Chelsea won the English Premier League this afternoon in what has to have been one of the most predictable and characterless championship races in years. That the laurels have gone to the team owned by the Russian oligarch whose influence on soccer in England has come to symbolise all that has gone wrong with the game is singularly appropriate.
As Matthew Syed points out in the video interview below, Roman Abramovich’s purchase of Chelsea was made for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with love of football and all to do with advancing his political interests. Other buyers, like Abu Dhabi’s ruler who took over Manchester City, have followed suit, in the process injecting obscene amounts of money and creating the soccer equivalent of an oligarchy.
Sadly, but unsurprisingly, most of those who inhabit the world of soccer journalism are, like their equivalents elsewhere in the trade these days, mostly prisoners of the special interests they are supposed to be covering. Matthew Syed, the freelance writer and broadcaster, is an exception. Watch his interview on Sky Sports below not just for the erudite points he makes but for the squirming of the Sky reporters and commentators.