Jürgen Klopp created a bit of a media storm last week before Liverpool faced Manchester City at Anfield. The German manager made comments, and not for the first time, about the unmatchable spending power of clubs that are owned by states for the purposes of sportswashing.
“What does Liverpool do? We cannot act like them. It is not possible. Not possible,” Klopp said of trying to compete with the financial power of Manchester City, Newcastle United, and Paris Saint Germain. “It is just clear, and again, you know the answer. There are three clubs in world football who can do what they want financially. It’s legal and everything, fine, but they can do what they want.”
The football world erupted with a flurry of responses to Klopp’s comments. They ranged from applauding the manager for his candor to foaming at the mouth with accusations of xenophobia. There were even some rumors that those in charge at City were contemplating legal action against Klopp.
The boss addressed the most extreme accusations of xenophobia in his press conference today.
“I don’t feel, in this specific case, I don’t feel it at all,” Klopp said of the allegation. “I know myself. And you cannot hit me with something which is miles away from my personality. If I was like this I would hate it. I would hate myself for being like this.
“I have said a lot of times things that were a little bit open for misunderstanding, I know that. It was not intentionally; just sometimes you say things and you think: ‘Oh my God, it can be interpreted like this!’ But this is not one of these moments.”
Fortunately, the Football Association, English football’s governing body, did not allow itself to be sucked into the sensationalistic and absurd reactions of those upset with the comments. According to the BBC, the FA have declined to pursue any sort of investigation into Klopp’s remarks.
The BBC report also included that there is a belief that the FA’s stance to not investigate is supported by anti-discrimination groups. Given the lack of any mention of race, ethnicity, or any other protected group in Klopp’s original comments, it’s quite obvious there was no xenophobia baked into them, making it virtually impossible to prove any claim of discrimination.
While this certainly won’t stop certain circles of the football world from using this saga to erroneously paint Klopp as a bigot, it does at least put to bed any lingering worries that he could face any official backlash or punishment from the FA.