By Walter Broeckx
A couple of days back the president of the Romanian Referee Commission Vasile Avram has been arrested. This Mr. Avram is what you could call the Mike Riley of Romania. He is the one that decides which ref goes to do which game. A very important job. A job than can decide on a few things.
But Mr. Vasile Avram has been arrested because they think he might be a little bit corrupt. Because apparently one of the sponsors of FCM Targu Mures had paid 19.000 euro to Mr. Vasile Avram. The person who made the payment, Mr. Florin Terbea also was arrested.
And the reason that the money was given was so that Mr. Vasile Avram would send “good-minded referees” to the games of FCM Targu Mures.
In a way this reminds us of how Calciopolo operated in Italy. Sending the “correct” refs to the teams they wanted. And thus hoping that because of the way they knew the personal preferences of some refs those refs would bring their bias in to the games and give favourable decisions to some teams.
In Italy they found out about it after a long time and after hacking the phones of the people involved. I’m not yet sure how the Romanian police found out this bribery but the most important thing is that they did found out and arrested the people involved.
So sending the correct refs to some games does seem a trick that is seen by many people as a very important way of getting results. In Italy it was seen as the way to bring good results. In Romania it is seen as the way to bring good results. Some people have been saying to me after I started the ref reviews that no matter the ref “the team” should be stronger and beat them. I always have been of the opinion that when the ref really wants you to drop points he can arrange it. Seems that I am not the only one to believe this. People are even willing to pay lots of money to get a possible good minded ref.
What is important in this is the fact that for doing such a thing the people who appoint refs (and who were apparently corrupt in Italy and Romania) must know the refs and their potential bias. So it is fair to assume that the people who are responsible for appointing the refs know the bias that any ref has.
And this sheds a new light on the fact that for some games you always get the same refs. We all can come up with the usual examples of always the same ref doing the same games at Old Trafford against Arsenal. A ref who has a bit of a well earned and hard fought for reputation of being a bit sympathetic to the home team that plays their games over there.
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And no this is not a typical Arsenal supporter rant about Webb and Old Trafford. Just ask any Tottenham supporter about going to Old Trafford with Webb in charge and how he made sure that even being 0-2 in front was not good enough to beat Webb United.
Now does this mean that some teams do something like that is happening in Romania or happened in Italy? Well I have no evidence of this. But it is very unlikely that people will mail me and say: “Hi Walter, we just have paid Mr. R. a good sum of money to make sure we get favourable refs.” So I can prove nothing. And maybe it could be that a person doesn’t want money for doing this. Maybe the person in question is just doing it because he likes a club a bit more than another? Maybe he likes a club that much that he was willing to show his own bias in an unprecedented way in a game between United and Arsenal a few years ago.
A game in which Arsenal would have reached the 50 games unbeaten if they would not have lost. And in this game we have seen the most vicious attacks on the personal well-being of Arsenal players without punishment from the ref. We have seen players going on goal being pulled down without the ref giving a foul, let alone give a red card for the last defender. We have seen the most blatant penalties given for a dive in the final minutes to make sure that Arsenal lost. So maybe it could just be that the person who is appointing the refs has something against a team and is a secret supporter of a certain team.
But when Calciopolo and the Romanian ref scandal was all about sending the “right” ref to the “right” game it sure makes you wonder about some appointments in the last years. By that person.
So I’m not saying there is any sort of corruption when referees are appointed in England. No because there is no proof for this. But as I have written on a few occasions appointing a particular ref for a particular game is sometimes a very strange thing. That makes you wonder: why on earth did they send this ref to this game after the history he had with those teams? Why do they send Mike Dean to a Birmingham-Arsenal game after what happened in the game Eduardo got his leg chopped off? This is an appointment that can only bring back bad memories for one team. And not just for the chopped leg but also for his many biased and wrong decisions in that game.
Now it could be that the person who makes these appointments is just a dumb person who can’t think any further than the last second.
Or it could be that he just is a secret(?) supporter of a team and appoints some refs in order with this alliances and to help his favourite team.
Or the unthinkable thing could also be true….. and then the question is: who is overseeing all this?
Is there anybody out there who is keeping an eye on the PGMOL? Or can they do what they like? Because it was only in 2009 that the former president of the Romanian Referee Commission Gheorge Constantin, was arrested for…the same thing: taking money and being corrupt and appointing the good-minded refs for the games.
Be aware when there is money involved in a game. And there is not just money involved in the EPL. No, in fact there is LOTS OF MONEY involved.
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