UEFA and the affirmative action policy

Soccernet reported this yesterday;

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has laid the blame firmly at UEFA’s door for forcing him to leave Sami Hyypia out of his Champions League squad.

The Finland international is left to concentrate on the league

The Finland international is left to concentrate on the league

New rules brought into force this season state that each club must name at least eight home-grown players in their 25-man squad for the competition and the Finland international was left out to accommodate one such place.


At least four players must be produced from a club’s own Academy with the other places made up of players who have come through the youth system of other English clubs.

Liverpool only have Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher as first team members from their own Academy which meant they were forced to add Jay Spearing and Stephen Darby to their ‘A’ squad. Robbie Keane and Jermaine Pennant filled the second criteria but again they were forced to delve deeper within the club to make up the eight, Steven Irwin and Martin Kelly the players being named.

Now Benitez has hit back at UEFA for forcing him to name a weaker squad than is actually available to him. However, the rule was intended to encourage clubs to look to the home transfer market rather than flood a club with foreign imports and if this is the effect it may just have the desired results.

Benitez told the club’s official website: “Clearly I think it is a mistake. When you play in the Champions League, you need the best players you have on the pitch. It is not about where you are from, it is about the best players.

“I would understand if this rule came in for the Premier League, but not for the Champions League.

“It was really difficult decision, but we had to do it. With the rule saying that you need more or less eight British – or local – players in the squads, we needed to decide which three centre-backs to have for the Champions League. We now have four centre-backs who are good enough so they have to compete.

“And obviously it depends on the number of games we play and how we progress in the cup competitions too, so there could be a lot of games for many of our players.”

Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel joined Carragher as Benitez’s three central defenders in the squad in preference to the 34-year-old Finn.

I am confused. The West have always promoted meritocracy in all aspects of life. I guess there is nothing wrong with a little discrimination after all ey? Probably in the long run, it will benefit everyone ey?

All the best to Liverpool in tomorrow’s match against some team from Manchester. 

(Comments from the previous article will be moderated soon. Too many spam/foul comments received today. Please be patient yeah)  


26 thoughts on “UEFA and the affirmative action policy

  1. as salaamu alaikum

    I guess it’s the mentality of the local people here, that anything the kulit putih do, is okay, regardless if it smells of affirmative action or not. But heaven beware if the Malays do it. Sigh.

    Anyway, yeah I’m hoping the right Reds win tomorrow and those pretenders from the other side of the East Lancs Road get what they deserve. Nothing. 🙂


  2. what the hell?? Why and why in the world UEFA to introduce such regulations ? what were they thinking when they mooted the idea in the first place? just because england did not make it to the Final Round of Euro 2008 they started to change it now?

    this thing will only depromoted the competetiveness and deprived the glory and adrenaline rush of Champions League. CL will be less attractive only by looking at the lines up, and yet, chase to the ever glorified Champion League will never be the same anymore..

    hmm… such a disgrace for those who always champion for the meritocracy. aiyark~~


  3. There needs to be discrimination amongst races to reduce disparity in a multi-racial society? And how long was that UEFA rule in place? 50 years? How is international soccer in any way related to Malaysian politics? Am glad you’re an avid supporter of it. I thought you were different but apparently i was wrong.

    Cheap shot D grade article to justify discrimination in Malaysia Mr / Ms. Jebat. You could have done better. What’s worst is that you’ve categoritsed it under ‘Entertainment’? You’re blog’s off my RSS list because you’ve just lost 1 fan.

    JMD : I was waiting for a comment like this one to come about. Thank you for commenting. I believe you had not dive deeper into my sarcastic analysis after the said article. And I think you had not tried to relate the similarities of the players to the current situation we have here in Malaysia.

    Sami Hyypia is an employee of a football club. Same like any other players from Spain or England or Wales. He is given rights as a player in that football club. But in order to create the competitiveness of English players at national level, this positive discrimination is put in place THIS YEAR. As it is, it was to spearhead the development of local players so that they will be better off in the future.

    As the result, Sami Hyypia, a legitimate ‘citizen’ of Liverpool has to give way for the under-developed local players to better themselves. UEFA’s justification in this discrimination would be similar with Malaysia’s, only at a smaller magnitude.

    So there it is, international soccer’s similarities with Malaysian politics. I didn’t know this rule has been around for 50 years. If it is, then it is as old as the Article 153 of the Constitution. Another similarity there!

    As on how I categorise this article, it is entirely up to me isn’t it? To me, an article on sports could well be categorised as entertainment. Is sports not an entertainment? Hold your pants on and relax ok. It’s the weekend 🙂

    Thank you ex-fan for your previous visits. Too bad you could not stay any longer.


  4. Oh no! What’s going to happened to Arsenal!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    OK! OK!….We got Walcott,…..er…..Can we get Walcott to play in all positions??

    Quote from Wenger, ‘ I do not look at the player’s passport when i pick them’…


  5. Huh! Up United forever. ManU, of course lah. A fan since George Best’s days! Yer see what happens when yer ‘politicise’ football. All manner of colors get strewn onto the table.

    Macam2 ada, eh JMD. For some weird reason, even politics can be entertainment. Like the ‘dumb and dumber’ tactics by BN and PR respectively viz a viz Taiwan. ROTFLOL!

    JMD : May the best team wins Shar! 🙂


  6. I believe there is a big difference between affirmative action and discrimination.

    Discrimination as it is usually understood is always accompanied by prejudice and stereotyping. The prime motivation of a perpetrator in an act of discrimination is conditioned by hatred.

    Affirmative action is based on the need to correct social injustice and is not motivated by hatred or revenge.

    Much of the Western world (and to those who would prefer an Islamic slant to their argument) Quranic injunction of ethical behaviour rest on the premise of intent.

    The proponents of libertarian freedom will have you believe that individual at its most basic form is self made. Those that do not do well in life, fail because of their wilful refusal to apply themselves, thus their misery is self inflicted. So the argument goes that those that succeed deserve their material wealth. The social and economic inequality is the result of one’s making rather than something which is effected by surrounding conditions.

    However as Rawls persuasively argues that there are complex reasons that determines social and economic success, environmental and biological factors plays a part in one’s success. To believe that one creates success ex nihilo is just plain vanity.

    Social and economic inequality is essentially the lottery of life and not a reflection of metaphysical merit.


    Thank you for your tireless effort in defending affirmative action. It is quite a shame that politicians, apart from Tun Mahathir of course, are not able to articulate and defend the policy. It is as if they have been missing from Malaysia for the past 30 over years.

    It is a mixed feeling trying to discuss affirmative action. On the one hand it is a good feeling to read of confident Malays who want to compete on equal footing with the rest and on the other hand it is a bit disheartening that, in their haste to validate their success with their own innate talent they forgot about the Malays who for reasons described by Rawls are not able to compete without being given a handicap.

    JMD : A brilliant assessment again Lekiu. Thank you.


  7. Salam Bro JMD,
    Great articles dat connect sports to politics,..its d strategy dat matters,..heheh..wat can i say,..heheh..

    Power to d Mind.. i gess i’m not a towering Malay aftr all.. heheh..tc bro n keep on posting gud articles to educate non towering Malays like me,.. 😉


    JMD : Thank you bro.


  8. The Reds to win tonight, beating the Red Devils by 2-0.

    BTW, ToweringMalay just became SulkingMalay 😀
    Still the same narrow-minded and can’t broaden their thinking pattern.

    The rule sucks but for the great of future games, maybe we have to make some sacrifices.


  9. bro bila nak cover 3 ISA arrests to kat blog ni? nk opinion awak.

    JMD : To me RPK’s arrest was belated. RPK in his recent articles did suggest that he will be ISA-ed. He kept pushing the envelope with his instigation and writings. Although he wants to to be a matyr, with his court case due to be heard in October, he just want to have another notch under his belt.

    I think actually he knew subconsciously that whatever he writes will have severe repercussions (ISA). Nobody is above the law. I think over the months, RPK had became more arrogant. We can sense it in his writings. He was quite a humble man back in 2004 till 2007. His writings and interviews this year are smacked with egoistical nuances.

    Being bigheaded will not get you more support. Especially when you want to entice people to join your cause. Do we want people who deliberately cause chaos as part of the government? When their calling card is democracy and good governance, to act the complete opposite in order to obtain power really show how desperate and how terrible they will be if they are in power.

    DSAI, when he was the Finance Minister, was more powerful in that portfolio than any of his predecessors. When he started to think that the world owes him a favour, then whatever path he takes will be laden with questionable acts.

    As for Theresa Kok and the journalist, I do think that the police over reacted. Unless they have a good justification for it. Maybe we will know in a couple of days time.

    In my honest opinion, the one that should be ISA-ed is Kalimullah and a few of the 4th floor boys. Relinquishing the sovereignity of Malaysia tantamounts to treason against the country and the Agong.

    To me, Malaysia is not on the verge of being colonised. We are colonised!


  10. Real big men, ISA-ed 2 women is all I can say. Sorry, now from a swing voter I will not vote for BN. Its a roll of a dice with Anwar but at least better than BN who showed their true colours

    JMD : FYI, in 1987, Anwar was one of the main instigators that causes the Operasi Lalang. But as usual, he got away scots free. A few Umno leaders were not so lucky into being ISA-ed at that time. A highly popular Malay vernacular newspaper, Mingguan Watan, was banned by the government along with the Star. Sadly, Watan never recovered from the ban when it was uplifted. Anyway, BN should now take note that they will lose one vote in 2013.


  11. Reds 2 – Red Devil 1… 😀 just made my day… The best performance this season so far albeit without Torres, hope they can improved more after this. And hope DIC will finally buy over LFC, then buy out the Carlsbergs sponsorship. Can’t see myself buying the shirt with the beer label on it… 😀

    Agreed about the colonization bit though… and the act of treason of the 4th floor kids. What do we do with traitors??? 😀

    JMD : I was overjoyed with their victory. Excellent effort from the boys.


  12. arsenal fans need not worry as UEFA’s rule is not race based as Malaysia’s affirmative action championed by the host and his ardent followers. Any one coming through the youth system would meet the criteria. This should mean the fabregas’ and the velas’ coming through their youth system would be deemed compliant. In any case, a lesser known fact is that arsenal football club do produce many quality englishmen but due to the high demands of meritocracy where the players of all nationalities are allowed to compete against each other, these english players are unable to build a career at arsenal. They do however go on to have very successful careers at other clubs (note the bentleys, pennants, upsons etc). Through allowing everyone to compete without regard to their passports, Arsenal does produce a talent pool which benefits the country. And allowing this competition, when an englishman does break through (like walcott now and soon wilshere) their quality is undoubted. The UEFA rules will mean that naturally clubs will develop players who are compliant in terms of the rules and yet have the required quality. Hyppia is a short term victim. The system will correct itself and will be allowed to and the policy will become redundant (and it wont take 50 years due to the need to compete and to achieve rapid success).

    In Malaysia, affirmative action has been hijacked to fund the private jets and london homes of a few. The system is prevented from correcting itself even as the numbers of malays who can compete without an economic crutch increases. Qualified malays who can compete should they choose to (i would presume quite a few of your readers fall into that category) defend affirmative action (it is unclear whether it is for themselves or those who actually need it). Affirmative action has its place to remedy poverty and to ensure every child is given educational oppurtunity to better themselves. If the policy is skewered to say 60% of scholarships and funds are reserved for poor to lower middle class malays, no-one would or should complain since a bigger talent pool is for the good of the nation. Other races will still have ample oppurtunity.

    Instead of railing against malays (or anyone else for that matter) who advocate a meritocratic approach, all should work together to find an affirmative policy that eradicates poverty and educates our children (eg. all revenues from APs could be channelled to a central poverty eradication/education fund). Will the UMNO AP recipients agree? Will they choose to give up their Citation VII to feed or clothe or educate countless rural children? If not, is this the affirmative action that you defend?

    JMD : Thank you for commenting. I wholeheartedly agree on the abuse of the NEP policy. I have never said we should defend a policy that is self defeating. It is self defeating because some quarters have abused it. We need to tweak it a bit and change our mental state in order to be a strong society. But to abolish it immediately will have a knee jerk reaction and counter productive. It must be dismantled stages by stages and with tact. Please read my previous postings.

    Note that the UEFA discrimination is not race based. But it favours the British players. Meaning, the likes of fabregas and velas are not compliant. This is to make the local British players the chance to compete in a bigger stage which was monopolised by the foreign players at the club level. Sami Hyypia, the more experienced player, a former captain, and winner of numerous trophies with the club fell victim and had to give way to a much lesser and unknown players in order to bring up the level of local British players at par in the national level. In other words, thepolicy discriminate players in order to give opportunity to local players when there were no opportunities before.

    Is it fair to Hyypia and players like him? No. Is it good for the nation of England in the long haul? Yes. That was the poit of UEFA policy. Very much similar to the spirit of the NEP. Yes, when the players of each country is at par with one another in National level, I do foresee the policy will be abolished because to continue implementing it forever will be grossly unjust to the foreign players. Again, very much the same like my own sentiment with the NEP.

    I have an interesting story regarding the APs. In the late 70’s, to jumpstart the financial standing of the Malays, the Trade Minister at that time – TDM, created the AP system. AP business is the easiest way to alleviate one’s financial standing. Get an AP, import a car and sell it locally to get the profit. Easy right? The Malays will definitely benefit from it. But within the short span of weeks after this was implemented, the beneficiary Malays had abused the system. They would sell the APs to chinese businessmen for RM8K an AP (the rate at that time).

    The abuse became so rampant, that the chinese businessmen would simply wait outside the office of the Trade Minister and buy the AP as soon the Malay ingrate had the signed AP from TDM. Transactions were done right outside his office!

    Imagine how disappointed TDM was. It was his hope that when these Malays become rich, they will not require anymore help and their children will be better off too so that by 1990, the Malays can achieve the 30% wealth equity and the NEP can be ended with a bang.

    But no, these Malays, upon receiving quick buck by their chinese friends, returned after a few months, pockets empty after spending the money acquired, and ask TDM for more APs. TDM had no choice but to impose a stricter condition which was, each AP recipient need to have showrooms.

    He received a lot of flak from the recipients and most of them began to have pickets in front of his office! How dare TDM ask them to actually work in the AP business! They would have an easy life selling them as paper money. But now, they have to actually work? *gasp!*

    That was one of the mistakes made by TDM in his time. He could not believe the Malays would be so pampered and lazy. In other words, ‘harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi’. Over time, the AP business was tweaked and more serious Malay entrepreneurs were given the chance instead of the regular country bumpkins. Of course the intention was good. But the people have abused it. In the end, the real beneficiaries of the NEP were not the Malays, but the non Malays.

    Your view that this blog champions the affirmative action is only partly correct. Please read my previous articles to know my actual stand on the NEP. Thank you so much.

    Anyway, here was what Anwar Ibrahim said about the NEP :

    Anwar : Our NEP proved us right

    PETALING JAYA, Thurs. – Malaysia’s affirmative action aimed at fairer distribution of the nation’s wealth under the New Economic Policy (NEP) – long subjected to severe criticisms by Western countries, particularly the United States – has proven to be positively viable in the light of the bloody Los Angeles racial riots. Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today in the aftermath of the riots, the United States was beginning to talk about affirmative action, distributive justice and a concerned and caring society, actions already implemented in Malaysia. – NST (22 May 1992)


  13. I do beg to differ on the UEFA point…home grown does not mean british in the UEFA context last time I checked..it only means they have to go through the English club’s system…a player signed from the ivory coast at 15 and brought through the academy would still be home-grown for their purpose…british players will benefit by having to perform to a higher standard but there is no minimum british players’ requirement actually imposed…

    In relation to your AP story, I am unclear as to the conclusion you wish to arrive at (is it that non-malays are the ultimate beneficiaries of the AP system so therefore they are to blame for the system being abused? Not the AP holders who have a choice on what they do with the APs?) nor for the need for the reference to DSAI (we all know that he has done more than 1 about-turns given he has said he has changed – and whether he has or not, is something we may yet learn the answer to, sooner rather than later given the bumblings we are witnessing).

    Thank you for moderating.

    JMD : As for the AP story, the point I wished to drive then was the attitude of some of the Malays which had abused the privileges given to them. These kind of abuses gave the NEP a bad name today. The AP story was a fact.

    As for the DSAI reference, it should be pointed out again and again on his possible about turns in the future on any particluar issues which could serve his self interests. If you want to support him, by all means please do. But please be wary.

    Thank you for highlighting the mistake I made. I stand corrected.

    Here was the original intention of the said rule;

    Thank you again for commenting and reading this blog.


  14. I am always puzzled about Anwar’s lack of empathy towards the plight of prisoners.

    He spend several years in prison and yet upon his release he never said anything about alleviating the crowded prison, nothing about trying to find a way to allow prisoners, upon their release to integrate into society like being able to find employment, the plight of families whose sole breadwinner is impisoned, the effect of caning of the physical and emotional state of the convicts, the cause of why people lead a life of crime, etc.

    For a man who claims to champion the underprivileged, the “oppressed” and for a man who claims to be on a mission to deliver “justice”, his apparent lack of interest in the plight of the imprisoned and their families is puzzling.

    I suppose if the Government allow the prisoners to vote, they might be worth something to Anwar.

    JMD : As I said earlier, his priority is only to focus on issues that could ultimately serve his self interests.


  15. JMD,

    While I agree that the UEFA regulation seems affirmative, the governing body has an ulterior motive.

    When the English clubs were ruling the then European Cup from the late 70’s to the mid 80’s all it needed was an incident to put an end to the English ascendency in the tournament.

    The punishment banning ALL English clubs from the tounament arising from the Heysel incident for 5 years had its desired effect. It took the English clubs another 14 years to capture what is now the Champions League.

    Recent success of English clubs reaching the 4 of the last 4 finals and winning 2 of the finals required some intervention.

    With English clubs now making 3 of the 4 semi-finalists in the last instalment and a first all English final it was again time for affimative action.

    What more with big money investments from Russian, American and now Middle Eastern daddy warbucks luring top international players, the Continental clubs chances of success in the League will get more remote.

    The European governing body had always been apprehensive towards British albeit English success in the premier Euro club tournament.

    ***** Woohoo we did it last night. Oh what a joy! *****

    Best Regards

    JMD : 🙂 Excellent game indeed. My only complain was Robbie Keane’s missed chances.


  16. JMD,

    Heres hoping Robbie gets into the act soon:)

    Re: ISA Trio

    RPK should not have been sent to Kamunting. He should have been sent to Tanjong Rambutan. He has become a raving lunatic.

    Teresa Kok shares the same religion as me but as we have oft said when playing the race/religion card one must tread with care and caution.

    The Sin Chew journalist arrest was wholely unjustified and flies in the face of human logic and decency.

    And coming to the Home Minister’s explanation……. what the heck is going on?

    I mentioned before that elements within UMNO is destroying the party.

    See what I mean.

    Wittingly or unwittingly, knowingly or unknowingly, accidentally or deliberately.

    Lost credibility….again.



  17. Just to correct any misconception, I do not in fact support DSAI. I see him as a means to an end or a kick in the *** to wake some people up. I remain unsure what that end might turn out to be but I believe a system where we are not so dependent on politicians (politicians!!) requires that our other major institutions adopt the now-forgotten bersih cekap and amanah. Public confidence is almost non-existent in our institutions and this needs to be changed. I would have no qualms if UMNO/BN chose to remedy this situation (would save us the upheaval of a new government). It does not appear that they will. Many opportunities have been spurned. Quo Vadis BN/UMNO?

    JMD : Thank you for the comment.


  18. Here is my view. I think many foreigners (non kulit putih like us Malaysians) are getting fed up of seeing non kulit putih dominating the English League. When we crowd the mamak curry houses to watch the FA Cup matches on the large screens, we actually want to see our gods the kulit putih players. Tak syok to see kulit hitam only all over the pitch.

    Hence the decision by the kulit putih to make sure that at least eight players are local born may go some way towards satisfying popular non kulit putih demand in places like Malaysia.

    Bearing in mind that many English clubs have local born non kulit putih playing for them now, it means that once you are a Brit, they dont care about your colour in their selection. They are just restricting some of the imported non kulit putih.

    It will be a different story if they totally restrict all non kulit putih or allow the kulit putih to have a free freekick everytime a non kulit putih from the opposing team scores a goal.

    JMD : ???


  19. Salam JMD,

    Sad to say, many judge the NEP on the abuse carried out by the few greedy buggers without trying to understand the main purpose of the policy. They prefer to turn a blind eye on the then economic disparity in the name of equality or blatant capitalism actually. What equality if notably one whole race,despite forming the majority, is behind another in terms of economy and livelihood?

    To the ToweringMalay, you’re going to stop reading/discussing just because of one article that u don’t agree with? How tall are u again?

    Oh yeah, ManU forevarrr!!! ;P


  20. The West has not always promoted meiritocracy.

    Mind you, all of Europe is Socialist to a certain extent.

    I think you have too many assumptions about the West.

    What it DOES promote, is open discussion on whether affirmative action policies practiced are properly compensating for disadvantages experienced by the groups it is aimed at.

    In this case, the ruling is aimed at making the football prowess of a team more a function of its ability to buy players (i.e., how rich it is).

    You see, affirmative action is usually to compensate for factors beyond the control of the individual

    Take for example, the fact that urban children are statistically more likely to enter university, regardless of which country. Or that children of university graduates are more likely to enter university.

    These are factors beyond the control of the individual, and thus affirmative action can be used to correct that.

    If one wishes to impose this on the NEP, the NEP targeting people based on ethnicity explicitly asserts that all bumiputras are disadvantaged, when if we take an urban Malay son of university professors against rural Chinese son of a labourer, one gets a contrary picture.

    The promoters of free and unrestrained meritocracy are misguided. They are even misguided if they say the West practices it. After all, Asian immigrants, regardless of religion, benefit greatly from affirmative action in places like the UK.


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