How football journalists are bending the football news to suit their own agenda



By Tony Attwood

There is so much going on in world football at the moment (the pitch invasion and fighting by fans of Trabzonspor after the match with Fenerbache in which a supporter ran onto the field and had a stand-up fight with Fenerbahce defender Bright Osayi-Samuel. as the rest of the Fenerbahce players ran off the field, is just one) that I find myself looking at what stories football journalists cover with increasing incredulity and indeed dismay.

For it is not just that what they cover is often not very important (or so it seems to me) but rather that by covering trivial nonsense instead of serious stuff, they are giving the impression that these small incidents are the only issues in football, and by and large most of football is ok.

That there is a serious problem within Turkish football and elsewhere cannot be denied, including (as ESPN pointed out “an attack on a referee by a club president, the postponement of a domestic cup final in Saudi Arabia and several protests of refereeing decisions” etc etc). 

And maybe it doesn’t get covered because the media in England like to focus on football in England,  with everything else being of minor concern.  So while the death of migrant workers in Saud Arabia and wholesale violence at matches in Turkey are not covered, we get the English press is running “Michael Owen brands Ian Wright ‘smug’,”  which suggests that the media hardly has a shortage of space that stops such coverage.

But the reports of growing numbers of deaths of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia as it starts work on the stadia for the world cup it has just bought, sorry won are there in a few places if one looks.  Reports on that show that absolutely no lesson has been learned from the Qatar world cup about which the Guardian reported that 6500 migrant workers died.

As such, a headline about one pundit calling another smug, really seems to have more than a fundamental lack of balance, it also contains a lack of respect for human life.

But it goes beyond that.  If we do move away from the value of human life (which in terms of building football stadia for oil rich nations seems to be very low indeed), and look at the minutiae of football we can see the news that, “Only Liverpool have suffered as many VAR errors as the four suffered by Forest.  Moder’s [Jacob Moder of Brighton and Hove Albion] red card is the seventh missed by the VAR team this season, making up a third of the 21 mistakes logged by the panel.”

Of course the details of football are important – not as important as the ludicrous decision to hold a world cup in Saudi Arabia, but still important – and yes we should be interested in the allegation (for it is no more than that as no further details are given).  

The key allegation by ESPN however is that in five PL games Nottingham Forest have had a VAR error go against them “after they should have been awarded penalties against both Newcastle United (lost 3-2) and West Ham United (won 2-0).”

Now that sounds awful, but it has no context.   First, who is it that is deciding that VAR made an error?  Seemingly, the journalists, although that is not clear.   Second what is the percentage of VAR errors that they are alleging?  That again is not clear.   Is it 5% or 50%?  Knowing that would be very helpful in understanding the article.

And indeed more than helpful – rather it could be said to be essential, given the severity of the accusation.

Put all this together and we get on the one hand accusations without the numbers being fully explained, but with single incidents being put under a microscope, against what appears to be the start of another series of multiple deaths and injuries in the construction of world cup stadia, largely going unreported at all.

But in both cases we can, with a little thought, understand the origin of these reports.  Talking about VAR errors without proper statistics means that a story can be created which points the finger of bias against certain refs, which can excite fans of clubs affected.   Talking about repeating all the errors of the last world cup in terms of the waste of human life doesn’t get much coverage, because the journalists rather fancy a trip to Saudi Arabia.

There is something seriously wrong here.

3 Replies to “How football journalists are bending the football news to suit their own agenda”

  1. Yeah, Owen thinks that a team that has most goals scored, less goals against, best goal difference and sits on top, even at the end of the season, well this team is not the best in the League.

    Freaking arrogant moron.

    And it gets published which is even worse.

  2. But poor Owen is just an old ex-player. He have never trained his brain, never “red” a book. He is still in his shorts and long stockings. Poor Owen.

  3. As far as I can see football journalists are not much different to fans. Newcastle supporters don’t care where the oil money comes from or how many people the Saudis lock up or kill. They are just upset FFP isn’t allowing them to do what City did. The truth is not just journalists but most fans don’t care about human rights, they certainly don’t ask awkward questions about their owners. As far as refereeing goes its simple, decisions in their favour are correct, decisions against them are wrong. Fans and journalists also appear to be basically financially illiterate.

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