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'I'm not that stupid' - Holloway seeks to clarify Brexit claims over new handball rules

9:35 AM EDT 8/21/19
Former Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway
The former manager caused a stir with a statement made on air on Tuesday and has moved to quell the backlash

Ian Holloway has sought to clarify his controversial comments linking the introduction of the new handball rule to English football to the United Kingdom's impending exit from the European Union, stating that he is "not that stupid" to believe one is responsible for the other.

The former Queens Park Rangers and Blackpool manager raised eyebrows earlier this week when he appeared to make the claim that delivering Brexit will give back control to the FA to make their own rules.

In a statement made on Sky Sports' The Debate, the 56-year-old spoke of the arrival of the rule change in a manner that left many feeling as though he blamed the EU for implementing it.

Since attracting widespread criticism and mockery online, however, Holloway has now claimed in a fresh tirade that he did not link the two at all, and that he was using Brexit as a comparative metaphor for how FIFA and UEFA dictate regulations throughout the game, despite doubling down on similar comments.

“People don’t listen," he told the Mirror. "What I’ve said, and I can say it very clearly, is I’m sick and fed up of being told what to do by people who aren’t running our country.

“FIFA and UEFA have brought these rules in, they told us we’ve got to use VAR that I’ve got no problem with, but that handball rule that they’ve made up, I don’t want to listen to them. That’s nonsensical.

“It’s just in the same way that I’m sick and fed up of us in the UK being told what to do by the EU.

“Brexit is nothing to do with the football rules, is it? I’m not that stupid, so I suggest people wash their ears out and listen.

“What I’m saying is, as an English person, I’m sick and fed up of being told what we’ve got to do. Our country is fantastic. If you let us make our own rules up, do what we want to do, we’ll be in control of it a lot better.

“I don’t like UEFA and I don’t like FIFA telling us what we should do in our English football game. We should take control of our own game, then that wouldn’t have happened.

“We should give the referee an earpiece, so he can explain to the crowd what’s happened with VAR, and we should get rid of that handball rule when you’re checking for goals. It’s unfair and it doesn’t sit well in football."

Holloway went on to claim that he feels Brexit should be a springboard for English football to have autonomy to dictate its own rules away from FIFA and UEFA.

“As for Brexit, that’s totally different," he added. "All I’m saying is I’m sick and fed up of our Prime Minister and other parties arguing over something we (Leave voters) all voted for and we all want them to produce for us, whether it’s a no deal or not. That’s what I’m sick and fed up with.

“Let’s get out and stop the EU dictating to us what we can do. I feel exactly the same with UEFA and FIFA over our football - I think the English FA should have more power and we should believe in ourselves, and I believe the EFL should have more power rather than the Premier League telling them what to do.

“People who listen, I would suggest they actually listen to all of it and stop going off on a tangent.

“I know exactly what I meant and what I said. I’m sick and fed up, like a lot of people in this country, of being told what to do by people outside our country. In politics, and in football, particularly with UEFA and FIFA changing the rules.”