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13 years on: the match that has never stopped. Referee influence on match results

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:

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1  Manchester City 11 10 1 0 38 7 31 31
2  Manchester Utd 11 7 2 2 23 5 18 23
3  Tottenham Hotspur 11 7 2 2 20 7 13 23
4  Chelsea 11 7 1 3 19 10 9 22
5  Liverpool 11 5 4 2 21 17 4 19
6  Arsenal 11 6 1 4 20 16 4 19

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
1 Manchester City 11 29 31
2 Arsenal 11 26 19
3 Manchester United 11 23 23
4 Tottenham Hotspur 11 23 23
5 Chelsea 11 22 22
6 Liverpool 11 19 19

 

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.

Coming next

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

39 comments to 13 years on: the match that has never stopped. Referee influence on match results

  • ron de jonge

    Thanks for great article! I agree with your views. Arsenal is robbed week in week out. Its hard to take for every true fan. The off side goal from city is almost comical. The pen from the diving Sterling I can understand, for me it looked at least suspicious, but indeed: Arsenal will never have that benefit of the doubt. For me as a supporter it s satisfying to see that Arsenal can beat any team in the league. Proud of Arsenal, keep on fighting. COYG.

  • ron

    a bit extreme you can never know how a match would have transpired had a decision been different but the general media do not want to acknowledge that the officials handed city two goals – even it had been the reverse we would never hear the end of it and arsenal would be criticised for failing to take their chances

  • Mandy Dodd

    Seems like things getting worse, it that’s possible.
    Is there someone who scents blood and a chance to have Wenger removed, or just corruption for its own sake?
    And why is our extremely powerful exec doing what appears to be less than nothing?

  • Ben

    Do you think City will be invincible this season with the help of refs?

  • Goonah

    Yes City had the better of the play, as you would expect from them playing at home, but we decide games of football by goals scored, and they were gifted 2 yesterday. Sterlings legs collapse as soon as he went shoulder to shoulder with Monreal, and this on top of the 2 offside goals last year. And how many times have we dominated a game and not got the result?

  • Jax

    Seems like you’re doing a reverse ferret there Mandy as you were forever insisting that ‘our extreemly powerful exec’ was working behind the scenes to get some changes made, while the rest of us always knew what an overpaid waste of space he really is.
    I remember a few seasons back Karren Brady complaining in her Sun column that West Ham didn’t get any penalties and sure enough next match they got one. Coincidence or what? That’s the sort of CEO we need; one who puts it out there.
    This situation would never have happened under Graham & Dein. Never!

  • MickHazel

    From the occasional (half hearted) comments made by Arsene and on the odd occasion by some of the players the club show they are well aware of the situation the club are confronted with.
    Are we to believe they are not doing anything about it?
    Do the club feel they are impotent in being able to do anything about it so just accept it?
    Maybe they feel that any complaints to PGMOL could even make things worse.
    I am afraid that the vast majority of the fans of other clubs, (and a lot of our own) still stick to the ‘all evens out in the end’ school of thought. They consider us and Arsene as a bunch of moaners always looking for an excuse.
    One day if Arsene writes a biography all will be revealed.

  • Al

    7 points robbed and we’re not even at the halfway mark yet..

    I posted on the match report thread that we as fans ought to do something. Players themselves can’t as they’re bound by professional ethics (whatever that is supposed to be in such a rotten sport), this madness called political correctness etc etc. It broke my heart yesterday to see the obvious pain that players such as Ozil, Xhaka and Alexis must have felt but were helpless to do anything about. We need to help, the worst that could happen to us is to be labelled a whiny bunch but so what, they call us that already.

    Let’s hire one of these planes to fly banner or banners at our matches, home and away till this nonsense stops. Those planes cost only £500, pretty sure some people are paying half this for one ticket alone, and this is a cause I’d be more than happy to dig into my pockets towards. The idea here is to get people talking about this. It will attract unwanted scrutiny on the PL and might force the refs to be not so blatant as we have seen in the matches this season.

    We’ve talked about this for years now that I feel next step of action is now necessary. As it stands we stand to lose our key players (can’t really see any of them wanting to re-sign only to be put through same as they were yesterday) and will also be difficult to attract new talented players.

    As Walter pointed out in the match report, Monreal was looking at the screen for replays as he knew that we were getting robbed. We make the mistake of thinking the players aren’t aware, how can they not be when they’re the ones experiencing it first hand? Even Those in other leagues know what is going on in the PL, they’d have to ignore a few things to sign up for us.

    Enough talking, let’s help our players out. Liverpool fans have taken action against media entities that they deemed as reporting unfavourably on their club so this can be done.

  • Al

    MickHazel
    See your post, which came while I was composing my longish post, touches on a couple of things I also mention. The players and club have their hands tied, they complain publicly and it’ll most certainly be used against them making things worse. The worst that could happen to us as fans is being called whingers, which they do already. So what’s there to lose. Nothing.

  • Yassine

    Al,
    I dont think the plane thing would work. Our own fans just saw again anf again two goals given for free to the other team, and still they dont want to stand in the ref face…they just want to blame Wenger and Xhaka.

    And how can you make sure the media would show it, they would ignore it just like all our penalties and offside replays. Ans even if they did, they will use it to attack our fans and insist they are whinning and they shouldnt cause….bla bla bla all the stuff all our fans already tell us…WBA match, cazorla and eduardo dive…and no one to defend those boring allegations.

    I think this can only be solved by a court thing, but I dont wait for it to happen any soon.

  • para

    After having seen this ref bias and corruption for so many years, i have run out of things to say and the motivation to comment about it.

    It’s just disgusting and disgraceful that none of the so called “official” media has the balls to comment on it, which is why they are supposed to be there really, but then i forget that the “media”(worldwide) has not been independent for a very, very, very long time.

  • 4 penalties in one game in the history of football has a any team been awarded 4 penalties. .

  • Yassine

    Well when the other teams know they can run away from a penalty, they can commit 4..if the fef pointed at one of the first two, they would have been careful later.
    Thats why the 4 penalty claims, which he showed none….clear bias?

  • Jax

    I’m not one to obsess over ‘match 50’, but for me the worst ever referee assisted results involving Arsenal were the 4-4 against Newcastle (2011) & the 6-3 against City (2013).

  • MickHazel

    Arsene Wenger is being crucified on Talksport by Jim White, Danny Murphy and some other bloke called Bob Mills (I think) for his comments on Sterlings diving abilities. He is a whinger and bang out of order according to them. They are coming out with all the same old crap, he was touched so entitled to go down, the refs are doing a difficult job to the best of their ability, Arsenal players should man up as Deeney said, Arsenal players dive as well re Pires, Eduardo etc. I have switched it off, couldn’t stomach any more.

  • Bobome

    @Yassine,
    Your doubts about the viability of flying an airplane over the Emirates Stadium during an AFC match is understandable; but look at the possibility that the Club can end up in a relegation dogfight come April or May 2018 if we get docked 7 points every 2 months due to biased referees such as those featured in EPL especially during all AFC matches. We should not wait until then before we the fans do something about it. The Club management and the players are bound in one way or another we the fans are not.

    This is no longer an emotion generated reaction but a response to deliberate acts of sabotage by an unseen enemy of AFC. The least the flying airplane can do is draw the attention of the viewing public to biased officiating against AFC. Will the FA or Pig MOB do anything about the flying plane? Yes they could tell the TV teams not to show such a footage on live broadcast, but sod them, the social media is ever present and will gladly fill the void they create by not acting as they ought to.

    Corruption in the EPL will continue to thrive if we sit and wring our hands in frustration, we are not helpless in the circumstances. Let the AFC Community do something positive to fight the cowards in hiding using the Pigs to do their bidding to milk fair minded watchers of football of properly officiated football matches. COYG

  • Jax

    OT
    Latest news: Bilic sacked, Moyes takes over. Conflict of interest between Everton & Arsenal re club ownership.

  • Al

    Yassine
    The plane thing isn’t necessarily the best option, but it is a means to draw attention to this. It is a thing that has been used at different stadia for different purposes, so we know it has been used effectively to draw attention to something by fans befoe.

    The media can’t ignore it, these days users are quick to capture video with their mobile phones and upload footage even in real time, so it would look real bad on the English media should they totally ignore that. Besides other foreign media will be present at these matches and if they reported on it the English media would be forced to too.

    Court action is an extremely difficult process under these circumstances, i mean we have even seen players get their legs broken sometimes intentionally (Roy keane..) but don’t think courts have been used to settle these kinds of issues. The idea is to carry out any action that draws public attention to it without harming the club. And to be honest i couldn’t care less what the media says about Arsenal fans, they already do anyway and it couldn’t get worse than that. I think the plane is the only way of bringing the wold’s attention to this without the club getting charged or accused of bringing the game into disrepute. Signing a petition would be an option but we did sign one before which was conveniently ignored.

    We have come together before to make the banner that is on display inside the stadium today, and that involved speaking with club etc.., this would require much less effort and the club would not even need to be consulted for approval. If i had a few ££ to spare i would do it alone for the spuds match, why not?

  • Al

    Bobome 12:41
    Glad our posts almost drive the same points home.

    Totally agree that inaction isn’t an option. And Like dictatorships, organisations that don’t like accountability (such as the secretive pigmob) thrive on suppressing of info and lack of public exposure to inner goings on. They all hate thighs being exposed to the wider world. That’s whee an effective media would come in, but alas the media here is complicit, so we will have to force their hand.

  • Josif

    @Hannibal

    On top of my head – Oviedo v Real Valladolid 3:8, La Liga about 20 years or so ago. Croatian striker Alen Peternac converted all four. There is no limit regarding number of penalties allowed per game unless there was a new change that I wasn’t aware of.

    Anyway, I’ve had enough of English football. I don’t want to watch any of remaining Arsenal games this season unless someone gives me good news that Mike Riley has either been arrested or choked himself to death on Alex Ferguson’s penis.

    As for Arsenal FC, as long as we have Stan The Leech as the majority owner, the board full of old white men and that that Tory clown Keswick as a club president nothing will change.

    I feel sorry for Arsene as he pays the price for being a man of principles and honour. He doesn’t have football superagents on his side as he doesn’t sign loads of their players. He didn’t want to leave Arsenal for the England post last year (until he dismissed that rumour publicly, we had had a spell of relatively decent refereeing but afterwards, the referees have immediately reverted to their usual approach in our games). He didn’t want to spend hundreds of millions that Arsenal don’t have to contribute to the glamour of Premier League when they make media reports: “Premier League clubs broke the transfer record once again!” He didn’t sign Cattermoles, Fellainis and other examples of “propa Ingerland football”. He didn’t sign every English piece of wood labelled as a talent by the media to get more sympathy from the FA, referees and media. Most of all, I feel sorry for Arsene because he could have been remembered as the most coveted manager in Europe had he taken over at Barcelona back in 2008 or so. He could have made his dream of winning Champions League come true had he taken over at PSG a few years ago.

    Instead, he decided to stay at the club with arguably the most self-entitled fans in Europe, with the most disinterested owner in the history of football and with massively over-rated players that would have been kicked in the bottom years ago by any other manager.

    For all those Gunners who want to watch football without thinking about biased mofos that call themselves English football referees, I suggest a switch to either Bundesliga or Serie A where VAR has been introduced.

  • Why not ask Untold to organise something seeing as it’s Walter pet project Referee etc and ask for contributions from willing posters
    A bit like there poster campaign . Time for someone to put there money where the mouth is

  • Al

    This needs to be done while these incorrect decisions are still fresh on people’s minds. Waiting will just hurt our cause as the typical football fan only remembers what happened in the last match.

    Apologies to the site moderators if it seems like I’m hijacking your platform to push something you may not necessarily endorse (and would understand if you kicked me off) but enough is enough, to get the ball rolling I’m putting £50 towards this, who’s with me? We only need about £500-£600 so whatever people can put in we should each the goal very quick.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Despite some referees and linesmen have let us down with their unfair decision making against Arsenal in their PL games this season, Let us not blind ourselves and fail to see and acknowledge the fact the Gunners are having team issues with their matches at away in the PL which they haven’t been able to properly deal with until they went to Everton and beat the Toffees 2-5.

    Le Prof having gotten right a Gunners starting XI team at the Everton away match in the PL which was very successful at the Goodison Park but has to do 2 changes to his team that played against Man City last Sunday because of the illness to Mertesacker which saw Le Prof brought in Coquelin as centreback and Iwobi as a left front three player with Ozil at the right side with the duo supposedly playing behind Sanchez who temporarily led the line before Lacazette was brought on to takeover leading the line from him.

    I think these changes which became compelling because of the one absentee Gunner in the back three done to the team that beat Everton very well at away affected the playing cohesion of the team that played against Man City. Thus they were unable to deal with Otamendi successfully as he assaulted Cech and breached his lines to scored. Coquelin played well and tackled well too in the game but he was accused by some of goinng out of position but he impressed me. And Iwobi also played well but his playing well was not much effective to influence success in the game for Arsenal.

    Above all, assuming we take the penalty against us at the Etihad on our chins and accept it in as much it was a soft one given by the PGMO referee, Michael Oliver. But the insult in the match to Arsenal was when the PGMO linesman stayed down his flag when he should have it raised for offside against Man City’s Silver who passed the ball to Jesus to score. But having noted this failing by the linesman, what were the Gunners defending doing to have allowed Jesus to score instead of to continuing with their marking and defending since they have not heard the whistle blown. This should be a hard lesson learnt by the Gunners next time.

    True, we were dined a penalty at Watford. But since we were not given, let us ignore it. But what we should not ignore was when Deeney was offside but allowed to score. So, Arsenal were denied a point in the match at Watford by the linesman. Let’s take note that if the linesman fails to raise his flag for offside, the match referee won,t blow his whistle for offside even if he has seen it because it his not his job to whistle for offside infringement.

  • climatic

    Whiney Walter who referees in what league? lol!

  • MickHazel

    climatic
    Thanks for that remarkably intelligent post which has contributed much needed wisdom into the debate.
    Which is the greater number, your age or your IQ?

  • Percy

    You would think, wouldn’t you, that on the subject of penalties there would be, broadly speaking, some similarity in the stats for teams with a similar approach to the game, playing in the same league with the same officials? Especially as everything evens itself out over a season, right? These are the numbers for the last seven years, to the beginning of this season, for us and City.
    Man. City For:55 Against:19
    Arsenal For:33 Against:39
    They’ve been given 66.0% more than us and we’ve suffered 105.0% more against.

    Not one of the other top four has a deficit as does The Arsenal. Their numbers are:
    Chelsea 45 20
    Liverpool 47 31
    Man. Utd 39 24
    Tottenham 37 26

    How come? Statistically what are the odds?

  • Percy

    @climatic
    06/11/2017 at 1:46 pm
    A really stupid comment troll, given that he does ref at a really high level in Belgium.

  • Jammy

    I’m genuinely considering stopping watching football altogether. I am so fucking sick of watching this team being robbed week in week out. What further rubs salt into the wounds, is the fact that the media is utterly compliant in all of this and even go as far to manipulate our owns fans against us.

    I truly think the only thing that could make a difference is a whistle-blower, as the entire PL is nothing but a fucking farce. But good luck finding one of those, ex-referees aren’t paid £50,000 for a non-disclosure agreement for nothing.

  • Alexanderhenry

    No way we deserved anything from that game.
    Not only was the penalty correct but city could have had another from a kolasinac push earlier on.

    What untold should be discussing is the worrying dip in sanchez’ and ozil’s form, why lacazette didn’t start and exactly why we paid £35 million for xhaka.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice article Walter . After listening to the likes of Don Hutchinson and Dion Dublin as well as ex ref Wiley talking utter crap about those two desicions ,:and twisting the facts ascrew , it appears that there is a united agenda against the Arsenal.
    Blaming the defenders for not playing to the whistle ? Really? Even a moron not interested in football would have spitted that.

    I will wait patiently for the tide to change and look forward to then justice to be meted out.

    Take your time , I’m going nowhere. And am behind the manager and players for the long haul. Only our beautiful football for me.

    20 Pounds from me Al. Take a lot of photos and make memes out of them!

    Up the Gunners !
    Forever !

  • @ Jammy,
    I watch AFC matches via cable TV by subscription and that expires in another 2 weeks or so and after that I will not renew again. Arsenal matches have been the sole reason for retaining my cable TV subscription, but now for these mounting day light robberies by the Pig MOB of the Club I will miss nothing by not watching pre ordained football results. Until the Pig MOB and their cohorts are sorted out the EPL has already seen the last penny of my money entering its grubby hands.

  • Yassine

    Jammy and Bobome,

    I say to send a complaint with the non renewal so they know why.

    Al and Bobone,

    I have a better idea…why not create a video and hastag the video and put it on twitter and facebook, youTube and so…and then use the hashtag on the airplane banner, this will not give the media any idea in what hit them, and people will be intrigued all over the world to see it….just a thought…and maybe reference Walters and others work in the video discreption.

  • @Yassine
    Good idea about letting the broadcaster know about why I am canceling. I will do just that.

  • Chris

    Bobome,

    good news is you can still see the games using online streaming….and save your money…

  • Alexanderhenry – we could discuss the topic you suggested but I have other things I want to write about. Why don’t you write such an article, with some real evidence – and I promise you I will publish it. Send it to Tony@schools.co.uk and remind me of this post at the start.

  • Al

    Yassine
    Anything to help the cause, anything. I’m not too hopeful though, many Arsenal fans already saying they’ll quit watching the game instead of trying to do something about it first.

    We need to fight. Oh, and I’ve not paid for sky sports since 2007/08 I think. This was after seeing a comment on a virgin media forum where one guy mocked another guy (who was paying just under £1000 per year on his package)by saying “you’re buying your holidays from the wrong place mate”😂 I cancelled my subscription that day.

  • Jammy

    Bobome – I refuse to give any money to that vile tyrant Murdoch, so it’s not just about cancelling a subscription for me. Although, hopefully more people will be like you and start cancelling their subscriptions. I’m just getting very little joy from football these days. I hate seeing bent referees deciding the results of so many matches. I hate all of the negativity and criticism that Arsenal constantly receive in the media. I hate reading all of the anger and venom towards Arsenal, usually by our own “fans”. I could really go on and on about things I hate regarding the modern game, but that would just be boring. They’ve truly completely and utterly ruined the game that I used to love so much.

  • JP

    I was pondering something interesting this morning. Why is it that everything about the PL is international/global, bar the refereeing? We have foreign players, managers, owners, investors, fans, etc. We do not have foreign referees. Why is that the case?

  • goonersince72

    JP
    You know the answer. They’d be less controllable. Many years ago I thought the bias was the typical aimed at the big fish in the gig pond,i.e., Arsenal biggest club in the biggest city. But in modern times large stadia abound abound the League. Big media money for all, especially MU. Then of course it was the temerity of hiring a, gulp, Frenchman to manage this club. ‘Diet?, ‘recovery time’? Ave a pint and git out there you bunch of poufs’. Now I think it’s gone on so long it’s just the norm. Aside from an AFC supporter, who even knows what ‘game 50’ means? Or cares. My suggestion for a physical protest is this: go to the Ems with a sign and affix it to the seat stating “this seat remains empty until AFC receive fair treatment from the PGMO”. Then leave. No vitirol, no name calling, just a simple , factual plea. The media will show it and perhaps a dialog will begin.

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