By Tony Attwood
There are, it seems, many people who don’t or won’t believe that the Premier League has been corrupted in way. And I have begun to wonder why they believe that there is no corruption.
After all, one only has to look around the UK to know that corruption is everywhere. Indeed the news media that seems to want to ignore corruption in football is full of corruption elsewhere. Consider these headlines
British banks handled vast sums of laundered Russian money |
British banks complicit in Nigerian corruption, court documents reveal …
Natwest bank managers led £350,000 loans fraud in Bradford …
RBS accused of fraud and forgery by customers and ex-employee
FCA fines RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank Ltd £42 million
Financial Conduct Authority
It goes on and on, and it is everywhere. Try local government
Rottencouncil.co.uk (a website) “has been created and dedicated to members of the public, to enlighten them as to the unsavoury techniques employed by North East Lincolnshire Council officials on a daily basis.”
Rotherham: a putrid scandal perpetuated by a broken system
Watch Arsenal Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv
They knew and did nothing: Police and councillor ‘protected Rotherham grooming ringleader’
Police face 55 investigations over alleged Rotherham child sex gang …
So my question now becomes, since we know that England is corrupt from its banking systems through to its local councils, why would one be determined to believe that this is not happening in football?
After all, we already know football is staggeringly corrupt in terms of Fifa and Uefa. I have been through this so many times before on this site, and there are so many members of Fifa who have either been found guilty or are awaiting trial, that surely not many can be in doubt.
And how many times do we have to quote the refereeing scandal in Italy?
But maybe you need another corruption scandal in England to convince you? OK how about the corruption of MPs over their expenses claims? That was a huge scandal, and you might have thought that the scandal which was symbolised by one MP claiming expenses for the building of a duck house in his garden was now over. But in fact not. Under the last 10 Conservative prime ministers (Cameron and Mae), the amount that MPs claim each year has risen by over 43%.
I could go on and on, but I don’t want to take up your time. My point is simple, there is mass corruption being exposed all the time in the UK by the media, and I suspect we are about to have another huge scandal in terms of the Grenfell Tower disaster. And football too has its awful stories, such as the total and absolute inability of the FA to investigate the child sex abuse cases that have been reported to it.
The question therefore is, why, in these circumstances, would anyone ever choose to believe that there is no corruption within English Premier League football? After all, it has all the ingredients. For example:
- It is part of football, and we know football is corrupt (see Uefa, Fifa etc).
- It is in England, and we know England has rampant corruption, not least vis a vis its politicians and its banks (see above).
- It us awash with huge amounts of money which moves between one country and another and often goes through agents who have been shown not to be averse to corruption.
- Football is administered by itself, in each country, rather than being overseen by outside bodies that might blow the whistle on corruption.
- Even Fifa finds the actions of some of our clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester City too awful to accept and have banned their academies from signing players.
- And we have Watford, found guilty of forging bank documents. Why were they doing that?
And that is just the start. When we turn to PGMO that runs refereeing what we find is a highly secretive organisation that operates in a way that seems to invite corruption. As we have said so many, many times, if you wanted to ensure that corruption did not take place in refereeing in the Premier League the first thing you would do would be to employ enough top referees so that no team got the same referee more than twice in a season. Thus if you did have a corrupted ref, the most that could happen would be that the club would be hammered twice.
Other countries in Europe have that rule. Not the Premier League. The richest league in the world. One might want to ask the PGMO why. But then in trying to do so we find they are a society that is more secret than the Masons. Indeed you might not know but Untold tried to ask referee associations across Europe a series of questions about how they organise certain matters in their countries. One replied on day one, the rest never did. We heard that an instruction had gone out, not to answer us. You might wonder why.
“Ah but if there really was corruption surely the media would be onto it,” is something we hear. After all it was the Telegraph newspaper that exposed the corruption of the England manager and got him forced out of his job. And wasn’t it the same newspaper that revealed the corruption of MPs in their expenses scandal?
The problem with this argument is that we know that the PL imposes all sorts of regulations upon broadcasters in terms of what they can and can’t say. The PL can do this, because it owns the licence rights, and because there are multiple bidders for the licences they can put all sorts of conditions in their contracts. And they do. Since they have a monopoly on the sale of the product, there is no limitation on what they can impose in the contract, and if one bidder doesn’t like it, they can’t bid.
And here’s another thing. Any bidder who wants to bid for broadcast rights or the rights even to publish the fixtures, has to sign a contract about not revealing the restrictions in the contract before that organisation even gets the contract.
Of course none of this means that something is wrong, only that there is far more chance that something is wrong than there is a chance that it is all clean and perfect. And what tips the balance of probabilities totally in the favour of their being wholesale corruption comes from our referee reviews and the reviews undertaken on the Referee Decisions website by qualified referees who supported clubs other than Arsenal.
Perhaps the most powerful analysis was that of the first 160 games in the PL last season, which revealed an appalling low accuracy level among referees. That proved that referees made mistakes on a level never admitted by the referees or their broadcasting and journalism allies, and that the mistake levels were biased against certain clubs.
As for the mechanism, I think we first noted the most likely mechanism for corruption about nine years ago, and we called it Type III match fixing. Here’s the guide
Type I match fixing: a club that wants a win bribes the ref to help them get a win in a specific game by favouring the club in matches.
Type II match fixing: a club that wants a win bribes the ref to help them get a win by coming down on the opposition.
Type III match fixing: a club that wants to win the league bribes referees to come down on a specific club in other games – the game in which the match fixing team is not involved. To make this clear, let us imagine that a club (we’ll call them Club X) sees Club Y as its main rival. In this scenario what happens is that Club X bribes referees to ensure that Club Y is hampered where ever possible.
Now if refereeing is highly competent and there are very few mistakes made by referees, or if there are so many referees that even if there are a couple of rotten apples their effect will be limited, and if the organisation that runs refereeing is open and willing to discuss its actions and decisions, Type III match fixing can be stopped.
If however the organisation running referees has only a limited number of referees and never opens itself up to public debate, but instead insists that the media is highly restricted in its debate on the merits of referees and their comptence, then there is no debate.
So I come back to my basic point: why would anyone ever believe that the Premier League is not corrupt? With such evidence of corruption in football, and in England, surely it is up to those who think there is no corruption to offer supportive evidence?