UEFA stop Racing Genk making a point

By | October 25, 2012

Yesterday, Ford announced that it would close its plant in Genk. Ford is by far the biggest employer in the area and 4,000 direct jobs will be lost, together with a further 6,000 indirect ones. That’s massive for a country the size of Belgium. The news has been met by incredulity and the media has been quick to blame the country’s politicians as well as Ford. La Libre Belgique called Belgium “a country of uncertainty” and cast doubts on the ability of politicians – of various flavours – to work together. The media’s message is that things can only get worse.
As for Racing Genk, the club wanted to show its support for the workers by having its players wear black armbands. UEFA said that was not possible. Genk President Herbert Houben said he did not know if that was because Ford is a major sponsor of the Champions League. The club has since asked the fans to wear black armbands tonight and there will be a formal show of support – by the players – at Genk’s match with Standard Liege next Wednesday.
On the pitch, Genk will be taking the match seriously and are likely to go with the team – including Jelle Vossen and Julien Gorius – that beat Beerschot 3-0 on Saturday. That result took Genk to third place in the league. Sporting Portugal have only won once in the league so far and have yet to score in the Europa League. Franky Vercauteren will take over the Portuguese club’s reins at the end of October and he’ll be there tonight. He was the toast of Anderlecht for years before being sacked as coach and eventually joining Genk where he won the title. He then made the dash for cash to Al Jazira but found that player power was quite strong in that neck of the woods.
Genk should certainly take the points but don’t expect many pictures of Genk fans celebrating. It would be great if the club went ahead and gave their players black armbands but that’s unlikely to happen – this is business after all.

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