However the Telegraph is being scurrilous in placing the blame on everyone but themselves. Thus when they said, “Mark Hughes’ concerns about Ryan Shawcross being singled out for wrestling and Garry Monk’s outburst over Victor Moses’ dive undeniably add to the drama of the Premier League soap opera – as do fans’ phone-in rants – but they don’t make for a balanced, elucidating debate,” they are once more betraying the football debate.
You notice the use of language. When we, the little fans, speak out, it is a “rant”. When the Telegraph speaks, it is measured, sensible, serious. How funny it is to think of that when we have three instances of the Telegraph, by chance or design, finding its agenda being exactly the same as that of Untold – even if they are always a little late off the mark.
But here is another interesting bit. And remember this is the Telegraph who published that long accolade to the work of PGMOL just a couple of weeks ago. “Unfortunately, Mike Riley, the general manager of PGMOL, does not want referees talking post-match. Howard Webb, the new technical director and a far more confident figure publicly than Riley, has always been in favour of officials communicating, clarifying points of Law. Until Riley agrees with Webb, PGMOL creates a post-match vacuum into which all views, conspiracy theories and speculation swirl unchecked.”
Ohhhhhh, Internal bickering within the PGMOL!!! Whatever next?
But let’s not get too carried away. The Telegraph works to its own agendas, and is often seemingly influenced by outside agencies, which is why its earlier article on referees and PGMOL was such awful.
The agenda here is that everything can be boiled down to something simple: a power struggle inside PGMOL. Just notice: the issue that referee errors are not equally spread across games and across clubs, is not touched upon. Football is once again betrayed by the media – but this time through (it appears to me at least) the adoption of a hidden agenda.
Try this for size…
“It is laughable that PGMOL thinks this damaging situation, this radio silence in a modern media age, enhances referees’ credibility. Nonsense. PGMOL is letting its officials become punch-bags and scapegoats. Oliver and company deserve better. Monk has to be charged by the FA for claiming Oliver “cheated us” but that will be little consolation for a talented 29-year-old referee left squirming in the public stocks.
“The Premier League itself has yet to dispel the suspicion that it actually likes this extension of the match tension, this continued fevered focus, this domination of the sporting agenda. It denies this but the more headlines there are, however ill-informed, the more publicity the Premier League enjoys and more publicity means more broadcasting revenue.”
Well, if you want an agenda, that is one. Cut out any enquiry into the bias of referees, and focus instead on allowing them to speak. Clever eh?
But then, the Telegraph really is trying to knock us all off course.
“English football does much brilliantly but it doesn’t do sensible debate particularly well. Why let the facts spoil a good argument?”
Oh come now. Should that not be, why let the facts get in the way of an agenda? A good journalist would be saying, “hang on a minute, not everyone is talking about innocent errors by incompetent refs. Some are talking about consistent bias. Indeed these guys are producing more and more stats by the day in that regard. Let’s have a look.”
But no. Instead of questioning the referees, the Telegraph says, “Referees should be allowed to communicate their reasons for a decision.”
Such an opening up of the debate by that one millimetre will then take all the pressure off the refs, and the focus away from the figures that show that refs are biased.
Eventually the Telegraph falls into the mode of sooth-sayer. The almighty paper that knows what will happen, and that the right way, the good way, the Telegraph way, will shine through.
“Change will come. It’s inevitable. It’s the 21st Century, the age of communication. Officials will one day be heard as well as seen.”
In places, the Telegraph is on the right track, as when it says, “There is a feeling in certain footballing quarters that Webb was offered this role at the Premier League to stop him writing a book or being taken on by a media organisation.”
Oh, and then we come back to Walter’s earlier piece…
“Just as video technology will one day arrive to assist officials’ decision-making, referees will eventually present themselves for the broadcasters post-match, bringing some proper perspective to the debate. They might even admit that they erred; most sane supporters would accept that. Referees are humans after all, and most are grounded, likeable characters.”
And that is the killer blow. The definition of sanity according to following the Telegraph’s vision of reality.
So we can admit that the paper has done us a service, by publishing the press-release type article about video refereeing after Walter’s piece, and now this. They have revealed the big split inside the PGMOL and they have decided to use that as a way of telling supporters what to think and how to think. Indeed they have suggested that anyone who doesn’t think this way is not sane.
Their agenda is as strong as ever, as is the camouflage. Just look at this
“Riley claims that no other country boasts the “strength in depth” of refereeing as England, with only Italy coming close. Webb describes refereeing as a “success story in this country’’, adding that “for all that anyone would want to criticise our officials, in terms of world and European standing we really are right up there. It’s something that should be celebrated”.”
And the evidence for that is…?
This is a case of picking out the facts that fit and creating a story out of it. It has, in passing, given us insights into the in-fighting within PGMOL and it has also told us about the tactics that will be used for the further betrayal of football – and that is good.
And it also tells us, that some people within the PGMOL are starting to fight back. Which if nothing else, should be interesting.
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