Theo Walcott has been ruled out of England’s World Cup qualifier in Poland on Tuesday due to a lung injury. The Arsenal winger was injured in the opening minutes of Friday’s 5-0 win over San Marino after a reckless challenge by the Sammarinese goalkeeper/accountant Aldo Simoncini.
Walcott‘s injury could have been a lot worse. Simocini, with his amateurish but aggressive charge, could have hurt Walcott’s neck. It wasn’t that far away from happening.
Now, how should Arsenal have reacted if a player that is worth €16.5m ended his career in a game with no sporting relevance, against a team of amateurs?
Actually, if it wasn’t an international fixture – Arsenal would have fined Walcott for playing against amateurs.
Footballers, by contract, are not allowed to play outside a professional environment. By contract, a professional player is not allowed to play against unprofessional players (in the park or on the street).
Would an English accountant get a chance to tackle Walcott recklessly? Maybe in the 3rd round of the F.A Cup but only after he and his team went through a rough qualifying process. However, Simoncini had a chance to badly injure Walcott only because he is Sammarinese .
It’s preposterous but that’s “international football” in Europe.
European top teams have to play at least 12 games in a qualifying campaign , in which at least 4 of them are against the likes of Malta, Faroe Islands, Andorra, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Moldova and soon Gibraltar – all teams hardly ever win or even draw because their players are amateurs. However, all of these nations, along with other small football nations, get a chance to play against the best players in the world without a minimal qualifying process.
Will it change before Cristiano Ronaldo, who is worth almost €100m, end his career because a teacher from Luxembourg broke his ankle? Or do you have to wait for a Robin Van Persie horror injury attained during a game against Andorra? What will it take to stop these useless internationals between amateurs and professionals?
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