Football is broken – that much isn't news. A sport whose showpiece event is heading to a country using indentured slaves, whose stadiums are being built with the bodies
Anyone who's paid the slightest bit of attention in the last...well, ever, knows that football is broken. But the reason we stay, the reason we keep coming back, and funnelling millions of pounds into the game every day, is because that daft, wonderful game that we played in the playground as kids – jumpers for goalposts and all that – has always felt retrievable. Just about within grasp, up on the high shelf that politics and
Maybe it's a hope born of naivety, maybe it's a wilful self-imposed blindness in order to preserve the enjoyment, but football has always felt fixable. Policies can be put in place, corrupt officials can be removed, real, actionable bans can be instituted.
Juventus' mini statement on Twitter on Thursday night felt like we crossed a point of no return.
"Cristiano Ronaldo has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus. The events allegedly dating back to almost 10 years ago do not change this opinion, which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion."
.@Cristiano Ronaldo has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus. 1/1— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) October 4, 2018
48 words, each more cowardly than the last, shouting for the world to hear – we don't care what Cristiano Ronaldo is accused of, because he is brilliant at football and playing for our club.
For balance, some other high-profile Ronaldo-associated organisations released their own comments on Thursday afternoon. Nike, for example, said:
The events allegedly dating back to almost 10 years ago do not change this opinion, which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion. 2/2— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) October 4, 2018
EA Sports: “We have seen the concerning report that details allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo. We are closely monitoring the situation, as we expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA's values.”
Football at times barely even acknowledges its female stars and fans. Juventus’ attitude is testament to how deep that disregard really is. Disappointed is not the word. Tired might be. https://t.co/7kmKSzfmLV— Niamh nic Iolracháin (@niamh_eg) October 4, 2018