You Want A Conspiracy Theory? I’ll Give You A Conspiracy Theory

Turning to the Guardian’s sports blog this morning, it is disheartening to see that 39.4% of people replying to a poll asking the question of “Are Chelsea the victims of a UEFA conspiracy?” in the affirmative. The bare fact of the matter is that sending off a Barcelona player and leaving it until the ninetieth minute before Barcelona have their first shot on goal of the match (which would, more likely, require the compliance of the Chelsea defence rather than UEFA officials or the referee of that particular match) might not be the most efficient way of rigging a major football match and, if UEFA wished to conspire against Chelsea, they could have found a far more watertight way of doing it than the one that they used, so here’s an alternative “conspiracy theory” over what was going on at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. Chelsea weren’t part of G14, the umbrella body of European football’s elite, in body, but they were in spirit. They were certainly quick to get involved in the European Club Association, the organisation which came to replace it within UEFA, and their Chief Executive is on the board of the ECA. The unwritten subtext of the very existence of G14 was to wrest the control of European football from UEFA to the biggest clubs. They were certainly explicit in backing Charleroi in their court...

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