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Why does everyone in football seem to have something to hide?

By Tony Attwood

Are there cover ups in football?   Cover ups of corruption, incompetence, match fixing, the old boys network looking after each other, abuse of money, abuse of power, that sort of thing….

Certainly in the case of the child sex abuse scandals that have swept across English football in recent years it looks like there is corruption by the bucket load.  Back in 2016 Huffington Post ran the headline “Football Club Child Sex Abuse Reported By 350 Victims” and that number rose dramatically with eight police forces  looking into allegations of historical child sex abuse in football and more than 20 former players having spoken out about alleged abuse.

The implication is that with that much child sex abuse going on, surely someone somewhere would have noticed.  For everyone not to have seen anything things beyond belief, and thus a certain amount of complicity and corruption seems possible.

At the time of the 350 victims announcement National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Child Protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “It is important to note that this is an indicative figure only, and that information is still being collated, numbers will, therefore, continue to change.”

And that proved to be true.  In 2017 the Guardian ran the story, “More than 240 clubs now involved in football sexual abuse scandal” adding that “Police confirm 100 extra clubs involved since last update in December, with NSPCC also referring cases from 22 other sports to police operation.”

Then on 19 March 2019, the Guardian reported that Crewe Alexandra were contesting victims’ claims, using specialist lawyers that had been appointed for the club by Football League insurers – with experience of defending child sex abuse allegations involving the Roman Catholic church.

The point was to argue that the club should not be liable for alleged incidents from the 1980s and 1990s because the cases were now too old, and because they were not committed while the accused was acting as an employee of Crewe.

What sent me back to my notes on abuse in football (a subject which if you are a regular reader of Untold you may have noted that we do try and cover as best we can) as the story of Julie Brown, a reporter with the Miami Herald, who had approached a former police chief in Florida in 2017, hoping to interview him concerning the Jeffrey Epstein child sex crime case.  Epstein had received what many saw as an incredibly light sentence and the reporter was trying to discover why this was so.

The police chief said that he had talked to many journalists, giving them details of where to find utterly damning evidence against Epstein but that no one ever took the story up.  The media, he alleged, simply would not run the evidence.  He also warned the reporter that if she carried on investigating then someone would call her publisher, and she would be demoted to covering births and deaths.

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But this reporter didn’t give up, and she exposed the government cover-up of just how Epstein had negotiated a “non-prosecution agreement.”  It was journalism at its best – one reporter taking on the state and eventually getting Epstein re-arrested.Now what pulls all this together, is that Julie Brown said that the reason she started to look again at the Epstein case was because there was such a deadly silence about it.  “There really was nobody pursuing this at all,” she said. “That was one of the things that intrigued me about this case. Why isn’t anyone standing up and screaming?”

Now I would never suggest that I have inside information on what is going on in football, and particularly not that I have inside information about child sex abuse cases within football.  There have been more cases, and others have yet to start.

But here’s the point: I don’t see any journalists pulling the whole thing together.  Indeed unless you particularly set out to follow such cases you might be surprised how many there have been.  The list is huge, and often includes men who have been charged, but have then been able to move on to another club and then committed more offences.

Now my point here is that when one reads all the details and looks at the number of men and number of clubs involved what we find is something incredibly disturbing about the whole pattern of football coaching of boys.  And yet as far as I can see (and I might be wrong here, for I am far from being an expert investigator) the sheer scale of the problem suggests that there is something fundamentally wrong with the management of football clubs, both by those clubs that have allowed predators to work within them, and by the FA and League in their level of oversight.  They are, or at least in many cases have been, dealing with children without proper levels of oversight or training.

What we seem to have in England is that a view has developed that each case is unique, it doesn’t happen now, and everything is ok.  And this attitude spreads to every aspect of the game.

It is similar to cases in which there is any suggestion that a club is breaking any type of financial regulations, the response from supporters of the club accused is simply that those following the case are jealous of their club’s success.   Everything thus becomes tribal and isolated.

And yet there are so many issues in football that are never answered.   The question for example of where the money from the Community Shield games goes.  The question of why Sport England stopped giving grants to the FA for the improvement of facilities, and why none of the media mentioned that.  The question about whether it is a good idea for tax payers’ money to continue to go to the FA in the light of their wasteful behaviour in bidding for the world cup, and the huge debts they have run up.  The fact that the last bid for the world cup cost so much money, and was so incompetent, surely the same body that put in that bid (the FA) should not be allowed to spend that much taxpayers money again.

I am not saying any of these other matters are as important as the child sex abuse scandal, but the response is always the same – some small scale reporting of the case – but nothing being joined up.  No one saying, “hang on, this is one case after another involving football.  Some are much more important than others, but still, it is one case after another.  Why is that?  Is there any proper control and organisation in football?”

Maybe if we could have a little joined up thinking about every issue that is arising in football in England, we might then also be able to talk about why the PGMO is so hyper-secret and has its non-disclosure agreements.  “Why should a referees’ body have something to hide?” is an interesting question that might get thrown into the mix.

In short there are multiple issues wrong in football, and yet we just meander along without any joined up thinking at all.  Why is that?

11 comments to Why does everyone in football seem to have something to hide?

  • Jezzy

    You mean like the way Tony posts articles that are constructed purely to hide gambling links within them? And, yes, I know full well this comment will not be posted, but if Tony reads it then that’s enough for me. I imagine having your utter hypocrisy and vile tactics highlighted isn’t particular comfortable. After all, you are promoting and being extremely deceitful about a potentially life destroying addiction, made even worse by the fact that this sport is a primary past time for under 18’s. With gambling addiction rates for young people on the raise you are only serving to help compound that issue. But, sure, just as long as you get that juicy as revenue.

  • I think the point is Jezzy that if you are ever offered the job as a mind reader you should turn it down, because you are not very good at it.

    So let me help you out: without gambling adverts, Untold Arsenal would not exist, because of the cost of running the server with the security level needed due to the high level of hacking that goes on, in relation to this site. So yes, I could stop it and close down the site. But you see, here’s the thing, you also have the choice. What you could do is to stop reading Untold Arsenal, and make your point that way. Quite why you don’t I can’t possibly say – you do seem to read us quite a lot, looking at the stats of what you do and where you go. But you seem to be very much against what is published here, judging by all your comments.

    Also I wonder why you thought I wouldn’t publish this but would read it. That suggests you don’t quite know how blog moderation works for a blog like this, nor much about my view of the world. I can see for example that you have had 24 comments posted, each one of which has been approved individually by one of the moderators.

    But anyway, you are clearly very distressed and upset about Untold, my perfidious nature, seeing gambling advertisements and so forth.

    And of course you have the freedom to make your point against me, and against gambling, but really, best of all, you ought to consider not reading untold but instead going to a site that refuses to have any gambling adverts, and then I am sure you would rest more easily.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Hmmm. I think all the negative happenings that have happened in football adminiration, and are still happening up to now and still could happen and continue to happen if not check to stop them from happening, is down to the mafia like organization that is controlling football from local level to national level and to regional level and going up to international level.

    Corruption has become engraved in all facets of football adminiration world-wide to the extent that at first instance when it became an epidemic disease that affected it, but as nothing tangible was done to treat the epidemic disease to cure football adminiration from it, the epidemic disease developed to become endemic disease in football adminiration making it hard to get rid of the two diseases. And as both the epidemic and endemic diseases remained untreated to cure football adminiration from continue suffering from them, the duo diseases gradually graduated to pandemic level mulling football adminiration all over the world.

    But with every governmental institution charged to control, regulate and oversee football adminiration across board world-wide becoming scare, afraid and even panic to go near football adminiration to have a look at the corruption that has allegedly being reported to be plaguing it, talkless of to take the bold attempt to diagnose the three plague diseases of bribery, corruption and crime and manipulations to cover up wrong doings. And administer correct disciplinary action that will nib the ugly head of corruption in football adminiration in the bud permanently.

    But nevertheless, hopes cannot be said to be have been lost to see corruption in football adminiration eradicated world-wide if the struggle to achieving this noble objective is not jettison as Untold Arsenal have not abated in their fights to see that corruption at all levels of football adminiration world-wide comes to a permanent end to cease from existing anymore.

    Aluta! The UA, Keep the discussion alive an ON as the fight to eradicate corruption in football adminiration world-wide continues.

  • Nitram

    It is a free world (well, more or less) and you have a choice to gamble or not.

    You have a choice to drink alcohol or not.

    You have a choice to eat meat or not .

    Doing too much of any of those can kill you.

    I do all of them and am to the constipation of many, still alive and kicking, but in moderation.

    To suggest responsible advertising of any of those equates to any of the issues in Tony’s article is, to not put too finer word on it, pathetic.

  • Nitram

    Freudian slip maybe !

    F***ing spell check.

    Consternation of course.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Nitram – Most of them seem to be truly constipated , so its not really a slip ! If only people thought things out for themselves without ranting , or having to start frothing at the mouth , we could have an interesting discussion.

    And as Tony has put it , why come here to gripe ? Am sure there are many sites that would welcome them .

    Sad really that the poor injured individuals have not got their justice , nor their day in court. But when they do , I hope those responsible for this abuse , will suffer a fate far worse than hell .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Here is an informative advisory on how to do the right thing.

    LAWS OF MANHOOD.
    -Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.
    -Don’t enter a pool by the stairs.
    -In a negotiation, never make the first offer.
    -Request the late check-out.
    -When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
    -Hold your heroes to a higher standard.
    -Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
    -Play with passion or not at all…
    -When shaking hands, grip firmly and look them in the eye.
    -Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.
    -If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.
    -Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.
    -You marry the girl, you marry her family.
    -Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.
    -Experience the serenity of travelling alone.
    -Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.
    -Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.
    -Thank a veteran.
    -After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.
    -Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.
    -Give credit. Take the blame.
    -Stand up to Bullies. Protect those bullied.
    -Write down your dreams.
    -Always protect your siblings (and teammates).
    -Be confident and humble at the same time.
    -Call and visit your parents often. They miss you

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The #1 Secret to Happiness | David Tian, Ph.D.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nataGiZHCo8

  • Menace

    Oh! Tony how could you miss an opportunity to end with – ‘I’d bet on it!

    Sometimes some of these holier than thou merchants need a little poke of fun. It really brings out the venom in them.

  • Casmir

    @Tony, are you suggesting since the FA made a failed bid to host the world cup, the association should be scrapped? Really? Lol. I wonder how many FAs would be left if you had anything to do with it. Anyways kudos to July Brown, maybe you would take a leaf from her book and Consider taking positive action about your myriad of complaints. Though you seem to be more comfortable criticizing those who do like the #wecaredoyou movement

  • No I am not suggesting that. But I do find it rather interesting that you think I am.