First the verdict, then the charge. Arteta has not the slightest chance of a fair hearing



By Tony Attwood

As anticipated Mikel Arteta has been charged by the FA concerning his behaviour in describing the issue of the Newcastle goal.   

Now in most circumstances, the media reports forthcoming hearings neutrally, which would mean simply saying that he has been charged for his comments made at the time.   But this is not normal times, because this is Arsenal and so the Guardian, on occasion a fairly reasonable source of reporting on most matters says he has been charged “over VAR rant after Arsenal’s loss to Newcastle.”

Describing what he says as a “rant” implies that he did something wrong and thus is guilty – and that of course is announced before any hearing has even started!

It is interesting to compare the language used there with the language used in the headline “Chelsea facing FA and Premier League probe for possible FFP breaches.”   Notice the use of “possible” and compare and contrast with “rant”.   Chelsea has “possible breaches” (infinitely more serious than a few sentences from Arteta), while the Arsenal manager was engaged in a “rant”.   We know the verdict way before the trial starts.

Thus Mikel Arteta will come before a kangaroo court and be found guilty and fined vast amounts, as well as being banned from the touchline.  The Chelsea investigation on the other hand will take rather a long time, and will be ignored by the media.

The trouble is with Arteta’s punishment which is certain to follow there is no real indication of what the limits are on it.   And as the Telegraph says, “The Football Association will seek tough punishment for clubs who criticise referees, after charging Mikel Arteta for his rant in the wake of Arsenal’s defeat at Newcastle United.”

And there’s that word again.

Plus the League are lining up a new set of sanctions, which could be rushed through in order to punish Arsenal.  For it is said in the Telegraph that, “regulatory action will be taken against clubs if they support managers who criticise referees.”

Now even the League is out to get Arsenal with something like a points deduction, although it is just slightly possible that the League will see how awful retrospective laws look, and dump all the bans and fines etc on Arteta this time, and just warn the club about future conduct.   (You will recall that a new penalty was introduced in 1990/1 when Arsenal were deducted two points for failing to control their players in a match against Manchester United.  That two-point penalty had not been used before, or since.  It was just for Arsenal).

The formal statement from the FA alleges that Arteta’s “comments constitute misconduct as they are insulting towards match officials and/or detrimental to the game and/or bring the game into disrepute. Mikel Arteta has until Tuesday to provide a response to this charge.”

FA rule E3.1 states: “A participant shall at all times act in the best interests of the game and shall not act in any manner which is improper or brings the game into disrepute or use any one, or a combination of, violent conduct, serious foul play, threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting words or behaviour.”

Of course it would be a perfectly reasonable defence to say he has acted in the best interests of the game, exposing referee incompetence – except the case is being heard by… the organisation that appoints the body that appointed the referees.

That action against the club is very much in keeping with the actions of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the secret society that runs refereeing.   It is in total contrast with the approach in Germany, for example, where immediately after the match a referee can be in a TV studio discussing his or her decisions in relation to a game.

It is also possible that PGMO will charge Mikel Arteta with sarcasm after he said in one interview,  “Please ask me about Var because today it was good,” Arteta said. “I hope that I’m on TV saying the referees are so good and I’m completely with them and being very constructive… And with the red card, yes. Thank you for asking me. The Var was right. The referee was right. Really good decision. Really positive from Mikel to speak about that… Good decision.” 

Adding to the approach in which a decision is made before the hearing Martin Cassidy, the chief executive of Ref Support UK, said this month that the Spaniard’s comments were “very worrying for me and the game in general”. He added that Arsenal’s statement was “nothing other than an infantile moan”.

Now Ref Support UK describes itself as a “respected charity committed to the support of referees.”   So here again we have a judgement of guilt before the hearing, which again reduces the credibility of the organisation that puts out such a statement. 

The hearing will of course be organised by PGMO who will be the prosectuing council, the judge and the jury in such a case.   Ref Support UK might care to reflect on that fact as they wonder why the credibility of referees is now so low in English football, compared with football in Germany.

16 Replies to “First the verdict, then the charge. Arteta has not the slightest chance of a fair hearing”

  1. Do the club hand out Arsenal tinted glasses to all supporters? He ranted. It was obvious for everyone to hear. He brought the game into disrepute obvious to anyone not connected with Arsenal and not sucking on sour grapes. Chelsea is much more serious and the evidence wasn’t recorded in a press conference for anyone to see. Arsenal lost. Get over it and yourself

  2. Is it just me or have I seen several other referees criticise the competence and decision making of match officials this season? And how many of them were charged by the FA for their post match “rant”?

    The most worrying thing about this is that I’m just not surprised one bit. When the authorities even show bias in their attitude to bringing a case against managers who have all acted in the same way, it merely confirms what we know about their complete inability to act with neutrality, integrity and professionalism. They don’t even realise that by their actions they are merely providing further confirmation of their prejudice.

  3. Sick: I am sorry I have not been able to explain to you the problem as I perceive it, but simply repeating a statement as you have done with “He ranted” does not answer the key point. The normal approach when there is a legal hearing is that the media cannot comment on the case in any way except with statements of agreed facts without any perjorative commentary – and obviously “rant” is a pejorative word. It doesn’t matter if it is obvious to you or not, the whole point of a legal or quasi-legal hearing is that it does not prejudge the outcome, and the point quite simply made here is that the media is pre-judging the outcome. Likewise in a court of law if a person is charged with theft and is caught with the goods in his hand, the media would not make judgements through the use of the words they report.

  4. How would you describe the lip trembling press conference after the Newcastle game, He acted like a child throwing his toys out of the pram. Compare this to the Spurs manager who took it on the chin. Arteta really needs to grow up and stop bringing the game into disrepute in my opinion. His performance as a manager is full of emotional conferences, where it should have been a hand shake and a well done, then rant in private. I have read on X many Arsenal supporters getting embarrassed by the continued hair pulling and tears. Imagine this in rugby he would have been laughed off, as for your captain refusing to shake a players hand at the end on the game, demonstrates how Arteta’s influence is effecting your players.

  5. “Poor Arsenal” I am not sure that my response to how Arteta reacts in a press conference is relevant here. As it happens I don’t agree with your description of what happened, but whether I do or not, doesn’t actually affect the fact that in normal legal processes of a hearing, the issue is not pre-judged by the media.
    In football that now seems to be an ok thing to do. Which means that if a club is not particularly liked by the media then they will judge the actions of the club and write in a way that will make it ever harder for the accused to get a fair trial. Thankfully in this country, in courts of law, the judge generally goes to great length to ensure that any hearing is not judged by the media in this way before the court gets to hear the case. I am merely reflecting on the fact that this is now what happens in football. What makes this worse is that in this case the prosecutor is also the judge and jury.
    I am sorry I have not made it clear that I am concerned about the iniquity of the situatioin in which a footballer or football manager can be openly judged by the media, and then face a trial in which the prosecutor is also the judge and jury.

  6. Who are these people ? Sick & poor? They’re not Arsenal fans Tony.Can’t be.Nobody of our persuasion is going to agree on their sentiments after YEARS of reffing ( PGMOL) & VAR inconsistencies ( stitch ups) .These comments are from the “ same old Arsenal always cheating” fan base. Ouldnt care less what they think.It’s obvious they’ll suppor an embarrassingly inept organisation .As long as it’s not their club on the end of the regular kicking being dished out.

  7. In my imaginery dream-world, the League Managers Association wil stand in solidarity with Arteta, the other Premier League clubs will stand in solidarity with Arsenal and say that the exposure of the inadequacies of the PGMOL, both in on-field refereeing and in the distorted use of VAR is long overdue. If Arsenal and Arteta are penalised, they will all refuse to play matched until these verdicts are cancelled and proper scrutiny and accountability is applied to PGMOL.

    In another scenario, Arsenal would take out injunctions against FA and take legal action against it.

    In the real world, none of this will happen, Arteta will be fined / suspended, Arsenal will be fined and may have points deducted and the PGMOL and their apologists in the media will carry on as usual.

  8. So the Professional Gerry Mandering Org carries on and on the basis of the evidence this won’t change (classic turkey voting for Christmas)
    Why have no major media sources questioned the recent Pgmo excursion to Saudi ? Where is their indignation regarding a conflict of interests ?
    They cowardly comments from Sick and Poor are all very well but you’ve done nothing that will effect any kind of change and one day it will be your little world that’s shattered but by then it will be far too late . You stood by and did nothing . Please let me know what clubs you support so I can know which one to avoid .

  9. And yet again the problem is made clear by Messrs Sick and Poor , when it happens to their clubs , and it will , they too will feel aggrieved but until it does they continue to bait the other clubs that have suffered already.
    Until supporters speak with one voice the PGMOL will get away with their inefficiency and the media will back them because although they know that there is a problem , it suits them to have the controversy that sells their papers or gets them clicks .

  10. 14th August 2023

    Manchester United 1-0 Wolves

    Wolves have a blatant penalty ignored.

    Manger and fan reactions

    Gary O’Neil said of the incident:

    “It looked like the goalkeeper tried to take the centre-forward’s head off is what it looked like live and when I watch it now it looks the same,” O’Neil said. “I’m really surprised it’s not a foul. If you go for the ball and clatter the player that hard it has to be a foul. I’m not surprised we didn’t get it. I thought he was coming to the screen but he came over to book me.”

    Okay, not the same as calling them embarrassing but never the less it was perfectly clear as to what he thought when O’Neil said “I’m not surprised we didn’t get it” which is surely an accusation of referee/VAR bias?

    Wolves received an apology.

    Fan comment from a Wolves bolg:

    “Them VAR officials were a complete and utter embarrassment, how on earth was that not a penalty? I’m seriously thinking that they have something against us”

    26th August 2023

    Man Utd 3-2 Notts Forest

    Steve Cooper said:

    “‘You need things to go your way. I’m biting my tongue to be honest in terms of what I really feel because they are defining moments,’ Cooper said.

    ‘There were other things as well. I was surprised at how quickly decisions were made. You tend to see referees take a bit more time, particularly at the top level.”

    Forest actually submitted a written complaint.

    And that’s the thing isn’t it. He’s biting his tongue. That’s what they want. It doesn’t matter how bad the decision, they want you to stay quite.

    Yet they are so bad they are having to make apology after apology. But wo betide someone, especially an Arsenal manager, calls them out for their incompetence.

    We all know this, mangers, fans and the media alike, but despite that you get numbnuts like ‘poor’ and ‘sick’ above trying to claim, as usual, that it’s same old Arsenal , always moaning.

    If only they, as well as Notts Forest (all mouth) and Wolves (all mouth) had the balls to say it as it is, we would of seen some improvement years ago. But no. These people just bury their heads. Claim victim mentality, when the truth is, everything Arteta said is true.

    I’m proud of Arteta. I’m proud of Arsenal.

    We know he’s right.

    You all know he’s right.

    Bring it on I say.

  11. I normally have sympathy for the sick and the poor but I’ll make an exception for these two numb nuts. They must be Spurs supporters.

  12. One would imagine that Newcastle would be happy with their ill-gotten gains, and would have put the issue to bed by now. Since the match on November 4th, their blogs have been carrying an enormous amount of stories relating to Arteta and his “rants”. They can’t let it go. It’s an obvious attempt at deflection.

    Most of the newspapers have been showing photos of Joelinton’s clear foul on Gabriel, whilst simultaneously claiming that there was no foul committed. These are obvious attempts to deny the truth, whilst showing their support for PGMOL, and a lack of editorial interest in protecting football from the wolves at the door.

    I don’t think Arteta was sick, ashamed or embarrassed by incompetence.

  13. SickOfTheSourGrapes – He did not “rant” as you copy the legacy media’s description but answered in a calm manner a question he is obliged to answer under FA rules.
    The army of Arteta critics were pointedly silent the following week when Sakha was deemed to have fouled the Burnley player with an identical push that was deemed not a foul by the referee, VAR, PGMO & legacy media.
    A perfect example of PL referee inconsistency which fans are for ever complaining about.

  14. It’s instructive to see the pundits wringing their hands over the “injustice” of Everton’s 10 point deduction, for breaking rules with their hatred of Arteta for speaking the truth.

  15. Arteta expressed his opinion and the FA can’t accuse him of being wrong as it is only their opinion that there wasn’t sufficient force in Joelinton’s push, even though he had both feet off the ground, jumping onto Gabriel’s back and Gabriel was between him (Joelinton) and the ball.

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