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Footballing Hypocrisy At Its Finest
Footytubeblog (Blog) 5 years ago
One thing that I have written about a fair amount of times in the last few months is the huge issue in football concerning the poaching of players and the various steps that UEFA have taken to try and combat this. What is universally agreed is the outrage and dislike at clubs doing this – it benefits the bigger clubs, can have a negative effect on players and basically deprive them of the chance to develop as they spend their time sat on the bench at the very best at their new club – think Kakuta or even Paul Pogba – and the smaller clubs are left totally out of pocket, despite rules from the FA, EPPP, UEFA or anyone else.

What is then absolutely astounding – actually knowing football associations like we do – entirely predictable is the total hypocrisy when it comes to poaching players in terms of international football. The current FIFA eligibility rule when looking at a player turning out for a country other than the one he was born in is that if parents or even grandparents were born there or indeed if the player has lived in the country continuously for two years, they can be eligible to play for said country.

Cue football associations taking a very healthy interest in young players who show promise that have at very best ‘dubious’ links to their country in the hope they can convince them to effectively turn their back on their home nation and play for a different country.

Take Portsmouth defender Marc Wilson, who was born in Northern Ireland yet was called up to the ROI team by Trapattoni. Obviously the Northern Irish contingent were less than impressed, and manager Worthington stated he felt ‘exploited’ and that the issue should be dealt with at the very highest level of football.

No one can accuse Trapattoni of not having his eye firmly on the ball when it comes to poaching – he reportedly tried to lure Jamie O’Hara, Kevin Nolan and Gay Cahill to play for the Republic of Ireland, surely depriving the above player’s home nations of the chance to pick them had they decided to take Trapattoni up on his offer.

Clearly it needs someone to take a stand – when it comes to poaching players in a domestic context, everyone from Simon Jordan to Fabio Capello have made various remarks over how wrong this is, with Capello making a rather large point when speaking at the Dubai International Sports Conference of saying he had spoken to Platini about the issue and they both feel that Uefa must act now to stop the top European Clubs from ‘stealing’ young players from less privileged clubs.

That is all well and good, but on an international level, someone with a certain degree of power is needed to speak up about how the issue of poaching affects the international game, and take a stand against it.
Thankfully, German sporting director Matthias Sammer spoke out in outrage over Turkey’s attempts to poach German under 17 internationals.

The above sentence sums up this whole article in an egg shell – the hypocrisy, irony, arrogance – you name it, Sammer displays it – Germany of all nations are making a song and dance about another nation taking a look at some of their players. Well sorry Mr Sammer, but does the name Ozil ring a bell? Perhaps Lucas Podolski or even Klose?

Germany of all the international teams have a first eleven that reads like a who’s who of surnames from around western Europe – and very few from Germany at all. In fact eight of the current Germany under 17 squad are of Turkish descent – outrageous then that Turkey have tried to convince the players to turn out in their shirt come the next international tournament.

Of course, the FIFA rules –as is standard these days – do not help the issue either in terms of clarity or to prevent such poaching from taking place. For example, friendly matches do not mean a player is then bound to a certain country – in 2008 Jermaine Jones turned out for Germany in a friendly yet has played for the USA since 2010 – confused much? Let me make it much worse – Thiago Motta played competitive fixtures for Brazil, but then FIFA granted him special permission to play for Italy in 2011.

Of course, from a player’s point of view, nine times out of ten they will go and play for the team they feel they have the best chance of success with – Ryan Giggs being a notable exception here – and it is becoming more and more evident that club football means an increasing amount to players when compared with international level – how many times have players like Terry been accused of this?

It is arguable that players have less loyalty to their country than ever before, and poaching is only helped by this. Of course, if a player has grown up their whole life in a country yet could have decent from another, then it is totally their choice who they play for – take Danny Welbeck who is Manchester born and bred yet of Ghanaian decent. Likewise with Balotelli and Italy, and here no one can really complain whichever side they chose to play for.

The problem is that so many issues in the modern game are made more complex than needed due to red tape, or perhaps the governing bodies just like it that way – look at the active and passive issues surrounding the offside rule. How much more complex does that make the job for officials when it is not necessary, and this is displayed so clearly when it comes to players and their international teams.

The hypocrisy comes because the problem of poaching players on a domestic level is being tackled somewhat, yet for the biggest body of all FIFA having such a strong stance on Fair Play, it seems shocking that more is not being done to solve this issue on an international level. Shocking and totally hypocritical, but not at all surprising.

Blog By Rebecca Knight

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.
Jigga23 (Schalke 04) 5 years ago
The title of your article really caught my eye and simply had to click on it. Very interesting topic.... After reading your article though I went through the trouble of registering becuz I just had to reply.... Talking about "Hypocrisy at its finest".... I think its rather biased of you to attack Germany/Sammer the way you did. FYI Özil was born and bred in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.... If he shouldnt be qualified to play for Germany then neither should walcott, welbeck, ferdinand, heskey, glen johnson, ashley cole or pretty much anyone with any migration background for the british squad either. "In fact eight of the current Germany under 17 squad are of Turkish descent" is similar to stating that there are a bunch of blacks in the british under teams.... Fyi of the socalled foreigners in germany's squad.... 99. 9% (exaggerated ofcourse) were born inn germany...
Jigga23 (Schalke 04) 5 years ago
Infact I believe the only 3 players who werent born here are podolski and klose.... Both moved to germany b4 they turned 10 and had acquired german nationality b4 ever dreaming about laying for the german squad.... Try to be a lil more objective.... What sammer was actually criticising was that Turkey was specifically aiming for germans with turkish background who were already playin in the german under squads and that my friend should be understandable...
Jigga23 (Schalke 04) 5 years ago
All in all interesting blog though
Mumbai (Chelsea) 5 years ago
Agree with you -- it s typical biased article
Jaysetsfire69 (Borussia Dortmund) 5 years ago
Absolutely! Attacking Sammer for his criticism of Turkey's manner of exploiting the German youth system is ridiculous, for the reasons you stated above. Shows a kind of obscure racism by the author, to be honest (which you showed very well by transferring his "argument" to players of the English team).
To sum up, Mr. Author: the (football) nationality of a player has nothing whatsoever to do with what his name sounds like, but rather where they grew up, learned to play football, which language they speak (didn't Nuri Sahin reportedly speak much better German than Turkish when he was "poached" by Turkey) etc. Got it?
Sad, sad
Jaysetsfire69 (Borussia Dortmund) 5 years ago
Oh erm, Mrs. Author I just read. Sorry. Well, shows some obscure sexism on my part, I guess.
Classius (Manchester City) 5 years ago
Those that bring in the fact about players of Turkey descent in the Germany youth ranks fail to understand the socio economic reasons of their reality and how that does not compare with the emphasis that has to be put into creating a localized culture of football in each nation to be able to create a competitive environment all over the globe. It isn't about whether you have the right to choose to represent country A or be but the competitive nature of the sport in a global level. Imagine Turkey's national team playing a German National Team made up of 50 percent second generation Turkish players in the World Cup, If you see Germany beating the Turks, what will the world say.... Well half of them were Turks anyway so it is not such a big loss, right? The point is the pressure that is brought upon player's and how this pressure makes them doubt their own heritage and cultural values for a chance to be part of a glorious history that might not even happen. Prostitution at its best, I dare to say!
Francois01 (Bayern München) 5 years ago
@Classius: I am not really sure if I understood completely.... Your comment seems a bit all over the place. I try to comment sentence by sentence:
The individual reasons why players are of foreign descent doesn't matter. But it has to be regulated by a central institution if they are allowed to play for their "new" country (this is the status quo). The competitive level however regulates itself. Or do you want to penalize Spain because India has not enough good players and failed to compete on the same level?

Germany beating Turkey: Why would anyone say that it is not a big loss? I don't understand. The players of Germany are all german. Don't you get that? There are no turks anywhere in the german team.
And what pressure are you talking about? Nobody is forcing them to play for Germany. That is an outrageous accusation! Nobody is forcing Lahm to play for Germany either. If you ask him he would say:"What other country would I play for? " Because he grew up, learned, lived, loved, trained in Germany. They same with players whose families immigrated a few decades ago. Sometimes they don't even know a single person in the country their grandfathers lived in. And they only speak german. Have german friends. Live in the german culture. Etc.
You should go to Germany and talk to people whose parents or grandparents immigrated and then make a judgement. You clearly have no idea, but a very strong opinion
Soccerjesus (Barcelona) 4 years ago
Its a professional sport people. Its showing up to work. If you worked for a small local bank all your life and they never offered you any promotions, an couldn't offer you a raise, and then Bank of America sees your talents and offers you a position with twice the money, you're going to take it. Soccer is passionate indeed, but its also a day job for those playing. They got to look out for themselves. And lets not forget the clubs that have made an outstanding business model out of selling players, West Ham, Everton, Ajax. David Moyes loses his best players every year to big clubs (Rooney, Lescott, Arteta) and he's smart enough to go buy 4 players with the cash, develop them into professionals, and put a top 10 team together every year! Adapt to the realities of life rather than complaining about it.

And take that picture off the top your article. Jermaine Jones was overlooked by the coaching staff at the German National side for years an years, and they told him straight up, "you will not play for the German National side. " So he went to the United States. Do your homework
Ant (Liverpool) 5 years ago
I think poaching at a club level is an absolute blight on the game, tearing kids from their home countries and extended families by dangling large contracts in front of them, and jobs for their families. They move to a country where they know no-one and don't speak the language, sometimes as young as 14.

Paul Pogba is a good recent example.

"On 31 July 2009, Pogba announced that he was departing Le Havre to join the youth academy of Manchester United in England. The move stunned his parent club as it allegedly had a "non-solicitation agreement" with Pogba, which was agreed to by not only the player, but also his parents in 2006.... On 1 August, Le Havre released an official statement on its website criticising Manchester United and the Pogba family. Le Havre also announced its intent to ask FIFA to probe the situation. In response to Le Havre's accusations, Manchester United threatened to sue the club. "
Source - Wikipedia for Paul Pogba

There have been many other recent examples.

However, I disagree with you to some extent on the International level. If a player is asked by a country to play for them, and is totally eligible and legally allowed play for them and they say yes, doesn't that just mean that other countries that were eligible just never asked? I'm not talking about kids, but more talking about fully grown men that are not doing it for financial reasons, but just because they want to play International football.

Even for a youth player, playing at International level isn't a week-in, week-out thing. A couple games a year perhaps? Fly to the team, train for a few days, play the match, then back to your club.

I think the difference here is the average age of a 'tapped up' player. At club level, players barely into their teens are getting lured all around Europe for the fleeting promise of fame and money. They have to move wholesale to a new location and live and train 24/7 under the banner of some club. In some cases, it is their parents who make the decision, due to the fact the child is too young. When the parents are offered a $150, 000 house and a lump sum of cash.... Well of course they are going to move.

At International level, we sometimes see players who have been overlooked by their obvious home country, perhaps not being seen as 'good enough' to put on an (example) England shirt. When Scotland or Wales or the Rep Ireland come calling, they jump onto that offer straight away.

If having a grandparent from a country entitles you to citizenship of that country, doesn't it make sense that it entitles you to play football for that country too?

Gerrie (Borussia Dortmund) 5 years ago
While I do agree with your general point, I'm afraid I have to correct you with regard to the German FA. The examples you've mentioned all match the Welbeck & Balotelli case, however you make a difference there for some reason.
Özil was born and raised in Germany, Podolski & Klose moved to Germany when they were still very young. It was their free decision and they picked the German FA for whatever reasons. The same is true for all the other "foreign names" you refer to: Khedira, Gomez, Boateng, Aogo & Gündogan to name a few were ALL born and raised in Germany, went through the youth ranks of the German FA and are now playing for the full national team.
But as I said, I agree with you that players shouldn't be allowed to just pick (or even change) their national team side. That is why it still feels strange to see Cacau play for Germany who has no family relation to the country at all. He is the German version of an international trend which ruins the idea of national sides: every other country seems to have a naturalized Brazilian in its squad. Just think of the likes of Marcos Senna (Spain), Thiago Motta (Italy), Deco (Portugal), Eduardo da Silva (Croatia), Mehmet Aurelio (Turkey), Roger Guerreiro (Poland) or even Fábio Luís Ramim (Azerbaijan)
Jaysetsfire69 (Borussia Dortmund) 5 years ago
Although in Cacaus case, it feels believable that he actually wanted to become German just because of living here etc. not for football reasons
Gullit (Reading) 5 years ago
Dear Rebecca Knight,

Please do your research before writing an article. The Germans you mentioned are all Germans.

What you are doing is just like saying Gabriel Imuetinyan Agbonlahor should not play for England because his name doesn't sound English
Jaysetsfire69 (Borussia Dortmund) 5 years ago
Coyb18 (Chelsea) 5 years ago
If you could play for Germany, wouldn't you play for Germany? That's my point, great reply Gerrie^^
The point about Brazilians is spot on, and exactly the problem that the author wants to address in this article. Should have focused more on that issue....
Barozi (1. FSV Mainz 05) 5 years ago
.... The Özil family now lives for the third generation in Germany.
Kloses family is from Silesia, which was at one point part of Germany.
Lukas Podolski came to Germany in 1987.... When he was two years old.
All of them learned to play football here and were sponsored by the DFB.

Only one who had absolutely no connection to Germany (except for playing and living there for a few years) and plays in our current squad is Cacau.

According to your logic everyone who is black should not play for England or France or some other European Country. (or even USA)
Especially France would get huge problems
Francois01 (Bayern München) 5 years ago
What the f**k! I can't believe this! For the thousand time:

German internationals are born in Germany or lived there since their early childhood. But the most important part: They are educated and trained in Germany! Of course Sammer gets mad if some turkish guy comes along who accidently saw a few german players at a U17 Worldcup and wants to steal them from Germany. Of course he is furious when another country wants to steal one of his players he spent time and money on for years. What do you expect?

A small hint: The USA is praised as a melting pot of people from different countries and backgrounds. To a smaller extent similar migrations have been taking place in Germany over the last 60 years, especially with turkish guest workers. Many of them acqired citizenship, and their kids are german - born german. And those kids should play for turkey? They don't even know the country, let alone the language! And don't get me started on Lukas (with a "k") Podolski and Klose.

There is a player who joined the Nationalmannschaft in 2009 who would be the first person to look at (Cacau), but he is not a starter for Germany and maybe not good enough in your eyes, so there is no need to attack him, right? . That would follow your logic, if you had one.

Are you even doing some research before you write your articles? Sorry, but you just sound envious of the german talent.
Jaysetsfire69 (Borussia Dortmund) 5 years ago
" Are you even doing some research before you write your articles? Sorry, but you just sound envious of the german talent. "    This
Borg (Manchester United) 5 years ago
In my opinion a player should play in the country they were born and/or raised in. If that country was where you played your youth football and developed into a professional then you owe them your allegiance and you should want to only play for them alone. Plain and simple, today's young pros are going to play with whatever country they can get away with playing for. Guisseppe Rossi was born and raised in the USA and then decided to play for Italy. Deco is another example of this, the only reason he played for Portugal is because he wasn't good enough for Brazil
Jaysetsfire69 (Borussia Dortmund) 5 years ago
Btw, it's funny how the article is titled "football hypocrisy at its finest" when you read the bit about Sammer and German football. Hahaha. That kind of backfired
Matt (Footytube Staff) 5 years ago
Biggest difference between the two situations, club poaching and international poaching is that at the end of the day the player is the one making the decision.

Clubs can offer money and houses for your parent even the allure of the clubs history can be enough. You also know that if it all goes wrong you can try and play for another side.

When an international coach comes knocking all he can offer you is a chance to play. Some cynical players may choose to play for the side that can offer the best chance of performing on the world stage but I think the majority will only play for the team that when the national anthem plays they feel only pride.

I also concur with the majority here in saying the German examples are plain wrong and based purely on the surnames of players which if we had to go by Rooney should be playing for Ireland
FootyRulz (Chelsea) 5 years ago
I would hardly even call it poaching. If a player was eligible to play for Germany despite his Turkish roots then why shouldn't he. That example with Germany was completely biased and it looked like the author didn't do her research.

I don't think international "poaching" is anything close to what goes on in club football nowadays and I think that is a much bigger issue than players who want to play for another country that they are eligible for.

The title of the article is also sort of misleading because I thought it would be an interesting article to read but instead it turned out to be a disappointing one
Fabiusmaximus (Bayern München) 5 years ago
Your lack of research was obvious in this part of your blog:

"Of course, if a player has grown up their whole life in a country yet could have decent from another, then it is totally their choice who they play for – take Danny Welbeck who is Manchester born and bred yet of Ghanaian decent. Likewise with Balotelli and Italy, and here no one can really complain whichever side they chose to play for. "

So, lets see, Ozil born in Gelsenkirchen, Khedira born in Stuttgart, Boateng born in Berlin, Aogo born in Karlsruhe, Gomez born in Riedlingen. (source: wikipedia. Org)
These cities sound quite German, don't they?
I don't remember Gelsenkirchen belonging to Turkey, Stuttgart to Tunesia, Berlin to Ghana, etc.

Germany is a nation full of different cultures.
For me its just natural that the national team is a mirror image of the country they play for.

Fischi (Manchester United) 5 years ago
It is quite an interesting topic, nevertheless it is not easy to handle.
A line has to be drawn somewhere - reason would suggest the nationality of the player should define the country he plays for.
Then again, it is possible to have more than one nationality.
I think it's a good point from the fifa to say that a player who played for a specific country should always play for that country, but the rules are very grey. You can play for one country on youth and friendly level, then for the higher paying other country as a senior. In addition to this ridiculous ruling, there are special treatments for some players.

A clear ruling would be an advantage - but the thing that bugs me most is players having two nationalities, using one for not counting into the foreignerscount, and the other one to play international football for the other country
Derjohnny (Bayer Leverkusen) 5 years ago
What some people seem to forget: these players are professionals. They need to earn as much money as they can in their short career as a footballer. And just as any other employee in any other job they choose the team (employer), where they will probabaly have more success if they have the opportunity to do so. Khedira and özil would never play for real madrid now, if they had decided to play for tunisia or turkey. I'm sorry to disillusion you now, but I guess that's just how it works....
Apart from that: I see absoluteley no reason why gomez, khedira, boateng etc. Should not play for germany. They've all got a german mother, were born in germany, grew up here and are german. Same with me: my mother is a foreigner, my father is german. I was born in germany, grew up here and (if I had the opportunity) would always play for germany. But because I have a german sirname and look german, nobody would have been bothered. I would have said something concerning özil, klose, podolski etc. but enough has been said about that!
It's globalization. Everbody is facing it and it is good! Why should football be left out?
Classius (Manchester City) 5 years ago
This is so true, just think how eventually it will be pointless to have World Cup in which nations try to support their own in an spectacle that is about pride and glory!

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