Dissent within the Ranks

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Dissent within the Ranks


It was recently learnt that the French team is up in arms over the sending home of one of their team mates and as a result have refused to train for an upcoming game. The team’s performance has been very poor during this World Cup and if they don’t train in it eventually will probably get worse. Dissent in teams against their coaches is rare but it does happen and it can cause all sorts of problems for all those involved. Dissent can happen against coaches and against management. Authorities have been trying to stamp out dissent for years but it keeps on reappearing time and again.


Dissent within a team destroys team confidence, lowers motivation and messes up the power structure within a team. All sport’s team runs on discipline and a clear power structure with everybody accepting what the person on top says. That is the only way that a team can properly function. It has been witnessed numerous times that a team’s performance suffers because of some team members questioning what their coach or captain says. The same sort of thing was noticed in the current French national team playing at the World Cup.


The problem for the French started after their very poor run in this World Cup. The tension was mounting and the pressure got to some of the players. It specifically got to the French striker Nicolas Anelka who had a row with the French coach, Raymond Domenech. Apparently, the French star exchanged heated words with the coach and reportedly swore at him. The exact reasons for the outburst are not known but their poor performance in recent games could have triggered it. The French Football Federation (FFF) took swift action by sending the angry footballer home after his tirade against his coach. The FFF wanted to make an example out of Anelka and crush the dissent before it got too out of hand so they sent him packing. Well their plan backfired because the entire team decided to stand behind the penalised player and they refused to train. This has caused something of a stir within the French camp and has pitted the team on one side, the FFF and the coach on the other and fans left hanging somewhere in the middle of it all, (Guardian News and Media Ltd, 2010). This just shows how deadly team dissent can be and why a coach needs to keep his players in line and motivated. The coach has a big job on his hands in this situation.


This is not the first time that Domenech has been criticised for his coaching skills. In 2009 he was openly criticised by a member of the FFF for his strange decision making and team management. The coach is reportedly going to be replaced at the end of the French World Cup campaign due to his contract running out. Many people in France will breathe a sigh of relief when that does take place because he is not the most popular person leading the French national side at the moment.


This phenomenon of team dissent is not limited to the French team at the moment. There are stories coming out that the English team is also facing a similar issue with problems against their coach Fabio Capello. John Terry was at the centre of this fracas, with a meeting set up in which he was going to speak his mind about the coach’s poor performance which led to the team; performing very poorly. He was persuaded not to speak his mind by members of the coaching staff. Other players had wanted to let their feelings be known about what they felt were poor coaching decisions and poor team morale. The England team needs Capello to assert himself and take charge again to get his players in line so the team’s performance can improve and they can see themselves making the final 16. Otherwise it’ll be a long trip back to the UK for them.


It seems as if there is a direct correlation between team performance and dissent. But which comes first is not easily understood. It could be that a team’s performance is poor and they have challenged their leaders and a problem ensued which led to a collapse of the power structure. Or it could be that players were unhappy with their coach or the governing body and their decisions and that caused dissent which led to poor performance. Dissent is like a poison that needs to be stamped out amicably in any team and the management of teams are always working on ways to reduce it. Whatever the reasons though, these two teams need to get their camps in order and they need to start winning some games or they will find themselves watching the rest of the Cup on their sofas at home.


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