Chelsea and the fall of the Roman Empire

Sunday in stamford bridge. Chelsea fans cheer again roman abramovichthe Russian tycoon expelled by London. Also the banner is still intact in the gallery: “The Roman Empire”. Opposite, the fans of newcastle They display the flag of Saudi Arabia, greet the new autocratic monarchy who owns the club and make fun of Chelsea in crisis, singing that “Now Mike Ashley is coming to buy you” (hated former boss of Newcastle). “He,” reply the Chelsea, “knew you guys were shit.” Before they used to wave wads of bills at rival fans. “Now,” the Newcastles shout on Sunday, “we are richer than you.” They sing that Chelsea is “broke” and that “Abramovich is a war criminal.” The day before, Saudi Arabia had executed 81 people to death. Possibly beheaded. The match, says journalist Jacob Steinberg, “is the best summation of the rotten state of English football.”

Dozens of fans of newcastle they in turn are outraged at Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail. “Do you know how many people the United States has been executing with the death penalty?” And remember that eight Premier League clubs are owned by United States capital. Alan Shearer, Newcastle’s legendary goalscorer, now a TV commentator, criticizes Abramovich for the Russian invasion of Ukraine (the tycoon’s steel company accused of making steel for Russian tanks, links with Vladimir Putin). Doesn’t Shearer know, one chronicle asks, who is the new owner of his beloved Newcastle? Mohammed bin Salmancrown prince of Saudi Arabia, is the owner of the Public Investment Fund (FIP) that bought the club. And he also commands the war of his country in Yemen that provoked the death of a quarter of a million peopleincluding about ten thousand children. Unlike AbramovichSalman is not “associated” with power. It’s the power. But the war against Yemen, adds Barney Ronan in “The Guardian”, is crown business. The UK sells £10 billion worth of planes, bombs and missiles to Saudi.

A poster in the colors of the Russian flag and the image of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who is due to part with the club, and the legend “Roman Empire”, on Stamford Bridge

I read data from several of the English club owners. A royal family accused by Human Rights Watch. A tycoon from the United States who charged the purchase to the club’s accounts. A businessman cited in the Panama Papers. There is no resume. There are records. Along with many of them, Abramovich he almost seems like a benefactor. He won 21 titles in 19 years, more than any other English club in that period, including two Champions Leagues and five Leagues, and has already said that he will not claim the $2 billion he put into the club. Impossible not to remember the first choir that the fans dedicated to him when he arrived in 2003. Let’s go to the rhythm of “Pretty Woman” (Pretty Woman): “We’re fucking loaded, na, na, na, na, ná… We’re fucking loaded…” (“we are lined with twine”). They sang that there was no reason to ask questions about the origin of their money, whether it was from weapons, drugs or oil. Because “Roman is our man” (our man). And that all together we should shout Chelsea champion.

Conservative parliamentarian Michael Gove did it last May in Portugal. Chelsea won the Champions against Manchester City. She is the same person who is now calling for the Russian oligarchs in London to hand over their mansions to Ukrainian refugees. The fans seem more loyal than him. The results, of course, always help. psgfor example, they are on track to win their eighth French League in ten years. But, a problem for the rich, their fans want the Champions League.

They no longer whistle only Leo Messi and Neymar. Interestingly, they also demand that he leave Nasser Al Khelaifithe man of the Qatari emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Zani, without whose fortune PSG would not even have dreamed of Europe. “Paris is us,” read a graffiti last Monday at the stadium. “Okay”, the emir could reply, “put in the money he asks of us Kylian Mbappe not to go to Real Madrid”. Who are the real owners of the clubs? Whose football is it?

Lionel Messi was whistled at in Paris Saint Germain's last home game, at the Parc des Princes
Lionel Messi was whistled at in Paris Saint Germain’s last home game, at the Parc des Princes

The BBC on Monday published a devastating report on Abramovich. “Putin’s Man”. His poor childhood. His sudden wealth in post-communist Russia. His Solaris and Eclipse superyachts that roam the Mediterranean looking for a safe harbor. His Boeing 707 that got him back on time in Moscow. The dozens of properties of his, companies and accounts frozen by London. It was even doubted that chelsea could travel to France for his match today against Lille, for the champions.

It would be soothing to talk about “shock”, David Conn wrote, but the truth is that we always knew where the money from Abramovich (The man who opened perhaps the most brutal era of easy wallet, pay anything for the ball, because the real deal happens elsewhere). The English government asks fans to stop chanting Abramovich. And he says he will sell Chelsea to the highest bidder if there is no deal by May 31. There are dozens of offers. Many from the United States, led by Raine Group, banking. Another from Saudi Media Group (from Saudi Arabia, yes). The English Premier League (EPL), the best league in the world, has been given a new name: English Politic League.