Who Is in Charge: Fifa, UEFA , The FA or the Premier League?

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Who Is in Charge: Fifa, UEFA , The FA or the Premier League?
(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Now it may seem like a very simple question, but who runs football?

Over the last several weeks we have heard what Platini thinks about debt for example, and that Roman Abramovich agrees with him, we seen a footballer cheat, be defended by his manager, pilloried by the press and then punished by UEFA and then we've seen FIFA punish Chelsea for the way it has conducted a transfer.

Some time ago, in 2005 Chelsea were fined for 'tapping up' Ashley Cole.

Last year the world were up in arms when it was suggested that English Premier League games could be played in other countries.

So who does a club answer to?

It seems that the final place for an appeal is the Court of Arbitration for Sport but from what I understand all parties have to agree to CAS becoming involved.

The power struggle in football is of course as old as the sport itself.

The UK has a perfect example of the diversity of jurisdiction and the complications that have arisen from many voices and levels of control.

In 2012 the host nation for the Olympics will not have a truly representative football team in place.

Even though the IOC and FIFA have agreed that a UK football team would not impact on the status of the 'home nations' football associations the players from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have effectively been banned from participating.

So the SFA, WFA and NIFA simply dont trust UEFA or FIFA to honour a publicly stated assertion that they will continue as independent organisations with full voting rights.

Wow, national associations don't trust FIFA and UEFA—The words of Blatter and Platini cannot be trusted.

England has an even more complex set of relationships in play.

When Chelsea were fined £300,000 for 'taping up' Ashley Cole they were fined by the Premier League not the English FA. Why?, because they do not accept the primacy of the FA in England.

Yet the Premier League needs the English FA to legitimise its existence; the promotion and relegation of English football, the glory of the FA Cup and the involvements of EPL teams in the 'League Cup' all rely on nod and wink agreements.

And UEFA and FIFA turn a blind eye to all of this as to get involved could mean that they themselves are neutered in any rebellion.

Lets take another look at Chelsea's recent ban on buying (but not selling) players for two tranfer windows.

If Chelsea and Manchester United simply ignored the ruling and were backed by Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona and all the other top European clubs what would happen?

Well they would be banned from UEFA sanctioned competitions, but they could happily continue in their own leagues.

FIFA could threaten to stop players from representing their countries, but that could punish the innocent, could it not?—Imagine a player contracted to Arsenal being told he can not play in European or International competition because his club has bought a player from another club.

I can almost hear the lawyers chuckling in expectation.

And yet when the EPL wants to use technology to decide whether a ball has crossed the line the defer to FIFA in those decisions.

So who does run football?

We may face a reshuffle some time soon as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool may be kicked out of the Champions League over debt, Chelsea over player acquisitions and many other clubs will surely be wondering if the whims of Platini and Blatter will cause them grief.

Of course without the big names then competitions are devalued, that's why the English League Cup still needs the Premier League teams in it and why Platini's UEFA allows it all to continue.

And of course all of this depends on the money that supporters are prepared to pay and advertisers are willing to stump up for the reflected glory of the top teams and players.

That's who pays for the shiny offices and mega salaries.

So who runs football?

I really don't know any more.

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