Sparta Prague Learns There’s No Such Thing As Anonymity AnymoreBy: The Offside | February 10th, 2011
If there’s one thing FIFA doesn’t like, it’s healthy players skipping out on international meetings. Well, FIFA doesn’t like a lot of things, but that one’s high on the list.
Sparta Prague had three players too ill or injured to make their international treks this week, which would’ve gone completely unnoticed until they showed up on Zenit’s website after partaking in a club friendly, wearing different names on the back of their shirts.
Someone’s in trouble.
Sparta said strikers Vaclav Kadlec and Tomas Pekhart were ill with a virus and not able to play for the Czech Republic’s under-21 team at the Netherlands on Wednesday, while a knee injury ruled out Croatia defender Manuel Pamic from a friendly against the Czechs.
But all the three, using different names on their backs, played against Zenit St. Petersburg in Spain on Tuesday in a warmup for next week’s Europa League match against Liverpool.
Sparta’s misstepped on two simple truths:
i. Despite changing the names on the back of the shirt, people have certain identifying features such as tattoos and, you know, faces.
ii. In the age of the internet and accessible media, one cannot get away with jack.
Their argument is that they miraculously recovered in time for the friendlies, which would normally fall under the realm of we-know-you’re-lying-but-we-can’t-prove-it-so-we’ll-smile-roll-our-eyes-and-move-on. You know the move.
Problem is they tried to conceal their identities with the shirts of other players – Kadlec as Kadeřábkově (a fake identity, I believe) and Pamic as Podaný – which makes them look guilty, guilty, guilty, forgetting, of course, that Valcav Kadlec looks suspiciously like…Vaclav Kadlec. The same can be said for the other three.
And for their troubles, nothing would seem more fitting than having the three suspended for the Liverpool match. Cheaters never prosper – unless there’s a referee on your side, then cheaters always prosper – particularly with such poorly laid out schemes.