For many years Walter Broeckx has headed a team of experts writing for Untold on refereeing. In 2017 he took a long overdue sabbatical… until yesterday, events forced him to return to his subject…
13 Year On
By Walter Broeckx
In my match reports I promised myself at the start of the season that I would not write about the refs….except…when things get so blatant that I cannot ignore things anymore.
Ever since that terrible day of match 50 on 24 October 2004 when the current head of the PGMO made sure that our unbeaten run came to an end with the most biased refereeing in PL history, we have seen many more terrible decisions.
Indeed if we thought that match 50 from Riley was the end, we were wrong; it was in fact the start. Let me explain….
After such an extremely biased performance the people in charge of the referees in the Premier League should have removed Riley from the referee list. They didn’t, thus making it clear to anyone that doing what Riley did in match 50 was okay. In fact not although removing him was bad, that was not all they do for shortly after that, Riley became the head of the PL referees, and that let every ref in the country know that not only was there no punishment for bias against Arsenal, bias would be rewarded!
So is it any surprise that many refs since that day have taken the Riley blueprint as their own to make a good career as a referee in the PL? Of course not. For even if Riley today is thinking: “now wait a minute haven’t we gone a bit too far in this, I will call Oliver over for a good talk and tell him he has to stop his bias” how on earth can he bring this message to Oliver? Oliver is no fool and would surely say to Riley: “why should I stop it as I can see how far it has brought you?” Simply said, Riley has no authority to punish any referee after match 50.
Something that any sensible person would have realised after match 50, but still nobody stopped the forces that were unleashed on that day which put Riley in his current position. But being sensible is really not the personality trait you need at the top of the football pyramid. I think being corrupt is more the thing to be. Look at how things work in the institutions where there is a lot of money going round (FIFA – Uefa) goes. And as the PL is the richest league in the world…. well the chance of corruption is very, very, very big.
We have compiled referee reviews for many years. Some years with only Arsenal supporting referees. But also we did a season with referees supporting various teams. And to our amazement the year when we invited referees who supported other teams we found the highest bias numbers against Arsenal in our reviews! My fear that us Arsenal-supporting referees were too biased in favour of Arsenal were overturned by the findings of referees from other teams. The bias against Arsenal was big. And has been big for many years.
As I don’t have the time unfortunately to write full referee reviews at the moment I will try to do a short review this season in a way that is workable for me.
I will take the official PL table and call it the Mike Riley league table or the Match 50 league table.
And that is how it looks:
This is the league table as a result of Mike Riley and his crooked gang of referees.
Let us now take a quick look at the decisions that cost Arsenal points this season.
At Stoke : 3 to 4 clear penalties in favour of Arsenal not given. Some of the fouls were so clear that it took either a blind or… biased/crooked ref to not give them. Add to that a goal from Lacazette was ruled out for offside.
Somehow the TV companies in their haste to show how correct the assistant was showed a picture of the foot of Lacazette being 1-2 centimetres offside. That led them to ignore the fact that the shoulders of the Stoke player played the foot of Lacazette onside; but that was of no importance for them.
But even so if you cannot see it (and believe me the eye of an assistant could not have seen that his foot was excactly 1-2 cm offside then the advantage should be given to the striker anyhow. So final conclusion: At least 3 penalties not given and good goal ruled out. Arsenal robbed of 3 points.
Watford: A clear dive from a Watford striker was given as a penalty. And to add to that Deeney was offside when he challenged Cech who stopped a shot and bundled over our keeper, and so clearly interfered with play. So a non-existing penalty to Watford and an offside goal given to them. Final conclusion : Arsenal robbed of 3 points.
Manchester City: A penalty that I will call from now an OAAP. Or in full Only Against Arsenal Penalty. If you look at the penalty incidents in let us take the Stoke match and compare this with the penalty given to City you can only come to the conclusion that this was the softest of possible penalty fouls and this time it was given. Just as the Watford dive penalty was given. So a penalty that we never see given in favour of Arsenal so hence the new name: OAAP. Add to that the clear offside for the third goal and we see that City were gifted two goals. The day I see such penalties given in our favour I will come back and reverse my decision on the City penalty. I am pretty sure I will not have to come back to it as the chance of Arsenal getting such a penalty are close to 0 %. That is a zero yes. Final conclusion: Arsenal robbed of 1 point.
So this is how the league table reads for me:
|Pos||Club||Matches||Real Points||Riley Points|
This is how the PL table would look without Riley. This is how the PL should look if the powers in football would have done the only right thing the day after match 50. That right thing would have been thrown Riley out of football and for once and for all make it clear to refs that bias is not allowed. As I said the powers have now made it clear that being biased against Arsenal is no problem.
PS : If anyone wants to remark that team X, Y or Z has dropped points in this or that match: to be honest I couldn’t care. As I and our team have been the lone voices in this fight I think you should have been with us when we were fighting the battle FOR ALL THE TEAMS IN THE PL TO GET BETTER DECISION MAKING! Now I will only focus on Arsenal.
PPS : We will come back to this table when an update as required. Looking at it I think we will see a new entry in some 14 days time.
The 50th game
The referee review for Man U v Arsenal: The Ref Review from the Past
The 160 games
Last season a team of Untold readers reviewed the first 160 games played in the Premier League and provided video evidence of all the major decisions. The full details of what remains the largest independent piece of research into referee activity in the Premier League is available on this site on 160 games analysed.
Reviews by referees with no Arsenal connection
This ground breaking project is still available on line on Referee Decisions.
How even the PGMO’s favourite newspaper has finally turned away from running PGMO press releases and has started the long journey back to recognising reality