If Serena Williams had played for Arsenal she’d be banned for a year.

By Ino Lotz, our correspondent on Certain Things.

Serena Williams was fined $17,000 for by and large calling the referee a cheat.  That comes out of the $1.8m she got for being runner up.  So less than 1% of her income.  She is not banned for five matches or anything else.

In the media there is no retribution.  No call for a life ban.  Not even a week’s ban.  Not even a minute’s ban.  Instead I have seen reports saying the umpire was to blame, and others saying it was sexism.

And yet never once have I seen press reports blaming a referee in a Premier League match.

Now why is that?  Is it because football referees in the Premier League are always right?  More than always right?  Above commentary and dispute?   Well, actually yes, because that is the deal between the secret society that is PGMO, the Premier League, and the press.  Speak out against the referee and you lose your right to be an accredited football journalist.  Set the agenda and the blogs follow for fear of looking foolish and off message.

Of course I don’t think anyone should abuse the referee or umpire in any sport – you go out and play the game and accept the referee’s comments and rulings.  But that should not extend to a blanket ban on the media talking about the referee after.

And so I would argue that, as both the media and the player have blamed the authorities of sexism in terms of umpiring tennis matches, the media and the player should put up the evidence in clear and open terms – and then we have a debate.  Unlike in football where there is never, ever a debate, on anything to do with referees.

Which is ok if you think all is fine in football refereeing, but still ever so risky, just in case one day it is not quite so fine.

One comment I read in the media was “Most also agree that the offences were punishable by the letter of the law.”   Which suggests that although the law says the player should be punished, some people think that the player should have been able to abuse the umpire in that way, and NOT be punished. Others argue that the umpire should have reduced the tension by just giving a warning – which takes us into a world in which the arbiter’s decision is affected by the reaction of the player and the public.

Tennis, it seems, has become a very weird sport indeed.

Meanwhile back with the footie, at least we know where we are.  For example, just days after we have Arsenal players commenting in public that the manager likes to choose a team for each game according to the opposition, we have Football London ignoring this and saying, “It’s clear from the first few weeks of the season that Unai Emery has yet to really decide on his best formation at Arsenal.”

Still maybe they forgot to look at their own computer that day.

They also tell us that a new left back is a priority.  But we have three players who can play there – Monreal, Kolasinac and Maitland Niles.  A priority?  I am not sure.  Just like I am not sure we need a “wide attacker” whom they claim is “also on the agenda and Cristian Pavon has big admirers at Arsenal.”

Except at the moment we can’t yet find a way to play  Mkhitaryan, Lacazette and Aubamyang together – so why another?

As for Ramsey, the view is “Arsenal really have given themselves big issues by letting themselves get into this position again.”  So should they have said a year ago sign this week or we sell you?  The problem is the player doesn’t have to accept the deal to be sold and Arsenal didn’t have the money to buy a replacement and there were other players they wanted to bring in.  Difficult to see how else it could have been handled.

And this monday morning, lurking in the background is another issue for everyone (except the British media of course) as the Spanish authorities seek to play Girona vs Barcelona in the USA.  Apparently the Spanish league will pay for up to 1,500 return flights for fans and offer compensation for those with season tickets not wanting to go.

Maybe they want to export Catalan independence to the USA.  Maybe  a clash in Miami between two sides with a high percentage of independence sympathisers able to express their views will make good TV.  Or maybe they are just worried about independence views being expressed in Spain.

The Players Union has threatened to strike if the move goes ahead and Uefa and Concacaf need to give approval.  And of course there is the little detail of the fact that the whole home/away system of the league programme is then distorted.

But La Liga is really keen to become the number one League, and the Premier League has of course made that easier by evolving a financial system in which one or two clubs are so far above the rest in terms of money spent on players that no one else is in with a shout – just as in Spain.

Meanwhile plans are afoot for the Spanish Super cup (the champions v cup winners) will be played in Morocco.   Are we now going to see “Game 39” brought back to life?

8 Replies to “If Serena Williams had played for Arsenal she’d be banned for a year.”

  1. I think that Serena Williams was wrong in what she did, handled it poorly in a big match but absolutely correct when she said that there are two standards of conduct on the tennis court. Ile Nastase, John McEnroe anyone…they regularly used profanity at referees and rarely were sanctioned. Men do get away with much more than women on the tennis court.

    I felt for her opponent who actually won the match and had to put up with all the commentaries saying that Williams had been wronged, though.

  2. Indeed
    I don’t follow tennis, but I watch the news, and I haven’t a clue who won.
    In fact it’s only slowly dawned on me that SW had even lost.

  3. The best player won on the day. There is so much wrong with the rules on coaching from the stands that it brings the game into disrepute.

    Just imagine if it were the rule in football!!! Arsenal would be fined for stepping on the pitch.

    OT Ellen DeGeneres (ITV2) has a lot of good things to say about visiting Ruanda (our sleeve sponsors) & the wild Gorillas.

    Lots more about the losses for the tax payer on the London Stadium & State Aid United on the BBC.

  4. The bias of the media was so apparent in the praise/priority of Man United Women winning 12 – 0 v Aston Villa in the lower league, rather than the Arsenal victory over Liverpool in the Super League. Incidentally just a 4 – 0 scoreline.

  5. Hmmm.
    Serena sensed she might lose the match to Naomi Osaka, her opponent player in that final match who was the better tennis player on the day than her. To stop losing, she decided to play a delaying tactics game in the match to put off Osaka but she remained calm and focus as Serena turned on the umpire to cause argument and rained abuse on him. I think the umpire did the right thing and he should be praised for his punishing her appropriately for her wrong doings in the match which was unbecoming of her personality for being a 23 grand slam winner.

    I once watched her picking on a woman umpire who punished her for violation in one of the Australian Opens final match which Serena went on to lose to her opponent. If she kept on going the way she going after her child birth to return to action, she may not win another grand slam again to equal the record she wants to equalled not to talk of to break it before she retired.

  6. I was following the news on the Serena story and was surprised no one supplied the necessary evidence. If the umpire himself dealt with a very similar situation involving a male tennis player in an exact or similar way or indeed completely differently then Serena would have a point. Did he, has he? If not then how can he be deemed ‘sexist’? Therefore he may well have been sexist (or even racist) in his actions but without the context (which I would like journalists paid to report on the matter to supply) I cant see how anyone can judge him.

    The BBC (bless them all) have a Radio series called More or Less which fact checks all sorts of things . So when The Daily Mail says 99% of Polish lorry drivers have no licenses, or 33% of Britain to be washed away in rising sea levels (I made them up btw) it can be checked to see if its true or not. On many occasions its just made up rubbish. I think we need this story to be fact checked for accuracy. If Serena has ben the victim of sexism or racism or any other ism for that matter she should get an apology. If not, she should get a ban IMO.

  7. Marca has a blurb, whereby someone (Man$ity groundskeeper?) said that Arsenal plan to defeat Man$ity was to not water the pitch.


    The idea that someone would deliberately water the pitch before a game was news to me. I was probably in my 40’s before I had heard of that. Playing football in Alberta, Canada; all our fields were dry and hard. I had heard of people with a European background talk about where “6 studs” for all games, but with the hard ground we normally played on, everyone wore multi-stud boots. It was only when one got an irrigated field, such as in the Okanogan (of British Columbia) that one might be able to where “6 studs”. But even then, I don’t think I seen groundskeepers watering the pitch immediately before the game, or at half time.

    I would guess that wet grass would be a lower friction surface, and hence one might not get as badly hurt when tackling (and sliding on the ground).

    But, if puddles formed on the surface, the ball hitting a puddle would probably bounce poorly (splat). Some people seemed to think that a ball would speed up if it made a glancing contact with wet ground. I think it might induce more (top) spin, there is no mechanism for it to speed the ball up. I would think the ball would probably lose more speed in a glancing contact on wet ground.

    I think it is relatively easy to get the ball to predictably “collide” with dry ground; you get the same bounce everywhere on the field. To wet the field as a normal operation, would probably introduce more problems in the landscaping so as to try and get the same bounce everywhere.

    If we played on “public fields” when it was raining, or soon thereafter, we could be fined if we damaged the field.

    Another concern, which I see from a farming point of view, is that compaction of the soil is much more severe if the ground is “worked” (such as a stud impacting on the surface) when the soil is wet.

    I would also think that the relative humidity above a wetted surface would be higher than if the field not be watered before play. Which can lead to problems with heat exhaustion during play.

    What stories do you have about the watering of fields?

  8. Very cheeky Tony, I don’t break my word, except when I’m forced to, I didn’t want to comment, It was just a hot topic for an article.

    But since we are here, Serena lost the first set, she then was in on the second, and just like Tiger, Tyson, LeBron, MArio, I don’t think the issue is with sex, but race. That was a turning point in a game, where a lot more than another title was at stake for a true black, female, and often outspoken icon of the game, who recently expressed her battle with Post Natal depression. Was a fine applicab;e? In fact, when is the time to be vocal, I think a quiet word in private, through the applied channels would have done little for the concerns of the player, a pragmatic approach would have been to call out the officil, in public, sparking public debate and decrying a number of long standing issues in the game. Race having been one of the longest standing issues in the sport, along with equal pay. I prefer the womens games, vastly more technical, with service game being less impacting than the ability to serve an volley or return on the opponents service game.

    This particular entrant, in fact uses media outlets to abuse sentiments I have listed repeatedly, in fact with a 100% accuracy.

    Inability to deploy Mikhi along with Lacazette, Aubameyang and Ozil.

    Incidents which go hand in hand with his second gripe, formation.

    But the two are inextricably linked, Unai used a number of alternative formations in pre-season, then decided to revert to type.

    This individual, may wih to look to social media as indicative of Arsenals majority millenial fanbase.

    4-3-1-2 well that gives you three f the four at once, with two CF’s. with the option to deploy Mikhi in a wide poition amongst 3 midfielders. I could see Ramsey right and Mikhi left of Torreira working very well.

    a lure, ok I;m considerate of two attempts at bating, rather than respond, I consider and act independantly. There is a reason I don’t lose any court case, and it’s not because I ever fail to consider the intentions of the opposition, their methodology, or by and large the opportunities, or threats within my own case.

    4-3-3 Lacazette central, with Mikhi and Aubameyang right and left respectively. you omit Ozil, and either ask him to go into a Silva/Santi role, which I think suits him well, much btter than left or right of a front free, maybe less than a Triquesta role, or as a roaming midfield playmaker, given the freedom to find space and dictate play. Coupled with Matteo and Torreira, this may well prove a favourable system.

    I haven;t actually been reading each article and commenting, or not commenting, I have out of respect and in consideration of site traffic, been looking back retrospectively at chosen articles and comments.

    Nay, the staggered 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2 and most noteably the 4-2-3-1 is what this team is geared towards, it’s now the genetic DNA of the team. Not to be overlooked, understated or scoffed at.

    You can’t play the best players at once, OK, well let me reduce that supposition to rubble.

    1 there is no means to play 2 strilers along with Ozil, Ramsey, and Torrieira, who’s stats speak volumes, in their preffered positions. It’s not possible.

    But you aren;t trying to put them out all at once, with a hectic schedule about to begin. But you don’t want to , because yo uneed two teams anyways, not 5 players fresh on the weekend, a little jaded by late midweek, and jaded by the following weekend, and out on their legs come the latter stages of the campaign. Ask Klopp, or even Pep. 21 players better be all of international class, as you stand just one short of 2 teams.

    And well if you can’t win without Mane, and a rampant, incredibly talented, committed to the point of throwing boots or ripping off your arm Ramos can identify the one player to be scythed down at any opportunity to ensure victory, you are a little naive.

    4-2-3-1 well if you asked me, I’d use Aubameyang up front all day every day, like he was Thierry, because his pace, gives the defence opportunity to play deeper and more compact, with a screen, that statistically starter Torreira in. In fact as I said to Lacazette directly, his difficiency has been resultant of a poor work ethic, and thus I would play him as an inside forward on the left, he needs to learn what Auba is trying to show him, it’s a team game.

    Panic buy opens his account in true 14 style, what was that, lazer guided!

    No for some bizzare reason, the imposter in the dugout has opted ot play Xhaka, with a kid, omit Ozil, and or Mikhi, play Aubameyang out of position, after he started in emphatic fashion in front of goal, leaving the midfield lynchpin out even after suggesting he is now fit to start.

    And then we can go to a recent post from a fan, a true fan. Caption, Jens has played more minutes than Leno, even his former club have ridiculed the decision.

    Arsenal recorded their best final third pass completion rate against West Ham, and scraped a win, just, a draw being the most likely outcome. Counter attacked by one of the teams with the lowest intensity levels in the league. Who could and should have been out of sight mdway through the first half.

    it’s patently obvious to me that the issue has been the system, the sole responsibility of the head coach. A modern circumstance much maligned by Jose in recent times.

    I see change here, there and verywhere, application of rules and new decision. I saw roads closed for NFL in London and he cites moving games accross the atlantic.


    The World is flat, the curve witnessed at high altitude is an optical illusion, and the mooon landing wasn’t fabricated because the US were late rather didn’t maake it and Neil was the first on the moon.

    Meanwhile the medja, attack another of the games elder and gentler statesman.


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