By Tony Attwood
The article is headlined “Ein paar Lügen zu viel”. In English, “A few lies too many”.
It appears in Süddeutsche Zeitung, and by and large that’s a good place for it to appear.
On 6 October 1945 five months after the end of the war SZ was the first newspaper to receive a license from the US military administration in Bavaria to allow it to start publishing again. The first issue was published the same evening. The first article began:
- For the first time since the collapse of the brown rule of terror, a newspaper run by Germans is published in Munich. It is limited by the political necessities of our days, but it is not bound by censorship, nor gagged by constraints of conscience.
Of course there is no brown rule of terror in England. But there is a form of self-censorship. Censorship of the most invidious kind. For it is a collective self-imposed censorship which means that the newspapers and radio stations and TV stations, and their blogs, among themselves decide what is and what is not news.
Not in some secret gathering of course. Not with rules from on high (although publishers and owners might do this occasionally). But by a collective consciousness of what is, and what is not news.
The possibility that PGMO referees might be biased, and their accuracy statistics simply made up, as revealed to be true by the “no crowd noise” tests. That sort of thing. And the possibility that because in football they all follow each other in defining what is news, a bias has crept in.
We’ve laughed about it a lot, inventing the “Toppled Bollard” pub where journalists get drunk and make up stories, but that tale only came from desperation as the media continue to refuse to engage with the key football stories. And that is not to say that they won’t make them front page news, but rather they won’t run them at all.
Untold has run them, and then sometimes days, weeks or months later the media catches, but really to do their job properly they ought to be their from the start.
So here is today’s news.
“The noose is drawn around Gianni Infantino’s neck” was the heading in SZ as on Thursday, Stefan Keller, the extraordinary public prosecutor of the Swiss Confederation, opened criminal proceedings against the president of FIFA and against his private legal adviser, the Valais senior prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold. At the same time, special investigator Keller applied for criminal proceedings against the Swiss federal prosecutor at the responsible parliamentary commissions Michael Lauber. His immunity from prosecution is to be repealed.
There are four criminal charges against Lauber, Infantino, Arnold and others; more are being added. The crimes are “abuse of office”, “violation of official secrecy”, “favouritism” and “inciting these offences”. Further criminal offences and opening of proceedings remain reserved; they will emerge – this is enough to be getting on with.
The impeachment of federal lawyer Lauber is the first ever such event against a chief prosecutor of Switzerland and the more serious reporters who actually are covering this (ie those in the rest of Europe) say this is disastrous for Infantino. That meeting in June 2017 that Infantino, Arnold, Lauber and his official spokesman Andre Marty want to have completely forgotten, is now in the open.
Infantino has, it is claimed been showering Arnold with FIFA invitations, and a lucrative job. In return Arnold arranged for Infantino to get in contact with the lawyer Lauber. So the ethics committee must examine what on earth has been going on.
And this not least because until mid-2017, this committee had been headed by renowned lawyers: the former New York federal prosecutor Michael Garcia, the Swiss prosecutor Cornel Borbely and the German criminal judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, head of the ethics panel.
The last two of those had brought about the fall of Sepp Blatter at Fifa and Michel Platini at Uefa in 2015 with criminal proceedings pending. Platini was considered only as a person to provide information, which in Swiss law is a status between witnesses and the accused.
But Infantino: oh no, this is much more serious. Hence criminal proceedings. A judgement by a supreme judge has already been issued which charges him with being a participant in a conspiracy to lie.
And what is the UK media saying about this? This conspiracy that affects all of world football. Which is at the heart of Fifa, which is running a world cup in two years at stadia built by slave labour. What is our media saying about corruption on a mega scale and the use of slave labour?
Little Untold Arsenal, run by a tiny group of pals, is the one place where the news is being digested, translated and presented.
Meanwhile you might enjoy…
- Why the media’s new statistical analyses of football is just a trick to stop you noticing what’s going on
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- Brentford v Arsenal: past exploits and the Arsenal team news
- French authorities issue arrest warrant over awarding of World Cup to Qatar
- Brentford v Arsenal: the history and the build up, with some extraordinary odds