Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Why it’s a disgrace Blackpool have been fined for selecting a ‘Weaker team’

Blackpool were fined for £25,000 for fielding a ‘weakened side’ against Aston Villa in November. This fine absolutely disgusts me. It’s a sign of contradiction and hypocrisy from the Premier League.

Yes, Blackpool lost the game, but they played very well and conceded in the 89th minute. But I’m sure by the end of the game Aston Villa didn’t rate their oppositions as a ‘weakened side.’ The most defiantly saw that Blackpool side as a threat. So is it fair the Premier League deem that Blackpool side as ‘weakened’ seeing they took this Villa team to the wire?

Holloway after the game was clearly incensed by the notion of him fielding a ‘weaker side’ against Villa. He has every right to be offended. Seeing as he played 11 players which were all included in his 25 man squad list. Surely the fact these players are in Holloway’s 25 man squad demonstrates that they are first team players for Holloway. What has Holloway done wrong? Surely he should be allowed to play any player within the enlisted 25 player squad list? Holloway commented, ‘I think it is a total disgrace that I am told who I can pick and when I can pick them.’ Holloway is utterly correct. Who are the Premier League to tell Holloway who to pick? And to have the nerve to question the ability of Blackpool’s players? Holloway wouldn’t play those players if he didn’t think they were competent at the Premier League level. Furthermore the principle of the matter is Holloway fielded 11 players which were enlisted in his 25 man squad list. Its not like he is fielding his under 18 side, Blackpool have done nothing wrong.

Blackpool’s team selection against Villa was deeply compared to when Wolves made 10 changes against Manchester United. Like Blackpool, Wolves were fined £25,000. But Wolves actually won their next which was a vital game against Burnley. Mick McCarthy was doing what he felt was best for his team and their long term ambition of staying in England’s elite league. It angers me that the Premier League assume that Wolves and Blackpool field ‘weaker sides’ because they don’t want to win. Of course they want to win. There just being realistic. They know like every manager, player and fan know that some games are more winnable than others. And some games are labelled to both fans and clubs as ‘must win games.’ And Blackpool saw West Ham as a ‘must win game.’ While Wolves saw Burnley as a ‘must win game.’

One thing which angers smaller teams in the Premier League is that the big boys are given more allowances for different situations on and off the pitch. When it comes to rotation, its fair to say the bigger Premier League clubs can get away with murder.

Liverpool in 2007 fielded a heavily rotated side against Fulham. Liverpool a few weeks later were set to face Milan in the European Cup final. Fulham won the game 1-0. And that victory saved salvaged them from relegation. But no fine was imposed on Liverpool for fielding a ‘weaker side.’ It shows the double standard attitudes of the Premier League as Liverpool in some respects have no league interests. And they are allowed to field a weakened side and have no imposed punishments. While ironically, Blackpool and Wolves rotated in order to achieve their goal of staying in this division. Yet, they were fined.

Fulham last season from around the middle of February began to heavily rotate their squad. As their brilliant Europe League run took priority over the league. Yes, Fulham are still a relatively small club, but is it fair their allowed to forget their league form for Europe? While the likes of Blackpool are fined for prioritising their league survival. Don’t get me wrong, Fulham have every right to field a rotated side in the League, if it means they have a better run in Europe. But it’s the contradictory nature of the Premier League. Who fine clubs for wanting to be in the Premier League for the longer term.

The Premier League should butt out of squad selection matters. Of course they should intervene in certain scenarios along as its within reason. I.e. a team is selecting a squad of 16 year olds. But clubs have every right to choose who they pick for certain games. Its unfair that Premier League can criticise one team then show a blind eye to another. It should be one rule for the whole of the Premier League. England’s bigger sides shouldn’t be exempt from these rules.

The fines for Wolves and Blackpool are disgraceful. After all, they are rotating in order to achieve their prime aim of maintaining their Premier League status. The Premier League have just shown that they are shambolic bunch of know it all’s who don’t know how to be equal and respectable to all 20 Premier League sides.

Watch Blackpool Manager Ian Holloway's responce to the Premier League's imposed fine on Blackpool for fielding a 'weakened side' against Aston Villa in November. Holloway is clearly very emotional at the Premier League decision to fine.

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