Arsene Wenger's comments about the World Cup and teams who are finding success there are shocking but not surprising, says Philippe Auclair.
Arsene Wenger is working hand-in-hand with Gianni Infantino and FIFA.
Wenger was asked a bland question at a talk today in Qatar. He responded by emphasizing the value of being subservient to the prevailing narrative.
"When you go to the World Cup you know you are not to lose the first game. The teams that have experience with results in the former tournaments, like France, like England, they played like Brazil, they played well in the first game.
"And the teams as well who were mentally ready...the teams that had the mindset to focus on the competition and not on political demonstrations."
It's Wenger's suggestion that all the teams doing well in the World Cup are the ones who agree with it being there. He is conveniently ignoring the examples that disprove his logic, but such is the luxury of the wilfully ignorant. When the evidence doesn't fit what you want it to fit, you ignore it and focus on the evidence that does.
That's a self-fulfilling philosophy on life.
Philippe Auclair is a long-time French journalist who is very familiar with Wenger.
"It's a pretty shocking statement," Auclair answered.
"But I think it is in keeping with a part of Arsene's personality which is not sadly the most attractive. He has been a pundit for BEin Sport for a very long time. He's never had a problem with that. When he joined FIFA, he must have been aware of what kind of FIFA he was joining. And what kind of regime he was joining.
"He has been travelling across the whole world, all continents, with Gianni Infantino...giving him legitimacy.
"I think he knows perfectly well what is going on here."
Wenger spoke out of the blue about the political protests when asked a football question. His standing in the game as a great football mind has never really been tarnished, but only because he primarily works behind the scenes for FIFA. He is not an outward face of the organization.
But when he does speak up publically, it's to support Infantino. He did the same thing with the biennial World Cup idea.
"I don't think he cares. That's very sad to say that, but I really don't think he cares. For him, football has become something that is so consumed in its own essence that it can really genuinely live in a bubble...When it comes to football it's not a blindspot. He decides to become blind.
"He's been getting away with it for a very long time."
Auclair hopes to question Wenger in the future. But he also recognizes Wenger is a small scale problem compared to the more macro issue of perception.
"It's totally possible to enjoy the World Cup. Because the World Cup is the players and the fans. The players have been great, the fans have been fantastic. All the rest is rubbish. It should never have happened there. What happened because of the World Cup is god awful.
"We should be talking about it and not be afraid to talk about it. And talk again about it. But the problem is that when the tournament progresses, people fall victim to this very strange Stockholm syndrome.
"Excuse the parallel, but I'm sure that people had some lovely holidays in the Black Forest in Germany in 1938. It's totally possible to do that. And be perfectly aware of what is going on around you. And if you limit your own reading of a context to your own experience and you do not broaden your mind to see what is happening beyond that.
"If you don't realize that you can have a great World Cup. You will think that everything is great."
Brian Kerr on the last 16 of the World Cup.
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