The football stories the media won’t touch
I’ve been critical in this series about the way that various issues are well-known (such as referee bias in terms of home and away matches) and yet not only does PGMO do nothing about the issue, the media will absolutely not comment on it.
So what else will they not comment on in football?
For me, and this is personal, there is one story I really love above all others on Untold. It was published on 22 January 2015, and I remember distinctly thinking, “there must be something wrong here” because little Untold doesn’t get scoops this big! And I thought that as I typed up the tale because that story was so gigantic that if true it was going to rock Fifa to the core. And there was just little Untold Arsenal, all on its own (at least in England) running the piece
That piece, along with all the 11,757 other articles that we have published since 14 January 2008 is still on the site under the headline Switzerland take a greater interest in Fifa – at last so you can go and have a look. But the essence of the tale was that people attending the conferences of international bodies like Fifa would no longer be immune from arrest if wanted in another state.
Fifa of course didn’t take any notice – it is obviously above all laws. At least until March 2008 when it gave me great pleasure to write “If FIFA Execs had read Untold in January they would have known they were going to be arrested.
And I can’t tell you the joy that headline gave me, not just because I was proven right but because of the irony of me, of all people, telling Fifa to be careful, them ignoring little old me, and suffering mass arrests, exactly as predicted.
And that is why I started this little series with the headline Why, with football, it is important to ask what is not being reported
But Fifa survived and has expanded its operations. Indeed 20min recently ran the headline The city of Bern has borrowed nearly 1.8 billion francs from Fifa.
Which is ironic given that in June 2022, Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini. appeared for fraud before the TPF Criminal Court with Sepp Blatter accused of having ordered the payment by Fifa of 2 million francs to Michel Platini.
Of course whether the people of French speaking Switzerland think this is ok or not depends rather on whether they see Fifa as an aberration, a major factor in the undermining of the well-being of football on a worldwide scale, or a collection of jolly scallywags who occasionally get carried away a little in the scale of their whizzo ideas.
Meanwhile elsewhere, there is still a level of concern in federal Switzerland with the way Infantino held secret meetings with its own head of the legal services for the whole of the Swiss state.
But there is of course a financial side to Fifa’s largesse. If it puts its billions of dollars into bank accounts in Switzerland it doesn’t get any interest on the cash – rather the reverse; it pays for the privilege of using the bank’s facilities. (If you are British you may gawp at this, but yes, things are different in Switzerland.). But if Fifa lends the money to the Swiss state, it gets paid. So Switzerland has been directly financing Fifa, not just through its national team’s affiliation Fifa, but by borrowing money from Fifa.
And of course with Fifa now directly integrated into the very heart of the Swiss economy (in the sense that if Fifa pulled the plug, several cities in Switzerland could face bankruptcy) it makes it ever less likely that the Swiss will see through their legal case against Infantino. However, the latest statements from Switzerland suggest that it is now changing direction and getting its money elsewhere so maybe the Infantino prosecution will happen after all.
The fact that the city of Lausanne opposed a fan zone during the World Cup in Qatar for ethical reasons caused a lot of ironic comments in the country and Lausanne is now reviewing its practice: A spokesperson for the City has said, “After the World Cup in Qatar, the situation changed, notes the socialist. The position of the City is now different and we no longer wish to work with FIFA in terms of cash”. So that’s ok.
- Arsenal has let in one more goal than at this stage last season, and that’s a disaster
- Arsenal continue to make more progress than the rest of the big seven
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t