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The Guardian guide to whether supporting your football club is ethical


FOOTBALL fans love nothing more than running their support past the Guardian to check they’re meeting its ethical standards. Where does your club stand?

Newcastle FC

Owned by Saudi Arabia, Newcastle have gone straight to the top of the thinking Islingtonian’s League of Evil and are beyond all redemption. The squad should cease playing, Eddie Howe should be ashamed of himself and all fans should immediately switch their support to Sunderland.

Verdict: Evil

Chelsea FC

Technically still owned by Putin’s London moneyman Roman Abramovich, but now under sanctions. Is supporting them backing Russia or championing the West’s uncompromising action against Putin? It’s a moral minefield. Unless you’re chanting Roman’s name during a silence for Ukraine. Then it isn’t.

Verdict: It’s a grey area

Manchester City FC

Owned by Abu Dhabi which has no democracy, imprisons critics of the regime, tortures prisoners, flogs adulterers, criminalises homosexuality and allows women no rights at all. But Pep Guardiola’s silky pressing style has revitalised English football and is a joy to watch, so it’s a tie.

Verdict: Human Rights 1-1 Aesthetics

Manchester United FC

Owned by rapacious American capitalists actually responsible for all the ills of the world if you think about it. However since their 2005 takeover moral standards in the Premier League have plummeted and United have stopped winning, so they’re now fine. Anyone supporting breakaway non-leaguers FC United is ordered to return.

Verdict: Better than the rest

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

Owned by China, who do human rights abuses and torture and censorship and all that evil stuff but aren’t currently the West’s key bad guys because we need iPhones. So you’re fine to support them now but be ready to abandon your lifelong commitment instantly when the Guardian publishes an editorial.

Verdict: Wait for our signal

Milton Keynes Dons FC

Owned by whoever, this club outraged football fans by moving Wimbledon FC and their underdog history 56 miles north. But is that really so bad in current liberal thinking? Is not Milton Keynes the true underdog? Was this not just the redistribution of London wealth to the provinces according to socialist principles?

Verdict: A+ rated by Amnesty International, clean bill of ethical health



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