The greatest media sportswashing scandal of football: It’s PGMO not Fifa

By Tony Attwood

If you are a regular reader you won’t be surprised that by and large Untold Arsenal doesn’t cover the world cup.   True, we have done in the past, with articles such as

but mostly such articles were written as criticisms of Fifa and the World Cup, not reports on how well this or that country is doing or might do.

And the aim during the interregnum was by and large to stay away from the tournament and catch up on transfer rumours ahead of the January window, along with a review of the statistics looking at how the current Arsenal team compares with (for example) the last time we were top of the league, and the 2003/4 Unbeaten Season. Such as

But of late something odd has been happening as, “Gary Lineker has said that he and the BBC were wrong not to speak out about Russia 2018 and that he looks back “uncomfortably” on being “sportswashed” by the World Cup hosts,” as the Telegraph puts it.

And it is true that increasingly people are noting that Qatar is building on the approach of Russia which used its enhanced reputation generated by the fawning media, which chose to ignore that Russian invasion of and indeed annexation of Crimea in 2014,

In fact it was the way in which Fifa got away with holding the Russian world cup without protests against its crimes that encouraged Fifa to push ahead with another bit of sportswashing in Qatar.

Anyway, it seems that now, rather late in the day Lineker is suggesting that he should not have bent the knee to Russia – although some of us think that the media, including Lineker, is doing exactly the same thing again with Qatar.  But at least he came out and said on Radio 4s Media Show “I think we were sportswashed four years ago, when it was in Russia,”   Although he then knocked his own brief rise in credibility by saying “We didn’t talk perhaps enough about the other issues.”


Well, when we read on, it makes sense.   “I think looking back now in hindsight, we should probably have spoken out more. I don’t have any feeling of mistake about this one at the moment because of what we’ve done. But I do look back four years ago, still slightly uncomfortable.”

Ah well, just for a moment there we thought Linekar might have been taking the very first step back to regaining a slight amount of credibility, but no.

But still, we have had a bit of fun, as with England’s team being targetted by foreign referees? Why is no one laughing?

And although yes we are having a bit of fun, the issue is still a serious one.  There is very clear evidence that referees in the Premier League behave oddly in their decision-making.  One doesn’t have to watch them and study each decision, but simply look at the statistics where it can be seen just how differently each referee acts in terms of fouls, cards, home wins etc.

In fact the decision to start to question the behaviour of referees from other countries but utterly refuse even to debate the behaviour of English referees in the Premier League looks horribly xenophobic.

And just in case you are not convinced try answering this one.  Why are the players of Arsenal all fouled so much more than the players of Manchester United, Tottenham, and Manchester City?  Why are these other top seven teams constantly kicking Arsenal to bit, but Arsenal have got twice as many yellow cards as Manchester City.

Maybe when the commentators have stopped whinging about foreign referees they might just once pick up on issues relating to PGMO.



3 Replies to “The greatest media sportswashing scandal of football: It’s PGMO not Fifa”

  1. “Anyway, it seems that now, rather late in the day Lineker is suggesting that he should not have bent the knee to Russia – although some of us think that the media, including Lineker, is doing exactly the same thing again with Qatar”


    I find this all very hypocritical. Isn’t it funny how all these media numbnuts find a voice now, after they’ve taken their seat at the event, and perhaps more importantly, taken their money.

    Every issue they now raise was there 6 months ago, a year ago, 2 years ago, 4 years ago, 13 years ago. Yet nothing. NOT a word. Best wait till the cheque has cleared aye !!!!! But it’s not just the press, it’s the players as well. A bunch of greedy money grabbing hypocrites the lot of them.

    Silence is violence apparently. At least that’s what I had rammed down my throat. How about those that told me that, and yet kept their mouths shut about the issues in Qatar until the cheques had cleared, hang their heads in shame.

    Rainbow armbands !! Don’t make me laugh. Too little too late.

  2. And as for the hand over the mouth???

    Yes, you’ve been silenced. But you are now in THEIR Country. You have taken THEIR money.

    To me, that suggests you accepted their rules, their culture, their values before you landed? Or is that just me?

    Everyone who is their now knew all this before they did indeed land on their shores. Yet they willing landed on their shores.

    The ones that are covering their mouths now could of opened them 2 weeks ago or 13 years ago. They chose not to.

    Again, doing so now is all too little too late, and in my humble opinion not utterly hypocritical.

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