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The Corruption League grinds to a conclusion. If you don’t believe me, you could believe others

By Walter Broeckx

As being a fan you can be biased about some things. So when people say to me that I cannot be neutral in doing my ref reviews this is something that I cannot deny completely. How hard I try to be neutral when doing it, it can still influence me.

The same goes for a manager. When a manager is complaining about a ref people always can say: ‘He is just moaning because he lost’. When Wenger does it the whole media and pundits get on his back. When other managers do it they just report it and hardly make any fuss about it. Intelligent people know why.

But when a person who is not directly related to both clubs and who knows a bit about football is saying something about the game and the ref it is a different story.

Mourinho: I don’t like him. He is the master of putting anything aside just to win things. All his principles go overboard to achieve a win. His football is based on counter attack and I hated it when Inter won the CL last season with their style of football.

But as a person who is interested in football I cannot but admit that he knows a bit about football. How much I dislike his face, his antics, his way of doing things. I think nobody can say that Mourinho is a stupid person when it comes to analysing things that happen in football.

So when Mourinho made his statements about Barcelona being favoured by Uefa to make sure they would go to the CL finals one could say that he was just a sore loser or a moaner.

Was sending Pepe off the field in the first game the right decision? Well to tell you the truth: I don’t know and I don’t care. The reason I don’t know is because I don’t watch the Corruption League any more. I have had my doubts before (Emirates – Hleb – no penalty and Anfield – Babel – penalty – Porto- indirect free kick goal ) concerning games from Arsenal where I had the feeling that some forces didn’t want us to go further. But I am biased, as you know.

But since the ref allowed Barcelona the throat grabbing of our players without handing out red cards and then sending Van Persie off with a second yellow card I felt that the Champions League is a fine league in the group stages but when it comes to the knock out stages it turns in to a Corruption League. Where the biggest names should progress further.

I have seen Chelsea being denied a few penalties in their CL history. Against Barcelona, this year against United. So maybe Chelsea also is not that big and important a name for Uefa?  There are in fact no bigger names for a final between Barcelona and Manchester United for the money people at Uefa.

So when Mourinho names events from Barcelona and Real Madrid it could be down to him being a bad loser. But when he mentions a game from Arsenal (before he loses the game) I think it is important to take note.

Like I said Mourinho is someone who knows something about football. He maybe knows something about the inner circles and how things work at Uefa headquarters. I bet he knows a bit more than you or I know.

So when he specifically points at our game at Barcelona and is saying that the sending off is suspicious it is worth taking note. Because Mourinho has seen that game and when he is seeing those things it is because he knows such things exist. He has seen it and came to the same conclusion as we did at the time: Barcelona should have gone further in the Corruption League because they are a “bigger” name than Arsenal – not because of anything else.

And if things suddenly looked as if they might turn out differently the ref comes to the rescue by sending a player off.

Now if there are any Barcelona fans reading this you shouldn’t think that I am saying that Barcelona is directly involved in bribing refs or any other malicious attempt to influence refs. No, I do think it is more something to do with Uefa itself. It could be a combination of clubs and Uefa, but for the moment I only think it is Uefa itself who can influence such things.

As I have written in a previous article, CL refs are not known to the clubs until just one or two days before the game. And the refs are always followed by someone from Uefa when they are in the town the game takes place. They are not really left alone with people from the club without someone from Uefa there to assist the refs.

So in fact the only people who can have some kind of influence on the refs are….people from Uefa themselves. And then I come back to the point that Uefa wouldn’t like a final between Arsenal and Schalke as much as a final between Barcelona and Manchester United. The sponsors would prefer the last one. TV companies would like the last one.

So having and needing too many decisions going your way to get to the final looks a bit suspicious to me. And yes I still blame Barcusacca for our defeat at Camp Nou.  Three players not sent off from Barcelona for throat grabbing their opponents under the eyes of the refs and without Uefa charging the players after the game. Then sending RVP off when Arsenal was virtually qualified and when Arsenal was getting close to an upset. If even Mourinho saw it and put it in the category as too good to be true is telling me that Uefa is nearing a line.

They are nearing the line between keeping up their own credibility and losing that credibility totally. We fans see it (don’t you Chelsea fans?) but Uefa can brush us aside. But when people from the inside talk about such things it becomes a different story. And Mourinho might have had some ulterior motive in much of what he said.  But when he mentioned the Barcelona-Arsenal game he knew that maybe this was the best covered operation. With all the other examples he gave, he was close to being correct but he was directly involved in the games or with the team. The Barcelona-Arsenal games he was not involved in and maybe this is why it is more important that he mentioned it than the others.

The way the media went about the how great Barcelona was and the no shots on goal was a clear cover up of how to detract the attention of the scandal of throat grabbing Barcelona players and the ref who did nothing about it and the sending off later of Van Persie.  And now this is not just me saying this. It is Mourinho saying this.

And also another person recently admitted (I think unintentionally) that refs can influence the outcome of games. It was the master of it all who after losing to Chelsea came out and said some interesting things. He said: “the penalty kick was so soft. We didn’t deserve that; that’s three years in a row referees’ decisions have changed the game”

And then SAF was asked if Chelsea was back in the title race. SAF replied: “If they get decisions like tonight then it can change everything”

Now just read this again. SAF is telling us that there has been bias against his team by the refs on a constant basis in the past 3 seasons. And he also tells us that THOSE THINGS CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING;

Oh, isn’t this just what I have been telling you for a while my dear readers?  So for all those still doubting my point that refs cannot influence games and results: maybe you could believe SAF or Mourinho.

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55 comments to The Corruption League grinds to a conclusion. If you don’t believe me, you could believe others

  • avatar walter

    It is always nice to write an article before a game and when you see some things in the last game of the CL I have seen this season.

    So I can add the ridiculous decision from my compratiot to cancel an in my eyes perfectly valid goal for Real Madrid last night at Barcelona with the score still 0-0 at the start of the second half.
    It was written in the manual of the Corruption League this season: Barcelona must reach the final!

  • avatar walter

    And most of all like SAF himself admitted: The refs can change EVERYTHING with their decisions.
    They sure can SAF, they sure can…

  • avatar Cape Gooner

    Walter, are you right about the goal? Pique pushed Ronaldo – a foul. Ronaldo fell onto Mascherano, stopping him from attacking the ball – a foul.

    Do 2 wrongs make a right in this case? Is the push on Ronaldo a legitimate excuse for Ronaldo fouling Mascherano, making it into a non-foul?

  • avatar Shard

    @Walter

    It isn’t about believing or not believing you unfortunately. The evidence is there in front of everyone but for whatever reason they choose not to see it. Our bias is just a cover, rather than us using the decisions as a cover for our team’s failings. I still don’t get why people are so opposed to the idea that in an environment where there is such huge money swirling around, where referees’ mistakes or decisions can have such a huge impact, and at the same time be brushed aside as just one of those things, that corruption in one form or another is almost inevitable. The only thing that can stop it is the authorities, but what systems do they have, and how transparently do they work? In my view, it is an open secret that football is corrupt. The likes of Mourinho only bring out part of the truth as you say. But people will still not believe it if they don’t want to. The facts notwithstanding.

    About your contention that referees are not allowed contact with the club. How does that fit with Graham Poll’s ‘revelations’?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1381729/Graham-Poll-reveals-secrets-footballs-dark-arts.html

  • avatar roger brierley

    Fine post Walter,all I can add to that with regard to what you said about sponsors and tv companies prefering the bigger names in the final,is that is probably why UEFA FIFa are so opposed to tv/technology being brought in.. The biggest sport in the world which generates more money nthan any other,is anyone telling me that football at the highest level(where the money is)is not corrupt?… Regards Roger

  • avatar Bobby Pliers

    Whilst everybody lauds Barcelona over their skill their constant diving and feigning injury is often overlooked or when mentioned again just seen as sour grapes from the losing team. Mascherano last night was disgusting in his constant falling to the ground and acting. I don’t recall him acting in this manner at Liverpool so it must be something that Barcelona require him to do! I was completely neutral watching the game last night but i noticed that Real Madrid players were constantly penalised for any challenge whereas Barcelona were allowed to be a lot more aggressive without penalty. If you are not allowed to tackle them then they are free to play their passing game and destroy you. Just imagine how good we would be in our own league if teams just couldn’t tackle us, then add a player like Messi to the mix and you are virtually unbeatable!

  • avatar walter

    Cape Gooner,
    intentional push on Ronaldo= 1st foul. Ronaldo falls to the ground because of the push. The ref can stop the play there or give advantage for Real.
    Ronaldo falls and with his back he touches Mascherano. Mascherano then goes down. The reason why Mascherano goes down is because Ronaldo has been pushed. The ref then gives a foul against Ronaldo and canceled the goal.

    So the ref could say: I dont want to give advantage to the team that has been fouled. he has the right to do this. But then he has to give the first foul that has been made. And this was the foul from Pique on Ronaldo. So he could have decided to give a free kick to Real but never a free kick to Barcelona.

    Unless of course you want to prevent Real Madrid from getting too close to the Barcelona goal. Then you can ignore the push on Ronaldo and give a foul against Real Madrid.

    So the two correct options the ref had was: give the goal (and give advantage to the team that has been fouled first) or give a free kick to Real Madrid.

    If a player commits a foul but only because he has been fouled you should give the first foul (or give advantage).

  • avatar Charlie

    @Shard, that is a fascinating article. Real Madrid giving expensive watches to a ref every time they referee a game, giving shirts to their kids and Chairmen saying refs will never referee their team or even their league again after sending their players off. It happens too, if Barcelona lose that referee is never asked to ref their games again. Graham Poll is telling us that corruption occurs and is common knowledge and if UEFA and the FA have officials with the refs at all times this behavior is condoned by them. The on-field actions of rotational fouling and “machine-gunning” the referee are not practises that Arsenal participate in.

  • avatar Pete

    @Shard

    An interesting article, thanks for the link!

    I was certain before the match that if Real Madrid had any chance to win it, they would be stopped… and then came their cancelled goal…

    Mascherano’s diving last night was outrageous.

  • avatar walter

    Shard,

    I didn’t say that there is no contact. But when I spoke to a retired Fifa ref (He stopped at the end of last season) who did CL games he told me that since a few years the clubs never meet the refs without someone from Uefa being there.
    They do meet eachother the day before the game when they arrive and or/on the match day itself (depending on when they arrive) and the ref then gives his instructions on what he wants to be done regarding security, match instructions, etc…

    But then there is always someone from Uefa with them.

    But a few years ago this was different and the refs were only taken care by the home team. Now one can wonder why they changed that and made sure that there is always someone from uefa there with the refs… It was Colina who was there in Barcelona for your information.

    I think Poll has known the good old days ;-)

  • avatar Charlie

    ….well not as much as most

  • avatar Adam

    Corruption has many faces and nuances. It is not only about brown paper envelopes stuffed full of money being slid under the table in a shady bar somewhere. The Italian scandal recently shows us that manipulating a referee’s known bias for or against certain teams by those who allocate the officials is a subtle but largely effective way of ensuring a desired result. If not, then how could the refereeing predictions that Untold Arsenal publish prior to each game be so uncannily accurate? Barcelona were always going to win our tie at the Nou Camp and they were always going to beat Real Madrid. Ferguson’s pathetic rant about refereeing decisions going against them was designed to influence the creature that is Mike Reilly (who also hates Arsenal and loves Man Utd) as to who he sent along to officiate at the Chelsea game this weekend. I wonder who will turn up.

  • avatar Shard

    @Walter

    Sorry. You did not say no contact.. I meant you said no unchaperoned contact :)

    So you are saying that all these instances that Poll mentioned happened before UEFA made it mandatory for their officials to be present? Does that necessarily mean that it doesn’t happen anymore (In your opinion I mean), and though you point the finger to UEFA in the article, what if any ways are there for clubs to still seek to influence the referees? (Which doesn’t consider the fact that clubs could just as easily influence UEFA officials to do their dirty work)

  • avatar James

    the worst thing about the raising of ticket prices is the extra money wont be used to strenghen the sqaud. even prior to the increase. tickets to the emirates are the highest admission fee in world football and of course they just got even higher. yet our transfer outlay is always in the negative. in other words we make money selling players. always spending less than make in sales. after selling adebayor and toure for 41m our outlay was only 10m on vermaelen. last year was diffrent we acutally spent more than we sold but not by much. eduardo went for 7m and squillaci and koscielny came in for a combined fee of 15m. we got chamakh for free. this year cesc is likely to leave and im guessing we get maybe 40m for him. but are we going to spend more than 40m on players? no were not. the board cannot justify these ticket prices whilst they dont spend money on players. its an insult made worse by the fact we dont even win. we dont win, we dont try to win by buying good players, yet arsenal think there in a positon to change the highest ticket prices in the world? i actually detest what we have become. i dont like wenger as a person. i think his arrogant stubborn and selfish. ive never rated hill-wood and half the sqaud are useless. who in gods name think we are a well run club?

  • avatar Gooner80

    Glaswegian kiss = Head Butt
    Barcelona hand shake= grab around the throat
    ashley cole ring tone= something rude ringing up your butt

    Spiderman Webb is the final nail on the coffin. You are right walter they totally wanted a barca vs man u final supposedly the two best clubs in europe. I think to keep audiences they need exciting matches

    Man U and Barca both do the same thing of screaming at refs, and barca in the first game against Madrid was doing the barca handshake in the tunnel.

    @Walter
    question that I have been wondering is whether the bias is deliberate or a unconscious thing based on preconceived ideas like Barca are the best team ever, arsenal are light weights etc

  • avatar Charlie

    There is no doubt in my mind that the official for our game against Barcelona had many reasons to favour Barcelona for that match. Look at a court case. The jury is similar to a referee in that they decide guilt or innocence but with a referee they make the call repeatedly. A jury is allowed no contact with anyone associated with the case and if they do they are struck off from the jury. It seems to me that a referee spends more time with officials from the clubs involved than he spends on the pitch and the only monitoring is by institutions that have a strong interest in the results and are far from squeaky clean. Talk about leaving the fox watching the hen house !!

  • avatar Gooner80

    @James your comments have nothing to do with the article

    ************HIS COMMENTS SHOULD BE DELETED*******************

  • avatar arsene-al

    Well I don’t need any more convincing, and I’m sure its the same for most of you. Lets try to convince the rest of the world so we can watch a fair game for once? Frankly I’m getting fed up with all this because teams are getting big heads for no reason and genuinely think they’re better just because they’re good for business. I’m tired of it, I don’t care much for madrid but yesterday..wow..barca was just ridiculous. I watched the game with some friends of mine who support barca and they even conceded that most of what they saw was utter bs

  • avatar walter

    Gooner80, I wished I could answer that question.

    And Charlie: that is the whole point.
    In the good old (Poll) days the refs could fall for the nice treatment of the home club. Clubs would spend fortunes to bring the ref in a good mood. They could offer them girls, they could offer them money under the form of a loan that never would be paid. But then it was a bit out of control from the governing bodies.

    So since a few years they send chaperones with the refs. For me this is in the first place to make sure that the clubs dont exagerate with their gifts (they still exist) but also it could mean that the chaperone informs the ref which team that they would like to go further. This can be done in a direct way: Barcelona must win. But also in a very undirect way. For example if the Uefa chaperone is telling the refs that it would be great for football if Barcelona would reach the final. This is something that can be said a few times before the game without literaly saying: make sure they fo further. But just to give a subconscious influence on the mindset of the ref(s).

  • avatar Charlie

    I’ll still reply to James. They’re not making extra money. It’s based on 4% inflation over three years and 2.5% VAT increase which amounts to more than the 6.5%. Sorry, don’t want to distract from this important topic. No more comments on that will come from me.

  • avatar walter

    And in the case of De Bleeckere yesterday.
    We all know over here that in December he has to stop as a Fifa ref. For a few years now he has been hoping to do the CL final but he always seems to end up with a semi final.
    But he revealed in an interview a few days ago that he knows that the will never do a CL final but that he could get the Europa league final to finish his career.

    So maybe he knew that when he got the desired result, he would get rewarded with the Europe league final? Just keep an eye on that I would say.

  • avatar Charlie

    So Walter the question is not whether corruption occurs, that is given. The question is whether UEFA and the FA are encouraging it and making it worse. The refs get their pensions from these institutions so it could be that there is hush money being paid well beyond their retirement and we will never get such a frank expose from refs of this new generation. It begs the question though, how much would the News of the World be willing to pay for such an exclusive and would the hush money or blackmail afforded by UEFA or the FA cover that ? If not it would be only a matter of time before it comes out and we would probably know about it already.

  • avatar walter

    Roger,

    money=corruption.

    A sas truth for the human race…

    People will do anything to win when money is involved. Look at cycling where the corruption is more done with drugs and stimulating products. To gain money people will cheat. It’s sad but thats the way the world runs for the moment. Well it always did I guess…

  • avatar buchi

    when read or hear Saf complain about some ref decision agains man united.. I just laugh.. Apart from being bias.. As an . Arsenal fan, season in season out i have watched loads of matches that refree’s decision went against us… Even when am with some man u and chelsea fan that are my friend.. They laugh and say this can never happen to their man u or chelsea… Wenger never talks because he is a forigner…. Watched the newcastle game, everton though we manage to win, and liverpool where the ref wanted a draw because of bet… If you watch some arsenal game you will know what am talking about… Its been long i saw an arsenal match that a ref will be fair or even favors us… They are quick to give a penalty against us and never gives us even if well deserved… Watched arsenal and sundaland game.. Had a penalty that was never given and a goal by arshavin that was ruled out for off side… Although they later said its was hard for lines man to see that…. When its comes to making a 50/50 decision.. I hated team is never favoured… Ok look at the chesea vs spur, ref didnt see that ball was still on the line but he game it as goal for chelsea…. Arsenal never gets that type of decisions …. Even saf complain about the denied late penalty against arsenal but forgeting that vidic should have been sent off and a penalty for arsenal yet he still complained because he thinks its his right to do so.. May god help us amen

  • avatar Charlie

    I think your reply will be that the press is also interested in influencing games but i think that is far-fetched, there is always a paper ready to uncover scandal about another.

  • avatar Gooner80

    Unless a journo gets secret films of a conversation taking place I cant see how it can be exposed because it can just be blamed on human error. If it was a criminal case you couldn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn’t human error, and by this i mean if there was a defence lawyer cross examining the evidence they would put enough doubt in the minds of a jury to say it is human error.

    I am certainly convinced a ref can decide the outcome of a match, in the case of arsenal they certainly did enough damage just to put us out of the frame, but if you can put even the tiniest seed of doubt in the minds of the football fans, most people wont believe you, and a belief system is something someone holds onto and fights tooth and nail to keep, they will discredit every bit of evidence you have because people dont like to be wrong and it is easier to keep believing something then to change beliefs, beliefs form neuro networks in the brain that get linked over time and people are rigid because most thinking is habitual

    The only other way I can think of is for large amounts of money to be placed on games where Howard webb for example Refs Man U at home, if the bookies suffer big loses they wield enough power to have it investigated

  • avatar Cape Gooner

    I do not follow what odds the bookies offer. Can someone who does tell me if the odds for the MU Chelsea game changed after Webb was announced as ref?

  • avatar Charlie

    On a related topic wasn’t the handball by Vidic a blatant “suspension by post-match review panel” situation. Obviously a deliberate handball preventing a goalscoring opportunity missed by the ref and linesman

  • avatar Charlie

    @Gooner80. My point was that it will be exposed if the refs themselves talk to the papers about what is happenning exactly as Poll did but the difference now is that they would be implicating UEFA and the FA so it’d be bigger.

  • avatar Gooner80

    @Charlie good point about Vidic if the ref didnt see him he should be red carded upon video evidence his managed even admitted it.

    I didnt read your comments but having them caught in the act trying to influence a game would be priceless. I would love the conversations they have on their headsets to come out like what happened to andy gray. I would love to have seen what was actually said because most of the time they cover their mouth so no one can read their lips, I am sure there would be conversations like “no it didnt go over the line”, “he was off side” etc.

    is there any technical gooners who could hack into the radio signal and start some recordings the story would be worth a lot

  • avatar Gooner

    For Higuain’s disallowed goal, I would have given a free kick to Real but not a goal. Higuain knows he’s not getting anything though, u can tell by his frustration before he even shot.

    Mascherano was f**king unbelievable. He was worse than all of them, getting ahead of even Busquets in the diving and playacting pecking order. If Fab is going to Barca this summer, which i doubt, I would not want Masch coming as a makeweight.

  • avatar marcus

    Mourinho’s comments were not before time.

    You can be utterly sure that Wenger believes, and has believed that Arsenal are cheated against.He doesn’t say anything, beyond dark hints, because
    1) He needs to be careful legally
    and
    2) When something is said, as per Fabregas criticizing the ref, then there is a huge backlash, as per Dowd inventing the Newcastle come-back.

    I think it is the second reason more than anything why we don’t hear Arsene say what he really believes on the Bepl closed shop.

    I think people will slowly leak away from football, and realize there is more real excitement in 10 pin bowling, and the Octuagenarian society’s bowls club.

    On Names: Surely If “Real Madrid”, then “Sham Barcelona” and “Phoney Champions League”

  • avatar Tasos

    Here’s some more interesting Mourinho quotes whilst in charge of Chelsea;

    “There is no pressure on Manchester United. If they play well, they win. If they don’t play well, they will get a penalty and still win.”

    “I was not surprised Ferguson complained about our fixture against Spurs because he is intelligent and maybe he thinks other people are stupid. The truth is United are very, very lucky with the fixtures because, until now, they have always played BEFORE us. Ferguson is an intelligent man, successful, with a great career. But when you think other people are stupid it is not a good quality.”

    “It was a penalty to Sheffield United at Old Trafford. It is not a conspiracy, it is fact. I speak facts. If not, I need big glasses. If you tell me it was not a penalty – or a penalty for Middlesbrough, or for us against Newcastle, I must go to my optician.”

    Some things never seem to change.

  • avatar goonergerry

    Since when has Mourinho ever respected an opponent? No body takes him seriously- he is an embarrassing ego-maniac who does not play the game in the right spirit, a John McEnroe on steroids. It is a pity because as you say- he has made a very good point about Barcelona bias.
    Referees in Spain do not allow virtually any physical contact- it is the least physical league in Europe. Why are all European games that Barcelona play in- refereed to Spanish standards and interpretation?
    It is a huge advantage for them. The RVP sending off stank of corruption- not a refereeing mistake. Its not so much what they do= but when they do it that makes it so suspect.
    Referees are doing more to undermine the credibility of the game than anything else.
    The whole notion of a single ref is antiquated and far too open to subjective bias given the speed and the emotional climate the game is being played in.

  • avatar Gooner80

    The refs get far too many headlines every other game is about a ref not getting a key decision correct,

    Phil dowd has got to win performance of the year.

    Has anyone noticed the number of scottish managers in the premier league with the norwich manager adding to the list, if you combine this with Fergies Ex players Fergie runs the Premiership, he has more than 3/4 as allies, and why is there such a small proportion of refs from london considering the size of the capital and population distributions

  • avatar bob

    @Walter:
    Having posted on these very MORONO comments – and his mention of Arsenal – just a few days ago, I’m glad you’ve amplified it and so well. It is clearly of major importance. Today, Ronaldo is saying that SOMETHING IS GOING ON. The team captain, Casillas, speaking on the players behalf say they were ROBBED – Madrid’s Championship chances STOLEN. This article is eye-popping, even more for us in light of yours today: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-sport/football/article-23946502-cristiano-ronaldo-just-give-the-trophy-to-barca.do
    UEFA and the Combine will shortly have what they want: MANURE v. Barca. EPL/FIFA will shortly have the game they want: KGB v. MANURE. Best ratings, most ad money, Syndicate heaven, etc. etc. If that is so, it means that ALL the rest of both leagues – all the suckers – might be able to see it as well, perhaps this year more clearly than ever. It’s time for that ONLINE petition: VIDEO REPLAY, REFEREE POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE, PUBLIC ACCESS TO THE REFEREE EVALUATIONS. No?

  • avatar Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    In a era where evreything is so open. In an era where the British tabloids could not only pretend as a bookie and find out the Pakistani cricket betting cartel nexus and publish it, in an era where the anti corruption bodies in cricket seem to be headed by British nationals head the anti corruption unit of ICC I really don’t know how the British tabloids don’t even hav a whiff of the inside deals of soccer sport.

    Primarily I believe its not just the UEFA but also the media. By and large Sky Sports support for Manchester United must have stemmed from the fact that more and more viewers(in my visit to Vietnam I saw atleast four or five channels telecasting Premier League of which atleast two showed Manchester United match other than Sky channels)would tune into Sky when Manchester United is playing than Arsenal is playing or when Chelsea are playing.

    So its not just the sports authorities but also the media which connive with the authorities to create a cartel and fix the games. I really doubt most managers really don’t know. They all know and they all learn to adapt to it.

    If really Arsenal are to win something again and again(they will win sometime for sure)and again they ought to increase their brand presence across the globe. They ought to make themselves a familiar brand in Asia, Americas and all. They should make more trips may be play in China sometime, send its players on some shows and increase its international presence. This would not only make Arsenal a bigger player but also upset the market share of Manchester United in these countries thereby making Sky Sports think twice.

    Please understand I attribute India’s cricket world cup victory too to this kind of market only. Not many other countries outside the sub continent really care about cricket.

    Make hay while the sun shines.

  • avatar Samuel

    Barcelona must lift the Champions League trophy ,Trash.United the
    English Premier League one,decided months ago by the very same
    folks who run these respective leagues,no doubt about it whatsoever ?

  • avatar bob

    @Charlie: I have a quibble with your naivete about the press/media. Methinks that nothing rules them at the top like where the ADVERTISING money is coming from; and no newspaper or network (save perhaps the Guardian imo, but some writers are in deep with the slime), is going to blow the cover on a major football scandal to rock the world-renown billionaire-jackpot known as the EPL and jeopardize the goose that lays them golden eggs. That media outlet would suffer some dire consequences starting with the loss of advertising revenues that these days could not be absorbed.

  • avatar bob

    @Prasanna: I think your Brand vs Brand, Market-Share vs Market Share framework sheds real light on the subject at hand. Perhaps that’s what’s behind Arsene’s airing those plans on those pre-season trips to Asia, perhaps the US thereafter…etc. If that is how the game is actually played off the pitch, as you indicate, then such measures may have to be taken to get a more level playing field on the pitch, so to speak. And perhaps, with those plans in mind, opposition to the looming burn-outs of Wilshere etc. make further sense if he’s going to feature in an extensive pre-season tour?

  • The article is great. The comments are great too.

  • avatar Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    Continuing with my previous post, I believe and remember reading Arsenal was doing some research on increasing its brand value in Asian countries last year end and there were some series of articles.

    A small example of how branding helps is this. About three or four years back I met a guy in railway station and we started talking about football. I asked him what is his favourite premier league team for which he replied MANCHESTER UNITED and I asked him what is his second favourite for which he replied REAL MADRID.

    The truth is this even those who know nothing or little about EPL or football knows Manchester United.

  • avatar Canuck gooner

    I am normally a silent reader but I felt compelled to reply to this post. I am a huge arsenal fan but I have to disagree about Barca being favored … Yes, refs can and do influence games but it was not the case between barca and real. I hated barca when they beat us but after the dust settled, I had to recognize that they were the better team … Barca was much better than real who could have easily have many players sent off because rpeat fouls must thank the ref for keeping it 11 vs 11. And to come back to the core of your point, Real vs ManUre (2 biggest clubs in the world)is arguably a bigger game than barca vs ManUre … Go Arsenal!!!!!!

  • avatar Johnny Deigh

    Interesting that @Orbinho and @OptaJoe at twitter have come out showing that Arsenal would have already won the league had every shot that hit the woodwork gone into the net in the premier league this season.
    http://twitpic.com/4t9shh
    However, I’m sure that if we had got an extra goal or two in those matches, then something would have happened in that same match or in a future match so that we would drop points. Did we hit the woodwork against Newcastle?

  • avatar Johnny Deigh

    As to Mourinho, I believe he has hinted several times this season that he has been doing his end on the pitch, but that the directors at Madrid needed to do more behind the scenes to get ahead of Barcelona.

  • avatar Pete

    @Johnny Deigh

    Wow – great link!

  • avatar Gooner Gal

    Walter, when the CL ticket prices were revealed last year and the cheap seats were starting at around one hundred pounds, I said that the only way they could think of charging fans this kind of price was if they were sure two big clubs would be in the final. There is no way that a fixture like Tottenham Vs Schalke would be a big enough draw.
    .
    I totally agree that nothing since the group stages was by chance. I had a strange feeling that Arsenal would get Barca. Last year it was watched by almost the same number that watched the final. Many neutral and football fans with a mild passing interest tuned in. At the end of the day, UEFA earn more money through TV rights if Barca play Arsenal twice instead of once. The same situation for the ‘el classico’ and for the grudge rematch of Chelsea Vs Man U.
    .
    What I am saying is that UEFA seemed to have plotted a path for 2 of the biggest football clubs to meet in the final whilst maximising how they could make the most money along the way. It was supposed to be Inter Milan Vs Man U in the Semi’s but Schalke messed up the financial plan a bit by totally embarassing Inter in the first leg of the quarter finals. Make no mistake, Schalke would never of been allowed to progress to the finals though and Man U would of been given a helping hand to ensure that there was an english team in the final held in England.
    .
    There is something dirty going on in football for sure. I keep asking people, if Barca are so good how come when they come up against good teams all of their wonderful football goes out the window and they resort to being such a disgraceful bunch of cheats. Far too many games result in opposition players being sent off. I believe Barca could beat any team in the world with an extra man and at least 3 of the rest of the opposition on yellow cards.
    .
    I personally cannot stand Mourinho and I don’t think UEFA can either to be honest with you. The both times he has won the CL his teams drew criticism that it was boring to watch. His teams in the final do not sell well, so I think UEFA would have had a big financial incentive to stop it from happening again this year. What he said was the truth however and I reckon that he will either resign from Real Madrid or will be sacked as I don’t see Real Madrid winning the CL anytime soon now that Mourinho has come out and said what he did. UEFA will make sure of it.
    .
    The FA and UEFA’s insatible desire for money is totally ruining football and will destroy it if keeps going like this.

  • avatar C4

    Great stuff Walter, we need to put the spotlight on this filth.
    Watching Real and Barca made me realize that we’re not getting video tech any time soon. That game, if officiated according to the rules, would have ended with both teams only having 8 or 9 men on the pitch.
    Thank goodness I support Arsenal. I’d be horribly ashamed to be a Barca or Real (and of course manure) supporter right now.
    Imagine walking around in your vidic replica shirt after the Arsenal 1 – 0 manure game, or your mascherano shirt after the barca – real game…
    Sickening really.
    Out of curiosity, where do the “same old Arsenal, always cheating” chants come from? Nobody on our team can be classed as a serial diver (except Eboue, and he rarely even plays). And we don’t do the kind of cynical crap others do, like vidic and his handball. We just don’t have that kind of leeway. We HAVE to be squeaky clean with all the bias against us, and even then, we STILL “concede” the most penalties. So for each cup we win starting next season, it will be a double victory, each cup twice as sweet.

  • avatar walter

    Gooner Gal, it has crossed my mind also.
    They wanted an extra attraction each round and the draw worked out just fine for that.

    I think the only thing they didn’t counted was Schalke causing such an upset. They hadn’t read the script I think. ;-)

  • avatar Gooner80

    the same reasons why they concocted this round of draws is the same reason man u have to succeed they bring in the biggest audiences globally. Sky know the audiences for say a Birmingham vs stoke game must be pretty low, only supporters and people gambling would watch a game like this

  • avatar Dark Prince

    Can only say one thing – Superb article. Keep it up!!

  • avatar Rhys Jaggar

    ‘So having and needing too many decisions going your way to get to the final looks a bit suspicious to me. And yes I still blame Barcusacca for our defeat at Camp Nou. Three players not sent off from Barcelona for throat grabbing their opponents under the eyes of the refs and without Uefa charging the players after the game. Then sending RVP off when Arsenal was virtually qualified and when Arsenal was getting close to an upset.’

    Walter, do stop spouting rubbish.

    Arsenal were not ‘nearly qualified’, they had 30 minutes plus to hold out and if Barcelona scored one there would be extra time. They were in a position where they MIGHT qualify. Being virtually qualified would have been leading 2-1.

    Arsenal were absolutely played off the park in the Camp Nou, first half with eleven statues who couldn’t string 3 passes together in a row. They were annihilated even before our captain decided to influence events with his somewhat untimely back heel. Something I’m sure in your idealised world of Arsenal perfection was just one of those things, wasn’t it????

    I do expect you to renounce your membership of Arsenal if evidence ever comes out that decisions favouring Arsenal were fixed at the Emirates the week before. Because Barca certainly thought they were………..and if it was, and you keep up with this partisan claptrap, then you have no place as a referee and in my opinion you have no place in Arsenal FC.

    Because you are trying to cheat in just the way you whinge about others doing so……..

    Think about it, silly man.

    And write an article as to whether you think Arsenal will do better next season if they signed Buffon, Cahill and Rodwell. And got rid of Squillaci, Denilson and a goalie or two…….

    Because that’s the gossip in the Metro this week…….

  • avatar A Casual Observer

    @Rhys – you talk total crap with great authority… you should consider a role in politics.

  • avatar goonergerry

    Rhys
    Arsenal were played off the park against Barcelona in the home leg and we still beat them-and not by luck. In the second leg-we had a very fair chance up to the point when RVP was sent off.
    The RVP sending off was such a disproportionate punishment-that occurred at a critical time in the game to a key player-it looked very suspect indeed. What are you trying to say-that it was just a mistake, like the Chelsea penalties not given in the CL semi final-utterly blatant penalties not given?

    It is not just the big refereeing decisions that are favouring Barcelona-it is all of the small decisions as well.

    Barcelona are only able to keep possession to the extreme extent they do partly because referees do not penalise their players for diving and feigning injury after they are tackled or lose possession in fact they award a free kick every time a Barcelona player collapses at the first sign of losing possession of the ball. Any and every 50/50 goes to Barcelona.
    I do not know for certain that refs are corrupt-but I know consistently unfair decision making when I see it.

  • avatar Paul

    Rhys you are just sad, you talk with so much anger aimed at Arsenal poor displays and towards actual people who are trying to make some sense about all these strange games Arsenal’ve been involved in (newcastle away, barca farce). There are enough blogging sites where people like you slam the team, their manager and the actual people who are trying to get behind the team no matter what, because we support Arsenal and it doesn’t matter what kind of manager we’ve got, it’s the team that matters!

    goonergerry spot on! I watched both barca semi-final legs and I was sick from all that diving! I don’t particularly fancy Real, but Mourinho was right, officals prefer barca to be in the final.