Eamon Dunphy believes the vast amount of money that is pouring into the Premier League, and soccer’s failure to properly regulate itself, is responsible for a sick culture that continues to blight the sport.
Speaking on 2FM’s Game On, Dunphy was reflecting on the weekend’s Premier League action. And while he opined that a number of big clubs are in “transition” and that this year’s league is “far from vintage”, he fears for the direction that his beloved sport is going.
"Soccer is a sick sport, full of cheating, full of guys who won't play" - Eamon Dunphy
He referenced David Beckham following an interview the former England and Manchester United star gave to Time Magazine.
“Beckham said in an interview that he prefers rugby to soccer. His son was at Arsenal, but he's given up. He added that he doesn't want to be a pro and he's happy.
"If David Beckham, who is an icon in the sport, says he prefers rugby and is glad is son has stopped playing soccer, what does that say about our sport?"
Next season sees the start of new TV deal which will sees clubs in England’s top flight get even richer. From this, the RTÉ pundit envisages more of a disconnect between the clubs and their supporters.
"The Premier League brands are massive and are watched all over the world,” he said.
"Two hundred and forty countries now televise the league. In the end, the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich won't be able to live with the Premier League in terms of actual money and turnover.
"A salary cap should be brought in but what you have is an ocean of money and a lot of little men in boats riding the ocean.”
Quite tellingly, Dunphy added: “Soccer is a sick sport, full of cheating, full of guys who won't play. In a world where many people are suffering, these guys live in a bubble.
"A lot of them never leave the bubble. Even when they do and give interviews, they don't appear to know what's going on around him.
"There is something badly wrong with soccer. The culture is sick. An awful lot of ordinary people can't afford to go."
Dunphy looked to other codes as an example games should be run to benefit all stakeholders.
"Every sport needs to be regulated all the time. If you look at rugby and all the rule changes that have been made; the way that the IRFU have run the game in the professional age. If you look at other sports like golf and NFL, they are changing all the time.
"They are changing to enhance the product, to enhance the pleasure for those who watch the game. I don't think people get pleasure seeing overpaid cheats.
"The guy who blocked video analysis is Michel Platini. He won't allow reform that will revolutionise the game and stop cheating.
"FIFA regulate the world game. These are the people responsible for the state that football is in. They have turned a blind eye to what is happening on the pitch.”