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The culture of keeping everyone quiet, and paying for the FA’s after dinner drinks

By Tony Attwood

There is an episode of the Simpsons in which Lisa Simpson questions the validity of a school trip to the local slaughterhouse and meat processing factory, asking “why do we have to eat meat?”

Suddenly the scene moves to Principal Skinner’s office where a red light is flashing above the slogan “Danger: Independent Thinking Alert.”  The education staff rush in to shut Lisa up before the danger spreads.

Sometimes I think football is like this.   We know that the PGMOL issues gagging orders on referees when they retire, refuses to comment on any issue (like why there are so few referees in PGMOL), removes any criticism of itself on Wikipedia, and even shut down its own web site for fear it might say the wrong thing.

They recently took their fanatical secrecy to new levels by dealing severely with Referee Clattenburg after he drove away from a game on his own in order to get to a gig.

We also know that managers get fined and banned if they say “boo” to a referee.  For example on 2 February 2001 the FA having accused Mr Wenger with abusing a ref, found him not guilty, and then charged him for the costs of the hearing that found him not guilty.

Now it seems that the FA has expanded its thought control process by fining players for saying anything much on Twitter.

Rio Ferdinand recently got done for inappropriate tweeting – he was fined £25,000.  And for once (and please do make sure you are sitting down before you read on) I agree with Arry the Red.

Because Arry boy made a point of comparing what Rio said and  some of the two footed tackles that you see.

Proportion, sense of, none.

Now I am not condoning whatever it was that Ferdinand said, and I never condone and often object strongly to certain types of speech related to racism, homophobia and the like.  I’ve often railed against such things here (not that it has done any good apart from making me feel a little better and given me a sense of supreme moral superiority which lasts for about five minutes before I recover).

What Rio did (using a slang term for a promiscuous woman) was daft, and should not be condoned – but still, where is the sense of proportion in all this?  Ferdinand got fined more than some Eastern European countries have been fined for outbursts of pure racial hatred from the stands.

So it seems the FA has now added £350,000 in Twitter fines to its coffers, and clearly has a policy of using fines as a way of paying off the Wembley debt.  If one player from every affiliated team could be fined each month for two years the debt would be gone. Another two years we could start building proper community football grounds – although by then the FA would have noticed it had started raining and would probably use the money to build a retirement home for old FA buffers.  (That is a double f not a double g.  You can’t fine me for what I don’t write and anyway I am not within the reach of the Sweet FA).

Ferdinand has also been ordered to attend a series of one-to-one sessions on how to use the lingo proper with full stops, within four months.  The rumour that Arry’s running the grammar sessions has not yet been denied.

Of course the fining doesn’t do anything.  Ferdi was fined £45,000 in 2012 for endorsing a tweet referring to Ashley Cole in a derogatory fashion after the Cole character supported that well known liberal lefty John Terry who was accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.  It can make you weep sometimes.

And all the while the two footed tackles and career ending kicks go on.

Even A Cole can appear to be a victim in all this (which really does take some doing), after he was fined £90,000 in 2012 for calling the FA a “bunch of twats.”   That must have kept them in sherry and port for a couple of weeks.

I wonder if the FA would try and fine me for repeating it.  Twats is a highly offensive word, but then the FA is a highly offensive organisation that this is catastrophic negligence has caused the complete collapse of community football in England.  So by and large, and weighing up the evidence, giving due consideration to all concerned, and taking the middle ground, I’d say yes, the FA is a bunch of twats.

Even one of my local clubs, St Neots Town, had one of its officials (Mike Green) fined for tweeting a comment about the ref.  St Neots is a delightful, small town on the River Great Ouse (complete with cruising swans) with a great social centre and a football club that gets crowds of 300.  Green had to pay £50.

Now I don’t know what it is about St Neots, but David Deeney of the club also got done – although in his case it was (it seems to me) reasonable.  He was banned for eight games for threatening and discriminatory tweets.  On that one I would agree.  But the fines?  No, it is just a way of getting money.

Amazingly, and incredibly, in response to this one of the national dailies today has said that because the FA is a non-profit organisation the fines go back into the grass roots game.  No they don’t.  They go to pay the interest on the Wembley debt.  Even Sports England withdrew their funding of the FA’s work on grass roots football because they were so disgusted with the utter ineptitude of the FA.

Basically I like freedom of speech, and I’ve struggled to maintain it on this site over the years.  Yes, I know we’ve now banned lots of people from here, but then, we’re not a monopoly organisation like the FA or PGMOL – Untold is just another blog that you can take or leave.

Untold is more or less like a voluntary club – you don’t have to be here, and we don’t have to oblige you – and through that basic sort of rule most people who remain have a fairly jolly time and appreciate the hard work of Walter, Andrew, Don and the rest in keeping the site running.

It is interesting to me though just how the people who we do ban, don’t seem to get why they have banned, somehow assuming either that by hurling threats of physical violence at me, or calling me names they are actually going to encourage me to allow their posts onto the site.  I don’t think it works like that in life, and it sure doesn’t work like that here.

The fact is that Untold stops posts which are

  • Off topic
  • Nothing to do with what Untold is about and what Untold stands for.
  • Abusive
  • Illegal
  • Simply reciting points we’ve heard before, without any evidence and without being entertaining or informative

So to give an example, someone who writes in and says “Anyone who can’t see that we needed another defensive midfielder in the summer is a twat” is less likely to be published than someone who considers the points made here about the problems with finding the right player and the cost of bringing in the wrong player, and then constructs a coherent argument against that point.

But there’s another point, because to me, if someone runs a blog about chicken farming or hedge trimming, I would not expect a post from myself saying that chicken farming is wrong, or that hedge trimming is a sad occupation done by people who ought to get a life, to be published.  So I wouldn’t bother to write one.

What I certainly wouldn’t do is then start screaming in protest about my post not appearing, and that this act of non-publication showed what a bunch of wankers hedge trimmers are.  But that’s what we seem to get on Untold.

Mind you some of the stuff we delete is funny.  There are three guys (or one guy with three IP addresses) who write in and comment on the punctuation, the need for an extra space after a full stop, and the fact that an article has a misuse of the apostrophe in it – although they never quite point out why or where.  On cold rainy January nights when I’m editing Untold they give me a little warm glow of thinking yes, this is still England, and the nutters that have always been a part of our society and indeed still run our government, are out there, watching.

Untold Arsenal is here

48 comments to The culture of keeping everyone quiet, and paying for the FA’s after dinner drinks

  • Usama

    Nice Simpsons reference there. http://youtu.be/TGj7TIEMijA I believe its the same one.

    The case with Clattenburg is strange one. If he was banned why only specifically its the Premier League game, whereas he was allowed to officiate in the midweek League Cup game. (I am not saying the ban was right/wrong or whatever).

  • Patrick Harrington

    I think what you’ve failed to understand is that if you are employed by an organisation affiliated to the Football Association then you are bound by its rules and, just as importantly, its code of conduct.

    Rio Ferdinand is free to say whatever he wants. However, that does not give him carte blanche to bring the game into disrepute. It appears that these players are so stupid that they can’t grasp this. The FA is, effectively, fining these players and officials for being stupid. You can’t blame the FA if the players and officials aren’t capable of not learning by their mistakes.

  • Patrick Harrington

    @Usama

    He was banned by the PGMOL who oversee Premier League games. They have no jurisdiction over League Cup games which come under the rules of the Football League.

  • WalterBroeckx

    The FA acting like the ministry of thought and good manners 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    And I think for once Arry has a point. Players that kick their colleagues to pieces get nothing apart from a 3 match ban and a call up for the England team. Ferdinand saying something stupid on twitter gets the same ban and a fine….

    Yeah great job the FA is doing….. (sarcastic comment)

  • WalterBroeckx

    Being stupid is no crime. Well not where I live 😉 If it would be …. our national debt would be gone next week. 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think Brickfields could come up with a few things about this…. no pressure though… 😉

  • apo Armani

    Your article is spot on again and applies to all sectors where media is concerned. They (Media) have been given stringent guidelines as to what to report and furthermore HOW to report it (what spin to put on the issue covered).

    Its not only football…political and global news coverage is a damning example of how curtain people MUST KEEP QUIET.

    Then we have an apparent ‘blind man’ in the PL: “I’ve never ever seen a team that always gets poor decisions and in the same way I’ve never seen a team that they always get good decisions,” Martinez (Everton).

    He has “never seen”?????

  • apo Armani

    If we are waiting for the deaf and blind who hold key positions within our society to put things in order…we are in serious trouble!

  • apo Armani

    Absolutely no offense to the REAL people who suffer from these actual physical disabilities – the ones we are concerned about are the ‘apparently disabled’ from such disabilities.

  • Usama

    @Patrick Harrington

    Hmmm right.

  • finsbury

    Last year a member of the PGMOB mob breaks ranks, declines the secrecy payment, and publishes a book where he indicates clearly that as a PGMOL official he spoke to Alex Ferguson on the phone after a game on more then one occasion.

    Mark Halsey
    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/dirty-tackle/referee-mark-halsey-reveals-prohibited-friendly-relationship-sir-030633462–sow.html

    “I took matters in my own hands and rang Sir Alex asking him to speak out.
    “He agreed and used his Friday press conference to say he could not conceive of Mark saying such things. It helped the situation a great deal.
    “It took time to gain Sir Alex Ferguson’s respect but in the end we had a very good relationship.
    “One thing should be made clear about my relationship with Sir Alex.
    “I may have spoken to him a lot and shared texts but he knew when I crossed that white line there were no favours.
    “Players and managers would not respect you if you gave decisions based on friendship.”

    ‘It’s unclear how Ferguson would know that when Halsey “crossed that white line there were no favors” when he felt comfortable enough to ask Ferguson for a favor himself, which Ferguson carried out in a professional capacity during a Manchester United press conference.’

    Halsey was referring to the previous bizarre incident involving the Gazprom Fulham Franchise and Clattenburg, but what was most interesting for everyone else was his inference that he spoke with the Utd manager on more then one occasion.

  • finsbury

    Southampton have Atkinson Away at Hull.
    And Mike Jones has the keys for the West London derby game, which will be a hard game to referee!

    It’s all well and good having an all expenses paid trip to Amsterdam to stare at the low landers , but really those Dutch football people are only copying the tried and tested replay and challenges system and ideas from Field Hockey (again!), which we all saw used here in London and upon our viewing screens all over the world over two years ago now during the Olympics and since. Not forgetting the system that works well in the Rugby, a sport invented after football by people who didn’t have the skill to play football…you’d think the custodians of the game would be at least as interested in such things as those who are responsible for Rugby – apparently not!

    Our sweet sweet FA, there is no need to cross the water, field hockey matches are available to watch on YouTube 😉

  • Pete

    The whole thing stinks. All the referees are under huge pressure from clubs, managers, players, fans and other vested interests – some opaque. And some possibly in the hierarchy above them. It is also their livelihood.

    Don’s “moment of truth” with bells on!

  • apo Armani

    @finsbury

    both your comments (above) are well said:

    “his (Halsey’s) inference that he spoke with the Utd manager on more then one occasion.”

    O am sure they spoke ONLY about the best places for vacation in all those conversations – nothing to do with football and how one can assist the other – NOT.

    “Rugby, a sport invented after football by people who didn’t have the skill to play football”

    It seems as if the ones who “couldn’t play” with the round ball are more concerned (and have taken the right steps) of the fair and integrity side of sport – at least as far as officiating is concerned!

  • Menace

    The FA have shown yet again their total failure to get correct perspective in reacting to media. Rio was tweeting in a private capacity and just like Scud&more needed to be corrected. Rio has been over corrected and QPR totally innocent have lost the services of a paid employee. The FA can fine Rio but they cannot stop him earning a living. They did nothing to the Scud for his sexist comments that in real terms were far worse socially.

    The FA and its corrupt approach to the Game has run its course and needs to be replaced with a democratically appointed board. Football is in the hands of idiots who do not understand the Game but wollow in the glory of the money the Game attracts.

  • Menace

    Help! – sometime back someone posted a method of stopping embedded video in a window. I reset my browser. and lost my settings. Can you please point me to the post. Thanks

  • apo Armani

    @Menace
    October 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    “The FA and its corrupt approach to the Game has run its course and needs to be replaced with a democratically appointed board. Football is in the hands of idiots who do not understand the Game but wollow in the glory of the money the Game attracts.”

    Cant put it any better then that!

  • seydlitz

    what would happen if Rio did not pay the fine and explained that like all employees he has a right to profess a reasonable opion. should he take on the FA and go court like our own player Eastham.

  • Indeed seydlitz, progress in football has mostly been made by people taking big steps and challenging authority. Eastham, Bosman… they have fought against what they saw as being wrong, and have changed the regulations.

    Someone, somewhee, some day will take them on – but oh it seems a hell of a long time coming.

  • Patrick Harrington

    Hey seydlitz, your mother is a slag.*

    Not nice, eh? That’s what Rio did, in response to someone about a footballing matter, which is his profession and he is governed by the Football Association’s code of conduct. If the FA suspend his registration then he can’t play for any club affiliated to the FA.

    *I don’t really mean it, I don’t know your mother and I’m sure she’s a lovely person.

  • Patrick Harrington

    Tony

    Eastham & Bosman stood up for their basic rights to work, not to openly abuse people on social media. Please stop trying to excuse Ferdinand’s right to do this.

  • seydlitz

    it might not be nice or pleasant but sticks may break my bones but names may never hurt me! That is a children’s taunt, grown individuals should be intelligent enough to ignore such remarks.

  • Patrick Harrington

    Libel laws don’t work like that though.

  • seydlitz

    the point is is or she not a slag? who knows?

  • Quincy

    Who pays, directly or indirectly, the salaries of the FA employees? I suppose they reckon whithout the FA, or the PGMOL, football, footballers and football fans would not exist, unlike the rest of us who believe it is the other way around. Menace is correct, football needs to be run democratically. Why do we have such closed and secretive organisations like the FA, PGMOL, UEFA, FIFA, who believe they have the sole right to determine everything in football, and to hell with the clubs, the players and the fans? They are basically dictatorships.

    Thanks to Untold for more excellent journalism. You’ll never get this sort of analysis of the way football is run from any of the journalists or pundits out there. Very interesting details on how the FA and PGMOL operate.

  • Menace

    Football is the peoples game = let us take it back. I have no issue with associations or referees but I do not accept secret society run appointed officials with no freely elected control. Every fair system must have a responsible body overlooking its actions.

    Off topic – all this calorie control & alcohol health kick is so wrong. Alcohols calorific content burns fat and reduces weight. A cream cake will ensure you put on weight. If you take 2 pegs of neat alcohol 10 minutes before your evening meal, you will lose weight. The alcohol will burn fat (a natural metabolic process) in your body which your meal will not replace (unless you go straight to bed after your meal).

  • Nicky

    Tony,
    As soon as I read your mention of St Neots, I was reminded of the birth there of the UK’s first quads in 1935.
    The year Arsenal won the Div 1 Championship for the third consecutive season and Ted Drake scored 7 against Aston Villa (a record which still stands today).

  • seydlitz

    Freedom of speech also allows peaple to be insulted, the laws of libel are their to protect the rich. Rio may be at fault but the system is designed to to protect the establishment.

  • blacksheep63

    some of the grammar on these comments is awful. just saying….

  • Freddie Jeeves

    Perhaps the AAA should be banned by the club when they attack Arsene, Ivan & Stan on twitter.

  • Matt Clarke

    @Tony,
    re: http://untold-arsenal.com/archives/38728#comment-816124
    I keep on hoping that some football club will sue the FA/PGMO over the loss of revenue in regard to incorrect refereeing decisions.

    All we need is a club that has been defrauded quite severely; an owner with the clout to pull it off, and a rich body of evidence to support it all….hmmmm.

  • Patrick Harrington

    There are an awful lot of people commenting here who are plainly ignorant of the governance of football not only in England but throughout the world.

    If a football club sued the FA, the FA could simply expel them from their organisation. Who would they play then?

  • Matt Clarke

    Thank you Patrick for your highly enlightened comments. Clearly you are confused (like the FA) in thinking that they are above the law.

  • Patrick Harrington

    It is you that are confused Matt. The FA is a private organisation that can eject any of its members and order its other members to not play them.

    It’s the same with players. If Rio Ferdinand refused to pay his fine, the FA could ban him from playing until he does so.

  • Menace

    @Patrick Harrington – you are absolutely right about the FA being an organisation of members trying to eject while playing with other members!!

    A totally useless irresponsible bunch of money grabbing ………… what was that word Rio used?

  • Micheal Ram

    I think it’s about the ‘system’ that almost everyone lives in. Long story short, if you wanna be rich, successful and famous, you gotta be in and follow the ‘system’. However, a lot of people don’t realize there is a constant battle for control of the ‘system’. No matter who or how they are, the way to obtain control of the ‘system’ is APPARENTLY the same way the ‘system’ is being run by the successor of the ‘system’. The eventual person in charge of the ‘system’ will obtain maximum personal gain from the ‘system’ by abusing the very people in the ‘system’ and fucks it up big time in the end. Then, someone ‘new’, ‘fresh’ and ‘innocent’ will come along and the same circle goes on and on again. That’s why we have societies full of demonstration, divorces, conspiracy theories, greed, critics, war and etc. If there is an example of a person who went against the ‘system’ and was crucified is Jesus Christ. After centuries later, he is the son of God. I wonder what the world will think about Arsene Wenger centuries later.

  • Dear Patrick
    No one on this site is disagreeing with the Laws of the FA, its the way the FA governs the game on the whole. When there seems to be a disporportionate punishment handed out, with no real rational explaining why the punishment is greater than some other more serious offences, it brings into question the FA’s actions. I think most rational people like yourself will look at this as a abuse of power, and while the FA are answerable to no one. this can cause frustration and resentment. Yes there has to be proper rules, guidlines and a Governing Body, but not a Bully or Dictator

  • Patrick Harrington

    Benn E

    The rules are there for all to see before anyone enters the field of play and also misconduct off the pitch.

    What would be an appropriate punishment who has called a fan’s mother a whore? Think about it, here is an employee of an FA member that has just abused someone who contributes to the football industry in this country. What if every player did this?

    There is the bigger picture to consider.

  • Menace

    Which part of this bigger picture says abuse of a fan by Rio is less that Cantona physically attacking a fan whilst wearing Manchester United colours? United didn’t get fined anything. Their ambassador was seen to kick out at a fan and yet …..
    It is one law for some and another for Rio – as some say ‘is it coz I is black?’

    The FA is a dictatorial organisation with no common sense.

  • Patrick Harrington

    The fan did not abuse Ferdinand. Also, the fan is not an employee of a member of the Football Association so does not come under their jurisdiction.

    Imagine you own a company and one of your employees abuses a customer on social media. What do you do? Just shrug it off?

    As I said, there are a lot of people on here who are clueless.

  • Menace

    So Scudamore is exempt from everything? I’m not condoning what Rio did but I cannot see fairness & balance from the racist FA. I call them racist because of the way they treated Wenger after his spat with Pardew. Pardew is let off because of no evidence and Wengers fine stands despite no evidence.

  • Patrick Harrington

    What did Scudamore do?

  • Menace

    He is alleged to have sent sexist emails demeaning women. This is what was claimed ‘Rani Abraham is claiming sex discrimination and harassment over the sleazy messages she read between the league’s chief executive and his associates’. Here is a clip of a cover up ‘Sunday People columnist Carol McGiffin says a private joke not intended to be seen by anyone other than the recipient is nobody else’s business’.

    He is in office at the top and not tweeting but being ‘Jack the Lad’.

    @Patrick -I would suggest you keep up with this FA that bullies.

  • Menace

    @Patrick -http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/richard-scudamores-former-pa-malky-4095628

  • Patrick Harrington

    So, they were private messages that had nothing to do with football.

    Can you not see that this has totally different to what Ferdinand did?

  • Menace

    Nothing is private when it is done on business mail & time. There was a case to answer and the public were cheated of justice. You obviously feel Rio was worse than JT in his abuse because it was on twitter. Sexist comment is unacceptable from any person in sporting hierarchy.

    Racism is rife in football. Look at the Benteke incident Villa v Spurs. Three spurs players physically assault him. He holds off one of them who had threatened a head butt. The officials and media (all white) blame it on Benteke. You cannot retaliate!! You can defend yourself because if you don’t you will get hurt. But the black man gets a red card and the 3 Spurs players who manhandle Benteke after assaulting him get scott free. It is fair. The term fair is in itself colour prejudiced. Benteke should not have been sent off. There were tackles that were far worse physically than Bentekes hand on Masons face. In my opinion the PGMOL idiot did not consider the whole incident but went on advice in his ear from some faceless bigot.

  • Patrick Harrington

    And on that note I shall bail out of the conversation. We appear to have a new version of Godwin’s Law.