Monday, May 19, 2008

We are the champions (again)!

It’s not just the Carling Cup we’ve won this season folks, but also the FA Premier League Fair Play Table (for the second successive season). So what is the Fair Play Table? Many people assume it is simply a comparison of red and yellow cards accumulated during the season. Oh no, it’s far more complicated than that!

There are six criteria that clubs are assessed on, and all competitive matches count:

  • There are 10 points available for clean play but one point is deducted for every yellow card and three for every red so this tally can easily become negative.
  • A further 10 points are available for positive play (e.g. attacking tactics and chasing goals regardless of the score), but points can be deducted for diving, time-wasting and feigning injury.
  • Five points are available for respect shown to opponents (e.g. for gestures such as helping up opponents).
  • Another 5 points are on offer for respect shown to the match officials.
  • Another 5 points for the behaviour of the team officials.
  • And finally, the last 5 points is dependent on the behaviour of the crowd.
Another misconception is that Manchester City won this season’s Fair Play Table. In fact, they only finished sixth. The five teams that finished above them had already qualified for Europe (us, Liverpool, ManUre, Ar5ena1 and Everton), so Citeh gained a place by accident.

So even if we hadn’t the Carling Cup, surely that means we’d have still qualified for the UEFA Cup? Hmmmm, it’s not quite that simple. Since England finished top of the European fair play league, the FA was awarded an additional place in next season’s UEFA Cup. And since we won the Fair Play Table, yes that place would have gone to us. However, it would have been a risky strategy for two reasons.

Firstly, if England hadn’t topped the European league table we’d have had to rely on being drawn out of a hat… which is never a certainty! Of the top 11 "fairest" European nations, the first country is automatically awarded an additional place, and two are drawn from a pot of the countries ranked two through to 11.

Secondly, if we hadn’t have won the Carling Cup back in February, would we have played as “fairly” in the last third of the season? What I mean is, as Spurs fans we endured a lot of lethargic Tottenham performances where we regularly claimed that the players weren’t putting the required level of effort in. If we hadn’t have already qualified for the UEFA Cup I would have thought we would have seen much more fight, which would have undoubtedly led to more bookings, and possibly less respect shown towards opponents and officials. So, relying on this route into Europe would have been incredibly risky and, quite frankly, desperate!

As it is, we have the satisfaction of knowing we came out on top, but the comfort of knowing we secured our passage into the 2008-09 UEFA Cup in a more convincing way. Although I hope we have some good cup runs again next season, I also hope our league form is strong enough to earn us qualification in its own right.


Scottish Yid said...

Does this mean that English football is cleaner than Scottish football? What about the antics of Drogba, Ronaldo and others?

Dan mac said...

Them antics are obviously not enough to make us as dirty as your league. anyway... Ronaldo, in all fairness to him, doesn't actually dive very much these days, I'm sure he's not as steady on his feet as, say, Rooney, but I wouldn't single him... Drogba's a tart though... for such a 'big, strong' bloke he does have a few problems with his balance... perhaps he needs his ears syringed (no idea how to spell that... that's my best guess)

N7teeniho said...

good to see Chealscum so far down the FP league, shows them for the diving, ref harrassing,unsporting cheats they really are

Gicola said...

Interesting. Not too sure though about the score going below zero for too many bookings. Do you have the proof or you are just speculating without specifically admitting it?