The big European study on refs reveals something rather sinister

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By Walter Broeckx

Sometimes the sound of silence makes more noise than 60.000 in the Emirates.

Somewhere in March I had the idea of writing a study. A study on the world of referees.

It would be a study ready to publish in a book. As Tony knows a few things about books and publishing I would be using his knowledge and help and see if the book could be published.

Yes, parts of the study would be published on Untold Arsenal but I had something in mind that would go much further than one article on Untold. No with what I had in mind I think I could fill a whole month with an article a day on Untold. But at the end of that month our readers would know all and everything there is to know on how the referee world works.

The main idea was to write a study on how all the different national football federations have organized their refs. And this from the grassroots level to the international level. How the education was done, how long, how much, physical demands to refs, …you name it, I had a question about it.  Okay maybe not on everything because the more questions the more people will not respond. So we had to avoid that.

I would make tables, compare the countries, see how most countries work, see how Uefa refs work and how they are proposed by their national federations. And words to explain all the answers I got. And more words on how we can see some things and what could be done better by some countries and praise some countries for their approach. And at the end of my study I would come up with some of my own ideas and try to point at a system that could be regarded as the best possible way on how to work with the refs.

It was a bit of an ambitious project, if I may say so. So I did what was needed and hired a person to write a letter that we would send to all the national football federations who are a member of Uefa. From the biggest countries like England, Germany, France, Spain to the smallest ones like San Marino, Liechtenstein, and other Far Oer isles.  Thus the letter was written by a professional in those things and I must say it was a very impressing letter. It said in much better words than those on here what I intended to do. And that was to paint a complete picture of the referee world in football. And maybe to improve the ref world in general and maybe that some of the working methods that some federations used could be used by other countries to improve their way of working.

And then I made a questionnaire to make sure that all the federations got the same questions and could provide the answers to it. I also pointed out that if they thought some information was too secret they could let me know they could not answer a specific question or set of questions.

And then I sent the letter to all the federations. Together with the questionnaire of course. I also mentioned the fact that I am a referee myself gave them the information about myself a bit. And I also offered to send them a questionnaire in another language if they couldn’t understand English.

So halfway March I send out all the letters. And then the waiting began. Who would react first? Well the first reaction came from Denmark. Credit to them. And they wrote to me:  “It is however the policy of the Danish FA that we only participate in surveys when they are conducted by a national association. Consequently it is not possible for us to answer your questions.”

Okay not the answer I would have like to read but this could well be the policy in Denmark so who am I to disturb their policy?  But it showed that they had received my letter and questionnaire, read the letter and understood it.  And that they had the courtesy to reply.  That was a start.

And now after some 3 months I can let you know that I received … zero answers. So there will be no study. There will be no comparing of how the different football federations work with their refs. No tables, no ideas. The study I had in mind can be summarized in the next paragraph.

”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       “”

The empty space was the study and the summary. Thank you for your attention. See you in the comment section.

Back serious now as my bad character then made me ask a few questions. Why do football federations refuse to answer me? Apart from federations like San Marino I think most of them work in a professional way. They have a president, a board, staff members, people who work for the federations. But none of them, apart from the Danish Federation, even found the time to write me a letter saying sorry we can’t answer the questions for any kind of reason. I had my email included so they could even have send me an email so it would cost them nothing. Apart from the few seconds time to write a mail.

Or I asked myself has it something to do with my person? Am I a person non grata somewhere? A person you don’t speak with? Has this something to do with Untold? I considered it but then again…this would be too far fetched I thought. I can’t imagine all the national federations saying:  watch out, this is Walter Broeckx from Untold better not speak to him. No, this would be a too big honour I think.

And then I asked myself: is there something to hide? Is it that the federations for some reason want to keep this all behind closed doors? Are those things that they want to keep far away from the public? Is this not saying how they operate,  a way of being able to work how they want? Because if they say: ‘we do it this way or that way’ then maybe some people could come out and say: ‘now wait a minute because this theory is all fine and well but look at this where you have done it the other way’.

Is this how football federations like to work? Not in the open but in the closed back room? Possible entrance only for the real insiders? A simple and polite letter, like the Danes did, could have been enough for me. But now I just think it’s a shame because now we cannot compare how the federations work.

Why don’t they bother to answer?  Even a negative answer would have been fine. But still, they are not willing to answer a ref his questions. Not even to a ref that wants to make a study about the referee world?  Not even my own football federation answered me. But the way they act and work in general, it didn’t surprise me that much to be honest.

Or is there something to hide? Is it really so that they want to stay in the dark about the refs? Well so be it. I tried to shed some light in these matters.

It was their almost unanimous choice to not work with me on this that concerns me.  Either the national football federations are organisations who don’t even have the politeness to answer to a letter or they don’t give a f*ck about the rest of the outside world. And if this is the case then we can conclude that in this they all are the same. Ah, so finally we did learn something:  “we will do our business like we want to do it and with no one watching us too close”. That could be the summary of my study on the ref world.

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59 Replies to “The big European study on refs reveals something rather sinister”

  1. There’s a Right to Information Act which was passed some years ago in India. By that bill, any citizen of this country can ask for any document, or ask any questions about anything. And the said associations will have to reply them within a week or so without fail. It would have been nice if that idea was applicable around the world.

  2. I think there are three ways to see the silence Walter.

    First, that they don’t have a proper PR or secretarial system, and so emails get ignored. If this is so it is disgraceful and shows a complete lack of respect from the organisations that ask for respect. Even if saying “no” it is possible to say it politely as Denmark did.

    Second, that they could reply if they wanted to, but as you suggested in passing, they know about your work with Untold and are worried. If this is the case, Denmark may have been very efficient, but then the word went around the associations, and they all agreed – “say nothing, this is too dangerous”.

    Third, they know nothing of Untold, but they really do have something to hide – as you and Dogface have shown so clearly in your analysis of the refereeing in the Premier League.

    Of course the options all overlap, but just before everyone laughs themselves silly over the possibility of option 2 (that they know Untold) being true, I would say that I do come across examples in the most unexpected places of people knowing what we are doing. Mostly they don’t mention Untold, but they mention something that we say just the day before.

    I know that I can easily appear to be over-the-top and a hopeless egomaniac over this, but I am getting the impression that we are having an impact. We are, as the saying goes, rattling a few cages.

    That in itself won’t change anything, but the more questions we ask, and the more we find everyone refuses to reply, the more we add it to the other oddities we observe: Dogface’s statistics, the refusal of the EPL to appoint more refs, the failure to remove refs whose performance is so far below par, and so on.

    I know that some people like to write in and say we haven’t proven anything until we have tapes of Mr X saying to Ref Y “here’s a free cruise on my luxury yacht if you swing this my way”. Or a copy of the email from Uefa saying, “watch out, these guys are snooping again, and we absolutely mustn’t co-operate for fear of something awful coming out”. And of course we don’t have that.

    But we have looked in a dark corner of the room and discovered something that smells rather nasty. All we have to do now is find out what it is.

  3. @Walter, Tony: UA is educating the fans who are educating each other and those who benefit by hiding will never openly admit that they’re being monitored has had any effect. They don’t wish to offer a scintilla of hope that public opinion will make any difference. This is intentional, hoping that most people will give up and go away. But shining the light is a time-tested way to drain the swamp and light is the best disinfectant. Walter, the non-response is well worth documenting because for whatever reason or set of reasons, it is a systemic non-response – a circling of the wagons. Whether it is because you are willfully being ignored or “simply” not important enough to be noticed, it doesn’t really matter. The FA system is a monologue – it speaks only to itself, for itself, as you’ve demonstrated. So, UA speaks to it and among ourselves, based on inclusion, not exclusion and serves to educate all/any who jump in. The FA system also speaks to fan-dumb (from their pov) through its media outlets, which is why I hope you enable an Untold Media section and participate in it. At the end of their day, the FA system is a self-contained profit center. Their Achilles heel is that it all rests on the fans paying for tickets and merchandise. Exposing of a non-level pitch threatens this lemming like, hypnotized behavior; and so, it threatens the FA profit-center as it currently operates – for its own self-serving benefit. However, a level pitch could actually increase interest and participation overall; but that would mean cleansing the stables of those who currently benefit from total secrecy. That said, returning to the EPL, shall we shine our collective light on the gathering media-driven parade to the Rednose 20th? Or don’t you think, yet, that the fix is in, so to speak. Have you not as yet noticed SAF’s being backed yet for the House of Lords? Perhaps it would take an Untold Media perspective to notice and keep that ball in play. As the season starts to unfold, that (non-quantifiable) factor is, as yet, untold.

  4. @Tony: btw, over the last two weeks we have gone from 9-10 on the Soccerlinks meter at the top left of the UA homepage to a consistent 5th place. It shows that UA is reaching people relative to that list. What do you make of that progress? What can we make of that progress? Is it a significant measure of outreach? Would the FA’s, for example, find it a meaningful indicator of UA’s reach and potential clout in the media marketplace and hence, the courtroom of public opinion where, yes, opinion and perception do matter. Please do tell something about these measures and their meaning?

  5. @Walter: as for the EMPTY SPACE on your posting: On the radio or telly, such a space is known as “dead air” and is a major industry no-no. At UA, such a space speaks volumes (and with volume). Many readers hereabouts can read/hear that space, loud and clear. (Nice touch – cheers!)

  6. From my experience with public or semi-public bodies, they just don’t like to give out information. This is exactly the reason why paliaments in so many countries had enacted Public Information Acts (of various degrees).

    From my experience it usually works like this:

    (1) You write a letter requiring information. In my case, it’s usually not something “academic” such as a survey, but rather having to do with someone’s freedom or ability to defend against a libel claim (sorry Walter but I do find this more important than conducting a survey). You explain why you are in need of the information, and you even commit to not using that information in any way other than the specifics of your needs.

    (2) You get no answer.

    (3) You write another letter, after two weeks or so.

    (4) You receive a letter which says: “We are examinig your request”.

    (5) You wait.

    (6) After 3 months you receive a letter where they either give you nothing, or almost nothing.

    (7) You write another letter saying “Hon. Guys, you gave me nothing. Please give me something”.

    (8) They write you a letter (after repeating steps (2) and (3) above)) saying that they don’t have to give you any further information.

    (9) You write an angry letter saying “…according to section 7(d) of Freedom of Information Law, 1995 you are required to …”.

    Here comes 2 alternatives: the happy end or the more-likely-to-happen end. The happy end is you receiving a letter after 2 months (and in total about 6 months from the day you applied) giving you the info. It doesn’t happen usually. Usually you have to file a petition to the district court, requiring a decree that will force the Ministry of [insert] to hand over such and such information. You pay your attorneys a lot of money for that litigation, and you can either win or lose (depends on the judge). And then, maybe, you get the information.

    So Walter, what I’m trying to say is that a private person – from my experience – needs to think about a different way of accessing such information and have the FAs cooperate by some other means.

  7. @Tommy Gun: While you’re clearly right, I’d say it’s a bit more than they “just don’t like to give out information.” It’s a culture of self-serving secrecy at work that protects the combination of jobs, careers, power and profits. The enemy of that combination is a curious, inquiring and pressuring public. They can impact the public; the public cannot – they try to ensure – impact them. So, the question becomes either how to impact them; or, given their expertise at the silent stalling (that you’ve well outlined), how to come up with a work-around that helps better bring about the kind of transparency that would help bring about a more-even pitch with a better grade of (dare I say, consistently fair and rule-conscious) refereeing.

  8. Walter,
    A novel attempt. I really appreciate your commitment, diligence and patience.
    I have two questions for you-
    Could you not have turned up at the KBVB HQ and asked them, being their employee? I by no means even think of wanting you to such things, but I am just curious.
    I am sorry to ask a personal question but why did you have to spend from your own pocket to write to those rogues, that too fifty three in all?

  9. I don’t think it’s at all silly that there could be people in power becoming aware of Untold and its search for answers. We already know that Arsenal themselves monitor Arsenal blogs to keep abreast of what the fans are saying and thinking, Gazidis has said so. Mainstream media also follow football blogs closely; we’ve seen Untold forming a big part of a football piece on the BBC, YoungGunsBlog has seen his articles regularly pilfered by the Daily Mail, sometimes straight up copy-and-pasted! And these are only the ones we definitely know about.

    I strongly suspect that we also have mainstream journos on places like LeGrove listening to the AAA complaints and then writing made-up nonsense that supports their opinions – what I call ‘doomer-bait’. They’re very gullible, tell them what they want to hear and they lap it up. I used to visit LeGrove from time to time for the craic, see what claptrap they were talking about, and more than once I then caught wind of something in The Sun or Daily Mail sites not soon after that was along the same lines as that discussed on the blog, which I found strange to say the least. And those stories are clearly good business, anything negative about Arsenal is usually at the top of the ‘most visited’ and ‘most commented’ pieces on any site.

    I’ll give you an example: About a year ago, near the end of the season when Almunia and Fabianski were both making quite a few mistakes, I remember LeGrove were droning on and on about coaching of the goalkeepers (and conveniently ignoring that our ‘keeper was fouled for a few of those goals conceded), trying to find a singular individual to blame for all the club’s ills as is their usual modus operandi. Soon after came out some ‘reports’ from the rags on how, allegedly, Arsenal didn’t actually have a goalkeeping coach. Another story, which conflicts with the previous one, is that Arsenal did not take their goalkeeping coach to away games with them. Make of that what you will.

    Anyway, the point is that there are more than just Arsenal fans reading these pages. And to me at least, it’s not unthinkable that there could even be footballing bodies with people monitoring and researching what is being discussed regarding them, looking to find out how they are perceived by the public.

  10. @Naren: seems evident that just showing up and asking a clerk does not create a record of the event; this way there’s a large documented trail of the attempts to get a speck of information X fifty-three or whatever the number is. The payoff for the money spent (whatever its source – which seems an intrusive question, btw, and, of course to Walter) is today’s important report – the evidence of the non-reply, of the silence that speaks. It is not fruitless in the least.

  11. @Walter:
    Speaking of books, I’d say that a good way to sum up the FAs’ behavior toward you is author/comic Charles Grodin’s book title: “It Would Be So Nice If You Weren’t Here…” That’s the Danish to English translation; as for the rest of them, well, they’re unspeakable!

  12. Hi DP

    I have a strong feeling that you belong to India.. is it true..

    Just curious..

  13. Just to clarify something that was mentioned by someone who shall remain unnamed 🙂 The Right to Information Act applies only to governmental departments and with exemptions to those related to national security. As far as I know The US has the Freedom of Information Act, and the UK has a similar act too (not sure about the UK)

    One thing in that regard that I have said on this site before Walter, is that in India we had the Supreme Court rule that a State Cricket Association, despite being registered as a private body, serves the purpose of a public body and as such it should be covered under the Prevention Of Corruption Act, as it applies to the State.
    This came about as a result of somebody filing a Public Interest Litigation in the court alleging corruption and demanding access to certain documents. I am not aware of the UK or European Law in that regard, but maybe such a thing is possible? Any lawyers here?

    And Walter, I actually laughed when I saw the blank space you had left as your research 🙂

  14. @Tommie Gun

    So are you saying that the FAs actually do fall under the ambit of the Right to Information/Public Information Acts?

  15. UNTOLD MEDIA, anyone?
    The FA’s speak behind their walls and through their media outlets. For all who might consider partaking in an “Untold Media”-style initiative, Anne and I have a few postings here toward defining a possible way forward. Have a look at the bottom of a recent UA page:

  16. Mr Broeckx, the reason these international football associations are not replying to you is most probably due to the fact that you are insignificant. Whining about them not responding to your letter is like being offended when a player on the pitch doesn’t wave back at you in the stands. Your lost in a sea of people. I would suggest, if you want to take this further, you focus on getting in touch with the FA in this country and trying your best in convincing them to send out the survey.
    If however your letter and survey are written in a quality similar to that of this article you need not bother as they will surely assume it to be a joke.

  17. Just to clarify something that was mentioned by someone who obviously has a name 🙂 The Right to Information Act isn’t jus related to Govt departments, but it also cover public institutions which are not handled by the govt, and plus you can ask for information relating to any private company to the point to which they deal with public institutions.

  18. Walter et al.

    This is just normal bureaucratic inertia, to my eye. No bureaucracy ever wants to answer questions about what it does, how it does it, or why or when or with whom.

    The normal response is to ignore the first request, especially if not made by someone with demonstrable power or visibility in the hope the questioner goes away.

    If you stop now, they have achieved their prime objective (do not disturb the status quo) at very little effort.

    Denmark is clearly the outlier here, with a slightly different “first response” that is probably more effective than the instinctual one you have observed from the others (though no more valid, with exactly the same aim). Denmark are just saying “eff off, mate” more politely than ignoring you, or saying so in as many words.

    So, if you quit now, we’ll never know. If you decide to proceed, I strongly recommend you brush up on the work of economist Justin Wolfers regarding NBA referees. Just enter justin wolfers nba referee into the google search box. Our you could start with a google search on nba referee freakonomics.

    Maybe you can interest him in applying his methods in a the biggest sport in the world.

    I’m sure you can think how your knowledge would make it easier for him to do so. The FA’s can’t be any more hostile than the NBA.

    So, please don’t quit now. Just find another approach. Recruit allies. Think again.

  19. For once. Dark Prince you are absolutely right. My mistake..

    See. It’s not hard to admit.

  20. I suppose if FIFA can be rotten to the core, then why should we be suprised if there aren’t more snouts in the trough from the UEFA associations…The silence is screaming out that they have a lot to hide…

  21. @Goonerman: you may or may not be right. Let’s say for a moment that you are absolutely right. Then, more constructively, why not offer a few pointers on how to best write or frame a survey request of these impenetrable bureaucracies and any pointers on how to best approach them? If you can help, please do; otherwise it’s just a drive-by e-shooting.

  22. Narren,
    I will not bore you with the reasons why but refs in my country are not employed by the KBVB. We are members of the KBVB. Ref-members could be the correct name. Insurance/tax reasons to keep it short.

  23. For once someone admits that I’m right. 😛

    But people have to understand that sometimes its not about being right or wrong, its jus about having a difference in opinion. And you need to respect everyone’s opinion. After all its a democracy.

  24. Walter,
    All the better, then…being a member of the institution would make their ‘classified’ information available to you, won’t it?

  25. Bob,
    I knew exactly that the question regarding to payment was most intrusive in nature…the reason why I apologized before asking it. I understand his not wishing to answer that and respect it.
    I was disappointed that Walter was left empty-handed despite his admirable efforts.
    In hindsight, perhaps it would have been better to not have asked that.I will keep this incident in mind.

  26. @Dark prince

    Changing tack again aren’t you? I believe in your version of Democracy the poor would have no vote since they don’t spend as much money and hence aren’t real citizens after all. Right? So don’t claim the higher ground now. You made a stupid statement. Couldn’t accept it, AND couldn’t let it go either. So if someone has to realise that it’s not about being right it is you. Now let’s see if you can leave it at this. Go on. Show me you have the strength to not respond to this, and don’t need to prove you are right, and let it go. I’ll commend you for it.

  27. @Dark Prince: To change the subject, I really liked/learned from your recent analysis of our offensive flaws; especially your argument for adopting a 4-1-3-2 as part of our arsenal. I also liked your thoughts on how adopting a strategy of picking early-stage or first-team ready young players would better serve Arsenal than going for mid-to-late stage youth choices who were less apt to be loyal to our squad. I wish you’d stay with the concrete stuff because it leads to constructive engagements. The endless rounds of logical debate – you are a good but too-frustrating contrarian – really wastes time (imo) and ends up in pissing contests, to be blunt. I wish you would bring far more of the concrete analysis side of your mind; and, that said, leave home the roundabout logician who refuses to lose side of your mind. Please consider. Cheers.

  28. @bob- first of all, i never start a roundabout debate. Whenever i first comment on an article, its always an idea directed towards the author of the article and not towards any commentators. The author may show one side of the coin, but i’ll try to show the other side. It maybe pessimistic, it maybe realistic. But its a very much possible idea. Maybe some people may like it or some may not. But If someone tries to prove me wrong, well, then i’ll try to prove them wrong as well. And this goes on endlessly. Yes, i can get really frustrating. But my analysis is purely concrete. I dont speak out unless i’m being true to an idea. But i’m certainly not the one trying to first target any of the commentators who hav a difference in opinion.

    That being said, maybe you realise that in those endless frustrating roundabout logical debates, there are always 2 or more parties involved. I’m not the only one speakin and commentating. So it would be more balanced if you give the advice that you have given me in your post to the others involved as well. They are as much as a part of the endless debates as i am. Please consider. Cheers.

  29. @Shard- the problem is that you think if someone has an opposite view, then its a stupid view. You dont respect others views and try desperately to prove them wrong as much as you can. I on the other hand, will stick to the view i’ve made and will defend it. I’m not the one who starts questioning the realistic views of other commentators. I simply state my view. If people like to debate then well they are welcome. But to say that someone’s comments are stupid jus bcoz its opposite to what you believe, is somewhat pathetic and ignorant.

  30. @Dark Prince


    I thought you’d be a little better than that. I give you too much credit I guess.

    All I wanted to prove was that you make simply contrary statements and then go to extreme lengths so as to not have to back them up. I did it because you have been doing it for months and it has been spoiling the discussion at times.

    As bob said, I think you actually make some good points. But the manner in which you make them is almost always antagonistic, and then you spoil everything by making some ridiculous statements and drawing the debate in directions which have no relation to what anyone else may have said, just so you can in a roundabout way convince YOURSELF that you are right. Mostly people just tire of you going on an on in random tangents and they let you be. The one time that I actually nailed you down and tried to narrow the scope of the debate, you resorted to name calling. oh I’m not complaining. I should have known that’s a possibility and I’m a big boy and can take that being thrown at me. Just pointing out that that is what happened.

    Also, I realise I’m being just as idiotic right now as I accuse you of being. But you have been pulling this stunt for months and I have grown tired enough of it so as to not let you get away with it, and on top of that let you claim that you take the high road. Most clearly you do not. Once again, you couldn’t just let it go, could you?


    “Dozens named in Greece football ‘scandal'”

    “Nearly 70 people have been named in Greece in connection with an alleged football match-fixing scandal.”

    “They include two Super League club presidents, club owners, players, referees and a chief of police.”

  32. They include two Super League club presidents, club owners, players, REFEREES and a chief of POLICE. LOL Now why does this reminds me of someone…. 😉

  33. @Walter: The news reports (BBC, etc.) state that UEFA published (or passed on to the Greek FA, or both) a list of 41 matches which it judged to be suspicious. It would be instructive to learn what were the triggers/patterns for for those matches to be considered suspicious. Perhaps there were other matches that were less flagrant and not investigated. It might be possible that the story is wider than Greece-only and is being contained for damage control purposes. Also, it would be interesting to learn who some of the refs were and whether any were ever involved in CL matches that involved EPL teams, and the outcomes. If you/anyone has further information, it could further educate the UA community on the difference between an actual coincidence and the several varieties of conspiracies. Perhaps we shall learn which of these is more common and which is the exception. Especially when one realizes that conspiracies that come to light have already been long underway under cover of darkness.

  34. @Shard- the ironic part is that, i feel the same way about you. The feeling is mutual. But the only difference being that i’m probably in the minority here bcoz i normally tend to be a little less optimistic. I know people in this site might wanna hear good things only, but it doesn’t mean if someone looks at the other side of the coin, then he’s goin off tangent or being completly baseless.

    I think we can only agree to disagree.

  35. We agreed to disagree a long time ago. I wasn’t even making a point at all. I was simply exhibiting that you make fantastic statements, carry the debate in all sorts of directions by selectively focussing on someone’s points and twisting their words, and though I didn’t expect it, you resort to name calling if forced to be kept on track and justify your claims.

    I have no problem with you having different views. I have no problem with you being less optimistic. In fact I welcome it, as it can lead to a good and interesting debate. I only have a problem that you actually don’t seek to debate. You seek to be proven right. It isn’t the same thing. And to do so you pull all sorts of stunts, and especially annoyingly you always seek the last word.

    So to simplify, I have no problem with you personally. I have no problem with your views. I have a problem with the manner you express your views and that in debating them you actually seek to curb debate.

  36. Oh and just so you know, I don’t mean just your debates with me. I mean generally the conversations I have read on this site.

  37. @ Shard – as far as my understanding goes, they have to. Even if they are not considered as a fully-fledged public body, then it’s clear that they serve a public function. After all, taking care of the national team is not a private matter. I’m convinced that they have to adhere to all (or at least the vast majority) of public bobides legislation, including freedom if info.

    @ Walter – the point of my post (ommited by me by mistake) was that there is a chance there’s nothing sinister, it’s just the way things are (sadly enough).

  38. @Tommie Gun

    That would be a pleasant surprise. I mean I know they SHOULD be considered as serving a public function, but I somehow doubt they are. It took a PIL and an appeal to the Supreme Court to determine that a cricket association qualifies as a public body in my country. Hopefully you are right though. But this is most definitely worth looking into and knowing for sure.

  39. Shard- as i’ve said b4, i can say the same things about u. You think, i’m wrong and going in different directions and i think that you’re goin in all irrelevant directions. And regardin calling names, i hope you have never used the words AAA or Wenger Out Brigade or Doomsdayer in your comments. Its jus slaps hypocrisy when everyone feels right to call others a certain term but when they are cald an AKB fan, they become offended.

    I can only conclude that the door swings both ways.

  40. Just proving my point that you read someone else’s points only selectively. I think all those acronyms don’t really mean anything, and I don’t use them to make any point. Besides I have told you before what actually was offensive. 5 times you said that I wasn’t a true supporter because I don’t spend money to go to the stadium.

    Yet again, you only choose to address points which would prove you right. Again and again and again and again ad infinitum. I think I could have got the lizard on my wall to understand by now. Please.. No more.

  41. Shard- well, if you can call 50000 stadium fans expressing their views as selfish, then i dont think you can call yourself a true supporter. Do wearing Green/gold scarf by ManU fans too be cald a selfish act?? When they booed Rooney sometime back, were they selfish?? If a majority of Spurs fans start booing bcoz of their management’s decision to relocate their stadium, can it be cald a selfish act??

    And yes, till the time you dont stop running away from the questions or stop giving counter questions as your answers, i’ll keep on asking the same questions. And hence, we both will be contributing equally to this infinite roundabout debate…

  42. I’ve answered everything. Go back and read through that ridiculous conversation..and yes I’m aware that I was part of it and contributed to it. I said why I did it. But I’m not doing this anymore.

    Oh and my love for Arsenal is not up for discussion. It is not up for debate because I KNOW I am right. (Grasp the difference between debating and being right?? naahh.. Who am I kidding. you would have got it by now if you ever were going to) Seriously. This is done. talk all you want now.

  43. @Shard:

    Are you a lawyer? If not, I think it’s a profession that you might seriously want to consider if you ever decide to make a career change. The way you break down your analysis is very lawyer-esque 🙂

  44. @Walter:

    From my personal experience of working within political bureaucracies, I can come up with a couple of possible explanations for why you never got a response to your requests:

    First, whether they’re familiar with Untold or not, the kind of information that you were requesting absolutely smacks of something that could be used to make them look bad. They probably guessed just from reading your request that it was going to be used in a critique of some sort. And they’re just not going to agree to something like that unless you’re able to put some kind of pressure on them to do it.

    Second, you were asking them to do something that would require them to do work. Some employee or another at their headquarters would have had to be assigned to respond to your questionaire, and they would have had to pay them to do it. I’ve never worked in a bureacracy where the general policy was anything other than to just ignore stuff like that.

    However, if you put a bit more pressure on them, you might have better luck. I think it’s a really good idea, and I wish that they would have responded. You might get at least something from them if they realize that you’re not going to go away if they ignore you.

    One possibility might be to use your media influence, and start a letter writing campaign from Untold readers requesting politely that they please respond to your questionaire. I’ve seen this done many times in politics. Just provide a template for a letter and an address, so that your readers can fill in the blanks and send it in. It might not get you results, but it’s usually enough to prevent you from being ignored entirely 🙂

  45. @Shard:

    I still just haven’t had time to do it. I’ve been really busy lately. Plus, my husband threatened to take away my computer and lock it up if I didn’t stop doing football research and pay attention to him for a change. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get around to it early next week at a time when he won’t be able to catch me. 🙂

  46. @Anne

    Haha. Fair enough 🙂

    Oh and your post addressed to Walter actually is something that makes a lot of sense. What would be their motivation to respond? And as you say, most likely it would only make them look bad. So we need to either have some pressure that we can apply on them, or we need to have some incentive for them. The first can only be really if they actually are covered by the Information Acts (which I doubt). Any suggestions as to how we can portray those questions to be worth their while?

  47. @Shard:

    I don’t know. The best idea I can think of off the top of my head is to put public pressure on them through the media. I don’t know if Untold has enough clout to actually obtain a response from them. But the way you would handle this in politics would be, as I suggested before, to start a letter writing campaign from the public to put additional pressure on them. That’s the best I can think of at this point, but there are no guarantees that it would actually work. The only way to find out is to try.

  48. @Anne

    Hmmm. That is the pressure tactic. I meant that is there any way that we can give the FAs some incentive? Make them want to be a part of this.. Probably so far fetched as to be completely stupid a thought though.

  49. @Shard:

    Could we find some way to get the FA’s to participate in something that might possibly look bad just out of the goodness of their hearts, and because it’s the right thing to do?

    Well…it’s not impossible. And I guess the reason I think it’s not impossible is because I’m basing all this on my own experience within bureaucracies, and what I always tried to do was to do as much good for the public as I could get away with without getting fired 🙂

    If Walter’s questionaire had landed on my desk, I would have done everything within my power to get it answered. And I think there are people like that within any bureacracy. I suppose there’s a chance that you could just keep trying, and hope that the request eventually reached someone who was sympathetic to your aims. It’s certainly not impossible.

  50. Actually Anne, I don’t think that will work. That sort of thing can happen and get through the system in larger bureaucracies. I doubt any FA is so large a concern that such a thing can slip by unnoticed.

  51. Shard- lol, yeah, you answered every question except for the ones i asked. You still couldn’t answer the questions i asked in my previous post. And thats how you have been in that entire debate. You avoid questions which really proves your theory wrong. So as someone said, you argue like a lawyer, who only tends to prove himself right. And yes, your support for Arsenal is in question when you yourself questions the motives of the Arsenal fans visiting the stadium. As i said, the door swings both ways. And yes, its cald hypocrisy.

  52. @Shard:

    I don’t think that bureaucracies are unfairly maligned at all. In fact, I think that they’re often not maligned enough. If that was how my post came accross, I obviously failed in some aspect of my argument 🙂

  53. @Shard:

    Are you still around? I finished my research and got back to you on that earlier thread with my results.

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