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Former Brentford ‘keeper has the balls that FIFA lack. Well said Szczesny (and Poland).

28 Feb

Monday morning. The weekend has seen Brentford go down at home to Newcastle United, keeper Kepa take the worst penalty since Yoann Barbet found low-earth orbit against Norwich City and Leeds United parting company with Marcelo Bielsa. Yet it was dominated by FIFA proving themselves as spineless as ever when it comes to Russia. The ongoing and barbaric atrocities being committed by Putin and his lackies in the Ukraine have resulted in global condemnation, ejection from everything as far afield as the Eurovision song contest to hosting their own Grand Prix (and anything in between) whilst the footballing community have made their own feelings very clear.  Wojciech Szczesny and Poland leading the charge and refusing to play Russia next month. 

We’ve always loved the player, affectionally known as Chesney, at Brentford after his 25 game stint in 2009/10. It seems like five minutes ago he was pulling out all the stops, game after game. Ripping up tress in goal and performing last line of defence heroics that haven’t been matched until, well, probably David Raya. Now, he’s up on the global stage making his feelings (and those of his countrymen) known loud and clear.

Speaking to the DAZN Sports streaming service, Szczesny was unequivocable with his thoughts:

“We won’t play against Russia at the World Cup, that’s for sure. Let’s see if FIFA will have balls to give Russia the World Cup by forfeit – I don’t think so”.

“I refuse to stand on the pitch, wearing the colours of my country and listen to the national anthem of Russia! I refuse to take part in a sporting even that legitimases the actions of the Russian government.”

Well said, that man. With Sweden and the Czech Republic joining the Poles in their decision, FIFA have finally flinched. There has been no kicking the Russian team out. Instead, a typically half-arsed measure of still allowing them to compete but on neutral ground under the name Football Union of Russia (RFU). No flags , no anthems, no flags. But still playing. 

President of the Polish FA, Cezary Kulesza, was as forthright as Szcezny on hearing this news. He called it “Totally unacceptable” with, incase anybody was in any doubt, the commitment that.. “We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our stance remains intact: Polish national team will not play with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is.“

Look. I get its not the fault of the Russian players or Russian people. Robert Lewandowski was amongst those also recognising that side. At the same time, giving a government and a dictator who thrives on his own ego, on global recognition and some misplaced macho bullshit where the world order is still rooted in the 18th century any credibility or attention, no matter how watered down it may be, is a complete and utter NO. It was an open goal and FIFA have missed. Missed it worse than Diana Ross taking a penalty.

The world looks on at a c*nt

Instead, they’re now in a situation where Gianni Infantino still sleeps with the Order of Friendship medal given to him by Vladimir Putin under his pillow. Where the head of FIFA has acted with all the speed of a turning oil tanker in swerving questions before, finally, finally coming out with this nonsensical watered down rubbish. Nobody is going to play against Russia in the current circumstances. The World Cup, already under huge scrutiny given the controversy of Qatar, could become an even bigger farce than it is already looking like turning in to. And rightly so.

The World is burning at the moment. Football had a chance to draw a line in the sand. To show strong leadership. To show support  – primarily for Ukraine but also its other members. The football community has come out and made their feelings quite clear. Even in the symbolic gestures from supporters waving banners, flags and going to games in yellow and blue. From players openly saying they refuse to participate in the charade. 

The game’s leadership, anything but. It makes me sick. F*ck Ras-Putin. F*ck FIFA. Our beautiful game is currently being made to look very ugly at the top level.

Anyway, that’s just me. For what it’s worth. Trying to bring up a young child to know the difference between right and wrong or explain what the heck is going on in the world at present isn’t an easy job. I get sleepless nights over where this could end up but, at least, I still have my principles. It’s a shame others don’t. Oh well, enjoy that medal Gianni.

I was going to talk about the League cup, about Leeds United , about Newcastle and about Brentford going to Norwich City but really can’t be bothered with any more. This stuff is written on the hoof. Made up as it goes along and having done so, I’m over football for now.  A relief for everyone. If you really want to then you can get the player / performance review from the Bees – Magpies game, here

I’m downing tools for a few days.

Be good.

enjoy that medal

Nick Bruzon