An Uneasy Relationship – England Vs The Rest of The World

As a nation that once laid claim to the world's largest Empire, the United Kingdom has often traded blows with countries across the globe.

Politically, many British people often look upon Europe and its increasing influence in their lives as a source of annoyance. With specific reference to England, the English are known for their own patriotic beliefs and mannerisms. Whether it be staunchly in favor of keeping the pound or sometimes even something as trivial as our predisposition for tea drinking as a tool of social cohesion, our European cousins ​​and those further afield often deride us as 'Little Englanders'.

When it comes to football then, it is no surprise that such squabbles manifest themselves. In late February, there was the furore surrounding claims in the tabloid press that England's training complex for the impending World Cup in South Africa was so far half-built and ramshackle, some even going so far as to describe it as 'a dump'.

The £ 20 million Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus near Rustenburg, the venue for England's first game against USA, has ignited English passions and prompted hasty rebuttals from those abroad. Although the accommodation is of a high standard, the training and medical facilities are still far from complete.

After this, following his recent visit, England manager Fabio Capello stated that he was happy with the progress being made.

South Africans, including World Cup ambassador and ballerina Andile Ndlovu have rallied round their country as it bids to host the final tournament yet. The spokesman for the Bafokeng sports complex, Martin Bekker, said that "the foreign media, especially the English, have lacked the courtesy to find out from us how preparations are going."

This is not the first incident involving England, its football fans and its national press engaging in verbal warfare and it certainly will not be the last.

One only has to look at certain authority figures in the world football and the chagrin they draw from the English to examine the roots of animosity between 'us and them'. The President of FIFA, the world's governing body, Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini have all voiced their views on the state of English football.

Likewise Jack Warner, the FIFA Vice-President and head of its CONCACAF region is another who petitions condemnation. In his case, it seems he's a complicated individual who has a 'Jekyll and Hyde' approach to England. Once he was quoted as saying 'nobody in Europe likes England' yet he is supposedly one of the supporters for our 2018 World Cup bid.

Meanwhile Blatter is considered by some as anti-English, a man who never has a good word to say about the country or its football. During the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer saga, Blatter was open in saying that the player should move to Real Madrid and that keeping him at Manchester United adjusted to "modern slavery."

Clearly he is hopelessly ignorant of the treatment suffered by the real slaves of the past and how it bears little relevance to highly-paid footballers. His 6 + 5 rule, designed to cur the number of foreign players in teams and enhance their domestic number is somewhat noble in its intent although it has been interpreted as a direct attack on the English clubs, which is boosted by a large overseas contingent, have recently dominated the competition.

Michel Platini has also displayed sour grapes over England's success in Europe. One of his quotes, relating football finances, states that he wants to "create a situation where every team has a chance of winning and there is a more level playing field. and financial fair play, but sometimes you do not have that in England. "

Although England and its press often feel aggrieved at attacks from abroad, Platini in particular does have a point when he claims to be concerned about foreign ownership and increasing debt mountains.

One only has to look at the forlorn situation at Portsmouth to understand where he is coming from. If England's biggest clubs such as Manchester United and Liverpool did not rely on huge income streams to keep them tapping over, the problem would become cataclysmic, not just for English football but for the entire game.

No matter, England's uneasy relationship with the rest of the world is likely to continue for some time yet as we typically resist interference from beyond our shores.

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