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Fifa say the Premier League could be fixed and appoint ex-Interpol man to investigate

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By Tony Attwood

Next month Fifa starts up a telephone hotline for  players and officials who come forward with evidence of match fixing.   Everyone who does come forward will be guaranteed immunity.

Now before we get too excited by this we must remember this is Fifa we are talking about, but there’s one little chink of light that has emerged from the inevitable razzmatazz that all announcements from Fifa bring.

The Fifa chief of security is Chris Eaton,  who recently said that no where in football is immune from match fixing… and he said even the Premier League could be exposed to it.

Mr Eaton worked previously for Interpol and in an interview with CNN he said, “No league, not even the Champions League or English Premier League, is immune to the problem and that corruption affects every level of the game. But it is not something Fifa alone can solve and governments across the world need to work together to fight back.

“We are very concerned about the safety of players and officials.  There is anecdotal evidence that some players have been killed. We have evidence of players in South Korea committing suicide because of the shame of match-fixing. There are players who pay the ultimate price for resisting or for the shame of match-fixing.

“We certainly have information in some parts of the world of threats to players and most have indicated they are under some form of threat. Often these players are under the control of a senior player, or captain, or technical coach, and these are the people we need to support.”

I suppose that any awareness in Fifa that games are fixed is helpful, but I fear that Mr Eaton’s investigations could possibly do more harm than good.

The focus on match fixing by official bodies has always been to do with people outside football – the gamblers – affecting results for their immediate benefit.

But the biggest match fixing saga of all was not (and since there is some evidence that it is still going on, is not) like that at all.  It is not gambling match fixing but match fixing from within so that individual clubs can win more trophies.

At the heart of the Italian saga where the story evolved, were people like Luciano Moggi the Juve boss who had  conversations with officials in Italian football to influence which referee got which game.  The system (“Calciopoli” as it was called – Bribesville as it is translated in some quarters) did not mean that matches were fixed to produce a set score, knowledge of which could be used in gambling, but rather that favours were given by a variety of clubs to certain refs over time, and these refs edged games in favour of the clubs using the system. Juve, Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, Reggina were all ultimately found guilty.

The system was hard to track down simply because it had little to do with gambling.  The key approach to stopping match fixing in most of Europe involves waiting for the bookies to cry out that there have been “unusual betting patterns”, and then the investigation follows.  Here there is no such activity, and because there is no other system to track down an English Bribesville, nothing happens.

To see if this is happening here we have been running three sets of stories

1: The pre-match analysis by Dogface to see if there is bias in referees which can be shown by their earlier matches, and therefore predicted.  The answer is yes there is, and yes the prediction can be made.

2: An analysis of the referees’ performances match after match in the Premier League counting the number of errors made, and looking to see if the old “it all balances out in the end” story is true, or if there is systematic bias across games.   The answer is clearly that it doesn’t all balance out, and there is consistent and clear bias.

3: An analysis of the activities of PGMOL, the organisation that runs the referees’ services for the Premier League.   What this shows is that they are taking decisions which range from the odd to the downright bizarre without explanation or clarity of purpose.

Put all three together and you can see something is not right.

My view, for what it is worth, is that all three analyses can only be explained if we look for a background set of forces influencing what is happening, and in this regard what happened in Italy is the most obvious model.

I postulate that there are at least three Premier League clubs whose officials are in collusion with some individual referees, and who have influence over the way referees are selected and marked.

Each of these clubs is offering “Calciopoli” rewards to refs in return for helping their clubs win games.   Plus (and this is the clever bit) they are also offering bribes to sway the results against their top rivals.

So Club A – a big time club with a long history of success – bribes a number of referees to sway matches in its favour when the club plays smaller teams near the bottom of the league.

But Club A also bribes referees to sway matches against some of its top rivals – other clubs who might also expect to be in the top four in the League but who are not involved in bribery.

Thus for example a club like Arsenal with no involvement in the Calciopoli activities might find decisions going against it in matches against minor teams like for example Fulham.  Fulham didn’t bribe the ref.  Obviously Asrenal didn’t bribe the ref.  But it is possible that another top team is saying, “when you come to Arsenal games, just make sure they don’t win”.

That is already getting to be a complicated scenario – but imagine now it is replicated by at least three teams talking in this way to referees.  Then you see how complex it gets.

Clearly the notion of whistle blowers and immunity as proposed by Fifa is good – but I have a doubt here.  The activities of the referees’ association in having so few referees and in having virtually none from the south of England, and of allowing a far lower level of accuracy to prevail than happens in other countries, all makes the current situation suspicious.

And yet the referees association will not allow any open discussion on their activities.  Indeed as we know from a recent report by Walter, rather than opening up to more discussion they have refused our request for information and ultimately taken their own web site down.

It would be nice if Chris Eaton came out and said he was looking at the irregular refereeing performances in the Premier League rather than just irregular betting panels.  But until he does, I don’t think we have too much hope of anything being uncovered.

Worse, if he says he can find “no evidence” of referee bias when in fact he has not been looking for it, then we are in a worse place than when we started.

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Current research

Many refs make one wrong call every 10 minutes. Part 1 of our new enquiry.

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Stories from our earlier enquiries

A history of corruption in English football

Early corruption stories

Is there a link between penalties and possession?

Half the penalties in Arsenal games were wrongly given this season!  Shocking statistics from Untold Arsenal’s review of the last 10 months.

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The referee match fixing saga:  the 2010/11 season summarised

The 10% bias – how refs fix the odds against Arsenal, and who is to blame.

The overall performance of each individual ref this season – and is the Untold ref analysis biased?

The bias and “errors” of refs does NOT even out over the season

Why does the quality of the refereeing get worse as the season goes on?  Part 5 of the whole year analysis.

The conclusion: a final word on the refereeing of 2010/11

45 comments to Fifa say the Premier League could be fixed and appoint ex-Interpol man to investigate

  • ajibola

    You are soliciting for the help of government in combating march fixing, this same fifa said government should not get involve in football. So why are you now seeking the cooperation or assistance of someone you asked not to involve. You cannot eat your cake and have it.

  • jitty

    Of course if people have inside knowledge of results, then they will trade it – as still happens in Italy during and since Calciopoli.

    What makes the UK situation so hard to unravel is not the lack of gambling fixes, but the presence of multiple fixing templates.

    In a corrupt industry lacking transparency, you will not find one scam in favour of one organisation.

    Instead you will find a complex web of scams as everyone is on the make.

    So we might see scams around Portsmouth, Brum and Blackburn, that have nothing to do with possible titling in favour of Man U

    Similarly Man U might itself be scammed when playing against Martin Atkinson @ Chelsea 😉

  • jitty

    Edit: Declan Hill wrote a great blog about the kinds of behaviours you are likely to see in a corrupt industry here (in relation to Turkey)

    http://www.howtofixasoccergame.com/blog/?p=200

  • Ajibola – no one involved with Untold Arsenal has asked government or Fifa to be involved in sorting out the match fixing scandals. I am merely commenting that Fifa has appointed a man to look into it, and he has said that the Premier League should not consider itself immune.

  • As always it’s not as simple as all that… for those paying attention one of the key factors for a ref/player having a ‘bad day’ is the amount of money on the match i.e. the black market liquidity in Asia and also the ‘legit’ Euro bookies such as SkyBet.

    Pause for a moment to consider the conflicts of interest that the main sponsor of the EPL might have when running a book on it?

    You with me yet?

    Anyhoo – the scheduling of matches will put enormous pressure on those who can be leant on to get the right result… therefore, for a top team, 3pm Saturday is the best time to play – if you are a shit team playing a good team then you will have a considerable ‘leg up’ simply by getting the last game of the day on a Super Sunday.

    How are these matches scheduled? Who does it? Is it random – or is the fixture list fixed?

    There is no one source of corruption, there is rather the rotting corpse that is the beautiful game being fought over by a pack of hyenas trying to muscle in on the lions that killed it and a flock of vultures circling overhead…

  • Mandy Dodd

    You are correct to say that FIFA are not best placed to deal with corruption, although the German FA are now making threatening noises in their direction if FIFA do not sort things out, possibly a powerful future ally?
    At least three EPL teams with officials in collusion with the refs / PGMOL – that is some statement and one hard to disagree with from what we are seeing. Almost as if the bias of these refs are known and are being used for whatever reasons, maybe some refs are profiting from their own bias, is that so far fetched? If you are going to make a fool of yourself as an official, why not make a bit extra for doing it?
    Arsenal are really up against it. Wenger recently said something to the effect that we do not get given the pens in London. Hinting at regional bias. Then there are other forces. I was at a legends function a while back and was told a few interesting things I asked about the Fergie Wenger dislike at the time. I was told Wenger made some off the cuff remark that everyone think they have the prettiest wife, quite a famous quote from him. Apparently for years, Fergie thought Wenger was actually disrespecting the scotsmans wife for years , and went all out against him in revenge, no doubt mobilising other managers, players and refs. I am told Fergie now realises Wenger meant no such thing, but a lot of damage was done, and maybe is still being done.
    Not sure what can be done about corruption here. In Italy, corruption seems everywhere, people often turn a blind eye at best. In the UK, corruption can be masked in supposedly respectable institutions and individuals, much harder to get at. It seems everywhere in sport, just this morning was reading with inerest the events surrounding the Amir Khan fight, where a guy with no official capacity was seen clearly interfering with judges. A rematch is now inevitable.
    I think the Wolves fans are on the right track, expose it to the world. In the meantime, until something is done, our players will have to put up with teams sent to kick us with impunity, knowing if they retaliate, they are off. They will have to put up with the booking of Song after 5 mins for a made up foul. And the non giving of pens, the numerous unpunished hadballs against us. They will have to put up with Webb against Utd, Dean against the Spuds, Probert when we are starting to do well but need stopping, and Dowd, against anyone vaguely northern

  • Brian Blogglesnap

    Does immunity granted by FIFA keep one out of a court of law?
    I think not, and the men in dark suits know where you work and live……
    Might attract a few retireees, but no current players I suspect. I hope it is however a genuine attempt, rather than a smoke screen.

  • Pat

    Very clear article Tony. The parallels between what happened in Italy and what could be happening here are well drawn. Thanks for that.

  • DC

    Fascinating stuff! If it’s true then it’s certainly a step in the right direction!
    It’s almost unimaginable in the times that we now live in that a sport that revolves around vast sums of money can be clean; and the EPL certainly does revolve around more and more money regardless! How many people that currently work within the circus that is the Premiership have at sometime been anecdotally highlighted as “enjoying the odd flutter”?!
    Additionally, in order for any such investigation to be productive then a Leveson-type inquiry into the standards and ethics of English football journalism needs to also be had alongside! It is almost impossible for the hacks to not be parties in all of this and they should concomitantly be exposed; unless they really are highly incompetent and dumb to it all!

  • marcus

    “We are very concerned about the safety of players and officials. There is anecdotal evidence that some players have been killed. We have evidence of players in South Korea committing suicide because of the shame of match-fixing. There are players who pay the ultimate price for resisting or for the shame of match-fixing.”

    Makes you wonder really, given a recent high profile “suicide”
    (I.E. maybe not a suicide at all, but a bumping-off….)

    My feeling is that once the rock is overturned, a lot of creepy crawlies will come out….and maybe a few worms too…

    I suspect that as the revelations start, the newspapers will jump on the bandwagon and start digging for every nugget, be it match-fixing or calpolicelli

  • Mandy Dodd

    And come out it will, there is money to be made in corruption but also ultimately money for journalists in exposing it. Imagine they viewing figures if say Panorama completely exposed a ref or top manager. I know they have aired this sort of thing before but I am talking about somebody linked to the EPL being completely nailed. It is only a matter of time, and then as you say, once the rock is overturned…..
    Trouble is once a ref/ player / manager does it once, he is snared. Such people will have too much to lose in spilling the beans, and a lot to gain in keeping the status quo. I think it will take some sort of undercover operation to really out it, rather than confessions of the guilty
    In the meantime, just hope the likes of Wenger and Ivan are putting pressure on the PGMOL, in the way Kenny did earlier in the season

  • marcus

    I think the amnesty is a real incentive actually.

    I think it is quite possible that a ref gets snared at the nudge nudge cough cough level, and then finds it all slowly escalating.

    I can easily see someone breaking cover.

    I suspect also there is a widespread acknowledgement of what goes on; I suspect within the game everyone knows the score.

    If as a player you are earning 200k a month, or have the incentive to do so, why rock the boat?

    When players like Hartson tell Wenger not to complain too much, I suggest they are saying it primarily in his best interests..God Speed and all that

  • DaVinci

    Chris Eaton is using a tactical approach. From his days at the Interpol, he sure knows where to start. By first targeting the smaller groups that feed of the larger crime, FIFA would be able to build a body of evidence that would be used to present a case for action by the PGMOL. Better still, if PGMOL knows that its scheme will soon or later be exposed, it would start some internal corrective measures (best case scenario), or try to cover its tracks (likely scenario) – thereby exposing itself further that something is/was not right in the first place. The trick in this approach by FIFA is exerting implicit pressure on PGMOL. Someone is going to crack soon – and when one talks – the whole can of worms will be open.

  • bob

    Please, for clarification sake: (in reverse order of comment:)
    @ Marcus: what did Hartson say when? Any link to it?
    @ Mandy Dodd: why do you think the Panorama expose was nearly totally ignored by the media after it aired?
    @ Marcus: in light of the media ignoring the documentary expose on the MU bloke, what makes you so sure the jorno’s would jump on anything that blemishes?
    @ DC: when you say hacks, do you mean jornos or presenters or pundits or tv/radio opiners or all? any specific ones come to mind?
    @ Brian Blogglesnap: fifa offers the possibility of video goal line technology as a diversion from complete video replay. What makes you “suspect” that this initiative is not a similar diversion that appears earnest to appease those who smell the stench, but, in the end, be looking in the wrong place? I surely dunno. But what makes you suspect that it’s an honest effort?
    @ Mandy Dodd: just to ask, the refs aside, isn’t the EPL diluted enough in players and ownership to put the “E” in question? is Barclay’s not a transnational entity? is there something about the “E” in EPL that makes it more adept at concealment than Italy? (The C was well concealed to have flourished while it did, and who knows for how long)? In any case, it seemed a few articles ago here that the northern bias was nearly shown to be a northern gang that can reliably be put to good use and keep its boys on board and lips sealed. Does anyone know if there’s something parallel here with Calciopoli? (not that it need be parallel to be so).

  • Johnny Deigh

    The thing that irks me is that when a mediocre ref like Howard Webb gets an MBE title awarded to him by the British monarchy, then I feel he must be protected from very high up. Anyone trying to investigate Mr. Webb for example, would likely end up getting nowhere.

  • bob

    Johnny Deigh,
    Perhaps that is why the Webbmaster may feel some relative degree of autonomy in officiating the last big Manure defeat; or is MU really that inconsistent/bad this year? Perhaps his duty will be to “make amends” when it counts in the business end of the season? He appears neutral, now; but now will soon be then, and we shall see.

  • Yommex

    Is it just a coincidence that one of the clubs in contention for the title all of a sudden seem to always get someone dubiously sent off from the opposing side a few minutes after the commencement of the match allowing them to run up a cricket scoreline only for the card to be rescinded on appeal? The frequency is becoming alarming.

  • finsbury

    The interview with the FIFA offical on the BBC site was surreal(links were in the previous article, I think). A piece of work that Chris Morris and The Day Today team would have been proud of.

    You know what they say about great minds…Untold Arsenal and The Day Today. That’s high company indeed!

  • marcus

    @bob http://www.talksport.co.uk/sports-news/football/premier-league/1430/62/exclusive-hartson-wenger-should-stop-blaming-referees-arsenal-defeats

    @bob
    Once Interpol are involved, (albeit indirectly- but you can be sure Chris Eaton has his back covered), the Journos will feel an element of cover too.

    Without Interpol involved of course it would be very risky wouldn’t it. You wouldn’t expect normally Hytner or Martin Samuel to be investigating triads

  • marcus

    Apologies for linking this estimable site with a guttersnipe production Tony

  • bob

    marcus,
    Cheers for the link.
    The value, imo, of the link to what John Hartson has said on TalkShite is the MISQUOTING and I will say DELIBERATE MISQUOTING of Arsene Wenger by the writer Nick Rolston-Pike. He quotes Arsene as follows: Wenger said: “We had plenty of chances and didn’t take them. We had a very bad referee with the decisions against us and the two together, plus the fatigue, made the difference.” I may be wrong, and will gladly bow to anyone who can listen to the press conference again and actually hear Arsene say “We had a very bad referee” I could well be slated for not hearing these words, but I don’t hear them. Arsene is angry, but also cautious and walking a thin line to avoid precisely such a comment, methinks. But this “reporter” attributes this quote to him.

    To publish this in a somewhat “high profile” (if guttersnipe-friendly) venue like Talk-Shite is to wave a Red Flag to anger the bulls of Ref-Dumb and help instigate further animosity and cover for further calls/non-calls. Who is this Nick Rolston-Pike? Perhaps he and David Hytner are on speaking terms, shall we say…

  • kodjo

    It so bad that my 10 year old son prior to watching the Fulham game asked me if Probert was a good referee…..the rest is history

  • Mandy dodd

    Bob,, on the panorama program, yes it was ignored largely by the media, interesting to speculate as to why. I guess it named agents and suggested several managers would be open to taking bungs. If however someone was able to report more specifically, with enough evidence to name names of managers or officials actually match fixing, as opposed to taking bungs , which some may regard as old news, hopefully they would not be able to ignore it.
    Agree the epl is very diluted. I just think that so many naive people think it could not happen here. I speak on a daily basis to such people. They say we are nothing like Italy or turkey, hogwash! There is plenty of corruption here but maybe it is more easily covered up by a naive trust in the establishment, the regulators, the British sense of fair play, whatever that is? I think the British traditionally show a degree of deference to authority. For these reasons, maybe it , for a while, would be quite easy to match fix here, so many are saying it could not happen on these shores in our league?
    This article really is sobering. People are dying at the hands of these gangs. I remember the two Chinese students murdered in Newcastle, I remember the mysterious death of bob Woolmer, in the mind of some, not fully explained. I know there are some unpleasant forces in Italy who may or may not have been involved in the cal, but these Asian gangs thought to be involved in fixing sound like something else.
    Any jumped up ref who thinks football belongs to the working class cities of the north, as opposed to southern softies managed by frogs, who lets his opinion be known and strays into this sort of thing should be very worried indeed.

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd,
    Cheers, I appreciate your reply. Too true to be good, eh?

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd, Tony,
    Don’t you find it interesting that the FA did not charge Arsene for casting doubt on their so-called referee after Fulham? I haven’t seen any comment on that on this website. I mean here’s a golden opportunity for them to put a stake into AFC’s heart and – unlike UEFA after last season’s CL travesty – they don’t. Then there’s this announcement by FIFA, as your thoughtful article points out. Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice…

  • bob

    p.s. and, if Arsene actually said the “bad referee” quotation that the Nick Talk-Shite attributes to him, it would have given FA some – however dubious – grounds to slate him. But he didn’t say that phrase, I think. And, in either case (whether he saaid this or not), the announces it won’t take action (no explanation) on Arsene’s comments, and takes this decision not to act even as it is well aware that Chris Eaton is going to come forth with this announcement. That is, if Arsene were to have been slated by FIFA for casting aspersions on Probert, then Chris Eaton’s intervention might have been interpreted as (oh my god) having to do with Referees (which it does not, as you indicate); or they might have had to postpone any public announcement of looking into any possibility of corruption. In sum, Arsene’s public comments on Probert turned out to be untimely for FIFA going public with its anti-corruption stance. By letting Arsene’s comments go unpunished (not that they deserved to be punished), FIFA can disentangle its type of anti-corruption initiative from any link to referees.

  • bob

    very sorry, the above should read: “the FA announces it won’t take action…”

  • bob

    Tony,
    A Telephone hot line, you say?
    Does The Sun (and other like-mindeds) still have its phone-hacking gizmo at the ready? (as in lurking with intent) Would anyone interested in longevity be willing to use that hotline?

  • Anne

    I’d say that this FIFA hotline is a GREAT idea…. for the match fixers, at least…

    Just get someone corrupt working the phones, and you have an institutionalized early detection system for rats. The irony of FIFA officially establishing something like that is so perfect that it’s almost poetic, really… 🙂

  • Anne

    @Jitty:

    Have I told you before that I find all of your comments to be both highly interesting and highly informative? So thanks. And that Declan Hill link is really great too.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Anne,
    the match fixers could use that hotline to divert the attention of the investigators.

    let us say someone phones them and tells them the game between team A – Team B is a fix. the investigators look at that game and in the mean time the really fixed game between team C – team D goes unnoticed and under the radar for the investigators.

  • Anne

    @DC:

    In regards to your comment about journalist “hacks,” I found the following comment from Arsene during the pre-Leeds press conference to be interesting. Specifically, Arsene insinuated that the main reason there are so many transfer rumours surrounding Arsenal is because:

    “every agent who wants to sell his player links himself with Arsenal, most of the time.”

    The reason I found the comment so interesting was because it suggests, to me, that many football journalists must have relationships, to some extent, with player agents. But to how much of an extent, is the question?

    The answer to that question could potentially open a real can of worms with regard to the issue of corruption in football journalism….

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    Yes, that’s another way that the hotline could do more harm than good. In this case, assuming you have an honest person on the other end of the line. Sigh. Maybe we should start a secondary Untold hotline for people who want to blow the whistle on the FIFA hotline. I’ll volunteer to man the phones.

  • Donnyfan1

    Great debate and a good explanation for some statistically impossible facts!! But 2 questions. Is it not in the interests of the Premier League and Sat broadcasters for certain teams to be top dog- so there would be pressure from above to bend it that way- and we all know about ‘just following orders M’Lud’? And where do the Assessors fit in with this? They know what is going on but never break cover to spill the beans! There must be 50 staff, at least, involved.I find that sinister!

  • Mahdain

    now this is completely offtopic but have to share this as it is completely hilarious… $amir geting his from pool fans http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaNDKK_HGxY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  • Anne

    @bob:

    Just wanted to say, I enjoyed all of your comments on this article.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Tony – Who’d call this hotline?

    “Hello? Oh, hi! Is this the FIFA hotline? OK. I just called to inform you I’ve received over a million pounds in the past year to fix games, errr… My Profession? Errr… Well, I’m a ref. Yes.”

    Do you think that could ever happen?

    You’d better meet this new guy and show him your Untold evidence.

  • C4

    I’m troubled by statements like this from our ex-players:

    “Zamora’s a very clever player and if you’re clean through and then pulled back, clever players go down. You’ve seen Arsenal players like Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Robert Pires all go down under Wenger.

    “This is was what clever players do. If they are touched, if they’ve felt a little bit on the shoulder, they go down. It’s not cheating, it’s clever.”

    So now that Zamora’s been caught diving, it’s no longer diving, it’s being clever???
    Why didn’t I read anything like this during the Eduardo Celtic witch-hunt…

  • C4

    @Mahdain
    Hilarious video, but also sad in a way. Funny that this pops up after he was spotted at the Em’s.

  • bob

    cheers, Anne!
    (glad to know there’s a there here.)

  • finsbury

    For those who are not familiar with the reference I gave above, here is a clip of The Day Today from 1994. The birth of Alan Partdridge, sports plundit extraordinare:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gHorOt6KKw

  • DC

    @bob,
    I mean all of them (i.e. within the print, spoken and pictured media) and in particular those who we know to have great difficulty crediting and respecting Arsene for all that he has achieved over the past 7 years! These are usually the same individuals and organisations that very naively and simplistically comment repeatedly with incompetence that “Wenger should spend some money and sign a world-class player” and then contrive to influence our “world-class” players to leave the club; usually for money!
    @Anne,
    the constant linking of Arsenal with what appears to be every player on the planet by their Agent’s and/or the media, usually accompanied by the opinion of “that is the type of player Arsenal need” is entirely calculated and meant to further undermine the club wrt their current playing staff and any possible intentions they have, whilst at the same time increasing that player’s value! Furthermore, the media when it comes to Arsenal, because Arsenal FC do not officially comment on such rumours, are able to coordinate and contrive with agents with impunity and no accountability whatsoever! It’s quite unbelievable really why Arsenal fascinates so many of these people yet the other bigger clubs are left relatively untouched?!

  • DC

    @Anne,
    It’s a mutually beneficial and symbiotic relationship that the Agents and media have and the tastiest carcass is always Arsene and Arsenal! However, one does eventually stumble across worms” (or maggots) if one continually keeps feeding on such a delicacy!

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    You (plural) are assuming that the source of all the bullshit rumours isn’t our scouting network itself. We pragmatic Arsenal supporters know that certain other clubs will blow us out of the water if we get into an auction for a player. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that our scouts talk to journos off the record on a regular basis. On the subject of corruption, possibly some clubs owe us because we helped them get a transfer fee for a player they would have let go by duping another club into thinking we had an interest. Legal but not entirely straight.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    You could make a nice line in arguing nobbling in Arsenal-Barcelona last year, not to mention a rather dodgy Arsenal 2 Wigan 1 a few years ago.

    But that isn’t what this site wants to hear, is it??

    Suggest you think about it……….