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Maybe it is wholly appropriate that the PL has a ref system different from all the rest

by Tony Attwood

Have we proven that there is something wrong with refereeing in this country?

It is a question that comes up each time further revelations are made about refereeing by Untold, and I had decided a little while ago not to go over the same old issues of “proof” again.  But two events made me change my mind.

One was my own experience in court as a defendant last month (and the fact that I am still here writing means that I wasn’t locked up as a result of the experience, undoubtedly to the frustration of the aaa and their fellow travellers).

The other was a speech made this past week by a man famed for his investigations into the Mafia.  It was widely reported in England, and stated that the UK is the most corrupt country in the world.

Together they made me reflect anew on the PGMO, and if you will stay with me for five minutes, I’ll explain how, and why, and where it got me.

My legal case involved a minor car accident in which my car scraped along the side of another car, while I was trying to get out the way of a giant articulated truck that was changing lanes without signalling, and was about the squash my low profile soft top car.  Under British law, the accident was my fault, even though in taking the action I avoided a much worse accident.

I admitted it was all my fault, exchanged details with the lady driver of the other car, and told my insurance company.  Then some months later I was told that the other driver claimed that she had suffered whiplash, plus massive damage to her car and items within her car.  My view was that this was impossible since the cars had slid past each other at 15 mph.

She pressed her claim (using a no-win-no-fee legal firm as I understand it) and so eventually we had our day in court.  Each of us had a barrister to speak for us, and our cases had each been prepared with the aid of a solicitor.  We took up a full day in court and so the costs of the whole affair mounted.  There were no independent witnesses, so it was my word against hers, backed up by the photos I took of my car (again just on my word that the pics were of my car after the accident) and the logic and consistency of our arguments when we each took the stand and gave evidence.

Logic and consistency of argument won the day.  There were no witnesses contradicting us, it was all a case of “what would a person in such circumstances be likely to do?”

In the end the judge awarded in my favour.  Then my side argued that the lady driver was deliberately trying to mislead the court throughout in order to get money out of me, and that her case made no sense: she didn’t act consistently as one might expect of a person who had the injuries she claimed and the damage she claimed.

The judge agreed with my description of events and I was awarded £5000 costs.  Unfortunately I don’t get that, as it goes to pay the court costs, my barrister, my solicitor etc. So it means the whole affair didn’t cost me anything.  It did cost her £5000, and since she was on a no-win, no-fee legal scheme, her legal team won’t pay her.  She didn’t win, she gets nothing.  Except a bill for £5000.  (Which I think is a warning to anyone approached by the people who sell no-win no-fee legal services.  If you lose, the costs to you can be large).

My point is that the arguments my barrister presented in court were of the same type as those Untold uses against PGMO.  We don’t have recordings of dodgy club owners bribing dodgy referees, just as I didn’t have any witnesses to the accident.  But it is still possible to draw conclusions as to what is likely.  If the lady had had the injuries she claimed surely the first thing she would have done was get to a hospital.  She went instead to a solicitor.  It was like that all the way through.

Same with PGMO.  My argument is, if one is trying to do everything above board why organise the PGMO in the same way that the Italian refereeing system was organised when it was corrupt.  Why not follow the approach of all other major leagues in Europe?  If there is nothing to hide, why be so secretive?  Why pay referees huge sums to stay quiet after retirement?

I also ask, why will the media not entertain this evidence and these questions?  Why instead do they simply run the same old “it is time to stop arguing about referees” stories without actually considering any of the evidence?

And thus we come to my second point, for I suddenly got an insight into this when I read the story in the Independent, the Telegraph, the Express, the Mail, the Guardian… which basically says.

Britain is the most corrupt country in the world.

The piece was based on a speech made by journalist Roberto Saviano, who is highly regarded as a man who has written exposés of the Mafia in books such as “Gomorrah” and ZeroZeroZero.  Rather unsurprisingly he now lives under police protection.

In his speech he said, “If I asked you what is the most corrupt place on Earth you might tell me well it’s Afghanistan, maybe Greece, Nigeria, the South of Italy and I will tell you it’s the UK.

“It’s not the bureaucracy, it’s not the police, it’s not the politics but what is corrupt is the financial capital. 90 per cent of the owners of capital in London have their headquarters offshore.

“Jersey and the Cayman’s are the access gates to criminal capital in Europe and the UK is the country that allows it.”

The Independent expanded on the theme commenting that, “Many of the criminal corporate activities within the City of London which have dominated the headlines over the past decade are not classified as corruption by Transparency International.

“Instead, the media and financial regulators refer to these institutionalised corporate crimes as “inappropriate conduct” or “mis-selling”.”

Now let’s pause there, because what Roberto Saviano said was that the media go along with the financial regulators in hiding this corruption by using words chosen to cover up what is going on.  He didn’t say why, but rather that this is the sort of thing that they do.  They go along with the status quo and use the language that the powers that be use, in order to hide what is going on.

So maybe I have been wrong to keep asking why the media will not investigate refereeing standards and organisation in England.  Maybe I should never have expected them to ask such questions anyway.   After all they never asked questions about why the FA kept on investing money which could have been spent on grass roots football, in bidding for a world cup.  And they insist on calling institutionalised corporate crimes “inappropriate conduct”.

The Guardian quoted further from Roberto Saviano’s speech saying, “Today, the criminal economy is bigger than the legal economy. Drug trafficking eclipses the revenue of oil firms. Cocaine is a £300bn-a-year business. Criminal capitalism is capitalism without rules. Mafia and organised crime does not abide by the rule of law – and most financial companies who reside offshore are exactly the same.”

And suddenly I thought, ok, if Roberto Saviano is right and Britain is corrupt from top to bottom, then we shouldn’t start from a position of presuming everything is ok, but from one of presuming that all things are corrupt and that the natural position of the press is to ignore this.

Of course if PGMO were a car crash, I think I might stand a chance in court by saying, “Why would anyone set up an organisation in a way that mimics an earlier organisation doing the same job but which was proven to be corrupt, when it is just as easy to set the organisation in a way that other countries use and which avoids the danger of corruption seeping in?”

But PGMO is not a car crash, it runs refereeing in a way similar to the way in which refereeing was run in Italy in 2003.  That doesn’t mean PGMO is corrupt, not that any of the referees are corrupt.  But it is always a valid question to ask why they do it this way, and why they are so secretive.

But then, if Britain is the most corrupt country in the world, well, its all just everyday, and what we might expect.


 

Recent Posts

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  • Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
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You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page


 

 

18 comments to Maybe it is wholly appropriate that the PL has a ref system different from all the rest

  • A good read, as always, but a sad one too.Though I was glad to hear that the “lady” got what was coming to her.

  • Usama Zaka

    I read the same article in the Independent this week, and wondered to myself that Tony might have something to write about it. And there we go, you did it. 🙂

    Its also good to know Tony that you won the case against the false charges place on you.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    It’s incredibly and astonishing to know that the UK harbours the most corrupt institutionalized financial institutions in the World.

    This is pathetic and unacceptable. More so as the UK is being looked upon by the developing countries as above been corrupt such as my country Nigeria whose officials were at one time been described by the British Priminister, Mr David Cameron “as fantastically corrupt” to many nations and people around the World, the UK is largely believed to be a nation where corruption and corrupt practices are not allowed and will not be condone by any sitting UK government in particular and the British society in general. But alas!, with these negative revelations, the contrary is the case.

    The big question now is, where do we turn to now to seek for a save haven nation who can be looked upon to provide exemplary leadership as a corruptless nation whose private and public attitudes in this regard can be adopted.

    What are the Premier League/the FA waiting for as they did not embraced the recently approved Fifa’s Video Referee Assistant(VRAs) pre-game dry trials, to which many Leagues and tournaments across the World which included the Germany Bundesliga have all ascribed to try it ahead of the official live trial of it in 2017?

    The transfer window is yet to open. But some top clubs which has included Arsenal have all been busy submitting their bids for their targets and some of them have already concluded 1 or 2 deals.

    Apart of the deal of Granit Xhaka which Arsenal have successfully put away, we’ve not heard of anymore deals Arsenal are trying to get concluded. And we all know and accepted that Arsenal need to sign 2? marquee strikers and a top quality CHB this summer. But 1 marquee striker will be accepted if there is no enough money to sign the 2. In this wise, let me repeat my requests to the Boss to seriously look at the possibilities of his signing Jamie Vardy, Avalro Morata and now the strong Monaco’s CHB Kalidou Koulibaly for Arsenal. Even if the Boss doesn’t or wouldn’t sign these particular 3 top quality players in the long run, a lower than their qualities should not be signed by him but a higher than the qualities will be a very welcome arrivals at Arsenal.

  • WalterBroeckx

    An excellent article Tony!
    The media is no longer out to report or get out the truth. That notion of the media has long been buried somewhere in the 60-70ties.
    I must say that I have a big distrust about all the media since the day I became an adult. I experienced myself how they had falsified a story I had seen with my own eyes. Not a big story but still they twisted and turned something and since then I don’t trust media.
    I only trust myself and what I see myself. That is why I don’t trust the PGMO by the way 😉 If I would believe the media I would have given up on the ref reviews all those years ago as they say all is right or it will even out. Rubbish!

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    It’s incredible and astonishing to know that the UK harbours the most corrupt institutionalized financial institutions in the World.

    This is pathetic and unacceptable. More so as the UK is being looked upon by the developing countries as above been corrupt such as my country Nigeria whose officials were at one time been described by the British Priminister, Mr David Cameron “as fantastically corrupt” to many nations and people around the World, the UK is largely believed to be a nation where corruption and corrupt practices are not allowed and will not be condone by any sitting UK government in particular and the British society in general. But alas!, with these negative revelations, the contrary is the case.

    The big question now is, where do we turn to now to seek for a save haven nation who can be looked upon to provide exemplary leadership as a corruptless nation whose private and public attitudes in this regard can be adopted.

    What are the Premier League/the FA waiting for as they did not embrace the recently approved Fifa’s Video Referee Assistant(VRAs) pre-game dry trials, to which many Leagues and tournaments across the World which included the Germany Bundesliga have all ascribed to try it ahead of the official live trial of it in 2017?

    The transfer window is yet to open. But some top clubs which has included Arsenal have all been busy submitting their bids for their targets and some of them have already concluded 1 or 2 deals.

    Apart of the deal of Granit Xhaka which Arsenal have successfully put away, we’ve not heard of anymore deals Arsenal are trying to get concluded. And we all know and accepted that Arsenal need to sign 2? marquee strikers and a top quality CHB this summer. But 1 marquee striker will be accepted if there is no enough money to sign the 2. In this wise, let me repeat my requests to the Boss to seriously look at the possibilities of his signing Jamie Vardy, Avalro Morata and now the strong Monaco’s CHB Kalidou Koulibaly for Arsenal. Even if the Boss doesn’t or wouldn’t sign these particular 3 top quality players in the long run, a lower than their qualities should not be signed by him but a higher than the qualities will be a very welcome arrivals at Arsenal.

  • Andy Mack

    In these times of the Brexit debate many false claims and horror stories are being told.
    A link to the article may help but my immediate thought is that the guy is trying to play down the major effect on Europe that our exit would cause. Having been involved in many international business transactions I am certain that we are not the most corrupt country in either number of people/companies involved, or in the actual amounts involved.
    I wouldn’t be surprised to find many of Tonys clients are HQd offshore and I’ve been involved with many that use the tax loopholes that are allowed by this. It doesn’t mean that any of them are corrupt or involve ‘dirty money’. The anti-corruption/money laundering rules in the City are very strict with potentially criminal penalties for anyone caught up in such things.
    Having said that there undoubtedly are a few that do sail close to the wind but most of the ones I’ve seen where mainly HQd in Luxemburg with a few others scattered across Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Africa …

  • Gord

    Potential criminal punishment is sort of like potentially pregnant. If nobody is ever convicted, there is no penalty. If nobody is ever charged, the statement is just a joke.

    Somebody at Exxon should be doing time for that oil platform problem in the Gulf of Mexico. Or more than 1 somebody. Somebody at Volkswagen should be doing time. Years, not 37 minutes.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Oga Tony, I think that lady must have later learnt that you owned a popular big Arsenal website that is bringing in money for you. And you are therefore likely to be in much money. Hence her attempt to reap you off some of your hard earned valuable cash by using the court. But unfortunately for her, she got more than her equal.

    Arsenal should sit up before it becomes late for her to do that, because the FA and the Pgmol are not likely going to change from their anti-Arsenal refereeing during this coming next season’s campaign across all the 3 domestic completions Arsenal will compete in.

    We don’t know who is going to be the elect club by the FA/Pgmol to win the Premier League title as Champions next season. Nonetheless, Arsenal should not take their going to win the BPL title next season for granted because it will certainly be a rat race Premier League title race that will mostly involved the defending Champions, Leicester and the elite clubs of Man U, Man C, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and of course Arsenal.

    Six clubs that will include Arsenal will fight to lift the BPL trophy at the end of next season. But since to win the PL has become by election in recent campaigns by the FA through the use of the Pgmol, no body knows whether Arsenal will be elected by them to win it next season or not.

    Notwithstanding if Arsenal are elected or not, Arsenal should play their cards safely by upgrading their squad with 4 new signings of, 2 top quality strikers, a top quality CHB and a top quality left back in my own view. These 4 signings will certainly equipped Arsenal to dethrown any purported elects the FA/Pgmol might want to elect other than Arsenal to win the BPL title next coming season.

  • bjtgooner

    A very good article. Glad your court case worked out ok Tony.

    The media have degenerated to a poor shadow of what they should be, but, in my view they are often being deliberately controlled to present stories in a certain way, or not present some very newsworthy stories at all. This includes current affairs, politics, international events, genocide (at present being carried out by a Nato member, but largely ignored by EU and US media) and unfortunately even sport.

    The incompetence (at best) of the FA and PGMO should certainly attract media interest, but apparently it does not – why no investigation and why no clamour for improvement within the sphere of responsibility of these organisations?

    But, sooner or later the lid will come off, or someone will make a mistake which cannot be concealed – then we may get an investigation – but the precedent in cases where there is much to hide is (often) that the investigation will be directed in such a way as to protect those who are really responsible.

  • Andy Mack

    Gord, people have been convicted. It just that they aren’t especially big issues/incidents so they get very little press, even in the specialist media.
    Really the regulations/controls in most (not all) ‘financial’ businesses are adding quite considerably to the customers costs whilst gaining very little safety.
    I’m not saying corruption doesn’t exist but it’s very minor compared to many countries.
    We are discussing ‘Illegal’ here, not clever use of regulatory / tax loopholes, which may not be correct but they are not illegal (which also happens in many many other countries.

    I would add that the Exxon issues would have been less likely to have happened if you and I were prepared to pay 5 times more for our fuel, Whilst VW wouldn’t have used their little emissions trick if they had genuinely thought that the emissions generated by their cars would make one Iota of difference to the levels of global pollution.

  • Pat

    Yes, Gord, but who decides what is illegal and what is legal? Why should it be legal for firms to avoid paying tax when public services in Britain are starved of cash and when people on much lower wages have no way of avoiding paying tax? And who decides what is corrupt and what is not?

  • Andy Mack

    Pat, you’re quite right but there are 2 main drivers for doing this;
    1) some of the stuff you buy would be more expensive (possibly much more) if every company didn’t make the best decisions from a ‘corporate’ perspective.
    2) some of the companies couldn’t compete with foreign competition without using these cost cutting loopholes which would lead to job losses in the UK.

    SOME not all and who should decide when these jobs disappear?

  • One look at the British Goverment tell’s you all you need about corruption in our country today. It’s starts from the top and the old boys network and runs down to corporate organisation’s, and it’s the poor in our society that suffer the most. I truly despair and I see little hope of it ever changing until the people have hit rock bottom and start fighting back. There are good people out there trying their level best to help people out but we need more so voices can be heard and who can stand up to the bullies( in my book that is what they are) and get media coverage to show more and more the plight of the working class and the sick and disabled, people living on the poverty line and having to use food banks in this day and age is a total disgrace. Never has the saying The rich get richer and the poor get poorer more true than it is right now in Britain. This nation is on the road to hell and I really don’t see a Knight in Shining Amour anywhere in sight.

  • Menace

    Oh Tony -terrible this whiplash when it gets the back pocket!!

    PGMO is a wonderful story waiting to make a best seller. Call it ‘Watching over the Chicken Coop’. Put some fictitious figures & rhyming names in and walk through a realistic season.

    Its licence to take the p out of the media, system and all the leeches.

  • omgarsenal

    Tony….the reality is that good people (politicians, civil servants, managers, professionals etc.) get into their professions hoping to do well for themselves and others but soon get bound up by greed, intimidation, laissez-faire attitudes, feelings of helplessness, temptations too strong to resist, love of excess power etc. and become minions of the 1% who control world finances. The so-called global economy is there for one purpose, to make money for the wealthy investors who loan out their cash to the banks, business, governments, authorities, etc. who make the laws and enforce them regardless of the consequences.
    The above sounds suspiciously like FUFA,EUFA and national FA’s where people who love the game got diverted from the participants and stakeholders( players,coaches, supporters, etc.)and into the hands of a few powerful, corrupted organisations and individuals, some political, some commercial, most international. The media is controlled and owned for the most part by the 1% and that means the truth is what they create, not what reality reflects! We can see the results in a general feeling of helplessness, indifference, distrust and ubiquitous anger/rage at government, authority, the power structure and current local, regional,national and international organisations.
    Don’t expect anything to change until we the people stand up and begin taking control locally.That implies that we need to ignore currentrestrictions,legal and beaucratic and begin to follow a higher moral law, like we did with our 100,000 strong petition against Dean. It didn’t have an effect but i believe it did rattle their cage. If we begin to agitate regularly for the auth orities to investigate the PIGMOB and the FA, like they did for FUFA and EUFA, there is a snowball effect that could engender some serious movement and pressure for change. If everyone who signed that Dean petition told their local MP that he or she MUST pay attention to Football issues, then things can and will change.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The fact that I’ve stopped reading the papers , or trawling news on the internet , as well as watching in on tv or listening it on the radio , probably makes me one of those who are not ‘wired’ or ‘connected ‘ . Not ‘in the groove’ as we used to say in our day !
    I have chosen to opt out the stupid rat race and keep my eyes on what in important – family , friends and my work. I really don’t lose my temper as I used to , not that some things don’t piss me off .But I have learned to step back , pause , take a deep breath and count to a million , before I respond !

    Corrupt governments , stupid officials , moronic politicians , brain washed public and petulant and ignorant youths all abound in my country . As probably as they do in yours .I avoid all discussions on religion and politics , and walk away when the morons take the stage .

    All we can do is to keep hold of our sanity and faith and do our very utmost to make a difference for the better . However little or insignificant it may seem at the time. To the person receiving it , it may be considered very profound or life saving .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Tony’s story of the false claims , reminded me of a true case told to me by the defendants’ ( An insurance company )lawyer , a friend of mine.
    The claimant had been involved in an accident that apparently caused him so much back pain , that he couldn’t work , drive or basically live a normal life.

    When the case was heard in court , the proceedings was heading heavily towards the claimant’s side. It really didn’t help my friend’s case at all , that the claimant, his lawyer and the presiding judge were of all of the same race .

    But he had his suspicion from the beginning that it was a fraudulent claim , but there was no proof. Just before the case got to its foregone conclusion , my friend asked the judge for a postponement , ostensibly so that he could consult his clients as to whether they were amicable to an early and out of court settlement .

    He gave broad hints of accepting the liability and that of settlement and that he only needed time to find out the quantum of the payout that he could be able negotiate . This postponement was granted and he went back to his clients and told them of his suspicions . His clients decided to hire an investigator to follow the claimant .
    And sure enough , the claimant , thinking that he had won the case , became careless and was photographed driving all over town , moving about freely and without any incumbrance and was even lifting heavy objects !

    Only thing I just cannot remember offhand is what happened to that smart aleck !

  • Mandy Dodd

    Quite incredible that a guy who has interviewed members of, and investigated the Naples Mafia (btw, Gomorrah is excellent) should say this about our UK. And, what is really incredible, it has taken someone serious so long to do so.
    The countries mentioned are certainly corrupt, but perhaps a more opportunist, transitory, anyone grabs what they can corruption.
    In the UK, it is deep rooted, and has been for a long time. It is rarely questioned, covered up, in fact those who question things are branded mad conspiracy theorists, in the past, they have been branded as something more serious.
    There is a lot of money to be made through the UK….as long as you play certain games. Creating media silence is one of them