The Badger's Blog: Mancini City

Prone to the odd several week gap in availability, the Badger’s blog is never a dead cert to hit the web on a weekly basis. So get it while it’s hot.....With games coming thick and fast over the festive period, the Badger’s biological football clock has been thrown into disarray as the fixture list becomes overcrowded. Whether it be six matches in fifteen days, twenty-six games in seventy-two hours or 2.45 matches a day for eight days. In between sleeping and creating every dish possible to make use of the leftover turkey, it is difficult to fit in all the football. These are the stories which have perked the Badger’s interest in the last few weeks.Premium LeagueRoberto “winner by default” Mancini was drafted in to win and that he did. A thoroughly comprehensive win by his Manchester City side over Stoke has kept the naysayers at bay but, for how long can the poor man’s José Mourinho realistically keep the hounding press off his back.Mancini’s appointment was hardly as sleek and smooth as his general physical presence. With Manchester City’s Chief Executive and all-round bad guy, Gary ‘Crook’ managing the situation, it is unfeasible to think of the process taking a more coarse route. ‘Crook’ hardly covered himself in glory following Mancini’s appointment as he seemed to take a page from Stephen Ireland’s book in the art of back tracking.cooky2_1549097cWhy the alleged marketing genius, ‘Crook’, felt the need to blabber to the press that Mancini was touted by Liverpool as a possible successor to Benitez is mystifying. However, to then have Mancini completely contradict his comments in an open press conference just added salt to the wounds of the much maligned executive.With the press now thinking that any controversy beyond this point is merely the cherry on top, the bemusement continued as Gary Cook protested that Mancini had not been lined up to replace Mark Hughes before the Tottenham fixture. His original claim was that Mancini had not been interviewed prior to the 3-0 loss to Tottenham. Well, this lie only lasted as long as Roberto Mancini’s English vocabulary when he revealed that he met the chairman two week before the Tottenham game.As the Badger reads between the lines of Crook’s reply to the barrage questions after Mancini’s inability to deal with a situation bereft of pressure, his general message was, “well I suppose everything that I told you was a complete lie”. Meanwhile sweet Roberto sat there looking like a wax figure and completely free of pressure related wrinkle’s on his tanned Mediterranean face.Alright the Badger will admit that he has a slight crush on Roberto Mancini, every person is allowed one.Major League StrikersImagine the sight of David Beckham and his fellow Galactic superstars picketing outside their home ground, the Home Depot centre in Los Angeles. Well, if a deal between Major League Soccer and the Player’s Union cannot be struck, this could become a reality.This issue revolves around the current situation which sees the collective bargaining agreement between both of the previously[caption id="attachment_5143" align="alignright" width="300" caption="MLS commissioner Don Garber"]MLS commissioner Don Garber[/caption]mentioned parties expiring on the 31st of January 2010. Collective bargaining is a system which has caused a problems in major American sports in the past, with both the National Hockey and Basketball leagues being involved in strike actions, lockouts and the cancellations of seasons.Collective bargaining in Major League Soccer (MLS) creates a situation in which the clubs do not own the players that play for the club. These players are owned by a single entity (in this case the league) who pay for their wages. Therefore, a player can be conceivably uprooted from any club at any stage and moved to a different club without consulting the player.In the renegotiating of the collective bargaining deal, the player’s union have sought to appease this situation by giving the players more power over their club movements. However, MLS commissioner Don Garber is refusing to back down over theissue and has reputed calls that the deal he is looking to put in place defies FIFA’s regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players, which states: “A contract between a professional and a club may only be terminated upon expiry of the term of the contract or by mutual agreement.”The MLS season commences on the 25th of March 2010 and this feud between both parties could possibly delay the start of the season. However, even if this situation is resolved, tensions could boil further as the Player’s Union seek address the salary cap imposed on MLS clubs, which restricts the amount that clubs can spend on wages.This is considered an even more contentious issue in some corners of America’s soccer scene, as some players playing first team football can be paid as little as $25,000 annually. A situation which sees some players having to resort to sharing small apartments with as many as four other teammates.On a final note the Badger will leave you mulling over a tad bit of controversy. At this point in time, the salary cap stands at $2.3m per annum however, the previously mentioned Don Garber is about to be offered a new four year contract to continue his role as commissioner on a yearly salary of $3m. Hypocrisy in abundance in the land of the free and underpaid.If you wish to view the salary information for every player plying their trade in MLS, it is freely available on the Player’s Union website.