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By Tony Attwood
About four years ago a number of Arsenal supporters began to be concerned about what we saw as poor refereeing in the Premier League and indeed elsewhere in Europe. On occasion it was so bad that it was to explain it all on ref incompetence – which is where British media – particularly BBC Radio 5, the UK station that carries the EPL commentaries, puts the blame. Could it be, we wondered, that there is some corruption within football?
We knew then as we know now that any mention of corruption in football in England in the press always focusses on “unusual betting patterns”, and never on the notion that somehow clubs are fixing referees. Fixed refs is a non-subject – for reasons that we have explored in many articles.
And yet the corruption of refs is what has happened – and it seems has continued to happen – in Italy. We asked, if it happens in Italy (and elsewhere), could it not happen here – and indeed in other European countries -previously untouched by scandal.
So we have gathered evidence, week by week. We started just by analysing the ref’s performance in Arsenal games. Then we extended this to include EPL matches in which Arsenal did not participate. After that we started making predictions before each league match as to what the result would be, based on the referee’s known past behaviour.
Over time we have added more analyses – looking at the way the Premier League referees association works, the geographic origins of referees in England, and comparing what we find in England with what we find elsewhere. We’ve even produced several analyses of the nature of proof, in response to people who have raised this issue.
Our work has gained quite a lot of interest in the media – most notably when the BBC picked up on our work and linked to our site. We know that the authorities not just in England but elsewhere are aware of what we do – there is strong evidence that an edict was issued telling all referee associations in Europe not to talk to us when we attempted a survey of their own rules.
Our referee reviews are published on Untold Arsenal – irrespective of which club they relate to – and are then archived on our Untold Referees site
A broader set of reports, and our articles on corruption among referees, is carried on Untold Corruption – and again the articles appear on this site first.
Here are our latest two Untold Ref reviews…
I do hope you find the series interesting, and that it will help to answer any nagging doubts you might have when you watch a top game and think, “there was something wrong with that referee today”.
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