Why don’t we ever talk about something not being right with the Premier League?

by Tony Attwood

Of late the Belgian league has been troubled by match-fixing allegations dating back to the 2013-2014 season.  According to various news sources in Belgium, Roland Duchâtelet, former president of Standard Liege, as well as two players of the club, have filed a complaint against Anderlecht and RC Genk.

Now Roland Duchâtelet is a Belgian businessman and politician who by and large knows a thing or two about football.  He is the owner of football clubs Carl Zeiss Jena and Újpest and is also a politician, being the founder of the liberal political party Vivant.

Duchâtelet alleges that two players of Anderlecht and Genk are guilty of having offered luxury watches to opponents to influence two decisive matches which decided which team won the league. While Standard finished first in the opening phase of the competition, Anderlecht won the title via the play-offs. “Everything points to the fact that the title won by Anderlecht is the direct result of a serious breach of the rules of the competition,” Roland Duchâtelet told RTBF.

Now you might well think that maybe that doesn’t amount to too much – after all Belgium is a small country, and its league’s results are not widely noticed around Europe.  And anyway what has that got to do with Arsenal?

Well, Belgium’s national team is ranked at the top of the Fifa rankings, and it has been at the centre of a series of corruption, money laundering and match-fixing cases over the past few weeks and months. In mid-January, the Belgian justice system announced that 56 senior players in the ProLeague were being prosecuted.

Federation officials, top managers of the country’s biggest clubs, referees and players’ agents are being prosecuted in this context, in particular following revelations by a players’ agent, the Serbian Dejan Veljkovic.

But of course, this doesn’t affect England, and there are no allegations being made about football in England being corrupt, so it is not covered in the English press.

Except, how would we know if there were such issues being raised in England?  As we have often pointed out, the news that we get about football is often tailored to suit an agenda in which English football is the most perfect league in the world. And if we think back to the fiasco of the final of the Euros at Wembley, that was an appalling catastrophe and yet the entity responsible for it (the FA) is now (with cheers from the media) bidding to host the World Cup finals.

Moving on, you may remember, for example, the horrific tales of the sexual abuse of young players in English football that have emerged over the years.  Of course, the trials of those subsequently convicted were reported, but what was never fully considered by the media was how the abusers were able to get away with their appalling crimes for so long.

According to the reports which emerged when finally a small number of abusers were brought to trial, several clubs knew all about what was going on, but did nothing to deal with the issue.  So what makes us think that everything is fine today?

We certainly know that Liverpool was involved in various underhand activities recently, and so were banned from signing any more youth players for a year.  But that still leaves a huge problem, which is this…

Who investigates football?

The problem is that football is a closed shop in which any claim of wrong-doing is investigated by those within football.  So if we have a situation in which, for example, youngsters are trained in a manner that is quite likely to leave them with injuries that will affect the rest of their lives, the people who investigate the issue are those already within football.  And if they find something dodgy, they will as likely as not cover it up, since the findings could have an implication for their own club.

Now the argument there is made that such injuries are best understood by those within football, but if we have a case in which all clubs are taking unwarranted risks with young players long term fitness, then no one is going to report that.

In short, we have no one who is independent of football who can investigate injuries to young players or indeed any other on going crimes.

And just at this moment when we really don’t have any independent over-arching body that could investigate the FA, individual clubs, The Premier League, Fifa, Uefa or any other body, we have countries with no democratic rights or traditions such as Saudi Arabia openly seeking to attract golfers away from golf’s main tours such as the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour, with offers of big money.

Certainly, if there could be something worse than there being no recourse to an independent body to oversee what is going on in football, it would be major events being run from Saudi Arabia or Qatar.

And come to think of it, hasn’t the head of Fifa just moved himself and his family to Qatar, just at the time when the Swiss courts were closing in on him?

The media conspiracy against Arsenal. Part 1: How it unfolded.

Conspiracy, laziness, or stupidity. Part 2 How the media missed the big Arsenal story

Is there really a conspiracy against Arsenal? Part 3: Ownership, laziness and repetition

The evidence of a conspiracy against Arsenal: part 4: Conspiracy, simplicity and false predictions

8 Replies to “Why don’t we ever talk about something not being right with the Premier League?”

  1. It’s not just football Tony.
    This is England. Everything is ‘world-beating.’
    The lies are non-stop. Nobody else on the planet exists.
    For any of us who have raised a family abroad, worked abroad, taught small kids to cross a road in another language with another traffic system, have children and grand-children, have spent decades connected to another country, been citizens elsewhere, the English psychosis appears to be an inability to deal with reality as it is.

    When you stand in the main railway station in Hamburg at lunchtime – it’s on the rail route from Copenhagen to Prague- there are thousands of people passing, getting trains, getting food, getting tickets, each in their own reality. To believe that anyone in this mass of people passing you by is thinking, ”What is happening in London?” is madness, yet we are fed this madness by the hour.

    It was May 1963, I’m in a bar in Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen with the woman who became my wife. Hearing I was English the middle-aged man next to me at the table asked, ”What’s going to happen to Great Britain now it doesn’t have an Empire? ‘That was the first time that question was put to me. The question was last asked me in 2018.

    There’s never been an answer. We can’t get over ourselves. We can’t see the problems in the premiership because the premiership is sucked into our own estimation of who we are on this planet. Hence PPGMO’s belief they can tell us they get 98% accuracy in decision making when they have the operatives we see every game. They tell us this rubbish because they say it to themselves in their heads.

    We see Mr Arteta creating a team and we cannot trust that team will be given a fair crack of the whip because the Rules of Football administered fairly is made subordinate in the game to maintaining the authority of the PGMO in their heads, on the pitch, out on the reality of the TV screens.

    I sincerely hope Jack Wilshere can get an afternoon off in Arhus, jump an inter-city train to Odense, get to the home of Hans Christian Andersen, sit on the bench and contemplate how you write a fairy tale. Riley does it every week.

  2. Zedsaunt,

    I agree that it is not confined to football in England.

    We are the best in the world, the strongest economy in the G7, the most successful at dealing with Covid, the fastest to provide vaccination and NATO’s best hope.

    That’s if you believe the UK prime minister, who is a proven compulsive liar.

  3. We have Atkinson/Friend/Brooks for the Wolves game on Thursday. It’s not looking good. We only win 43% of our PL matches with Atkinson in charge.

    Keith Hackett has this endearing description for Moss/Mason – “it’s a pantomime when they are out on the field” .

    Last night I watched “The Program”, a 2015 movie about Lance Armstrong. All the way through the film my mind was repeatedly reminded of the actions of PGMOL. Where have all of the great investigative reporters gone?

  4. John L

    Now we have to impose sanctions on Putin, confiscate properties of the oligarchs, treat rich Russians as enemies and stand up as responsible citizens dealing with Covid. I’d rather just wait around for Thursday night’s game.

  5. seismic

    1984 the Mirror introduced Bingo cards as a daily competition in the paper. That was two pages of the tabloid. The following splurge on the winner required two reporters and a photographer. 140 reporters were sacked.

    1986 Ray Fitzwalter at World in Action told people who came to him with cases that needed investigating that the necessary financial resources for the longterm serious investigation was drying up in TV and newspapers and he couldn’t see it changing.

    1986-1988 City Halls around England start installing marketing/PR units into the Council’s functioning. Simultaneous provincial newspapers switched to the electronic transmission of copy to the editorial office. The PR units produced endless press releases. All you had to do was just change a few words and send it to the editorial office.

    Next – Schools of Journalism gave fast-track post-grad journalist degrees to graduates. The Hugh
    Cudlipp/Seymour Hersh/Ray Fitzwalter journalist starting sixteen years old who believes the pen is the sword to protect those without authority was replaced by the graduate with two degrees who finds it comfortable in front of TV cameras.

    2010-2014 Numbers of NUJ members working in PR rose to over 50% of NUJ membership.

  6. John L

    According to my inside man Johnson intends to seize every last item of Russian wealth in the UK to show he stands foursquare with the Ukrainians Resistance and International Law and then he’ll deal with Partygate. Chelski the football club has then a few hours left.

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