekindling consciences is an extremely potent thing. En-masse reactions never started automatically, but were always spurred by some crazy person's seemingly irrational and out of the blue reaction. Cheers.

  9. Welcome back Jamie, 
    I don't understand, sacking Hodgson and bringing Suarez whom you hate so much and who became a new kop star made you hate football??? where's your love for Liverpool? 

  10. FIFA corrupt, Uefa corrupt, and therefore that's why Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty.

  11. Hey Jaimie, good to see you typing again. Is there more to come though?

    I agree that football is not what it should be nowadays but it is good to know that LFC are heading in the right direction. We have removed just about all of the junk that has crippled our club for year after year and our future is looking extremely good.

    It is the first time in MANY years that I actually see us of having a chance of winning the EPL. 

  12. Does the outrageous greed and ridiculous finance of football not cause you any concern?

    Man City, Chelsea, PSG, Malaga all owned by people of utterly inequitable wealth will soon dominate European football. International fixtures, such as World Cup, will slowly become irrelevant, unless the players are handsomely compensated by their masters, Nike, Adidas etc

    Properly run clubs such as Arsenal, with a truly great manager, will fade

    But no!! Let's bury our empty little heads in the sand and ignore all these sicknesses in football, and have a little dig at someone who dares to question the status quo

    To state it in clearer terms that may be closer to your level, why don't you just do one.......

  13. Jaimie, are you really so dim that you cannot see the irony of your whining when you 
    run a website about the ninth richest football club on the planet & thus '<span><span><span>enable the behaviour' you hate so much.</span></span></span>

    If Javi Poves is such a hero, then maybe you should emulate his stand and quit writing anything about football any more.

    Otherwise it will just look like you are, despite your protestations, desperate to ride on the coat-tails of the greedy, self-centred, corrupt, ignorant, immoral game you supposedly loathe so much.

  14. Football is a darned sight better than it was 30 years ago, that is for sure.

    Grounds are more comfortable, supporters are expected to behave in a far better way, nowadays, also. Those are two major factors which suggest to me that football has come a long way.

    Issues such as FIFA and player wages are no more my concern than what banks are paying their management, etc, etc. In fact, issues in society which involve corruption matter far more to us. Football is not perfect but it is no less corrupt than anywhere else, so if we are going to protest about that, where will it end? Fact is, there is very little that one person, or even 100, can do. Which is why people, generally, accept their fate and try to get by as best we can. And it is also why this player, Javi Poves, will be forgotten within a week. Honourable action but what will it get him? Unless he is angling for some kind of celebrity status which will earn him more than his footballing career was likely to.

  15. Football is like many things in life corrupted agents for example dont do shit but connive to put the most money in their pockets who pays every fan.
    The most sickening thing in life is pure greed and weather it be fifa eufa they are all blood suckers.
    Players agents delegates they are virtually all greedy at the cost of the game dont worry about political correctness or morality it is killing the clubs we support financially.
    As a world game it is a shame yes i do believe players deserve good wages they work hard and are often under pressure but the money today not just in football but all major sports is ridiculous.