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Rob Burnett: Why every fan should boo the Champions League anthem this week

02 Nov | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Rob Burnett: Why every fan should boo the Champions League anthem this week

The Mirror sports writer argues Uefa's investigation into Man City's fans following reverse fixture against Sevilla shows they have really lost the plot

Is there nobody left in senior football administration with any sense?

We will not go into detail here about the shocking and far-reaching levels of alleged corruption in the corridors of power of the world’s biggest sport that are currently being investigated.

Neither will we delve too far into the long back catalogue of Sepp Blatter’s outrageous ideas and astonishing pronouncements.

Remember his suggestion for women players to “play in tighter shorts”, while telling gay fans that they should “refrain from sexual activities” while in Qatar is surely a contender for No. 1 in terms of sheer stupidity.

And let’s put aside for one moment the ridiculous rule that sees any player automatically yellow-carded for removing his shirt in celebration.

A rule, remember, that was designed solely to ensure that sponsors’ logos are always visible on television at the crucial moment.

But this time the suits in charge of the game really have taken ineptitude up a notch.

They say that nothing should surprise you in football, and yet it somehow always does.

Manchester City beat Sevilla 2-1 at the Etihad in their last Champions League match.

A great result for the home side, yet the following day it emerged the club had been reported to Uefa for a grave offence.

But what had upset the match delegate?

Was it some racist chanting? Or had the home fans started fights inside the ground with the opposition supporters? Were the players pelted with missiles from the stands?

No. City’s crime was that some of their fans had booed the Champions League anthem.

Just think about that for a minute: Uefa were upset because some nasty old City fans in replica shirts had made a pantomime noise while their corporate song was played over the loudspeakers.

It is so ridiculous it is scarcely believable.

Even calling it an anthem is a bit strong.

It is actually a piece of classical music lifted from a Handel piece entitled Zadok the Priest, rearranged to provide a theme tune to a football competition.

Booing national anthems is not on – because they represent a specific group of people who might well identify very strongly with it, and perhaps know people who have died for the cause it represents.

No one fought a war to create the giant commercial enterprise that is modern day European football.

The City fans are simply voicing their unhappiness with Uefa.

They feel that their club was unfairly targeted by Financial Fair Play sanctions, and because they were unable to attend a match at CSKA Moscow because of racist chanting from the Russian fans.

As Vincent Kompany said this week about the club facing possible sanctions over the booing:

“It’s a joke.”

The City skipper pointed out the ridiculous situation when Uefa is more interested in investigating people not liking their song, than rooting out racist abuse.

“We have played many games in Europe where there has been racial abuse and we have had to put up with it,” he said.

“And there have been times when we have been sanctioned in the same way as the team that was actually perpetrating those chants.

“I have experienced it as well when I was a kid playing at Anderlecht, certain games in Europe where you had a lot of racial abuse.

“So in that sense this is not justifiable – there is nothing holy about the Champions League anthem.

“If something is happening and fans are not happy about it, they are allowed to show their discontent.”

Well said, Vinny.

So when City take on Sevilla in the return leg of their Champions League tie on Tuesday night, the home fans should join their City counterparts in giving a good old boo when the song is played.

In fact, all fans of every club playing in the competition should do it too – perhaps then the Uefa bigwigs will realise just how ridiculous the whole thing is.

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