Chelsea and Richards pillars apart in continental prestige

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The juxtaposition between Chelsea's heroic Champions League victory at Stamford Bridge and Sir Dave Richards' tragic misunderstanding of a game he's paid a baffling amount to oversea couldn't have been more apt last night, on an evening where English football was both celebrating and floundering on the big stage.

While the Blues combined courage and spirit with a streak of quality attached, Richards added another deplorable incident to his own personal back-catalogue of errors.

The saddest aspect of the behaviour of a man of Richards' position, is that it's an incident we've come too accustomed too. Lord Trisman's miss-timed bribery accusations in the lead up to the 2018 World Cup vote served as a warning that those installed in English football's prime roles are far from fit to serve.

You need only listen to Richards' comments as he took to the floor at a Sports Security conference in Qatar, to realise that he relishes the sound of his own voice.

The Football Association, for whom he is one of 12 board members, and The Premier League, for which he is the chairman, have both distanced themselves from Richards' presence at the conference let alone his comments as he campaigned for the sale of alcohol at the 2022 Qatar World Cup and accused FIFA and UEFA of stealing the game from English shores

"Sir Dave Richards is not representing the FA at this conference and his personal views are in no way shared or endorsed by the FA," an FA statement said.

"The FA greatly values its relationships with FIFA and UEFA, which it is working hard to strengthen."

The Premier League said: "Sir Dave is attending the conference in a private and personal capacity and his comments in no way reflect the views of the Premier League."

His employers have both hung him out to dry, and rightly so. For a man who has a habit of jumping ship when the going gets tough, it's about time he was the one being ostracised.

Remarkably, his treatment of Sheffield Wednesday was seemingly disregarded by the Premier League and The FA, when appointing him in his respective roles. In short, the Sheffield-born Richards left Wednesday in the lurch, with double relegation and near financial ruin firmly on the horizon.

Both parties must take some blame for allowing him to posses a position of such significance, not to mention granting him the opportunity to dent English football's relations with FIFA, severely affected by eventual unfounded accusations of corruption. It exposes yet again, that for all the criticism of the England football system on the pitch, administratively our country requires a radical overhaul.

As a recent FA report suggests, even our Government can't be trusted with that responsibility.

It's something of a catastrophe that Richards' words, which are unlikely to force a resignation, not least because of his £291,000-a-year salary, have overshadowed an evening where on the pitch, English football shone brightest.

Chelsea's comeback was the archetypical English performance. Plucky, fortuitous and for so long doomed to fail. In so many ways, it perfectly describes Richards' rise to the height of English football. Let's pray his reign of terror is swiftly cut short.

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