Corruption, you see it is a foreign thing

By Walter Broeckx

I think Untold Arsenal has in its life time always been one of the front runners when it comes to fighting corruption. Visible corruption and invisible corruption.

Be it assumed corruption in the referee world, or real like when we talked and pointed at the scandals in Italy, Belgium, Germany and many more examples. We pointed at similarities to some scandals and calciopoli is one of the closest things compared with what has been going on in the PL over the last few seasons.

We also talked about the corruption that brings outside money to the league. Oil money, dirty money, … you name it we wrote articles about it and wanting it banned. And of course the money laundering when people buy clubs with only their own interests in mind and not caring what will happen to the club and their fans after they have done “‘their job”.

But we also have condemned the plain corruption that existed and that came out. The corruption when club X (e.g. Marseille) gives money to another club in order to win the league on the last day of he season. Taking away a title from another team. And as that other team was coached by Wenger at the time it does have a link to Arsenal.

Of course people have the right to not want to believe that corruption exists in football. That is mainly because people want to believe that what they are paying for is a fair game.

I lost that believe a while ago. Because once I started digging in the referee underground world I became more and more convinced that there is some form of calciopoli going on in the PL. And as a result I hardly see other matches live.  I will also never watch a wrestling charade.  If I’m not 100% sure that there is no fix, then I will lose interest.

One of the things said against us ‘conspiracy theorists’ as we are being called is that the players earn so much money these days that they are immune for being bought. Of course that would leave the refs very much open to corruption because they do get paid some money but it is peanuts compared to the players. I think a ref will make every year what most players in top teams will earn within a week. And some even almost every two days.

And greed is one of the most common human bad characteristics. When you make a lot of money but the other guy who is running on the same pitch with you earns 3, 4, 5 times as much as you every week would you if given the chance be happy to do something about it?  Referees are human and also have kids to feed. Or school bills to pay. So if you could suddenly earn a year salary without anyone knowing about it for fixing one match then I can imagine that for many referees this could be too much to resist.

But I don’t have any evidence that it really is happening of course as I haven’t  caught any of them with their hands in the till.

But now apparently in Spain they did seem to catch someone with his hand in the till.  No, not a ref. But one of those players that earn so much money that it makes the ordinary football supporter sick by just thinking about it.

Gabi Fernández has admitted that he has bribed the other team when he was playing for Zaragoza (before returning to Atletico Madrid). That other team involved was Levante.

Gabi Fernandez is the captain of the current Spanish champion Atletico Madrid, so not really a small and unknown football player. No it is one of Spains most important footballers for the moment even though he never really got in to the Spanish team but that is no real shame on him when you look at what that team did in the last 10 years.

On the last day of the season Zaragoze paid some 120.000 euro to Levante and it was Gabi who was the go-between for the fix. So he actively was part of the corruption. Zaragoza won that last match by the way and it saved them from relegation that season.

Of course people can, just as with the strange referee behaviour we have found, stick their head further in the sand and say: oh, he is Spanish, what do you expect. We (British) don’t do such things. Well I think for regular Untold readers of readers of the Arsenal History Blog they will know that it has happened before in England.

Of course no player will admit such activity and say: Hey you know what our last win was a corrupt win as I just paid the opposition a nice sum of money. No, one has to search. And the Italians searched and found despicable things. And now the Spanish are also seemingly searched and also found such things.

I know also about such cases in Belgium that have been found out. We are just probably also a bunch of strangers who …well just do such things.  If only the authorities would go on an active search for strange things then maybe we also could see some strange things going on in England.

But for now as the English or British authorities are not really interested in searching for such things we can dream on that such things would never happen in England. No Sir, of course not after all we are British. (Well not all of us….)

So you see corruption in football really is a foreign thing. In the way that it is only those foreigners who actively go on the search for it…

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38 Replies to “Corruption, you see it is a foreign thing”

  1. in every business round the world where there is large amounts of money or power to be gained corruption is there. For anyone to suggest that the UK and the PL is somehow emmune defies logic.

  2. It is also a form of corruption when Arsenal play Chelsea and some how Martin Atkinson is appointed as the ref when his record with Chelsea is no loss in 27 games and Arsenal never seem to win when he is involved.who appoints the refs and what criterea do they adopt for appointin refs…….i guess the only criterea involved here is wen u want a Chelsea win.

  3. Franck

    “..Martin Atkinson….. his record with Chelsea is no loss in 27 games”

    Is that really a fact?

    “…..and Arsenal never seem to win when he is involved”

    And is that really a fact?

  4. Isn’t it really all the same who refs, Atkinson, Dean, Taylor, Oliver, Clattenburgh, ect.. Walters assessments undertaken to the most rigorous scientific standards have shown they are all out to stop us and get our players injured.

  5. Atkinson had 31 matches involving Chelsea.
    Chelsea lost 3 of them, had 5 draws and 23 wins under him.
    They lost their first match under him in 2006 and then went 6 years unbeaten under Atkinson. It was big Sam of all people who won the game in the last minutes in a crazy turnaround of events at West Ham. That was the firs defeat of Chelsea under Atkinson since 2006 and it happened in December 2012

  6. Atkinson!!!!!! How big is house??? Does he have a Swiss bank account I wonder???

  7. I don’t have such access so quick as perhaps Walter does; To be devils advocate here…which ref has ‘served’ Arsenal such INCREDIBLE figures?? Are there any in the PL [refs] I wonder who have officiated games for Arsenal where Arsenal lost 3 of them, had 5 draws and had 23 wins under him/them???

  8. apo
    There is being ridiculous and being unbelievably ridiculous and you asking which ref is similarly benevolant toward Arsenal comes under the latter!
    I do not have any stats to hand but would bet my house on there being no-one remotely near as generous for us.

  9. @Mick
    October 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Maybe my post has been misunderstood – it was not an attack on Walter AT ALL or you for that matter!!!

    I was trying to point out the fact that I DOUBT any Ref in the PL over the span of the PL has officiated games where Arsenal came to the good with such figures…if no one has them available then so be it…but I very much doubt we would be so ‘lucky’!

  10. Maybe the banners are becoming a good idea – especially for Sunday:

    -Attkinson TRY to improve your Bias FIGURES

  11. I believe that the PL is the most corrupt league in all of sports in all the world. The amount of ‘poor’ decisions and unusual ‘trends’ is such that I do not believe premier league football and wrestling have much between them in terms of ‘entertainment over sport’.

    We all choose what we want to believe, but I like to look at events and draw a conclusion based on what happens, not necessarily on whether someone is caught cheating (though even on that score, we all know that top flight English footballers have been caught on video in the past talking about payments to throw games).

    The referee stats in favour of some teams and against others is proof enough to me to know that something unusual is happening. Yes, it might be a wild coincidence, but the probability that it is a coincidence is extremely low (around 1 in a 200 statistically if you take Dean’s record refereeing Arsenal as an example). So its really very simple to me… either believe in the highly unlikely coincidence theory or believe in the highly likely conspiracy theory. I always found it funny that ‘conspiracy theorists’ are laughed at by head in the sand ‘coincidence theorists’ that are massively on the wrong side of the odds.

    All of the cheating will eventually come out – no matter how much the likes of Sky Sports try to protect their product or the FA try to keep their secrets like the CIA.

  12. Before Walter posts a regular referee preview, I’d like to point at few things about three games I recall Atkinson was in charge last season.

    The first one: Sunderland-Arsenal. He was attacked by the press for not allowing Altidore’s goal at 1:2. For those who don’t remember, Sagna and Altidore were battling each other outside the box. Atkinson signalized Sagna’s foul while the ball was still out of the box but Altidore kept running and sent a low shot that crossed the line. Of course, the goal was disallowed – Atkinson didn’t signalled advantage. Sagna got a yellow card (there were calls for a red card from those who don’t exactly understand the phrase “clear goal-scoring opportunity” and how that phrase may not be under no circumstances connected with Jozy Altidore) and a free-kick was given for Sunderland. Oh, it was first Özil’s match for Arsenal. One of the best Arsenal debuts I’ve ever seen if not the best.

    The second one: Arsenal-Liverpool. If there is anything positive to write about Atkinson, it’s consistency regarding advantage. Liverpool had an attack down the left flank. A foul was given to them by Atkinson but they kept playing (Suarez?) and Sturridge scored after the cross. Of course, Atkinson disallowed that goal and gave a free-kick to Liverpool.

    The third one, however, is more likely scenario for our Sunday match: Manchester City-Arsenal. From the very first corner for City that should not have been awarded Atkinson was 12th Manchester City player. He didn’t give us a penalty for Zabaleta’s clear handball in the box and he didn’t send off Yaya Toure for a dangerous tackle on Giroud (both incidents happened, as I recall, at 3:1 for the Oilers) which would mean a three-match-ban for Toure – two biggest mistakes from the referee. Now, here is more important question: are the linesmen going to be the same? Because they were worse guys in that story than Atkinson. Two non-existing offsides were called in the first half (Monreal and Theo) at 1:1 and 2:1 respectively in promising positions and Giroud’s goal at 3:1 should have stood (he scored it after the offside had been called and City defenders stopped playing though). The most one-sided performance from the referee since Craig Thomson’s massacre of Bosnian national team at Stade de France in 2011 against the hosts in order to get France a direct qualification to EURO 2012.

    Now, speaking of Thomson, Bulgarian side Ludogorets were narrowly beaten by Real Madrid at home on Wednesday night. I’ve read that they were furious at Thomson who, among other things, awarded two penalties to Real Madrid. It’s not the first time Thomson was in charge for a strange Real Madrid match – he was the one that sent off two Real players who wanted to clear the cards in the group stage against Ajax a few years ago. The Bulgarians, mind you, lost the first group match to Loserpool from the last-minute-penalty.

    Thomson’s performance against Bosnia:

    Staying close to Bulgaria and Bosnia…or sort of. As you might have read in the comments section the other day, there was a huge scandal in Croatia that hasn’t been ended through the legal system yet. Stjepan Djedović, one of the members of Croatian version of PGMOL, was sent to prison a few days ago for accepting money for “honest refereeing”. Djedović made a deal with the prosecution to get less time behind the bars. Thousands of pages can be written about the Croatian football and, er, strange things that happen there but the way how they caught Djedović and Širić (Croatian investigators wired Hajduk Split’s president Hrvoje Maleš in order to catch the aforementioned two red-handed) might be a fine recipe for the future investigations in other countries that have suspicious refereeing.

  13. apo
    Sorry if my comment on your original comment came across wrong. It was tongue in cheek and not meant to be critical of your comments in any way. I was just saying that there is no chance of finding a ref as kind to us as Atkinson is to Chelsea.
    Regarding Galatasary getting a punishment similar to CSKA, I very much doubt it. For some reason historically Uefa have been notoriously shy of bringing Turkish teams to book as far as I can recall. If I am wrong in this belief I apologise.
    As far as corruption in UK is concerned there have been several occasions where it has been uncovered on the player side, but there has always been an unshakable belief that our match officials are and always have been whiter than white and would never stoop to such practises that their foreign counterparts might succumb to.

  14. Josif
    Thanks for refreshing our memories, some very dubious officiating (not just from Atkinson) in the clash with City.
    On the Madrid thing, wasn’t aware both goals were penos. One of the reasons I don’t rate Ronaldo highly (apart from his obvious cheating) is that his goal record in the champions league must consist of 30-40% coming from penalties.

  15. Thanks for all this food for thought, particularly Walter and Josif.

    The point I want to make is not exactly about corruption, but more about how people are sucked into the anti-Arsenal agenda.

    Jeremy Wilson is a football journalist who writes for the Daily Telegraph. Up till recently I was impressed by his generally objective, even positive, reporting on Arsenal.

    Something has changed. In the two days before our great performance against Galatasaray, the Telegraph carried two articles by Jeremy Wilson. Both were about Arsenal’s injuries. Not a positive lead in, in other words.

    Today’s article by Jeremy Wilson is him advising Arsene Wenger what he should do with the team, and what tactics he should adopt against Chelsea. Previously Wilson’s approach was to report what Arsene Wenger says and is doing. Now he seems to have changed to the approach of many journalists who, as Arsene Wenger has said more than once, have managed zero games, but somehow imagine they know better than he does. The approach generally taken, in fact, by the Telegraph’s chief football reporter, Henry Winter.

    And now I notice that Jeremy Wilson is now described as the Daily Telegraph’s Deputy Football Correspondent.

    Wouldn’t it be disappointing if the price journalists have to pay to advance their careers is to adopt a certain stance towards Arsenal?

  16. AL,

    The second Real Mad goal was from a push by Benzema in the back of the defender. The Bulgarians have every reason to feel hard done by.

    There were two penalties awarded to RM, both taken by CR. He missed the first (or better said the keeper parried it away).

  17. @Mick
    October 3, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    No need for an apology – We are on the same page and saying the same things it seems.

  18. @Pat
    October 3, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    I know what you mean of course…but I have come to the conclusion that it (The Media direction) comes from the top/ownership.

    If you look at the type of owners who run those papers – you quickly understand that they are NOT of the same philosophy of our Great club – in fact they are totally in the opposite direction!

  19. Florian
    Thanks. Didn’t watch but that doesn’t surprise me; a defender being punished for bring felled by a Madrid player.

    Unfortunately that’s the way it is; if one wants to get positive reviews in the media in England they only need to attack Wenger. There’s a link on the other thread of an article by Kenny Dalglish where he questions all these attacks on Wenger. It is surreal, a former rival manager coming out fighting in Wenger’s defence. He states even if we win at the bridge today Wenger will still be castigated for one reason or another,and concludes it must only stem from being jealousy of the man. It’s one of the best analysis I’ve read of how Wenger is (mis)treated, and that article belongs right here on UA. Everyone ought to read that, especially some sections of our fans. It should not have been necessary for Kenny to do that, if we lived in a sane and just society, but massively appreciate his kind and humane gesture.

  20. I am a Nigerian, and I never miss an arsenal game unless the signal is poor and I’m inclined to say that Walter has a bloody nice way of representing Arsenal and all we stand for. We even seem to be the brightest of the lot. I think scandal’s are always around our backyard, waiting to be dug out by some bone-searching dog. Its fair to say that Arsenal are undoubtedly unjustly punished for fouls even against lesser teams. How we got here, I do not know but nobody in the PGMOL seem to care – and would they? We’re where they want us to be. And Daglish just made Wenger’s criticism all the more insightful as everyone have forgotten how good a manager he is…just take a look at his comment towards Fabregas and u’ll see him having an impression on his son even when the odds are against him.

  21. Just looked up Muhammad’s link to the Kenny Dalglish article under Don’s Crossing the Line article. Very enjoyable. Also lovely to look at the photos from Arsene’s years at Arsenal, and vote in the poll to say he deserves more credit. 87% yes, 13% no.

    Joey Barton – who?

  22. I read the Dalglish article. He’s spot on and great credit to him for that.
    If there is a negativity in the media and we know that there is, then it is quite likely that it will increasingly change from now, as we have so many fine British players in the first team and ready to come through, as Liverpool do. The plaudits that the team got for Wednesday’s performance and Welbeck especially. show that the media will be very positive when we do play really well, especially with our English players. We all know how quickly things can change in football. One week we’re awful and the next we’re brilliant. That’s because it’s all sensationalist.

    Talking of Liverpool, I felt that they had no chance in the Ferguson years because there was even more ridiculing of them when they started to challenge than there was of us. This changed lightning fast when Ferguson left and it was Liverpool themselves that blew it in the end last year, they didn’t appear to have particularly poor refereeing. But Liverpool fans might correct those comments. I think that most of the world wanted Liverpool to win last year. I certainly did once we were out of it. There has been a respect between the two clubs over the years and it is vital that that remains now, so as to counteract the press bias in favour of the repulsive oil funded clubs. Sorry – not the clubs themselves but the people who won them and the way they have bought teams. I don’t think that many intelligent people really like the way they have gone about things. It is very un-British and the grovelling will disappear like smoke once the rot sets in with the help of the Financial Fair Play rules. Having said that, you simply have to respect Chelsea for the team they have built. I personally don’t think that they are far ahead of us at all though. Surely Welbeck, Sanchez, Ozil, Cazorla and Chamberlain are just as much of a handful as Hazard, Costa, Fabregas and Willian. probably slight;y stronger as well, so that argument is in tatters already. They are certainly a whole lot faster. With Ramsey and Walcott still to return, the full, fit teams are neck-and-neck in attack, I’d say. Defensively, we have not started well this year but there are signs now and I think that Wenger concentrated on getting the new attacking players working properly and has now had to revisit the defence. With so many injuries and with them playing on home turf, you have to favour them but we could very easily spring a surprise if we pressure them, mix it up a bit and get ahead, which we are more than capable of. At 18:5 for the win, we are well worth a punt in my book. Not that I am a gambler.

    As for corruption that favours certain clubs and is against others, it is hard to fathom. Gambling syndicates would not be biased in favour of one club over another unless there was some involvement by the favoured club itself. If that was the case then it would surely come out in the wash, with all the investigative journalists in this country. One thing is certain, I don’t think that this country is very fond of Abramovich or Mourinho. The press build Mourinho up but they would quickly do the opposite should he start behaving like he did in Spain, which he has come a whisker away from already. If he can be more decent and less arrogant then his obvious charisma would be a boon to the club whereas his cheap shots have made people with integrity cringe on many occasion.

    The bias of the referees is weird. Do they get involved in the general mood of the press? If they do, then they are very weak and I just can’t see it. Are they getting back-handers from clubs? If they are, some brave person will find out and the PGMOL will clean it act up.

    One thing is certain, if we had a level playing field with decisions and with the press, then it would be a pleasant shock to us. It is this reaction on the rare occasions when decisions do go for us that makes me 100% sure that there have been serious failures by referees. Even more than the post-match reports. We sense the bias every game and some of it is subtle.

    Oh well, things change quickly, especially in football. We are not nearly as far behind Chelsea as the sensationalists claim, if at all. A victory for us tomorrow would turn the tables. The eyes of the world will be on Martin Atkinson. He’ll have to be careful with his record. Any big cock-ups tomorrow would surely bring the spotlight on him for the last time.

    Dear people, with most punters writing us off, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. That is the position Wenger has worked to our advantage so many times in the past. I would not be at all surprised to see us change tactics and hit them on the counter. Our squad could beat anyone in Europe if they play to their strengths.

    You get the feeling that some of the more mature sections of the media are really warming to Wenger. He’s a fighting rooster and he’s been around a long time. Him and Bould can get at them tomorrow, like we did against Inter, Bayern, Barcelona and so many others when the press had written off our hopes.

    Victory through Harmony!!

  23. Interesting and articulate post Sally Pally.Certainly the illness that is sensationalism is one that has truly affected not only British football but all global cultures, its always been there, but its actually now really tedious and really hollow at its current levels.Its a bit like ideology, it can get up to all sorts of mischief in peoples minds!Its a shame that we humans are generally more attentive to negativity than positivity.
    COYG! Aha and Amen!

  24. Great post jayram.
    As Walter points out in the article, these referees earn afraction of what the players do. Add to this the superiority complex most refs have and the FACT the the majority are control freaks and attention seekers (former policemen/ headmasters etc.), of course they are going to do whatever it takes to get to the top, and stay there.

  25. Sally Pally

    “The bias of the referees is weird. Do they get involved in the general mood of the press? If they do, then they are very weak and I just can’t see it”.

    Yes, they are weak, but there decisions, there bias, is more through a sense of self preservation rather than any particular allegiance to any particular Club.

    If they make a bad decision in our favour they get scrutinised and criticised on all media platforms.

    If they make a bad decision against us it us pretty much ignored.

    This is how they where treated when refereeing United, except the other way round. Getting it wrong often resulted in demotion to the Championship and certainly entailed lengthy bans from officiating on United games.

    The media run our Referees.

    Why risk putting there heads above the parapet when adherence to the media agenda means a smooth, trouble free existence?

    As for the spineless, gutless PGMOL, they simply judge there Referees performance entirely on how they are rated in the media.

    When have you EVER seen a referee castigated by the PGMOL for a bad performance against us?

    Villa last year?

    Cup Final this? Despite missing FIVE good penalty appeals from Arsenal the only thing he got criticised for was the mistakenly awarded corner that lead to our goal.

    At the risk of repeating myself 🙂 the media run our referees, not the PGMOL.

  26. jambug

    If it was truly as you say it is and maybe it is, then that would be totally farcical. I agree with you in as much as that they do cow tow to the media certainly but I don’t believe that the press would castigate them for making any correct decisions. I have never seen any media criticise a referee for making the correct decision. If they are really feeling pressure to make incorrect decisions only against us and only for other teams then it makes a complete mockery of everything that they stand for. The obvious solution would be to make sure that they got everything right. It surely couldn’t be as bad as you say, could it? Sometimes and very rarely I believe that it is probably like that, though, to an extent but could it be frequent? And why mainly against us? This is the thing. Is it a leftover from the Ferguson years still? If is, it should decrease rapidly.

    The fact that we are all discussing this rationally is a great thing. I hope that it isn’t quite as hideous as you make out but if it is, people will suss it out. Once it is sussed out by enough people then that will be more than half the battle. People could ask them why they continually favour certain teams and are biased against others and ask whether it is because they are so weak that they are affected by the press. That would be a good one. Concrete examples of recurrent bias could be show to them and hopefully they could give rational answers. The BBC article mentioning this site 3 years ago was very wishy-washy and it really didn’t address the most important facts. But it was a start anyway.

  27. Sally Pally

    One of the fundamental reasons behind the birth of UA was to look into the perception of many Arsenal fans that we get a bad deal from referees, and if there was, to explore as to what may be behind it.

    The Referee reviews carried out by UA seem to show that the perception was indeed accurate.

    Referees ARE biased against Arsenal.

    But why?

    Well I have given my reasons above, as well as many many times before. It is, for want of a better word, my ‘Hobby Horse’.

    As for your statement:

    “but I don’t believe that the press would castigate them for making any correct decisions.”

    Sorry but are you sure?

    Last year alone the Referee at the Stadium of Light correctly ruled out a Sunderland goal because he had to (by the laws of the game) book an Arsenal Player (Sagna I think) before he could allow play to continue. HE GOT SLAUGHTERED IN THE MEDIA.

    A correct decision in our favour that was criticised. There must be dozens of others.

    You also say:

    “If they are really feeling pressure to make incorrect decisions only against us and only for other teams then it makes a complete mockery of everything that they stand for.”

    Precisely !!

  28. jambug

    I understand exactly what you are saying and the bit about even correct decisions.
    I haven’t spent enough time on here to digest it all but I have been here quite a lot as an observer over the years. The funny thing is that I’m talking to you like other people talk to me in real life and vice versa. I keep trying to see the positives and hope that things will turn the corner as they may well do.

    What are the reasons behind your given reasons, so to speak? This is what I am trying to fathom. What is the purpose of it all? Apologies for not being up on all the arguments over the years. I’ve heard quite a lot of the arguments put forward though and have given a few of my own. I agree with some people on here and maybe you as well, that money has to be behind a lot of it at the root of the issue. Maybe I will stay as an observer on these issues for a while, so as not to repeat recent themes. But I fully support you and your ‘Hobby Horse’ and all those on here who know that something ‘fishy’ is going on.

  29. Sally Pally

    Whatever you conclude please keep posting as you obviously put a lot of thought into what you say.

    We/people will not, do not, always agree. That is not a problem.

    Reasoned debate with logical arguments, backed with statistics if possible, is always a recipe for good lively debate.

    You seem to have a lot to say. Don’t be afraid to say it.

  30. jambug

    Thank you, I will if I have anything to add. This site especially, is like medicine for us in a world (of football) where madness rules and idiots are listened to by impressionable people.

    It’s a shame that Andy Gray seems to have been ‘turned’. He often used to be the voice of reason.

    COYG Kenneth, jambug and all!

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