Premier League Chairman Dave Richards Apologies for Accusations

March 15, 2012

Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards has apologised for his comments accusing FIFA an UEFA of stealing football from the English.

Richards endured a Wednesday to forget when he told an International Sport Security Conference in Qatar that the governing bodies ‘stole’ football from the English.

He later issued a statement to apologise and he has contacted both FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA chief Michel Platini.

“I would like to apologise for any offence caused,” Richards said in a statement. 

“It is important to clarify that I was expressing my personal views and not those of any organisation I represent.

“My comments on the heritage of the game were intended to be light-hearted. 

“They clearly have not come across in that way and I sincerely regret making them and any resulting negativity that may have been interpreted towards Fifa and Uefa. I will be writing to both organisations in these terms.”

Richards’ views were challenged by Fifa vice president Prince Ali Bin Hussein, who suggested that the Chinese had invented football, but the former Sheffield Wednesday chairman claimed that the English “own” the sport.

Richards’ day only got worse when, on his way to dinner in Doha, Qatar, where he was attending the International Sport Security Conference, he fell into a fountain pool. 

Richards was taken to a nearby hospital for checks and Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside, who was with him at the time, has rebuked claims that the Sheffield-born official had been drinking alcohol.

“I was on the way to dinner with Sir Dave at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha,” Gartside told the BBC

“We were walking across to our table in a dark courtyard area. There were three fountain areas nearby, no pool.

“They had switched off the lights. He thought he was stepping on to flat marble, but his foot went down into the water, he fell over and hurt his leg quite badly. Any suggestions he had a drink is nonsense. It’s a dry place.”

But Richards’ unfortunate day will not be forgotten after he also fell into a fountain while on his way to dinner at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha.

by Ismail Uddin