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By Tony Attwood
Abuse is not good, I am not saying it is, but it is interesting that no matter how much the errors of referees and linespeople is debated or shouted about, nothing changes. The bias and errors of the referees which can be seen so easily, not least through the statistics of which referees favour home teams and which away teams, is never debated by the media or PGMO. It is taken by the media that the abuse is just us supporters being typical stupid supporters and being abusive towards referees and linespeople.
As a result referees and their assistants know they are safe. They are never held to account. They can go on doing their own thing, with their own bias.
How different that is from, for example, male players who are accused by females of being abusive. Then the male players are assumed to be guilty and often not allowed to play until the case is over. Somehow that doesn’t seem to fit with the innocent until proven guilty approach, but I know no one who has ever been involved in such a case from either side, so I’m really not too sure.
And so in this strange world we live in, a player can be suspended because of an accusation against him, but a referee is not suspended even when the statistics show that he is biased. Just look at some of these percentages from last season.
- Stuart Attwell took 25 games and 72% of them were home wins, 12% away wins
- Craig Pawson took 21 games and 33% were home wins and 48% away wins
- Peter Bankes took 21 games and 62% were home wins and 5% away wins.
- Anthony Taylor took 30 games and 33% were home wins but 43% away wins.
How can those figures be right? Get Attwell as the referee and the home team immediately has a major advantage. Get Pawson or Taylor and every away team will fancy their chances, if not of a win then certainly at least a draw.
That story isn’t being followed up now, nor has it been in the past, but one that is instead doing the rounds now is how the activity of fans can persuade players to leave. The Guardian is running one such with the report that “Neymar has issued a withering depiction of his time at Paris Saint‑Germain,” saying he was subject to unfair abuse from the club’s fans. In an interview with Globo he spoke of the abuse Lionel Messi received, and how bad it made him feel and how it made him want to leave the club.
The crime of Neymar and Messi was that they didn’t win the Champions League. So Messi packed up and went to Inter Miaimi and Neymar supported him, also left.
Given the way clubs are demanding more and more from their top players, players who suffer at the hands of the crowd are increasingly saying that they have had enough and are moving on. And now that Saudi Arabia is in the game they can earn far more than ever before.
I tried to put this point to an Arsenal supporter who started jeering Havertz, and continued doing so even after it was pointed out that Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp suffered in the same way at the hands of the crowd. It was impossible to put the point across. Fortunately for the rest of us Bergkamp and Henry decided to stay, but Havertz might not.
Indeed on this issue even the media has worked out what is right. As Football.London said “Kai Havertz faced claims that his performance against Crystal Palace in Arsenal’s 1-0 win in south London was ‘non-existent’ but rewatching the match these accusations are proven untrue.”
For once the media do get it right! At least that was something.
- Disgusting Behaviour From Arsenal Fans said Bleacher Report over previous incidents.
- Cruel, fickle and cowardly, Arsenal supporters said the Mail ..
- 7 Premier League Players Who Were Booed by Their Own … mused Arsenal World.
There are many more such instances, and in each case the fans are wrong to boo their own team’s players. But that sort of ignorant behaviour is never an excuse for the media to focus as they always do on the fans, while ignoring the rather well paid referees who are so obviously either biased or incompetent. It really is time that PGMO as a body was investigated. And it really is time that the media woke up to the fact that something is seriously wrong.
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