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- Football corruption and scandals. Why is it all so under reported? Part 1
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- Football corruption and scandals. How we tipped off Fifa and other unlikely tales. Part 3
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By Don McMahon
As we have so often pointed out, Untold Arsenal has no evidence that something is amiss with refereeing in the Premier League. We don’t have the wherewithal to tap phones, intercept emails, check bank accounts and the like, and yet such evidence as we can collect and report is suggestive that all is not well. And there is no doubt that the organisation and reporting of refereeing in and around the Premier League adds to our suspicions that Quid Pro Quo is a phrase at the heart of the game. That proves nothing, but it makes us wonder just why the League’s refereeing is organised as it is, and why the openness of discussions about refereeing in other countries is not replicated in England.
Thus we have Latin phrase “quid pro quo”, which means ¨you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours¨ or ¨tit for tat¨ in common English parlance, refers to a reciprocal reward given for one received, but not necessarily of equivalent value.
Reading many UA followers comments about the PIGMOB, and being a retired professional referee, it occurred to me that a copy of the RILEY PGMOL manual distributed to recently promoted EPL officials could be a revelation and perhaps go someways to explaining the seemingly inconsistent officiating one sees with AFC matches. It might well be a real world application of this expression.
There are currently, and will likely remain 17 relatively simple and straightforward Laws that officials are tasked with enforcing in managing a game of football. However, I suspect that the Riley manual has an 18th Law which states that;
¨It is so deemed and ordained by Riley himself, that officials for games between Arsenal Football Club in any of their EPL/FA Cup and other competitions will be officiated by PGMOL referees and assistants who adhere to and obey the Riley philosophy of punishing and disadvantaging Arsenal, regardless of the actual circumstances or events that transpire in the course of the match. Failure to respect this dictum will result in any transgressors being punished in the most diabolical fashion by the Riley.”
However, returning to reality, I will do a quick rundown on some of the actual Laws and how some or many of them can be interpreted to disadvantage a team like Arsenal:
Law 1 – the field of play: Not much to play with here, as the rules are not interpreted by the officials and few if any disadvantage can be awarded a targeted club….thank God! Goal line technology and VAR are covered in this law but we all know how the PGMOL have twisted VAR.
The Penalty area…..in the Riley bible, this Arsenal area is reserved for awarding penalties to Arsenal’s opponents regardless of whether an actual foul occurs therein and ignoring them in all other circumstances where Arsenal might benefit. Thus the official can cleverly ¨shrink¨ or ¨expand¨ the penalty area so that Arsenal are punished or deprived of a penalty,as the case may be. They can also punish AFC’s keeper for ¨delaying the game/timewasting¨ and they must not punish Arsenal’s opponents for the same misdemeanour.
Law 2 – the ball: Like the first Law, the regulations are not easily manipulated or ignored so nothing to rejoice over here.
Law 3 & 4 – the players and their equipment: Again, there is little that an official can safely or discretely do to influence the game by manipulating these Laws. However, if there is a contested call, Riley authorizes his officials to permit Arsenal’s opponents to surround the on-field official so that they can be harassed into perhaps watching out ¨next time¨….or better still, changing his mind.
Law 5 – the referee: Now here is where Riley’s minions find opportunities galore to influence, pervert and distort the application of the Laws to Arsenal’s opponents advantage.
For example the referee’s timekeeping powers permit them to vary the added time in either half so that it can disadvantage Arsenal and offer their opponents a golden opportunity to score. It is, of course a two-edged sword as Arsenal might also score but if the run of play is in favour of their opponents, then Dean will add a little bit extra to encourage the opponents to ¨try¨a little bit longer or harder.
As well, failing to give a clear advantage to Arsenal or conversely providing an unmerited advantage to Arsenal’s opponents is a favourite gambit of PGMOL.
Another, more subtle way to hurt Arsenal is for the referee to ¨consult¨ his assistant and award a foul, card, penalty or goal against AFC that he wasn’t positioned to ¨see¨ but fortuitously his assistant(s) were. Since nobody can hear what he’s saying to his co-conspirator, then all is evened out in the end!
Another favourite is to deny Arsenal a clear opportunity on goal by stopping play for an ¨injured¨ player, usually an opponent, who after treatment, miraculously recovers and continues playing.
VAR is far too complicated and open to abuse to be adequately examined in this article but rest assured that the PGMOL have the perfect conditions to punish Arsenal using this tainted mechanism. I will review the entirety of the VAR conundrum in a later article.
In section 7, there is a statement of liability regarding officials before, during and after the match. It reads as follows; ¨ the referee is not liable for any kind of injury suffered by a player¨ and others as well. Therefore, ignoring violent conduct or serious foul play or dangerous play, provided it is against AFC, is permitted under the Riley rules of PGMOL Football.
Laws 6-10 – other officials, duration, starting play, the ball out of play etc offer little in the way of creative bias against Arsenal and even Riley cannot change that. However despair not Riley aficionados, as a very fertile field of mischief presents itself in …
Law 11 – offside. What joy and enthusiasm this law was greeted with when Riley prepared his PGMOL manual! Here was an almost foolproof tactic to rob AFC of a legitimate goal-scoring opportunity or better still, a legitimate goal. How many times has the assistant failed to signal a clear offside by Arsenal’s opponents or conversely, flagged an Arsenal player for offside when later review shows he was clearly onside.
A gentle pre-game hint to his assistants and all is set for the opportune moment(s). The officials don’t give a damn about later reviews and club outrage, especially if it is Arsenal-related, but even Mourinho is ignored.
Laws 12 to 17 will be discussed in a later article, but for the moment I am sure our UA faithful will appreciate the ease and subtlety with which a bent official(s) can alter or influence the outcome of a match.
Riley was kind enough to make a training video for his EPL officials known as “Match 50 – Arsenal versus Man U. Any neophyte EPL officials newly selected to the premier division are provided with a DVD copy, which they are required, on penalty of reprimand, to memorize and digest completely before being assigned any EPL games. There is also a verbal and written test they must pass which treats the finer points of screwing Arsenal. Once their ¨fitness¨ is assured, they are confidently assigned to AFC at least 6 times during the season, ensuring that consistency and predictability are ensured.
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