Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

A Game in Turmoil

The “Beautiful Game” is in turmoil today as one of the leading teams has announced that it wants to play the game according to ice hockey rules. The chairman of the team wants the ice hockey offside rule allowed – which prohibits opposition players from migrating into his team’s area unless they already have a “puck”, and the icing rule which prevents “pucks” from entering his territory from more distant parts of the rink.

The chairman claims to have the support of his supporters. At the moment it does not look as if it will attract the support of other members of the league.

The chief executive of the league has protested that if the team starts to play according to ice hockey rules they can expect to be heavily penalised and that the fundamental rules of the game are not up for renegotiation. Ultimately this could lead to expulsion.

How this will play out is uncertain. It is not clear that the “rebel” chairman has the level of support that he claims. It is thought that he is being heavily influenced by a particularly rowdy group of “supporters” – known for downing pints – and who have been calling for the chairman to resign from the league so that they can play by themselves without interference from others. The chairman seems to think that his fellow chairman will indulge him and allow him to “negotiate” new rules. The chief executive of the league has pointed out that their time would be better spent sorting out the financial stability of some of the other teams.

The idea of leaving the very profitable league seems to have the support of some of the media – who would also like to see the introduction of the bodycheck rule which allows the team to block the opposition and prevent progress. The proposal of such fundamental changes are making continued membership of the league next to impossible. Some of the other teams are wondering why the rebel team joined in the first place given that the union agreement made the fundamentals very clear.

The whole issue does of course highlight the problems that can arise when member teams can so easily be taken over by vain-glorious and flawed management without the majority backing of the supporters. Some teams have more democratic rules that require supporters to be effectively represented. Unfortunately this is not the case with the rebel team and as a result the whole league could be thrown it to turmoil by one rather silly chairman who does not have the nerve to stand up to a particularly rowdy group of supporters.

Perhaps it would be best for the game if this rebel team was just thrown out.

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