“Premier League club accuse official of supporting rival team


By Tony Attwood

OK there is nothing new in clubs expressing concern about the quality of refereeing in matches, except that the protests are getting much more frequent, and they are not restricted to one club or even one League or one country.  

And we know that when Mikel Arteta complained about the refereeing in the Newcastle away game his complaint was described as a “rant” in the Guardian, the Mirror, the Independent, the Express, TalkSport, Sky Sport, the Standard, the Sun, the Mail, Telegraph, Metro, etc etc etc

And let’s be clear, “rant” was the word used by all the papers to describe the way Arteta spoke.  They all used the word “rant” in their reports.   Not “outspoken comments”, not “protest”, not “tirade”, not “bluster”, not “declamation”, not “diatribe”, not “verbal onslaught” nor any one of hundreds of other words or phrases that could be used.  It was always “rant,” a word which  comes from the Dutch “ranten” meaning, “to talk nonsense.”

So immediately by virtually all the media calling Mikel Arteta’s comments about VAR’s failure in the Newcastle match a “rant” the media was expressing an opinion about what was said – that Arteta was talking nonsense.

In other words, none of these reports in the media were actually reports in the normal sense.  They were reports and judgements combined into one, before any hearing into what was said, had a chance to take place.  

Now I think this is important because what was purportedly a factual report of a football match in each case turned into something else – an opinion of Arteta’s comments.  Which in each case suggested that Arteta was out of control, and his view could not be taken seriously as accurate. 

It was an extraordinary example of the media en masse turning on one man and proclaiming him guilty before he had a hearing.

Of course, if that was the opinion of the journalist then he or she is entitled to say it, but in no commentary that I saw was it made clear that it was the journalist’s opinion that this was a “rant”.  Instead through virtually every reporter using the same value-laden word “rant” it became established that this was a man utterly out of control speaking rubbish.

Now compare that approach to Arsenal with the headline “Premier League club Nottingham Forest accuses refereeing official of supporting rival team after defeat”. That is from CNN.

Or Barcelona threaten legal action over ‘phantom goal’ in defeat to Real Madrid claims The Guardian.

In these cases, the media is reporting football with the implication that it is giving us the facts, while on other occasions the media is giving us opinion, dressed up as fact, through its specific choice of language.

What brings this up now is that the Premier League has issued a statement saying, “The Premier League was extremely disappointed to read the comments made by Nottingham Forest on social media yesterday, following its match against Everton.”

Now once again, the League is seeking to influence the judge and jury.  In saying at the outset that it is “disappointed” it is suggesting that something is wrong.   It goes on to say,

“ It is never appropriate to improperly question the integrity of match officials, and the nature of these comments means the Premier League will also be investigating the matter in relation to the League’s Rules.”

Now apart from the appallingly clumsy grammar within the phrase “to improperly question the integrity of match officials,” this raises a profound question.

Who decides what is improper in terms of questioning?   Presumably, it is the FA and the League who it seems can each charge the individual and then each not only charge but also prosecute and then be the jury and reach a decision.  Obviously the accused hasn’t got a chance.

Now in the UK, Parliament makes the laws, the police can accuse one of breaking a law but it is the independent courts that hear the case and pass judgment.

In football, the League and FA make the rules, the League and FA investigate possible breaking of the rules, and the League and FA pass judgment and sentences.  There is no separation of powers.

The issue in Spain is even more interesting because Spanish football apparently does not use goal-line technology.  Forbes had an article on this which said that “While goal-line technology is used across all of Europe’s other leading competitions, it has not been deployed in La Liga. The main argument against its involvement has been the cost of doing so, which is estimated at €4 million ($4.3 million) per season.”

It is also being noted by Forbes that “Laporta was referring to a decision to replay a Belgian Pro League game between Anderlecht and Genk because of a VAR error earlier this season.”

Now we have no indication in English football that a replay could be possible – it was certainly not offered in the Newcastle v Arsenal case.  Instead, the Arsenal manager was severely sanctioned by the judge / jury / prosecution all rolled into one.

We have this problem because all power rests with a secret society: PGMO that seems to be answerable to no one, but has the FA / League cartel doing its bidding.

So consider the contrast.  The media unite to decide to describe a protest by Mikel Arteta as a “rant” – suggesting that the manager was out of control.  Meanwhile, the media is silent on the fact that there are no commentaries in the media in England on refereeing decisions because of the iron grip of PGMO and its fanatical secrecy.

In fact, no one is asking: why are all other matters in football open to debate and commentary except refereeing?  

It is only when the media takes up the stance it has on other matters in the UK – that is, it is up to the media to hold authority to account – rather than the media itself play at being judge and jury before the secret courts of the FA, League and PGMO get in on the act, that football in England will start to move out of the dark ages.


11 Replies to ““Premier League club accuse official of supporting rival team”

  1. I am waiting to see if there is any comeback for the referee Simon Hooper, and especially Peter Banks on VAR, following no Red Card being issued to Jackson for his terrible challenge on Tomiyasu.

    Now I’m going to give Jackson the benefit of the doubt as to whether he meant it or not simply on the basis that if he was aiming for Tomis ankle he most certainly would of missed it.

    But whether he did mean it or not is irrelevant, it was a red card offence all day long, as described in The Laws Of The Game which state:

    “A player is guilty of serious foul play if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when challenging for the ball when it is in play. A tackle that endangers the safety of an opponent must be sanctioned as serious foul play.”

    How could either of them, especially Banks on VAR who had the opportunity to view the challenge numerous times, not deem that there was excessive force, and more importantly that it ‘endangered the safety of an opponent’?

    It was lucky not to break Tomis ankle.

    If they cannot see that that challenge endangered the safety of an opponent they are not fit to be officials.

    But woe betide someone, Arteta for example, has the temerity to call them out for the incompetents they are.

  2. The tackle reminded me of the ankle (maybe career?) breaking tackle from an Utd clogger on Wilshere that went unpunished also some years ago. I think it was the final nail in the coffin of The career of Jack as he couldn’t recover from assault number 9 or 10 during his Arsenal career. Tomi’s ligaments sure must have felt something but luckily for him and us they didn’t snap. Amazing they didn’t snap when you see the images…. Not even a yellow card given…. unbelievable….

  3. Walter

    I believe the tackle of which you speak was made by Paddy McNair of Manchester United, but according to some it was all his own fault.T he following is from Just Arsenal at the time:

    “And that could mean that he is back up against the player who smashed his ankle up in the first place, United´s young Northern Irish defender Paddy McNair. Remember it was a reckless studs up challenge (completely unpunished and not moaned on about endlessly Jose) that saw Arsenal lose the midfielder for months. I say that because if you listen to the wisdom of TV pundit Tony Cascarino from Sky Sports you could be forgiven for thinking it was not McNair´s tackle but Jack himself who was to blame.”


    As I recall, this was a theme picked up on and ran with from there on in.

    I think Diaby’s career was effectively ended with a similar challenge by Sunderlands Dan Smith.

  4. Dermot – how can I back the referee on Refwatch – Gallagher was the referee who gave Smith a yellow card for effectively ending Diaby’s career. I was behind the goal when McNair put Wilshere out for 5 months. Dean stood a few yards away and failed to punish him. Why should we expect more from Hooper who, like Attwell, was dropped from the Premier for some time.

  5. PGMOL have only apologised on behalf of Simon Hooper three times this season. (ManU v. Wolves, Spurs v. Liverpool, Man. City v. Spurs). It should have been more.

  6. So Liverpool are bottling it up… were supposed to win it all.

    But the narrative is completely different :

    “There will be no shame if Liverpool do not take their title challenge to the final days. Nine months of exertions take their toll.”

    Yeah… glorious Reds. Who had to play for 9 months while all the others were at the beach…. if Arsenal end up winning it will be presented as Reds and City were just too tired and Arsenal profited. The fun fact : we’ll be celebrating…. so screw them all !

  7. seismic

    Mr Gillett is in charge at the Amex tonight incidentally. According to footballisfixed, the 5 Liverpool supporting referees in the PGMOL have been officials in numerous matches of Liverpool’s title rivals. The ‘Australian’ referee was VAR at Villa Park where the last minute equalizer was, ahem, ‘controversially’ disallowed…

  8. Gillett’s performance at Brighton tonight was terrible. Foden dived to win a free-kick, which Gillett awarded, and from which Man. City scored. Brighton had 3 penalty appeals turned down, and throughout the match City players were pulling Brighton shirts, all of which went unpunished (no free-kicks, no cards).

    I imagine PGMOL are quite happy with the accusations of error/incompetence. Webb can airbrush those away on the Michael Owen show with a strategic apology. It wouldn’t be proper for anybody to accuse the powers that be of bias or worse.

    Unfortunately, long gone are the days when referees were not allowed to officiate matches involving the direct rivals of teams they support.

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