Shadow sports minister Hugh Robertson has promised sports fans that the Conservatives, if elected, would review the controversial ‘league table’ system for football teams. The system, introduced by the Blair government in 1997, was meant to offer football fans the chance to objectively compare teams’ performances using numerical criteria. But since its inception the scheme has been mired in controversy, with critics saying it unfairly compares the performance of wealthy teams such as Chelsea with poorer inner city sides such as Manchester City.
Gordon Brown has defended the system, saying that it gives consumers the opportunity to make informed choices about the expected return on season ticket investments. However Mr Robinson – an ardent Everton supporter – has claimed that the system was now ‘totally discredited’.
‘These footballing league tables represent the very worst excesses of Thatcherite market competition, and as such is typical of the current Government.’ claimed the Shadow Minister. ‘The idea that you can compare the poetic ensemble-work of a Tranmere Rovers in full flow with the positively Wagnerian sturm und drang of Colchester Town by an arbitrary points mechanism beggars belief.’
The system has fallen out of favour with many soccer fans in recent years. Critics cite stiff competition for season tickets of high-performing sides, with the same teams upping the price of school soccer kits. The latter charge has lead to a common criticism that ‘we wuz robbed’ by parents as well as Portsmouth fans.
A spokesperson from the FA defended the current system, telling reporters that ‘at the end of the day, a win is a win, and it’s another three points in the bag. I mean obviously we could have held it together a bit better in the second half and stayed a bit tighter. But all in all it was – I’m sorry, what was the question?’
19th September 2009