by Tony Attwood
It is interesting that through the last couple of months, although there has not been much in the way of football news the media has by and large ignored most of the big stories.
Now one can always put the missing of the odd story here or there down to editorial incompetence or journalistic drunkenness, but when virtually every major tale is swept aside it, not just by one or two major outlets but by all of them, it begins to look a bit odd.
And it can’t be that these stories are hard to find. Untold is a tiny operation, working most of the time with just three or four people finding and writing up stories. And yet we have found story after story that the mainstream media have missed. Here, in no particular order are ten of them…
1. Infantino’s plane trip
The President of Fifa, who is strictly forbidden from spending unauthorised money under the reform rules introduced after Blatter was pushed out, hired a private jet to bring his entourage back from South America on the pretext that he had important meetings the next day and his scheduled flight was cancelled. In fact he had no such meetings and in essence committed fraud.
2. Biggest Fifa money laundering scandal ever
An Israeli bank was fined almost $1bn for allowing Fifa to launder money through its offices. Not a word in the English media.
3. PGMO 98% figure must be wrong
PGMO repeatedly claim that 98% of all referee decisions are correct, and yet recent research shows that ref decisons are very strongly influenced by the crowd. Experiments with some referees watching TV monitors with the crowd noise on, and others with the noise off, show that those hearing the crowd noise make many more errors than those who don’t.
Such home/away bias revelations are several years old and have only surfaced again because games in Germany without the crowd present show that away teams are now doing much better than normal. Partly this may be due to the psychological effect but also this must be because the referees are being more even handed. The PGMO have never once mentioned these findings in their claims about 98% accuracy. They have in fact been giving the advantage to home clubs for years.
4. Why Liverpool keep getting the same two referees for their games.
As we have shown, it doesn’t happen in other major football leagues, because they have many more licensed top referees. But in England Liverpool get the same two refs over and over and over again. Why is that? No one ever asks.
5. Story about David Luiz’ agent simply can’t be true
The story that Arsenal had to pay out millions of pounds to the agent of David Luiz to bring the player to the club cannot possibly be right, because of the regulations covering agents. If it were so this would not be Arsenal incompetence but rather wholesale fraud and rule breaking and that level of corruption would be the biggest story of the year. Instead the story (which must be fake) is of Arsenal’s incompetence.
6. No moral judgement for owners test and no fit and proper person test
We wait and wait to hear about Saudi Arabia’s takeover of Newcastle with talk of a “fit and proper person’s” test, without any journalist being bothered to find out there is no such thing for club ownership. The only regs concern directors having previously been banned from being directors. There is nothing to stop dictators who run countries with no human rights at all, taking over clubs.
7. Prosecution of Swiss federal prosecutor over inappropriate Fifa meetings
The federal prosecutor in Switzerland, where Fifa is based, is the top legal official in the country. It appears he has been holding unreported one to one meetings with Infantino ahead of enquiries into his financial activities. As a result the process is underway to have him removed from office in Switzerland so that the proper prosecution of Fifa can move ahead.
8. Clubs struggling to pay refund to broadcasters
In the end this has been mentioned a little, but it is hardly big news. But some Premier League clubs really are struggling to pay the money back that Sky and BT want, not least as at least one club has already spent next season’s first TV money payment.
9. 25 rule and no foreigners rule
The demand of the FA when Britain leaves the EU in December is that there is a complete overhaul of the 25 players rule with a requirement of more British players. This will have a huge impact on the clubs but no one is talking about it either in terms of the current squad or the transfers that are rumoured to be taking place.
10. Uefa want help with controlling match fixing
We mentioned last year that Uefa were advertising for private companies to help them stop match fixing. Not a mention anywhere.
Throughout we ask why these stories don’t do the rounds and answer comes there none. And we haven’t even talked about the FA seriously wanting to bid to bring the world cup to England, when all the evidence is the voting is still being rigged.
- How the Sun’s story of Arsenal incompetence and money wasting unravelled
- The revelation that has scuppered PGMO once and for all
- This is no surprise: in football there is not fit and proper person test
- Arsenal transfers: what happened in January, and the rumours for now
- The first ever analysis of how referees see each Premier League club
- Tackles fouls and cards: where Wolverhampton have managed to go wrong
- Tackles fouls and yellows: how Arsenal have learned to handle the refs
- Arsenal v Wolverhampton: the Arsenal team and predictions