Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Winter World Cup farce shows importance of a healthy Supporters Trust

With FIFA seemingly set to allow the 2022 World Cup to take place in winter, fan power is more important than ever

A winter World Cup. What next - a summer Winter Olympics? Why not, we could just hold it in Antarctica, think of all the seals and penguins we could sell tickets to. In seriousness though, this stinks. FIFA are demonstrating perfectly why change is desperately needed at the top of professional football, and I find it massively, massively disappointing that bungs and back-handed payments have secured Qatar the World Cup.

Firstly, they won a bid for a summer World Cup. Not a winter one. They were bidding to put the event on in summer, and it beggars belief that, prior to their successful bid, nobody realised playing football in the desert in the summer was a bad idea. FIFA and whoever is controlling the money at the top of the game are firmly having a laugh at everyone's expense with one last farcical flourish, before their crooked pyramid comes crashing down in an implosion of bribery, deceit and dishonesty.

Secondly, there's a big problem that football seems to want to ignore. Qatar are bringing in migrant workers who, it was revealed by the Guardian, died at a rate of one every other day in 2014 while building the infrastructure for the World Cup. When it was recommended they launch an investigation into the deaths, they unsurprisingly refused.

This is all without considering the bribery that must have gone on to secure enough votes, and the fact that in Qatar it is illegal to be homosexual. Apparently the "Gulf Cooperation Council" is planning some kind of test to determine whether visitors to the country during the World Cup are homosexual or not - I find the fact they've given the World Cup to Qatar hugely, grotesquely offensive, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

The problem is, it's not just FIFA. If the Premier League thought they could get away with it I can't see there being any option they'd refuse because it damaged the "match day experience" for the fans. With matchday revenue making up a smaller and smaller proportion of total revenue for most top-flight clubs it's no wonder the footballing establishment feels able to shift the goalposts at will, but the buck has to stop somewhere.

While there's nothing we can seemingly do to stop FIFA and their oil buddies from doing what they want, one thing we can do is make sure our club has the protection it needs from any cynical prospective buyers. By signing up to the Supporters Trust you'll help their goal of acquiring a 25% stake in the club, which would be substantial enough to block moves which could have a negative impact on the club.

It costs just £10 a year, and for that you get a vote in the event of a scenario which requires fans to take action. I'd be willing to bet there are fans of clubs up and down the country who have suffered at the hands of negligent owners, and while I'm not for a minute insinuating that's the case at the Swans having that protection would be massive. Nobody lives forever and the boardroom make-up will change, and football is such a crazy entity at the moment that it'd be folly to predict where any club will  in twenty years time. 

One thing we can guarantee is that if we have a healthy trust, at Swansea City at least the fans will have a voice. While it may not be true elsewhere in the Premier League, and certainly isn't true at FIFA, it's true in South Wales. Well, part of it anyway.