By Walter Broeckx
As a ref I am rather well placed to hear some things that others never hear. I have heard stories told by other refs on how they have helped teams to stay up or to become champions.
Some did it because the president of a club came in the dressing room before the game and offered him a sum in cash. He accepted and when the game was going to a 0-0 he gave a penalty a few minutes from the end and then made an end to the game. Do I need to say that even he admitted that it was not even close to a foul but that he just did it for the money he had received?
I’ve heard of game where the president of a club had to win or he would go down. He bought the ref, whom he knew personally, and even bribed the keeper of the other team to win the game. Even if his team had only scored a handful of goals in their last 15 games, in that last game of the season they were leading 0-4 after 20 minutes. The president of that club even told me after 2 penalties in their favour and 2 “mistakes” by the keeper he went to the keeper to beg him to stop it before it would become too obvious.
I know the persons involved and some have been big names in my country in football. But as it is some years ago I cannot change the events any more but I know what I know and this gives me another view on certain things.
I could also add the UEFA final some years ago when a Spanish ref got “a loan” from the president of Anderlecht just before the match against Nottingham Forest. A match that was won in a rather controversial way with some penalty decisions that gave Anderlecht the win.
This is what we could call the simple bribing of referees.
A few years ago, 4 to be exact, the football world in Italy was in crisis because after some phone tapping they discovered that some clubs “ordered” referees for their games. Juventus was punished with relegation, AC Milan, Udinese where also involved. Inter Milan seemed to escape but a few days ago some new tapes have been released during the court session and they have brought in to the open that also Inter Milan was involved in those things.
As we have learned from the “Calciopoloscandal” in Italy they phoned to order referees for specific games in order to get good decisions from the refs in charge. Who on earth would ask a certain referee if you know he will not give you good decisions? The clubs in Italy phoned to let the people who appointed the refs in Italy in order to get the right man for the right job.
But now it seems that Inter Milan even tried to influence which referee they got in the Champions League. On 15 and 16 September 2004 there were a few phone calls between Inter top man Giacinto Facchetti and Pierluigi Pairetto, who was responsible for the appointments of referees in those days.
Several phones were tapped in those days between the two people and why on earth would they phone? Was it just to know which meal they should prepare for the ref? No because in fact it was for the away games he called. Was it to be sure they got a ref that would give them a helping hand when playing in another country ? In fact it was for the games in Anderlecht which they won 1-3 and the game in Valencia which they won 1-5.
For both of these matches the Inter top men knew some weeks before who would be in charge. Why? Even the refs themselves don’t know this until a few days before the game. They know they have a game in the CL but it is kept secret until the weekend or just after the weekend. But as is clear to see Inter knew who they would have as a ref weeks before the game. Again I ask why?
Just for fun? Just to know? Could be but when I look at what was happening in Italy in that period I wonder if this were just some innocent phone calls ?
So the headlines in my country today are ‘Inter ordered ref against Anderlecht’ or even ‘Inter bought ref for Anderlecht game”. Is there yet any hard evidence of that? No. But with the things I know of the football world from the inside and take this as one and then I think of the Calciopoloscandal in Italy and take this also as 1 and then when I add this up the result is two.
If Inter did not order or bribe the refs then they are very honourable people but do you know many man of honour in football ? I think I know one but that is about all. This must be cleared up by Uefa as soon as possible. This is about the credibility of football in the Champions League. If this goes down the drain by actions like this, this could spell trouble for many clubs and for Uefa.
I’m waiting on how Uefa will react on these revelations in court. If they do nothing, then I think they want to cover-up the mess that is not visible for most of us.
- Last season the table after 3 games was headline news. But probably not this season
- 117 players tipped as coming to Arsenal before the window closes
- Why Arsenal recruited a new defence first, then a new attack
- After two games we can start to make one or two judgements
- Winning the opening two league games is not that common for Arsenal