By Tony Attwood
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In the last article on football corruption and scandals (Why is it all so underreported part 1) I reached the point of noting that scandals, corruption and illegality exist aplenty in football and yet there seems to be a certain resistance to the notion that when we see something that looks odd which should go digging.
But an alternative view could easily be that in many aspects of our society, when we spot some dubious and illegal activities these could well be the tip of the iceberg, and so more investigation is worthwhile.
Now clearly Untold Arsenal can’t do this – we don’t have the resources of a national newspaper, the BBC or any similar organisation, but it seems a lot of the time to be left to us to highlight certain dubious goings-on that come apparent.
So yes, the media has picked up on the Rio Fedinand missed drugs test of 2003, the Bruce Grobbelaar Match-Fixing saga of 1994, and then the Ryan Giggs Affair in which the player got super-injunctions to hide his multiple extra-marital affairs including one with his brother’s wife.
And these issues raise questions, such as why in a democracy, a super-rich footballer needs special protection after his regular indiscretions when such protection is simply not available to ordinary members of the public because they could never afford the legal fees.
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Elsewhere Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano were involved in a Third-Party Ownership case (which is interesting as Untold recently ran the story of how agents are now getting around the rules on this) wherein West Ham broke many of the rules and were fined £5m. As a result of having these illegally registered players, WHU were not relegated and Sheffield Utd were. The Independent later reported WHU had to pay Sheffield Utd £18m compensation.
Unfortunately, personal lives—and romantic escapades in particular—have become among the most frequently discussed aspects of English football, with that of John Terry perhaps the most famous of the lot. But the rest … well you often have to go searching to find it.
Of course not everyone accused of wrongdoing is found to have done wrong as with Harry Redknapp’s Monaco bank account named after his dog Rosie and the taking of bungs. Mr Redknapp left court without a stain on his character.
Andy Gray and Richard Keys, however, did nothing illegal but got kicked out of English TV coverage of football for sexist remarks about a female official. TalkSport didn’t mind having them however, and they can be seen all the time on BeIN sports across the Arabic speaking world.
Meanwhile in 2012, former Southampton defender Claus Lundekvam claimed that he, his teammates and opposing captains had constantly manipulated certain aspects of matches “almost every week”. He stated that “We could make deals with the opposing captain about, for example, betting on the first throw, the first corner, who started with the ball, a yellow card or a penalty. Those were the sorts of thing we had influence over.” No one seemed to get really worked up about it.
The following year the Mail reported on a Euro wide match-fixing ring which Liverpool allegedly benefited form during a 2009 Champions League campaign. In 2013 the BBC reported on “Match-fixing revenues comparable to global firms – Interpol”. A short while ago most European papers reported on Uefa’s statement that match-fixing was out of control.
With such a history in football, my view is that it would be helpful if all of football was as open as possible – after all the issues concerning Manchester City’s income and its subsequent threats against Uefa are still to be resolved. Meanwhile, although Uefa’s statement concerning the fact that it could not cope with the level of match-fixing was not reported much in England (apart from by Untold) much of the rest of Europe did sit up and take note.
Plus we have other issues here too such as the way referees are kept away from interviews, while at the same time a logical protection against the corruption of referees as happened in Italy (by having each referee only in charge of any team in the league twice in a season) has not been implemented in the PL. Look at what happens in much of the rest of Europe and you see that they did take these things more seriously.
Part 3 follows after the Crystal Palace v Arsenal game.