Showing posts with label Twitter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Twitter. Show all posts

Monday, January 30, 2017

When lies get out - a story of SJK and bullshit

It's human nature to exaggerate on a CV. Whether it's Joey Tribbiani claiming he can speak French, the youngster claiming that they really did get an A-Level in Klingon or just a slight dressing up around reasons for leaving a job - selling ones self is pretty common. Where it leads to genuine concern is when it is exposed as a lie, or at least doubted so heavily that it can't be trusted. This emerged as an issue in the relatively secluded sphere of Finnish football this weekend, as a result of some unsavoury circumstances.

The fine work of some dogged journalists (not just sports writers) has uncovered the appalling abuse committed by people acting as coaches, scouts and mentors in British football in the not too distant past. As a result, these men are slowly being arrested and victims gaining the courage to come forward. Alarming echoes of Jimmy Savile and Operation Yewtree. Yet the arrest of one such person this weekend has shone a light on 2015 Veikkausliiga champions SJK (Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho).

Michael "Kit" Carson is an Irishman who spent most of his career working at English clubs such as Norwich and Peterborough. He was arrested and bailed last week for historic sex abuse allegations. His LinkedIn profile shows his current employer as SJK with the job title of UK scout, along with his own soccer school company (which incidentally is down for maintenance).

Lari Paski, SJK's media officer, told me that Carson had a consulting role with the club in 2012 but has never been employed as a coach or scout, and while he does have connections with current and former SJK staff, he is most definitely not on the payroll. More worryingly, Carson's connection with Finland goes back to the 1980s where he brought junior teams to Finland to compete in tournaments such as the Helsinki and Kokkola cups. Even SJK chairman Raimo Sarajärvi has had to come out with a similar statement, while admitting "I find it hard to believe, how can we know what dark sides humans have - I hope it's not true".

It goes back to the original point - we all know someone who claimed to be on the books at Arsenal, or whose uncle was a scout for Chelsea. Essentially it's harmless fun, especially when you see the state of most football scouts, nursing a team sheet on a cold Thursday at Motspur Park, getting paid in mileage in the hope that they discover the next Lionel Messi to keep them in the game. Reading the Nowhere Men by Michael Calvin shows what a life it can be.

In a sport dominated by who you know, these claims need to be tested more than ever. No more so when the safeguarding of young boys and girls is the issue. No matter how often the world changes, people will still be lured in by the promise of signing for a famous club, giving prestige to the people in club jackets, floating around the local park with a jobbing League Two manager on speed dial. Even recently, I've seen a lot of nonsense from people who claimed to have scouted players as soon as that player signs for a team - Maximus Tainio signing for Tottenham a recent example.

We can't police the Internet, especially what people put in their Twitter bios and LinkedIn profiles. But we can call out the bullshitters. We can take claims of abuse seriously. We must not allow these predators the arena to work, making promises of stardom and glory, taking advantage of vulnerable young people, in an industry where football clubs strive to find them early.